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Sprague, Elizabeth Penn (1864-1954)
Sprague, Elizabeth Penn (1864-1954)
Marble plaque with a head-and-shoulders portrait of Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge commemorating her 1925 gift of the Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress.
The words on the plaque are, "This auditorium for chamber music is the gift of Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge MCMXXV."
To see more on the plaque, the auditorium, and Elizabeth Penn Sprague, go to this link and scroll down to page 15. 
Sprague, Elizabeth Penn (1864-1954)
Sprague, Elizabeth Penn (1864-1954)
Caption under picture at website: The Fairy Godmother of Chamber Music: Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. Photograph of bronze relief sculpted by Sir Henry Kitson. 1933. Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Collection. Music Division.
Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge (1864-1953) distinguished herself as a patron of chamber music long before her generous gifts to the Library of Congress. Beginning in 1918, her Berkshire Festival and corresponding Berkshire Competition promoted the performance and composition of chamber music, establishing an ongoing tradition. Coolidge built a facility for the festival at South Mountain, just outside Pittsfield, Massachusetts. It provided housing for musicians as well as an auditorium, which she called “the Temple.” This bronze relief of Coolidge, which hangs in the Temple of Chamber Music at South Mountain, was created by the English sculptor Sir Henry Kitson, who was her friend and neighbor in Pittsfield.
The generosity of two remarkable American women, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge (1864-1953) and Gertrude Clarke Whittall (1867-1965), was instrumental in the formation of the first special collections in music at the Library of Congress. Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge was an ardent supporter of chamber music and, in 1925, established a foundation at the Library of Congress to promote the composition and performance of new chamber works. At the time her endowment was without precedent at the Library and served as a model for those to follow. It funded the construction of the Coolidge Auditorium in the Library of Congress, an intimate state-of-the-art concert hall that has seen premieres of such works as Igor Stravinsky's Apollon Musagète and Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring, both Coolidge commissions. The endowment also supports musicological lectures and commissions new works of chamber music, some by women composers. The resulting collection of commissioned autograph scores and related correspondence is part of the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Collection. Among composers represented are Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979), Mary Howe (1882-1964), Mél Bonis (Mme. Albert Domange) (1858-1937), Clara Wildschut (1906-1950), Vivian Fine (1913-2000), Miriam Gideon (1906-1996), and Sofia Gubaydulina (b. 1931). Mrs. Coolidge was a composer herself and several of her songs and chamber pieces are included in the collection.8
8. For further information on Mrs. Coolidge, see Cyrilla Barr, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge: American Patron of Music (New York: Schirmer Books, 1998). Barr is also the author of The Coolidge Legacy (Washington: Library of Congress, 1997), available from the Music Division upon request. 

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