Shirley Meyer Blankenship Music and Papers, 1950-2016 | The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

By Inka Alasade, Justin Carver, Ilona Matkovszki, Eleanor Tewksbury, Noah Lenstra, Carol Berthold, Thornton Miller, Nolan Vallier

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Collection Overview

Title: Shirley Meyer Blankenship Music and Papers, 1950-2016Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

ID: 12/5/53

Primary Creator: Blankenship, Shirley (1938-)

Extent: 13.0 cubic feet

Arrangement: Organized into five series: Series 1) Personal Papers, ca.1900-2009, Series 2) Audio Recordings, 1953-2015, Series 3) Sunshine Dinner Playhouse Theatre Production Photographs, 1995-1997, Series 4) Guido Sinclair Music and Papers, 1958-2005, and Series 5) Shirley Blankenship Computer Files, ca. 1950-2016. Series 1 is arranged chronologically. Series 2 is arranged in two different methods by date of acquistion: materials received in 2009 are arranged by a system of Roman numerals given to each recording by Shirley Blankenship and materials received in 2016 are arranged alphabetically based on their original order. Series 3 is arranged alphabetically by the title of the production. Series 4 contains two sub series based on the primary creator of the material: Sub-Series 1) Guido Sinclair Papers and Music and Sub-Series 2) Shirley Blankenship's Guido Sinclair Legancies. Each sub-series is arranged chronologically. Series 5 is arranged into three subseries based on the bulk of material found within each set of files: Sub-Series 1) Personal Files, Sub-Series 2) Audio Files, and Sub-Series 3) Shirley Blankenship's Guido Sinclair Legacy Files. Each of the sub-series in Series 5 is arranged alphabetically by title.

Date Acquired: 12/04/2009. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Adams County, Illinois, Champaign County, Illinois, Compositions-Music, Harps, Indonesia, Jazz, Music, School of, Music Composition, Piano, Quincy, Illinois, Theatrical Productions, Violin

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Consists of scrapbooks, reel-to-reel audio tapes, CDs, DVDs, cassette tapes, VHS tapes, sheet music, photographs, correspondence, posters and concert programs documenting Dr. Shirley Meyer Blankenship's career as a music student at the University of Illinois, a harpist, violinist, pianist, composer, theater performer, private music instructor, and University of Illinois School of Music faculty member between 1972 and 1981. Of special note are original compositions based on the music of her former husband and jazz musician, Guido Sinclair (1935-1992), as well as graphic illustrations, concert posters, jazz recordings, and Sinclair's original compositions. Materials in Series 4, Sub-Series 1 represent materials created by Guido Sinclair and donated by Shirley Blankenship to the archives. The Music and Papers were partially digitized by Dr. Blankenship prior to being acquired by the University of Illinois. A small but selected sample of images and recordings are included online.

Collection Historical Note

Shirley Meyer Blankenship is a music educator, composer, pianist, harpist, and violinist. She was born in Quincy, Illinois, in 1938 and graduated from the Notre Dame Conservatory of Music (Quincy, IL) in 1955 and Quincy Senior High School in 1956. As a teenager, she was awarded the title Miss Quincy. She received a BM in piano performance with a minor in violin from the University of Illinois in 1961. She continued her training in piano performance at Washington University in St. Louis receiving a Master of Music in 1966. She then returned to the University of Illinois to begin a Master of Music Theory degree and taught Music Theory as a graduate teaching assistant. She earned her second graduate degree in 1969 and eventually taught harp and music theory at the University of Illinois between 1972 and 1981. In 1977, she became the first woman to receive a Doctorate degree in music composition from the University of Illinois. From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, Dr. Blankenship performed on harp with the Squareknot Quartet, a group which included such members as Dorothy Martirano on violin. In the mid 1980s, Dr. Blankenship organized an arts exchange between the Squareknot Quartet and the country of Indonesia. At this time, Dr. Blankenship also married Guido Sinclair, a Jazz musician who played saxophone and performed regualarly at jazz venues in both Champaign and Chicago. Between 1988 and 1992, she began performing with Sinclair on violin, harp, and piano at several local bars and resturants including Nature's Table. Dr. Blankenship was instrumental in promoting Sinclair's music after his death in 1992 and arranged, published, and performed several of his compositions. Around this time she began the Artist in Motion series, which held concerts at several area clubs including Chester Street. From the mid 1990s to the 2010s Dr. Blankenship began working on her Harp Legacy Project, in which several contemporary composers created compositions for her to perform and record. From this project she has created a number of harp webinars and articles on composing for the instrument.

During her teaching career, Dr. Blankenship has been an instructor of harp, piano, violin, viola, composition, music theory and other subjects at the University level. Her appointments include: Washington University in St. Louis; MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois; Quincy College; Lindenwood Colleges in St. Charles, Missouri; Hardin (formerly Jefferson) Junior High, St. Charles, Missouri; Olivet Nazarene University, Kankakee; and the University of Illinois. As a violinist, Dr. Blankenship has performed with the Quincy Symphony, University of Illinois Symphony and also with the Springfield, Kankakee and Danville Symphonies. She has been the harpist for the Decatur Symphony and was the principal harpist with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony, in which she has participated as a violinist, violist and keyboardist as well. Her theatrical career includes being the music director, accompanist and/or actress for productions at the University of Illinois, Little Theater Company and Champaign, Illinois' Sunshine Dinner Playhouse. Dr. Blankenship has contributed her performance skills to the advancement of contemporary and new music, especially for the harp. As a student at the University of Illinois, she was a member of The Contemporary Chamber Players and has been a consultant to numerous composers. Dr. Blankenship has performed and/or composed under the names of Sherilee Niles, Shirley Meyer, Shirley Ann Blankenship, Anne Jazzmin, and Gianne Sinclair.

Biographical Note

Shirley Meyer Blankenship is a music educator, composer, pianist, harpist, and violinist. She was born in Quincy, Illinois, in 1938 and graduated from the Notre Dame Conservatory of Music (Quincy, IL) in 1955 and Quincy Senior High School in 1956.  She was awarded the title Miss Quincy. She received a BM in piano performance with a minor in violin from the University of Illinois in 1961. She continued her training in piano performance at Washington University in St. Louis receiving a Master of Music in 1966. She then returned to the University of Illinois to begin a Master of Music Theory degree and taught Music Theory as a graduate teaching assistant. She earned her second graduate degree in 1969 and eventually taught harp and music theory at the University of Illinois between 1972 and 1981. In 1977, she became the first woman to receive a Doctorate degree in music composition from the University of Illinois. During her teaching career, Dr. Blankenship has been an instructor of harp, piano, violin, viola, composition, music theory and other subjects at the University level. Her appointments include: Washington University in St. Louis; MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois; Quincy College; Lindenwood Colleges in St. Charles, Missouri; Hardin (formerly Jefferson) Junior High, St. Charles, Missouri; Olivet Nazarene University, Kankakee; and the University of Illinois. As a violinist, Dr. Blankenship has performed with the Quincy Symphony, University of Illinois Symphony and also with the Springfield, Kankakee and Danville Symphonies. She has been the harpist for the Decatur Symphony and is currently the principal harpist with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony, in which she has participated as a violinist, violist and keyboardist as well. Her theatrical career includes being the music director, accompanist and/or actress for productions at the University of Illinois, Little Theater Company and Champaign, Illinois' Sunshine Dinner Playhouse. Dr. Blankenship has contributed her performance skills to the advancement of contemporary and new music, especially for the harp. As a student at the University of Illinois, she was a member of The Contemporary Chamber Players and has been a consultant to numerous composers. Dr. Blankenship has performed and/or composed under the names of Sherilee Niles, Shirley Meyer, Shirley Ann Blankenship, Anne Jazzmin, and Gianne Sinclair. Currently, as of Fall 2010, Dr. Blankenship is writing her autobiography, Polarities.

Subject/Index Terms

Adams County, Illinois
Champaign County, Illinois
Compositions-Music
Harps
Indonesia
Jazz
Music, School of
Music Composition
Piano
Quincy, Illinois
Theatrical Productions
Violin

Administrative Information

Repository: The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

Accruals: Additional materials were donated by Dr. Blankenship on July 26, 2016.

Acquisition Source: Dr. Shirley Meyer Blankenship

Acquisition Method: Gift


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Personal Papers, ca. 1900-2009],
[Series 2: Audio Recordings, 1953-2015],
[Series 3: Sunshine Dinner Playhouse Theatre Production Photographs, 1995-1997],
[Series 4: Guido Sinclair Music and Papers, 1958-2005],
[Series 5: Shirley Blankeship Computer Files, ca. 1950-2016],
[All]

Series 1: Personal Papers, ca. 1900-2009Add to your cart.
Consists of Scrapbooks, Photographs, Concert Programs, and Writings. Materials arranged chronologically.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Family Photographs, ca. 1900-1950Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Family Photographs, ca. 1900-1950Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Family Photographs, ca. 1900-1950Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Scrapbook Number One, ca. 1938-1960Add to your cart.
Description from front of scrapbook: Baby pictures, Decatur and Quincy homes, mother and her brother elmer, sister Marilyn, write up from 3 years, sister Angela, teacher, card from Clarence Allen, dad, grade school pictures notes grade cards, program and write ups 1950 recital, orchestra pictures, notre dame activities, harp ensemble, early pictures, voice recitals, apple drawing, pictures playing instruments, friends, dance recitals, older pictures, California trips, junior high, ymca concert, article junior hi-lights, tour with quincy college, programs, band picture, French horn, miss merry Christmas, latin festival, articles, church programs, more with notre dame, family pictures
Folder 5: Scrapbook Number One, ca. 1938-1960Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Scrapbook Number One, ca. 1938-1960Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Scrapbook Number One, ca. 1938-1960Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Quincy Yearbooks, 1951-1953Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Interlochen Programs, 1954-1955Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Programs, 1950-1969Add to your cart.
Consists of concert and theater programs, summer music camp programs, newspaper clippings, Illinois Summer Youth Music programs, photographs, and listings of concert programs contained in scrapbooks. Arranged chronologically.
Folder 11: Programs, 1950-1969Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Programs, 1950-1969Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Scrapbook Number Two, ca. 1950s-1960sAdd to your cart.
Picture, second recital 1953, voice recitals, articles about voice recitals, solo recital, article about graduation voice recital, Horace Heidt, YMCA concert, another year, Illinois summer youth, thank yous, wedding picture, picture of Lydia-mom, beaux arts' ball, seventeen program, news articles, programs, Quincy symphony, interlochen, graduation recital from notre dame, 1955, pictures, wgem talent contest, Europe, grieg's concerto, Kewanee, young artists night, quincy symphony, violin, friends, alpine pops concert, Miss Quincy pageant, miss ilinois pageant, pictures, awards, graduation, grade cards, post graduation, cards from sister Julia
Folder 14: Scrapbook Number Two, ca. 1950s-1960sAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: Scrapbook Number Two, ca. 1950s-1960sAdd to your cart.
Folder 16: Scrapbook Number Two, ca. 1950s-1960sAdd to your cart.
Folder 17: Scrapbook Number Three, 1956-1965Add to your cart.
Description from front of Scrapbook: Scholastic recognition scholarships, pictures, UIUC, grade cards, 1956-1961, letters, receital programs, death of father, friends, sister Marilyn and family, Washington university (St. Louis) 1961-1962, grades and teachers, grad recital 1962, Jacksonville Macmurray College, 1962-1963, Murrayville and Woodson, Quincy College 1963-1965, Chapel, news article, programs and write ups, friends, more programs, Jacksonville 1962-1963, Quincy 1963-1965
Folder 18: Scrapbook Number Three, 1956-1965Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Quincy Diploma, 1956Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Diplomas, 1955-1969Add to your cart.
Folder 21: Diplomas, 1955-1969Add to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Scrapbook Number Four, ca. 1965-1975Add to your cart.
Description from front of scrapbook: marriage to Larry Blankenship 1965, return to UIUC completed master's wash University and master's in comp studies uiuc, friends, trip to Trinidad, death of uncle Leland meyer, Illinois summer youth, teacher, news article theory project, st. Charles lindenwood colleges and hardin and Jefferson junior high schools, pictures and programs, back to the uiuc, faculty, peninsula music festival, letter from nettle, teacher ratings, article, harpist a bit of a masochist, programs, trip to California, American harp society, friends, death of mother, 1975, mother's pictures, my friends, pool I had built at 3002 perkins road, trip to California, harp society, article for the American harp society journal
Folder 2: Scrapbook Number Four, ca. 1965-1975Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Scrapbook Number Four, ca. 1965-1975Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Scrapbook Number Four, ca. 1965-1975Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Trinidad Trip Slides, ca. 1969Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Programs and books picked up on trip to Trinidad with Larry, ca. 1969Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Programs, 1956-1977Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Programs, 1970-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Programs, 1970-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Programs, 1970-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Notecards from dissertation and student work, ca. 1970sAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: African Music notecards, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: "A Study of the Music of the Valley Tonga" paper for MUSIC 320 proseminar with audiocassette, 1972Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Dissertation Final Draft, 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 15: "Visions and Revisions" sheet music, 1974Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Dissertation manuscript: "Berg, Lives: Opus 3: Lyris the Suite", 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Dissertation manuscript: "Berg, Lives: Opus 3: Lyris the Suite", 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Scrapbook Number Five, 1979-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Scrapbook Number Five, 1979-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Indonesia Trip Photographs, 1981Add to your cart.
Box 5Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Contest Sheets - Grade School, 1948-1952Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Portraits, ca. 1940-1960Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Quincy College Yearbook, 1964Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Oversized pages from scrapbookAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Newsaper clippings from Scrabbooks, Shirley and Guido, 1987-1989Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Artists in Motion fundraiser invitation and RSVPs, 1996Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Voice and Harp Sheet Music, two pieces by Gordon Binkerd, 1977Add to your cart.
Includes "Through Your Strangeness Frets My Heart" by Gordon Binkerd and "Secret Love (for Voice, Cello, and Harp)" by Gordon Binkerd.
Folder 8: 1) Young Artists Scholarship Contest - "A Time for SInging" and 2) program for memorial service for Marilyn Loofbourrow, 2000Add to your cart.
Folder 9: 1) "One of the Boys: The Sy Rogers Story" VHS and 2) "Pastor Grogans" DVD, 2005Add to your cart.
Item 1: Artists in Motion and Guido Connection stamps, ca. 1980s-1990sAdd to your cart.
There are a total of seven stamps which have been given the accession numbers: 2009.1205053.001-200.1205053.007.
Box 10Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Scrapbook Number Nine, 1994-1997Add to your cart.
Description from front of scrapbook: Contemporary Music Theatre, Artists in Motion, Student Recitals, Weddings
Folder 6: Scrapbook Number Nine, 1994-1997Add to your cart.
Description from front of scrapbook: Contemporary Music Theatre, Artists in Motion, Student Recitals, Weddings
Folder 7: Scrapbook Number Nine, 1994-1997Add to your cart.
Description from front of scrapbook: Contemporary Music Theatre, Artists in Motion, Student Recitals, Weddings
Folder 8: Scrapbook Number Nine, 1994-1997Add to your cart.
Description from front of scrapbook: Contemporary Music Theatre, Artists in Motion, Student Recitals, Weddings
Folder 9: Scrapbook Number Ten, 1996-1999Add to your cart.
Description from front of book: Julia's wedding, Sunshine Dinner Playhouse, Herbert's Death, Weddings, Recital programs of students
Folder 10: Scrapbook Number Ten, 1996-1999Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Scrapbook Number Ten, 1996-1999Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Scrapbook Number Eleven, 1999-2004Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Scrapbook Number Eleven, 1999-2004Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Scrapbook Number Eleven, 1999-2004Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Scrapbook Number Twelve, 2002-2008Add to your cart.
Description from front of book: Chester Street, Ruby's, Assembly of God, Les Mis, Godspell, Garvey
Folder 16: Scrapbook Number Twelve, 2002-2008Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Scrapbook Number Twelve, 2002-2008Add to your cart.
Folder 18: "Guido's Friend" audio CD, ca. 2006Add to your cart.
www.yavawinds.com listed on back. CD-R. Contains eight tracks
Box 11Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Indonesia related correspondence, 1982-1987Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Indonesia related correspondence, 1982-1987Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Negatives of Indonesian Masks and Art ObjectsAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Books on Indonesian Music and Dance, 1978-1985Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Artists in Motion Business Records, 1994-1996 (2007)Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Artists in Motion Business Records, 1994-1996 (2007)Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Marilyn and Duane Loofbourrow photo album, undatedAdd to your cart.
Description from front: David Guth = Julia Loofbourrow's husband, Galen and Ann Loofbourrow = An's parents; Galen's children = Kent, Kim, Megan, dog; Shirley
Folder 8: Scrapbook Number Thirteen, 2008-2009Add to your cart.
Folder 9: About the Life of Shirley Meyer Blankenship - tapes and data DVD, undatedAdd to your cart.View associated digital content.
Folder 10: Rolled Calligraphy poems, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 13Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Nature's Table poster featuring flyers for Guido Sinclair performances, ca. 1980sAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Junior Hi-Lights Quncy student newspaper, 1951-1953Add to your cart.
Articles on Blankenship marked with post-it notes
Box 14Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Copies of Photographs of Guido Sinclair and Shirley Blankenship, ca. 1980-1992Add to your cart.
Copies of photographs of Guido Sinclair: individually; with Squareknot Quartet; drawing of (1986); with Jane Blankenship; with unidentified individuals.
Folder 2: Shirley Blankenship and Guido Sinclair Photographs, ca. 1985-1992Add to your cart.
Photographs, negatives.
Folder 3: Anne Jazzmin Advertisements, ca. 1988Add to your cart.
Advertisements from International Musician (October, 1988); Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette, November 24, 1988.
Folder 4: Anne Jazzmin Promotional Photograph, Resume, and Recording, ca. 1989Add to your cart.
Photograph; Resume through 1989.  Cassette tape: Anne Jazzmin Duo, Anne - Harp; Guido Sinclair, Sax.  Pieces include: Days of Wine and Roses, Love Boat, Stela by Starlight, Our Day Will Come, and The Way We Were.
Folder 5: Nate Griffin, Not Enough, ca. 1994Add to your cart.
Arranger: Nate Griffin. Orchestration for: Not Enough, Everytime Am I Worthy.
Folder 6: Columbia College Archives Donation, 1996-2009Add to your cart.
Donations of Guido Material to Columbia College, Chicago, IL. Lists of contents in Boxes 1, 2, 3, and additional materials.Gift agreementswith Center for Black Musc Research (CBMR), Columbia College, Chicago, IL,1996. Promotional materials from CBMR. Correspondence with CBMR staff. Finding aid to Guido Sinclair Collection, CBMR, Columbia College, February 1997.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Personal Papers, ca. 1900-2009],
[Series 2: Audio Recordings, 1953-2015],
[Series 3: Sunshine Dinner Playhouse Theatre Production Photographs, 1995-1997],
[Series 4: Guido Sinclair Music and Papers, 1958-2005],
[Series 5: Shirley Blankeship Computer Files, ca. 1950-2016],
[All]

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