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Vahdah Olcott-Bickford Collection

Overview

Abstract

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Scores

Correspondence

Personal and Subject Files

Periodicals

American Guitar Society Files

Photographic Material

Sound Recordings



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Vahdah Olcott-Bickford Collection, 1800-2008 | Special Collections & Archives

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Collection Overview

Title: Vahdah Olcott-Bickford Collection, 1800-2008Save to your list.

Predominant Dates:1923-1979

ID: IGRA/VOB

Primary Creator: Olcott-Bickford, Vahdah (1885-1980)

Extent: 88.71 Linear Feet

Arrangement:

Series I: Scores, 1800-2008

Series II: Correspondence, 1884-1987

    Subseries A: Personal, 1884-1969

    Subseries B: Musicians and Music Organizations, 1891-1987

    Subseries C: Astrological, 1915-1961

Series III: Personal and Subject Files, 1874-1994

Series IV: Periodicals, 1893-2004

Series V: American Guitar Society Files, 1924-1980

    Subseries A: Correspondence, 1924-1980

    Subseries B: Minutes, 1935-1965

    Subseries C: Programs and Other Files, 1926-1980

Series VI: Photographic Material, 1892-1970

    Subseries A: Loose Photographs, 1892-1968

    Subseries B: Albums and Scrapbooks, 1937-1970

    Subseries C: Copper Plates

Series VII: Sound Recordings

Date Acquired: 00/00/1976

Subjects: Guitar, Guitar - Instruction and study, Guitar music, Olcott-Bickford, Vahdah, 1885-1980

Forms of Material: Albums, Audio recordings, Paper records, Photographic material, Publications, Scrapbooks

Languages: English, French, German, Spanish;Castilian, Italian, Portuguese

Abstract

Vahdah Olcott-Bickford, née Ethel Lucretia Olcott, was an professional teacher of the Guitar, most well known for her influential Guitar Method, Op. 25, and the Advanced Course, Op. 116. She also wrote numerous articles about the guitar, and corresponded with other musicians and enthusiasts about the instrument throughout her long career. The Vahdah Olcott-Bickford Collection documents Olcott-Bickford’s professional life as a classical guitarist, an avid member of various organizations in the United States, her work with guitarists around the world, and her personal life. The collection includes scores, letters, photographs, newspaper clippings, receipts, articles, lecture notes, and guest books, and dates from 1874-1980.

Biographical Note

Ethel Lucretia Olcott was born on October 17, 1885 in Norwalk, Ohio. She was three years old when she and her parents moved to Los Angeles, California.  At the age of eight she started guitar lessons with George Lindsay, a well-known classic guitarist. From 1903-1904 she lived in Berkeley with Manuel Y. Ferrer, where she expanded her repertoire to include European guitar techniques. In 1914 she moved to New York where she gave concerts and lessons, and assisted Philip J. Bone with the publication of his book The Guitar and Mandolin.

She married Myron Bickford (Zarh), a well-known mandolinist and astrology enthusiast, in 1915. Once married, they both changed their names to Vahdah and Zarh Bickford. Vahdah was well known in the world of astrology.  Astrological enthusiasts from various parts of the country would request astrology readings from her.

When she returned to Los Angeles in 1923, Vahdah, along with other local guitarists, started the American Guitar Society (AGS), then known as the Los Angeles Guitar Society.  She was a major contributor to the AGS and The Crescendo ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­magazine, and was the secretary and Musical Director of the AGS for many years. As secretary she would receive personal and professional correspondence from all over the world. As a passionate contributor of AGS, Olcott-Bickford and her husband combined their names to make the Zarvah Publishing Company. Zarvah Publishing Company worked together with AGS to provide new and renewing members with published music every year.

An avid teacher of the Guitar, Olcott-Bickford is well known for her influential Guitar Method, Op. 25, and the Advanced Course, Op. 116. Olcott-Bickford also wrote numerous articles about the guitar, and corresponded with other musicians and enthusiasts about the instrument.

She continued to live in Los Angeles, and when Zarh Bickford passed away in 1961, she was devastated. She later remarried Robert Revere, once again changing her name to Vahdah Olcott-Bickford Revere.  Olcott-Bickford played guitar, and was associated with the AGS and the Astrological Society until her death in 1980. Over the course of her long and prominent career, her work influenced guitarists around the world.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Vahdah Olcott-Bickford Collection documents Olcott-Bickford’s professional life as a classical guitarist, an avid member of various organizations in the United States, her work with guitarists around the world, and her personal life.  The collection includes scores, letters, photographs, newspaper clippings, receipts, articles, lecture notes, and guest books, and dates from 1874-1980, with the bulk of materials from 1923-1979. It is divided into seven series: Scores (1800-2008), Correspondence (1884-1987), Personal and Subject Files (1882-1994), Periodicals (1893-2004), American Guitar Society Files (1924-1980), Photographic Material (1892-1970), and Sound Recordings.

Series I, Scores (1800-2008), consists of approximately 7,000 music scores of varied instrumentation, almost always including a guitar, written by a wide variety of composers. They date primarily from the 19th and 20th centuries. Some of these scores are referenced in the correspondence, especially when Olcott-Bickford received them in the mail. Some are signed by Olcott-Bickford, possibly to show her ownership, and others include personal notes. The scores were published in various parts of the world including Germany, Italy, Spain, Argentina, and are filed by identification number.

Series II, Correspondence (1884-1987), is sorted in three subseries: Personal, Musicians and Music Organizations, and Astrological. These documents date between the early 1900s and late 1970s. The Personal subseries documents Olcott-Bickford's relationships with friends and family not affiliated with the guitar. The Musicians and Music Organizations subseries documents Olcott-Bickford's interactions with other professionals, and includes commentary about performances, programs, and other music-related topics. The Astrological correspondence documents Olcott-Bickford’s interest in astrological matters, and includes correspondence between famous astrologers and friends. Many of these friends were guitarists who were also interested in astrology.  Each subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Series III, Personal and Subject Files (1874-1994), documents the broad scope of Olcott-Bickford's professional and personal interests. It contains drafts, lectures, speeches, newspaper clippings, programs, catalogs, family records, ephemera, and other notes created for Olcott-Bickford and her husband's various professional and personal obligations as musicians, composers, arrangers, guitar historians, teachers, and astrologers. These materials date across her entire career as a guitarist and astrologer, and include personal notes and unrecorded lectures which provide a view into her life as a teacher. A few records of the Zarvah Publishing Company are included in this series, as well as some Robert Revere and Zarh Bickford's personal correspondence and other materials. The series is filed alphabetically.

Series IV, Periodicals (1893-2004), includes serial publications about the guitar that Olcott-Bickford collected throughout her life. This series consists of two sub-series Complete Issues and Loose Articles. Complete Issues contain periodicals, dating from 1893-2004, which are closely related to guitar, banjo other plucked instruments. Loose Articles are clippings or tear outs from periodicals or newspapers dating from 1887-1994; they are articles highlighting the guitar or guitarists that Olcott-Bickford enjoyed reading about. Olcott-Bickford consistently and regularly added to her collection, and frequently wrote to magazines and periodicals that have since been discontinued. This series includes some articles that are specifically referred to in the Correspondence series. Periodicals range in date from the late 19th to late 20th century. Materials are filed alphabetically.

Series V, American Guitar Society Files (1924-1980), consists of items that Olcott-Bickford collected during her work founding and leading the AGS, which includes correspondence, minutes, programs, catalogs, and guest books. All of these items demonstrate the growth and development of AGS from a small organization in Los Angeles to a large society with international associations. Materials in the series date from a time when Olcott-Bickford was an active member in the early 1920s, serving as the Secretary and Musical Director of the Society, until the late 1960s.

Series VI, Photographic Material (1892-1970), contains personal and professional photographs of Olcott-Bickford, as well as photographs of people who corresponded with her and guitars. It is divided into two subseries: Loose Photographs and Albums and Scrapbooks. The series includes photographic prints, slides, negatives, photo albums, and scrapbooks. Each subseries is arranged alphabetically by file title.

Series VII, Sound Recordings, consists of recordings that Olcott-Bickford personally collected or were given to her. Some of these sound recordings include items that have a label indicating they are from the Zarvah Publishing Co., and the rest are from Olcott-Bickford and Bickford’s personal collection of sound recordings. They are dated approximately early to mid-20th century. Many recordings have not been identified because they are unlabeled. Sound recording are filed by identification number.

Subject/Index Terms

Guitar
Guitar - Instruction and study
Guitar music
Olcott-Bickford, Vahdah, 1885-1980

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections & Archives

Access Restrictions: The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions: Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection has not been transferred to California State University, Northridge. Copyright status for other materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Acquisition Source: Vahdah Olcott-Bickford

Original/Copies Note: Digital reproductions of selected items in this collection are available electronically as a part of the Vahdah Olcott-Bickford Correspondence (IGRA) project, the International Guitar Research Archives Score Catalog, the IGRA Guitar Scores, and the International Guitar Research Archives Discography. For more information please see https://digital-library.csun.edu/.

Preferred Citation: For information about citing items in this collection consult the appropriate style manual, or see the Citing Archival Materials guide.

Processing Information: Julieta Garcia, 2012


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series I: Scores, 1800-2008]
[Series II: Correspondence, 1884-1987]
[Series III: Personal and Subject Files, 1874-1994]
[Series IV: Periodicals, 1893-2004]
[Series V: American Guitar Society Files, 1924-1980]
[Series VI: Photographic Material, 1892-1970]
[Series VII: Sound Recordings],
[All]

Series VI: Photographic Material, 1892-1970Save to your list.
Subseries A: Loose Photographs, 1892-1968Save to your list.
Box 154Save to your list.
Folder 1: American Guitar Society (AGS) 50th AnniversarySave to your list.
Folder 2: Astrological: Evangeline Adams, 1929Save to your list.
Folder 3: Bickford, Zahr M. and GuitarSave to your list.
Folder 4: Bickford, Zahr M., 1920Save to your list.
Folder 5: Building exteriors and interiors, 1912Save to your list.
Folder 6: Events [AGS]Save to your list.
Folder 7: Family CrestSave to your list.
Folder 8: Family DaguerrotypeSave to your list.
Folder 9: Family DaguerrotypeSave to your list.
Folder 10: Friends, 1936-1939Save to your list.
Folder 11: Group photo [AGS with names]Save to your list.
Folder 12: Guitar ConstructionSave to your list.
Folder 13: Guitar Ensemble, 1903-1950Save to your list.
Folder 14: Guitar EnsembleSave to your list.
Folder 15: Mixed EnsemblesSave to your list.
Folder 16: Mixed Ensembles, 1913-1928Save to your list.
Folder 17: Music Personalities: A-B, 1934-1958Save to your list.
Box 155Save to your list.
Folder 1: Music Personalities: C-F, 1913-1926Save to your list.
Folder 2: Music Personalities: G-H, 1904-1954Save to your list.
Folder 3: Music Personalities: H-J, 1915Save to your list.
Folder 4: Music Personalities: K-N, 1927-1956Save to your list.
Folder 5: Music Personalities: P-R, 1921-1933Save to your list.
Folder 6: Music Personalities: S-W, 1920-1958Save to your list.
Folder 7: Music Personalities: Y-ZSave to your list.
Folder 8: Music Personalities unknownSave to your list.
Folder 9: "My First Car"Save to your list.
Folder 10: Olcott -Bickford, 1901-1907Save to your list.
Folder 11: Olcott-Bickford, 1903Save to your list.
Folder 12: Olcott-BickfordSave to your list.
Folder 13: Olcott - Bickford Family Members, 1892-1903Save to your list.
Box 156Save to your list.
Folder 1: Olcott - Bickford Family Members, 1920-1946Save to your list.
Folder 2: Olcott - Bickford and Guitar, 1904Save to your list.
Folder 3: Olcott - Bickford and Guitar, 1903-1964Save to your list.
Folder 4: Olcott - Bickford NegativesSave to your list.
Folder 5: Olcott - Bickford and OthersSave to your list.
Folder 6: Olcott - Bickford and Robert Revere, 1968Save to your list.
Folder 7: Olcott - Bickford and Zarh Bickford, 1920-1949Save to your list.
Folder 8: Playing Guitar (Vahdah and Charles Carlé)Save to your list.
Folder 9: Unidentified Family and FriendsSave to your list.
Folder 10: Unidentified groups of people (with Olcott - Bickford), 1947-1952Save to your list.
Folder 11: Unidentified with striped tentSave to your list.
Folder 12: VacationSave to your list.
Folder 13: Vacation (roll no.2)Save to your list.
Folder 14: Vacation (roll no. 14)Save to your list.
Folder 15: Vacation (roll no. 16)Save to your list.
Folder 16: Vacation (roll 17)Save to your list.
Folder 17: Vacation (roll no. 17)Save to your list.
Folder 18: Vacation: Stone Mountain (roll no. 38), 1920Save to your list.
Folder 19: Vacation (roll no. 43)Save to your list.
Folder 20: Vacation: Atlantic City (roll no. 43), 1920Save to your list.
Folder 21: Vacation (roll no. 45), 1918Save to your list.
Folder 22: Vacation (roll no. 47)Save to your list.
Folder 23: Vacation (roll no. 50)Save to your list.
Folder 24: Vacation (roll no. 60 - handwritten)Save to your list.
Folder 25: Vacation (roll no. 65)Save to your list.
Folder 26: Vacation (Bryl-yon -tay 67 print)Save to your list.
Folder 27: Vacation (roll no. 67)Save to your list.
Folder 28: Vacation: Shelter Harbor, RI, July 1920 (roll no. 130)Save to your list.
Folder 29: Vacation (roll no. 185)Save to your list.
Folder 30: Vacation (roll no. 249)Save to your list.
Folder 31: Vacation (roll no. 527)Save to your list.
Folder 32: Vacation (roll A10)Save to your list.
Folder 33: Vacation (Vahdah and Zarh: roll B)Save to your list.
Folder 34: Vacation: Charlemont, MASave to your list.
Folder 35: Vacation: Lady with two young girlsSave to your list.
Folder 36: Vacation: NegativesSave to your list.
Folder 37: Vacation: St. Paul, MNSave to your list.
Folder 38: Vacation: Unidentified IndividualsSave to your list.
Folder 39: Vacation: Unidentified, 1940-1949Save to your list.
Folder 40: Zahr, Family Members, and FriendsSave to your list.
Box 158Save to your list.
Folder 1: Family, 1902Save to your list.
Folder 2: Music PersonalitiesSave to your list.
Folder 3: Mixed EnsembleSave to your list.
Folder 4: Photos of VahdahSave to your list.
Folder 5: Photos of VahdahSave to your list.
Folder 6: Vahdah Family MembersSave to your list.
Folder 7: Vahdah and GuitarSave to your list.
Folder 8: Olcott-Bickford PhotographSave to your list.
Folder 9: Mixed EnsembleSave to your list.
Subseries B: Albums and Scrapbooks, 1937-1970Save to your list.
Box 157Save to your list.
Folder 1: Family albumSave to your list.
Folder 2: Ideal ScrapbookSave to your list.
Folder 3: Loose Scrapbook papersSave to your list.
Folder 4: Press NoticesSave to your list.
Folder 5: Wreath ScrapbookSave to your list.
Box 158Save to your list.
Item 1: Souvenir ScrapbookSave to your list.
Item 2: Personal ScrapbookSave to your list.
Item 3: Clippings ScrapbookSave to your list.
Box 168Save to your list.
Item 1: Olcott- Bickford, Vahdah, Ethel Olcott ScrapbookSave to your list.
Box 169Save to your list.
Item 1: Olcott- Bickford, Vahdah ScrapbookSave to your list.
Box 170Save to your list.
Folder 1: Insert from Guitar Programs ScrapbookSave to your list.
Item 1: Guitar Programs Scrapbook, 1937-1946Save to your list.
Box 171Save to your list.
Folder 1: Inserts from American Guitar Society, Notes, News and Programs ScrapbookSave to your list.
Item 1: American Guitar Society, Notes, News, and Programs, 1949-[1966]Save to your list.
Box 172Save to your list.
Folder 1: Inserts from American Guitar Society notes and programs ScrapbookSave to your list.
Item 1: American Guitar Society notes and Programs Scrapbook, 1953-1966Save to your list.
Box 173Save to your list.
Item 1: American Guiar Society Programs and Notes, 1955-1960Save to your list.
Box 174Save to your list.
Folder 1: Inserts from Societies' programs and clippings ScrapbookSave to your list.
Item 1: Societies Programs and Clippings Scrapbook, 1967-1970Save to your list.
Flat File Cabinet 4Save to your list.
Folder 6: Newspaper Clippings From Scrapbook 174, 1966Save to your list.
Subseries C: Copper PlatesSave to your list.
Box 159Save to your list.
Item 1: Olcott-Bickford Head ShotSave to your list.
Item 2: Olcott-Bickford Posing w/ GuitarSave to your list.
Item 3: Olcott-Bickford Sitting w/ writings over imageSave to your list.
Item 4: Olcott-Bickford and Zarh Posing w/ instrumentsSave to your list.
Item 5: Olcott-Bickford Sitting w/ UkeleleSave to your list.
Item 6: Zarh Bickford Sitting w/ MandolinSave to your list.
Item 7: Olcott-Bickford Head ShotSave to your list.
Item 8: Olcott-Bickford Head ShotSave to your list.
Item 9: Group of Musicians w/ InstrumentsSave to your list.
Item 10: Olcott-Bickford Posing w/ GuitarSave to your list.
Item 11: Name Plate: Mr. Zarh Myron Bickford w/ envelopeSave to your list.
Item 12: Olcott-Bickford Posing w/ GuitarSave to your list.
Item 13: 'Du Vernet' Hair Salon CardSave to your list.

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Scores, 1800-2008]
[Series II: Correspondence, 1884-1987]
[Series III: Personal and Subject Files, 1874-1994]
[Series IV: Periodicals, 1893-2004]
[Series V: American Guitar Society Files, 1924-1980]
[Series VI: Photographic Material, 1892-1970]
[Series VII: Sound Recordings],
[All]


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