Patrick ("Patsy") Conway was a prominent band leader in the early 20th Century. While a music teacher at Cornell University, he organized and directed the Ithaca Band, which later became known as Patrick Conway and His Band around 1908. During the summer season Conway's band toured the mid-western and western United States performing at state fairs and expositions, including the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915, and had regular engagements at Willow Grove Park, Philadelphia, and Young's Pier, Atlantic City. After serving in the First World War, Conway returned to Ithaca and founded the Military Band School as an affiliate of the Ithaca Conservatory of Music. He taught at the school from 1922 until his death in 1929. The Conway Collection consists of scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, programs of his concerts from 1919-1928, photographs, advertisements, correspondence and other materials related to his career.
The collection is open for research use.
Materials from this collection must be used in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Contact the curator for an appointment: http://www.lib.umd.edu/scpa/contact
2.00 Linear Feet
The Patrick Conway collection covers the period from 1906 to1980; the bulk of the materials date from 1908-1928. The collection consists of scrapbooks containing clippings, programs, advertisements, and memorabilia; correspondence; photographs; articles; and sound recordings related to Conway's career as an educator at Cornell University and founder of the Conway Military Band School, and as the conductor of the Ithaca Band, later renamed Patrick Conway and his Band.
Along with Patrick S. Gilmore, John Philip Sousa, and Arthur Pryor, Patrick Conway stands as a major contributor to the history of bands in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Patrick ("Patsy") Conway was born on July 4, 1867 near Troy, New York. He received his early formal education at the Homer Academy. Following the death of his father, when Conway was fifteen, he went to work at a carriage factory. It was there that he was taught to play the cornet by a fellow worker, who was also director of the Homer Band. Conway joined the band and within a few years became its director. He continued his formal music education at Ithaca Conservatory and Cornell University.
In 1895 Conway moved to Ithaca to teach music at Cornell. He organized the Cornell Cadet Band and remained its director for thirteen years. During this period, Conway organized and directed the Ithaca Band, in addition to directing the Lyceum Theater orchestra. During the summer season the Ithaca Band, which changed its name to Patrick Conway and His Band around 1908, toured the mid-western and western United States performing at state fairs and expositions, including the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915. Conway's band also had regular summer engagements for over twenty years at Willow Grove Park, Philadelphia, and Young's Pier, Atlantic City.
In addition to its concert schedule, Patrick Conway and His Band recorded for the Victor Talking Machine Company, and were featured on the "General Motors Family Hour" radio shows during the 1928-1929 seasons.
During the First World War, Conway was commissioned as a captain in the U.S. Army Air Service and organized the air corps' first band. Following the war, Conway returned to Ithaca and founded the Conway Military Band School as an affiliate of the Ithaca Conservatory of Music. He taught at the school from 1922 until his death.
Conway married the former Alice Randall in 1893. They had two children: Paul (1894-1920), who played in the Conway band and died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-six, and Katherine (b. 1896). Conway died on June 10, 1929, following an operation.
This collection is arranged into five series.
Gift to the University by Katherine Conway White Actin Ostling, Jr. in 1979, as amassed by his father, Actin Ostling, of Ithaca College. Recordings were donated to the collection by George S. Howard in 1979.
Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library