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Inventory of the Charles Henry Meltzer Papers, 1839-1940

Descriptive Summary

Abstract: Collection contains correspondence to dramatist Charles Henry Meltzer from well-known composers (1839-1928), including Cécile Chaminade, Gustave Charpentier, Alphonse Daudet, Claude Debussy, Edward Elgar, George Gershwin, Jules Massenet, Felix Mendelssohn-Barthody, Giacomo Puccini, and Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari. Also includes newspaper clippings relating to Meltzer, and a typescript transcription of Meltzer's biography.
Title: Charles Henry Meltzer papers
Creator: Meltzer, Charles Henry, 1853-1936
Date(s): 1839-1940    
Extent: 0.2 linear feet
(1 slim document box)
Repository: Special Collections, College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Phone: (843) 953-8016
Fax: (843) 953-6319
Call Number: Mss 0009
Language of Material: Materials in English. Some letters in French and German.

Biographical Note

Dramatist and critic. Born in London in 1853, Charles Henry Meltzer studied at Oxford University, where he won a scholarship at the age of fourteen. Meltzer also studied music in London and Paris. Meltzer became a correspondent for several newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the New York Herald, and was also a music critic and writer for magazines. From 1912 to 1916, Meltzer was librettist for the Chicago Opera Company. He was the author or adaptor of a number of plays, and founder of Criterion Magazine (1903) and the American Society for the Promotion of Opera in English (1907). A linguist, Meltzer was proficient in seven languages. Meltzer died in New York City in 1936.

Collection Overview

Collection contains correspondence (1839-1928), clippings, and a typescript transcription of Meltzer's biography taken from the National Cyclopedia of American Biography (1938).

Letters and notes to Meltzer include a letter (1928 August 3) from George Gershwin regarding Gershwin's taste in opera, an undated picture postcard from Gustave Charpentier, an undated letter from C.C. Chaminade (with an autographed photo) regarding a visit to the United States, and a letter (1916 April 14) from Edward Elgar concerning a libretto entitled The Garden of Allah. Other correspondents are Alphonse Daudet, Claude Debussy, Jules Massenet, Felix Mendselssohn-Barthody, Giacomo Puccini, and Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari. Correspondence also includes a letter (1839 December 14) in German from Felix Mendelssohn to F. Tretbar.

Clippings concern Charles Henry Meltzer, Vernon Weston, and the donation of the Meltzer papers to the College of Charleston. Collection includes typewritten transcripts and translations of foreign language letters.

Search Terms

The following terms have been used to index this collection in the Library's online catalog. They are grouped by name of person, family, or organization, by topical subject, by place, and by types of material.


    • Chaminade, Cécile, 1857-1944
    • Charpentier, Gustave, 1860-1956
    • Daudet, Alphonse, 1840-1897
    • Debussy, Claude, 1862-1918
    • Elgar, Edward, 1857-1934
    • Gershwin, George, 1898-1937
    • Massenet, Jules, 1842-1912
    • Meltzer, Charles Henry, 1853-1936
    • Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix, 1809-1847
    • Puccini, Giacomo, 1858-1924
    • Wolf-Ferrari, Ermanno, 1876-1948


    • Composers--Correspondence
    • Music--19th century
    • Music--20th century

    Types of Material

    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Photographs
    • Postcards

    Related Resources

    Related Material

    See also: Meltzer, Harold, All the world's a stage: the lively recollections of an actor who never became a star but played with some of the greatest in England and America, Chicago: Adams Press, 1976. Call Number: PN2287.M44 A3 1976.


    Typescript transcription of Meltzer's biography, 1938 December 12   box 1 | folder 1

    Taken from The National Cyclopedia of American Biography, 1938.

    J. Kenneth Donahue, College of Charleston Department of Biology, to Harrison Randolph, College of Charleston President, 1939 March 10, undated   box 1 | folder 2

    Letters and notes relate to a College of Charleston news story about the Charles Meltzer letters.

    Newspaper clippings, 1940-1959   box 1 | folder 3

    Cécile Chaminade to Meltzer, 1939 July 19   box 1 | folder 4

    Regarding a recent trip to the United States; includes autographed photo of Chaminade.

    Picture postcard from Gustave Charpentier to Meltzer, undated   box 1 | folder 5

    Alphonse Daudet to Meltzer, undated   box 1 | folder 6

    Mentions critic Jules Lemaître, gives Meltzer permission to use Daudet's composition Souls in Purgatory from Les Amoureuses.

    Claude Debussy to Meltzer, 1907 July 31   box 1 | folder 7

    Edward Elgar to Meltzer, 1916 April 14   box 1 | folder 8

    Concerning a libretto entitled Garden of Allah.

    George Gershwin to Meltzer, 1928 August 3   box 1 | folder 9

    Regarding Gershwin's taste in the opera.

    Jules Massenet to Meltzer, 1909 May 21, 1888 September 15   box 1 | folder 10

    Mentions work on Esclarmonde.

    Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy to F. Tretbar, 1839 December 14   box 1 | folder 11

    Includes note about using Mendelssohn autograph letter for an editorial about Meltzer.

    Giacomo Puccini to Meltzer, 1911 May 11   box 1 | folder 12

    Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari to Meltzer, 1911 September 22   box 1 | folder 13

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions

    This collection is open for research.

    Copyright Notice

    The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

    The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Charles Henry Meltzer papers, College of Charleston Libraries, Charleston, SC, USA.

    Acquisitions Information

    Donated by Harold Meltzer, son of Charles Henry Meltzer, 1939.

    Processing Information

    Originally processed by Special Collections staff, date unknown.

    Reprocessed by Cara McHugh, March 2013.

    Encoded by Cara McHugh, March 2013.

    Reviewed, edited, and uploaded by Martha McTear, April 2013.

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