LIFE at Curtis, 1938
LIFE at Curtis Before the War:
The Photographs of Fritz Henle, 1938
In January 1938 the photojournalist Fritz Henle visited the Curtis Institute of Music to take pictures for the photographic essay “Music: Ten Million Americans Become Musically Literate” in LIFE Magazine. The feature aimed to illustrate the increased appreciation of music due to radio, music education in schools, and American participation in bands and orchestras.
Life at Curtis, January 1938
More audio slideshows
About the Photographs and music
When the article was published on December 12, 1938, two of the ten pages pertained to Curtis, including a full-page photo of Gary Graffman, then ten years old, with his piano teacher Isabelle Vengerova. (See Learning by Doing.)
The remaining photos taken during his visit are displayed here in four slideshows, along with Henle’s photographs of the annual Christmas party in December 1938, when he was invited back to celebrate with the Curtis community. The photographs remain under the copyright of the Henle Estate.
Accompanying the images are Curtis performances of the period, selected from hundreds of hours of acetate recordings that have been recently remastered by Safe Sound Archive of Philadelphia and preserved in digital format. Together they provide a fascinating glimpse of life at Curtis between the Depression and the Second World War.
The German-born photographer Fritz Henle (1909–93), who settled in the United States in 1936, was one of the most famous photographers of his time. During his 60-year career he took over 100,000 photographs in various countries, covering many genres.
About the Curtis Archives
The Curtis Archives documents and preserves the history of the Curtis Institute of Music and shares its rich heritage through exhibits and presentations.
Helene van Rossum, archivist, (215) 717-3148