LaBudde | Women's Committee for the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance Collection

COLLECTION FINDING AID

 

Related Collections By Topic

- Music
- Music: Classical & Sacred
- Music: Jazz & Big Band
- Women & Gender

Scope and Content of Collection

The Women’s Committee for the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance Collection was gifted by the organization to LaBudde Special Collections in late 2016. The collection includes organizational materials such as officer and board member files, committee papers, and meeting materials; correspondence from various members regarding business; financial documents; scholarship and benefit information; scrapbooks; and photographs from the 1980s to the present.

Historical Sketch

The Women’s Committee for the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance was founded in 1941 by seven women: Mrs. Parker B. Frances, Mrs. Charles M. Bush, Mrs. Powell Groner, Mrs. William T. Grant, Mrs. Martha Ryan Thompson, Mrs. John B. Pew, and Mrs. Nick T. Cave. The original committee consisted of 20 members, and their purpose was to promote the interests of the Conservatory of Music and its students. During the early years of their organization, the WMMC raised scholarship funds for Conservatory of Music students by arranging garden concerts, tea parties, luncheons, and auctions. They also received generous donations from donors to fund their scholarships.

The 1960s was a turning point for the Women’s Committee and the Conservatory of Music. The Conservatory merged with the University of Kansas City in 1959 and then became a part of the University of Missouri system in 1963. In 1965, the Women’s Committee began a partnership and friendship with Swanson’s, a women’s clothing store on the Country Club Plaza. Swanson’s collaborated with the committee on fashion shows, and the group worked on various committees including ticket sales, hospitality, publicity, invitations/mailing, hosting, and program writing. For the next twenty years, the Women’s Committee raised more scholarship funds. Unfortunately, this collaboration ended in 1985 when Swanson’s fashion department was reorganized.

The Women’s Committee began to fundraise money internally, asking members to donate money and relying on the support of generous donors. In the Fall of 1985 and the Spring of 1986, the Women’s Committee presented a check of $4,997 to the Conservatory. The Women’s Committee’s 45th Anniversary was celebrated in 1986, and over $250,000 had been given to the Conservatory for scholarships. Over the next decade, they still participated in other fashion shows, collaborating with Saks Fifth Avenue in 1987, Jones Store Company in 1988, and DuVall’s, Talbot’s, Kay’s, and Chocolate Soup until 1999.

Since then, the Women’s Committee has created new scholarship funding ideas. They’ve arranged benefit auctions/luncheons with guest speakers. They’ve also developed a scholar-friend program with the Conservatory scholarship students, providing the members of the Women’s Committee and the scholarship students a chance to engage and collaborate over lunches and various other activities. A scholarship endowment fund was also established and is still growing today.

 

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