The February 2022 issue of Choral Journal is online and features an article titled “The Choral Music of Florence Beatrice Smith Price” by Stephen Caldwell. You can read it in its entirety at acda.org/choraljournal. Following is a portion from the introduction.
The Florence Beatrice Smith Price Collection in the Special Collections Department at the University of Arkansas began in 1974 as The Florence Price Papers. It was originally a small collection of pictures, letters, and manuscripts donated by Price’s daughter. The collection was expanded in 2014 after the discovery of new documents. New attention came again to the collection in 2018 after G. Schirmer acquired the worldwide rights to Price’s catalog. It is the goal of this article to illuminate the available choral music of Florence Beatrice Smith Price and discuss her remaining manuscripts, in hopes that it can reach a broader audience through the support of choral musicians across the country.
In 1974, Price’s daughter donated what little materials she had of her mother to the Special Collections Department at the University of Arkansas. Several of Price’s works remained in publication and received performances in the latter half of the twentieth century, but much of her unpublished music was lost. More than forty years later, unsuspecting real estate shoppers Vicki and Darrell Gatwood acquired an abandoned house in the Chicago suburb of St. Anne, Illinois. It was in terrible condition and required extensive demolition before renovations could begin. They arrived with dumpsters ready to discard the detritus, when they noticed some handwritten music and a reoccurring name on many of the papers—Florence Price.
The Gatwoods did some internet searches, soon realizing that Florence Price was a composer of some note. They reached out to specialists, who found the house contained a treasure trove of manuscripts, photographs, letters, and other artifacts. After some time, University of Arkansas Special Collections sent representatives to review the collection. In 2014 they were able to acquire all the documents and merge them with the collection already housed, becoming the Florence Beatrice Smith Price Collection at the University of Arkansas. Many of the artifacts have since been digitized and are available to view online.