Arthur Wise (1906-1973) was a music educator, involved as both a public school band director and a community ensemble conductor. He served the public school system for over 35 year, as band director at Lisbon H.S. in Lisbon, Ohio, and Lincoln High School in Philadelphia. In addition to his professional responsibilities, Wise was an avid Civil War scholar, and, with the collaboration of Francis A. Lord, he published two books on the topic, Bands and Drummer Boys of the Civil War and Uniforms of the Civil War. Wise also completed research for and drafts of a text on the Willow Grove Park Concerts by the likes of Arthur Pryor, Patrick Conway, John Philip Sousa, and the Banda Rossa, as well as the orchestras of Wassili Leps, Theodore Thomas, Nahan Franko, Walter Damrosch, and Victor Herbert. The work remains unpublished. The collection consists of both personal and professional papers including correspondence, photographs, musical scores, research materials, programs, newsletters, articles, newspaper clippings, book drafts, and other memorabilia related to Wise's 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
8.5 Linear Feet
The Arthur Wise Papers cover the period from 1861 to 1972; the bulk of the materials date from 1946 to 1970. The collection consists of both personal and professional papers including correspondence, photographs, musical scores, and book drafts. The collection contains materials primarily related to the conductor and author's research interests. Notes for his two books, both written with Francis A. Lord, Bands and Drummer Boys of the Civil War (New York: T. Yoseloff, 1966) and Uniforms of the Civil War (South Brunswick: T. Yoseloff, 1970), are an important part of the collection.
The significance of this collection for the ABA Research Center is materials Wise collected while doing research for an unpublished book on Willow Grove Park, including original programs for such bands as those of Arthur Pryor, Patrick Conway, John Philip Sousa, and the Banda Rossa, as well as the orchestras of Wassili Leps, Theodore Thomas, Nahan Franko, Walter Damrosch, and Victor Herbert. These programs span the years from 1901 to 1925. A draft of this book is included in the papers.
Wise was also active as an arranger and composer. Dozens of manuscripts of compositions (mostly for band) comprise a significant portion of the collection. Most of these works were never published.
The Wise Papers also contain materials related to Wise's career as a music educator, primarily at Lisbon (Ohio) High School and Philadelphia's Lincoln High School.
There was no prescribed original order for the documents, so the order as it appears here was imposed by the original processor. Therefore, not only is the overall organization of the collection that of the processor's own device, but the sequence of documents within folders and the titles of said folders are also artificial to the collection.
Born 17 December 1906, Arthur M. Wise studied cornet with Ross Hickernell at the Dana Musical Institute (now part of Youngstown University), earning a B.M. in 1929 and a M.M. in 1940. A teacher for over 35 years, Wise was band director at Lisbon H.S. in Lisbon, Ohio, and Lincoln High School in Philadelphia.
In 1947, Wise organized the Columbiana County (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra. The following summer, he attended the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood, where he studied conducting with Bernstein, Copland, Koussevitsky, and others. In 1958, Wise was selected to play string bass in the Fourth All-American Bandmasters' Band, organized for the Mid-West National Band Clinic.
As an avid Civil War scholar he published, with the collaboration of Francis A. Lord, two books on the topic, Bands and Drummer Boys of the Civil War (New York: T. Yoseloff, 1966) and Uniforms of the Civil War (South Brunswick: T. Yoseloff, 1970). Wise moved with his wife to Phoenix in 1965 for health reasons. Soon after, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
Wise was extremely active as an arranger, though only a handful of his works were ever published. Wise also left behind a manuscript about the history of the Willow Grove Park Band Concerts upon his death in 1973 in Arizona. It was never published.
This collection is organized into ten series.
The collection is a gift of Mr. Arthur Wise, received in multiple shipments beginning in July 1972. Documentation of his donation can be found in the SCPA correspondence files under Wise, Arthur.
Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library