MS 63 Alice Barnett Stevenson Papers

Summary Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection
Stevenson, Alice Barnett
Alice Barnett Stevenson Papers
MS 63
Date [inclusive]
5.5 Linear feet (9 boxes)
The collection contains documents related to the life, travels, and musical work of Alice Barnett Stevenson, a prominent San Diego composer.

Preferred Citation

Alice Barnett Stevenson Papers, MS 63, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

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Biographical / Historical Notes

Alice Barnett Stevenson was born in 1886 in Lewiston, Illinois. Her father, Orrin Barnett, was a pianist and music teacher. Having grown up in a musical family, she excelled in her musical endeavors and went on to graduate from the Chicago Musical College in 1904 with highest honors. Her studies included piano with Rudolph Ganz, composition with Felix Borowski, and theory with Dr. Louis Falk, among others. After college she traveled to Berlin, Germany to continue her studies under the famous composer Hugo Ludwig Kaun, accompanied by Minnie Fish Griffin, a well-known and accomplished singer from Chicago. While in Berlin, she met Samuel H. Price, a violin student from San Diego. The two were married shortly after. After a lengthy tour of Europe, the couple returned to the United States in 1910, making their home in San Diego, where their two sons were born. The marriage did not last long and four years later, the couple divorced.

The divorce revived her musical career as she supported her young family. She taught music appreciation, theory, harmony, and history at San Diego High School while composing her own music. Between 1906 and 1932, Barnett composed 110 pieces. Fifty of these American art songs were published, including the popular “Trio”, “In the Time of Saffron Moons”, and “In a Gondola”. In 1926, she wed Dr. George Roy Stevenson. Dr. Stevenson was highly supportive of his wife’s career and her heavy involvement with multiple musical associations. She was founder and a life member of the Music Makers. In 1927, she founded the San Diego Symphony Orchestra association and was a member of the board of the Amphion Club from 1920 until 1948. She also served as patroness for many local organizations and served as a charter member of the Opera Guild. The Stevensons hosted numerous recitals, activities, and visiting musicians in their Mission Hills home. In later years, she and Dr. Stevenson traveled extensively until his death in 1965. Barnett died at age 89 on August 28, 1975.

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Scope and Content

This collection consists of materials related to the life and work of Alice Barnett Stevenson. Her personal papers include legal documents, such as her marriage license, family papers, and non-music related notebooks, as well as some family papers. Stevenson’s personal correspondence covers her studies abroad in Europe, her return to the United States, and her later world travels with Dr. Stevenson. Her composition notebooks, original and published sheet music, and four audio recordings of her work are also included. Documents of her professional relationships include correspondence and administrative materials for the San Diego Opera Guild and the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. Also present in the collection are several scrapbooks compiled after her death by her daughter-in-law, Margaret Price, as well as sheet music by other musicians and a graduate thesis about Barnett’s work. Items of particular interest include her composition notebooks from her college and Berlin years, as well as the journal of Emeline Gibbs Barnett, Stevenson’s maternal grandmother, that dates back to 1839.

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The collection is arranged into six series:

Series I: Personal Papers

Series II: Personal Correspondence

Series III: Music

Series IV: Associations

Series V: Scrapbooks

Series VI: Miscellanea

Items within each series are arranged by subject.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection June 13, 2012

1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers 751101, 761029, 801220B.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Lauren Rasmussen on June 13, 2012.

Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials

Original photographs separated to SDHC Photograph Collection.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • San Diego Opera Guild.
  • San Diego Symphony Orchestra.
  • Wednesday Club of San Diego .


  • Correspondence

Geographic Name(s)

  • Berkeley (Calif.)
  • San Diego (Calif.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Barnett, Emeline Gibbs
  • Kaun, Hugo, 1863-1932
  • Price, Eugene
  • Price, Hubert
  • Price, Samuel
  • Stevenson, Alice Barnett
  • Stevenson, George Roy


  • Arrangers (Musicians)
  • Composers
  • Concerts
  • Music
  • Musicians
  • Opera
  • Sheet music
  • Symphonies
  • Women — Societies and clubs
  • Women composers
  • Women musicians

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Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Diary of Emeline Gibbs Barnett is very fragile; pages are brittle and spine is partially detached. Front and back cover are detached from binding of Alice Barnett Stevenson’s journal (Box 1 folder 4). (June 15, 2012)

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Collection Inventory

 Series I: Personal Papers

Official documents, 1926 March 6–1965 February 28



Alice Barnett and George Roy Stevenson’s marriage license (in Oversize Collections D6)

Alice Barnett’s Chicago Musical College diplomas (3 copies) (in Oversize Collections D6)

Alice Barnett’s high school diploma (in Oversize Collections D6)

Alice Barnett Stevenson studies journal, 1906-1918 and undated

Scope and Content:

Note on inside cover reads “Chicago Musical College 1906.” Most entries in journal are undated, although some poems and additional notes are dated 1915 and 1918. Writing begins at either end of the journal, meeting near the middle. The journal includes notes on music forms and styles, as well as in-depth analyses of the movements and development in specific classical music pieces. There are poems, some with a note such as “set to music,” “not for me,” or “everyone has set this, so I wont,” as well as some poems by Alice.

Alice Barnett Stevenson studies journal, 1919 March-June and undated

Scope and Content:

Inside front cover of journal states: “Notes taken on lectures by E. Stoughton-Holborn, Mar.-May – 1919.” Subjects covered in lecture notes include the Greeks, Romans, architecture, and poetry. A brief “bibliography” follows the June 9, 1919 entry on Robert Browning. Names and contact information are listed from reverse end of the journal.

Alice Barnett Stevenson teaching notebook, 1918

Scope and Content:

The notebook contains Alice’s teaching curriculum, “Four Years of Music Theory for High School” while teaching at San Diego High School. Each year is divided by subject and includes potential assignments, quiz/exam questions (not including answers), and in-class discussion topics. The first year of study as outlined by Alice covered the structure of music and composition, the second year the history of music, the third year on opera, and the fourth year on music appreciation.

Alice Barnett Stevenson journal, 1931-1947

Scope and Content:

The journal is multi-purposed recording planned engagements which have in some cases been written over by entries about travel and notes for talks and on musical topics. Travel entries include her trip to Europe in 1931 and to New York City in 1946-1947, as well as travel expenses.

Alice Barnett Steveson travel logs (3), 1926 March 6-1951 November 7

Scope and Content:

“Brief log of our trips” (March 6, 1926-November 7, 1951) – This travel log begins with Alice and Roy Stevenson’s honeymoon trip to Los Angeles March 6, 1926, including stays in Riverside and Lake Arrowhead. Book continues thru November 7, 1951, recording many trips including Yosemite, Chicago, and Europe. The entries read similar to diary entries, recording types of transportation and stay facilities, financial costs, details of activities, as well as some references to current events. The 1935 entry mentions attending “80 orchestra concerts in Ford Bowl” and “many streamlined Shakespeare plays in Old Globe Theater,” the latter as part of the 1935-1936 Exposition. Entries for 1943, 1944 and 1945 reference World War II, with “no trip” for 1943 and 1944. The 1945 entry states: “War ended. Gas ration lifted. Trip to Klamath, . . .”

“Our trip in 1931 Jan. to Sept. 1 Sailed from L.A. to Gibraltor [sic]; returned from South Hampton to Quebec . . .” (also mentioned in “Brief log of our trips” book) – Brief list of cities in Europe and United States, those visited on this trip to Europe, some cities including additional detailed note. This trip is also recorded in “Brief log of our trips” (above).

“Contains brief log of our New York trip, Dec. 12, 1946 to Jan. 14, 1947” – The brief log records trip by train from San Diego to New York City, stopping in Chicago and Cleveland. Trip recorded in two formats (each starting from opposit end of book): one as daily entries and the other as brief lists of restaurants and attractions in New York City. This trip is also recorded in “Brief log of our trips” (above).

Poetry and unpublished essay, undated 1:7
Commemorative certificates, 1952 February 12-1958 March 12


“World circumnavigators” certificates for Alice and George commemorating their around the world travels (in Oversize Collections D6)

Newspaper clippings and articles, 1925–1989 1:9
Miscellanea, 1838-2007 and undated


Family history

Emeline Gibbs Barnett’s (Alice’s grandmother) autograph book, 1838-1878

Research letter from the University of Victoria to Alice’s son, Hubert Price

1998 issue of Mission Hills featuring article about the music endeavors of the Price-Barnett family

Eugene B. Price piano recital program

Photograph slides


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 Series II: Personal Correspondence

Correspondence, 1909-1918


Correspondence from Alice to her family while she is abroad in Europe

“Letter from Berlin” (copies), 1909-1918 2:1
Correspondence: Panama Canal trip, 1931 2:2
Correspondence: “Around the World” trip, 1951 November 16-1952 February 6 2:3
Correspondence: “Around the World” trip (copies), 1951 November 16-1952 February 6 2:4
Correspondence: South America trip, 1953 October 13-1954 February 7 2:5
Correspondence: South America trip (copies), 1953 October 13-1954 February 7 2:6
Correspondence: Mediterranean trip, 1960 January 21-March 18 2:7
Correspondence: Mediterranean trip (copies), 1960 January 21-March 18 2:8
Correspondence: France-Italy trip, 1964 May 24-1965 June 27 2:9
Correspondence, 1949 March 6-1973 November 3 2:10

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 Series III: Music

Composition notebooks, 1903-1904 2:11
Composition notebooks, 1904-1905 2:12
Composition notebooks, 1905-1906 2:13
Composition notebooks, 1907-1910 2:14
Sheet music, undated


“As I Came Down From Lebanon”

“A Ballad of Christmas Eve”

Sheet music, undated


“The Banjo Player”

“The Cool of Night”

“Courting Song”

“Home-Coming Hour”

Sheet music, undated


“In a Gondola”

Sheet music, undated


“Often When Awake I Lie”

“Panels From a Chinese Screen”


Sheet music (oversized), undated


“Agamede’s Song”

“Another Hour With Thee”

“As I Came Down from Lebanon” (3 sets)

“At the Dawn”

“A Ballad of Christmas Eve”

“The Banjo Player” (2 copies)

“Chanson of the Bells of Oseney” (2 copies)


“The Cool of Night” (2 sets)

“Days That Come and Go”

“The Drums of the Sea” (4 sets)

Sheet music (oversized), undated



“An Epitaph” (Published as “Inspiration”)

“Harbor Lights” (2 sets)

“Home Again”

“Home-Comin Hour”

“In May” (2 sets)

“Irish Peasant Song”

“The Lamplit Hour”

“The Lotus of Isis”

“Love and the Wind”

“Mood” (4 sets)

“Mother Moon: A Lie-Awake Song”

“Music, When Soft Voices Die”

“My Love is Always True”

“Night Song at Amalfi” (2 sets)

“Nightingale Lane”


“Often When I Lie”

“On a Moonlit River”

“The Prince”

Sheet music (oversized), undated


“Return” (2 sets)

“Serenade” (2 sets)

“The Singing Girl of Sham” (2 sets)

“Song at Capri”

“Sonnet 43rd” (2 sets)


“The Time of Roses”

“Time of Saffron Moons”

“Tomorrow, If a Harp-String, Say”

“To-Night” (2 sets)

Sheet music (oversized), undated



Sheet music (oversized), undated


“Trio: Prelude, Scherzo, Finale”

Sheet music (oversized), undated


“Tryst” (2 sets)

“A Valentine”

“What Are We Two?”

“When Earth Lifts Skyward”

Sheet music: compilations, 1919-1923


“Two Even Songs: Mother Moon and To-Night”

“Three Songs of Musing: Song at Capri, Ebb-Tide, and Agamede’s Song”

“Three Love Songs: The Lamplit Hour, Another Hour With Three, Days That Come and Go”

“Songs and Ballads by American Composers” (Includes “Tryst” by Alice Barnett”)

“Songs and Ballads by American Composers” (Includes “Inspiration” by Alice Barnett”)

“Unpublished Art Songs” binder, Part 1, undated 3:5
“Unpublished Art Songs” binder, Part 2, undated 3:6
“Alice Barnett Songs, Vol. I” binder, 1931 3:7
“Alice Barnett Songs, Vol. I” binder (original cover), undated 7:2
“Alice Barnett Songs, Vol. II” binder, 1931 3:8
“Alice Barnett Songs, Vol. II” binder (original cover), undated 7:3
Recordings, 1968-1971


“Trio by Alice Barnett,” presented at the San Diego Library on May 7, 1968, recording created July 27, 2006 (2 copies, compact disc (CD) format)

Gene Price and Alice Barnett “Trio” recorded May 7, 1968 (reel-to-reel tape)

“Songs by Alice Barnett” (title crossed out), September 1971 (reel-to-reel tape)

Song list and music pamphlets, undated 3:10

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 Series IV: Associations

San Diego Opera Guild, 1950 February 28-1959 November 2 3:11
San Diego Symphony Orchestra, 1939 July 18-1941 July 18 and undated 3:12
San Diego Symphony Orchestra: correspondence, 1940 December 4-1941 May 28 3:13
San Diego Symphony Orchestra: correspondence, 1941 June 2-1975 August 1975 and undated 3:14
Wednesday Club, 1959 May 20-1989 November 1 4:1
Membership certificates, 1924 September 23-1972 June 4 4:2

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 Series V: Scrapbooks

Scrapbook, 1917-1924 4:3
Scrapbook, 1931-1963 4:4
“Alice Barnett Steveson, Book I” portfolio scrapbook, 1920-1948 and undated 9:1
“Alice Barnett Steveson, Book II” portfolio scrapbook, 1935-1972 9:2
“Alice Barnett Steveson, Book I” memorial album, 1975 5:2
“Alice Barnett Steveson, Book II” memorial album, 1975 5:2
“Alice Barnett Steveson, Book III” memorial album, 1975 5:3

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 Series VI: Miscellanea

Thesis: “The Art Songs of Alice Barnett” by S.K. Smith, 1996 6:1
Other published music, 1939 and undated


“34 Selected Schubert Waltzes (Henry Levine Piano Album Series)” edited by the Boston Music Company

“50 Art Songs From the Modern Repertoire” edited by G. Schirmer, Inc.

Other published music, 1940


“51 Piano Pieces From the Modern Repertoire” edited by G. Schirmer, Inc.

Other published music (oversized), 1881


“Aria of Salome” from the opera “Herodide” by Jules Massenet

Other published music, 1889-1917


“Edward Mac Dowell Compositions” by Breitkopf Publications, Inc. (1917)

“The Four Little Curly Headed Coons” by J.W. Wheeler (1889)

“One Hundred Folksongs of All Nations” edited by Granville Bantock (1911)

Other published music, 1893-1940


“Pagliacci” by Ruggero Leoncavallo

“Reverie” by Claude Debussy

Other published music, 1894 and undated


“Schirmer’s Library of Musical Classics, Vol. 291: Anthology of Italian Song of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries) edited by Alessandro Parisotti

“Select List of Masses” edited by J. Fischer & Bro.

Other published music, 1914-1963 and undated


“Singable songs for studio and recital” selected by Martin Mason

“Songs with piano accompaniment by European composers” edited by the Boston Music Company

“Three Songs from the Cycle Tanjali: When I Bring to You Colour’d Toys, The Sleep Flits on Baby’s Eyes, and On the Seashore of Endless Worlds” by John Alden Carpenter

“Two Songs for voice and piano: Velvet Shoes and My Master Hath a Garden” by Randall Thompson

“Wedding March” by Felix Mendelssohn


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