Mary Elizabeth Hallock Greenewalt papers

The Mary Elizabeth Hallock Greenewalt Papers offer an impressive array of materials touching not only on the creative processes of an artist-inventor but also on an individual’s experience with the United States patent system. Intertwined with the story of Greenewalt’s invention of the color organ...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Greenewalt, Mary Elizabeth Hallock 1871-1950. (Creator)
Collection Number:0867
Format: Manuscript
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Item Description: Materials Separated from the Resource: Four 5” x 3” nitrate negatives in Box 35 should be put in cold storage. The Federal Reporter, Vol. 39 (2d)-No. 1, May 26, 1930, pp. 1-296. Copy made of pp. 102-104, Greenewalt v. Stanley Co. of America. The book is in very poor condition, not salvageable.
Processing Information: Series I, Boxes 1-11 reflect Greenewalt’s filing arrangement. Many documents required copying; where possible, some of the originals of these documents have been placed in folders at back of each box. Due to the large number of fragile materials, there remain a number of documents that would benefit from copying.
Physical Description: 18.2 Linear feet 39 boxes, 29 volumes, 23 flat files
Summary: The Mary Elizabeth Hallock Greenewalt Papers offer an impressive array of materials touching not only on the creative processes of an artist-inventor but also on an individual’s experience with the United States patent system. Intertwined with the story of Greenewalt’s invention of the color organ is the record of her battle for legal recognition of her right to financial gain on her patents. In addition to retaining a record of patent infringement court proceedings, Greenewalt also summarized her experiences in an unpublished 1934 manuscript, A to Z, A Compilation of Patent Letters with Letters Patent. Here Greenewalt recounted how manufacturers and theatre owners conspired to utilize her light control process without acknowledging her patents and thereby avoiding patent royalties. Greenewalt’s papers also include an unpublished Autobiography containing memories of her early life in Syria, her father’s career, her mother’s mental illness, and Greenewalt’s emigration to the United States at age eleven. Greenewalt’s autobiographical notes contain many drafts of this work, which indicate the evolution of her thought as she worked to develop the color organ and show her appreciation for the color organ’s scientific and aesthetic properties. Other writings include Greenewalt’s manuscripts of lectures and addresses, including her radio addresses, and some family correspondence. An extensive photograph album contains color organ photos and Greenewalt’s commentary on the progress of her invention. Other materials include a 1920 sound recording of Chopin’s works performed by Greenewalt for Columbia Records, pastel drawings and painted materials from Greenewalt’s early experiments with color and light, and many blue prints and tissue sketches of her color organ designs. Of particular interest is Greenewalt’s photo album documenting her early color-light experiments. The collection also contains several scrapbooks documenting Greenewalt’s professional life. A scrapbook devoted to her father, Samuel Hallock, contains personal correspondence pertaining to Hallock’s career and marriage, and Samuel Hallock’s electrotype patent award. There are many lighting manufacturers’ catalogs and brochures to which Greenewalt often added her commentary, reviews of performances by other light-color artists, and articles on color theory. Personal items include Greenewalt’s bridal souvenir book and the gold medal and diploma she received at the 1926 Sesqui-Centennial in Philadelphia. The papers have been divided into seven series. Series I contains files arranged alphabetically by Greenewalt and documents Greenewalt’s efforts to create and market her invention and protect it from patent infringement. Folder titles reference correspondence with manufacturers, engineers, and theatre owners involved with the development and demonstration of Greenewalt’s color organ. Other files reference correspondence with attorneys, law suit filings, and other artists also promoting color organs. Also included are Greenewalt’s accounts of the color organ design and manufacture, and reports of color organ demonstrations. DuPont correspondence files and a file on Tabet (maternal) genealogy offer family-related references in Series I. Series II focuses solely on Greenewalt’s color organ, offering writings and sketches concerning the color organ, as well as representative sample materials used for the organ. This series also contains Greenewalt’s 1940 unpublished manuscript, The Fine Art of Nourathar. Series III documents Greenewalt’s legal activities and is divided into two sections, Patents and Lawsuits. The Patent files include correspondence surrounding the patent preparations as well as copies of the original patents. The Lawsuit section contains trial transcripts and correspondence concerning Greenewalt’s infringement suits. This series also contains Greenewalt’s 1934 unpublished manuscript, A to Z, A Compilation of Patent Letters with Letters Patent, which describes her legal difficulties. Series IV includes an unpublished Autobiography in handwritten and typed form, autobiographical materials describing Greenewalt’s accomplishments, copies of her addresses and lectures, and news clippings about her activities. Also included are a Genealogy Notes and Correspondence file concerning the Hallock and Tabet families, a Family Correspondence and Clippings file, and a Miscellaneous Writings file offering what may be short stories by Greenewalt. There are also several booklets concerning Greenewalt or the Hallock family. Series V includes printed materials about lighting manufacturing and stage lighting uses, and press clippings about James G. Blaine (1830-1893), former U.S. congressman and secretary of state. Series VI contains Greenewalt’s photograph album recording her work and a collection of family photographs. Series VII contains a sound recording (reformatted from phonograph to CD), printing blocks, pastel drawings, painted experimental materials, several books in French and Arabic, and Greenewalt’s awards. Included also are scrapbooks of news clippings describing Greenewalt’s early concert tours as well as her first public demonstrations of using color with music. A scrapbook devoted to Greenewalt’s parents contains letters written by her mother, letters of introduction written for her father before his appointment as U.S. consul in Syria, and the original patent awarded to Samuel Hallock for his electrotype improvements. Flat files contain blueprint and tissue drawings of Greenewalt’s color organ.
Mary Elizabeth Hallock’s arrival in Philadelphia in 1882 at the age of eleven set into motion a forty-year career as a musician, inventor, lecturer, writer and political activist. Born in Beirut, September 8, 1871 to Sara (Tabet) Hallock, descendant of an aristocratic Syrian family, and Samuel Hallock, a U.S. consul, she was educated in Beirut and Philadelphia. A gifted musician, Hallock graduated from Philadelphia’s Musical Academy in 1893, and in 1897 studied piano in Vienna with Theodore Leschetizky. In 1898 in Johnstown, New York, Hallock married Dr. Frank L. Greenewalt, thirty-two years old and a physician-in-chief at Girard College. The Greenewalts had one son, Crawford, born in 1902. Greenewalt, a pianist noted for her interpretation of Chopin, began in the early 1900s to investigate how gradated colored lighting might enhance the emotional expression of music. By 1920 Greenewalt had obtained the first of many patents covering a color organ designed to project a sequence of colored lighting arranged for specific musical programs. In combining light and color as a single performance Greenewalt believed she had created a new, fine art which she named “Nourathar,” or essence of light. Although awarded eleven patents, Greenewalt spent a number of years pursuing patent infringements, finding recourse in the courts in 1932 with a judgment in her favor. Greenewalt’s professional activities also included lecturing on music and serving as a delegate to the National Women’s Party, which was instrumental in winning women’s suffrage. After retiring from the concert and lecture stage, Greenewalt published Nourathar: The Fine Art of Light-Color Playing in 1946. She died on November 26, 1950, in Wilmington, Delaware. This collection offers many examples of Greenewalt’s creative processes. Greenewalt herself arranged a good portion of correspondence which details the development and manufacture of her color console and the legal battles surrounding her patents. A photo album also documents Greenewalt’s creation of her light color console. In addition, Greenewalt left an autobiography (in draft form), a family history, copies of patents, correspondence specific to patent filings, miscellaneous personal correspondence, blue prints and drawings, copies of concert programs, news clippings, lecture and radio broadcasts manuscripts, scrapbooks, two small volumes in Arabic, and numerous brochures and pamphlets pertaining to electrical lamps and theatre lighting. Artifacts include Greenewalt’s recording of Chopin made in 1920, a gold medal awarded in 1926, copper printing plates, and experimental, painted materials.