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The May Arno collection was donated by relatives in 1973 and 1998.
The collection is open for research.
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[Identification of item], May Arno Papers, WH13, Western History Collection, The Denver Public Library.
Number of boxes: 5
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE :
May Arno emigrated from Russia, early in her childhood, to Philadelphia. She attended the Westchester Normal School in New Jersey, the Columbia College of Expression in Chicago, the American Academy of Dramatic Art in Philadelphia, and the Academy of Music in Denver. She studied voice with Madame Gruff and Madame Salvetore Marchese. Arno appeared in Hamlet, Ben Hur, The Prisoner of Zenda, The Other Woman and several operas in New York City. She married Dr. Herman Schwatt, the medical director for the Denver American Medical Center, in Philadelphia. He died in 1935.
Arno came to Denver in 1929 and soon established her school, the May Arno School of Music and Drama. She operated the school for 40 years and taught from 8 to 10 hours a day. Besides running her school, Arno wrote plays, dramatic readings, and poetry for her students. A collection of her poems, Grains of Sand , was published in 1933. Copies of the book are located in the Western History and Genealogy Department of the Denver Public Library. In addition to poetry, she wrote music scores and lyrics, short stories, and scripts. Intensely patriotic, Arno composed music and wrote about America. The song, America the Free, and play, Democracy in a Melting Pot, exemplify her patriotism.
Arno established the International Allied Arts groups and helped organize the Academy of American Poets. She belonged to the Dramus Guild, Poetry Society of Colorado, Colorado Pen Women, National League of American Pen Women, Inc., and the Colorado Author's League. Arno was proclaimed an honorary member of the International Mark Twain Society and the Eugene Field Society. For her original Russian folk music, she received the award of the World Poetry Union Scroll.
Arno devoted her entire life to the arts. Her first poem was published in the Philadelphia Exponent at the age of eight. As a young girl, she ran away from home for a life on the stage. An instructor, actress, singer, and writer, Arno ascertained an international reputation. She died in February 1968.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE :
The collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, sheet music, and publications documenting Arno's studies, performances, and school. Included in the papers are original scripts, poems and scores written by Arno. The collection contains her library of sheet music and plays, which were hand typed and used by her students in performances. The authors and composers signed many of these items. Material in the collection dates from 1890 to 1998.
SERIES 1 EDUCATION n.d., 1928 BOX 1 :
The series includes lectures and a reading report
SERIES 2 MAY ARNO SCHOOL OF MUSIC AND DANCE 1890-1959 BOXES 1-3 :
Materials are divided into several major categories: writing by Arno, writing by other authors, and sheet music. The series includes manuscripts, scripts, poems, and music that her students used for performances at the school. A substantial amount of the material is hand typed with notations by May Arno.
SERIES 3 PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCES AND ORGANIZATIONS 1913-1964 BOX 4 :
Papers from Arno's performances include newspaper clippings, a radio show script, lyric books, and programs. The documents from organizations include radio show scripts, programs, correspondence, yearbooks, and publications.
SERIES 4 PERSONAL 1911-1998 BOX 4 :
This series contains newspaper clippings about Arno, poems, scrapbook pages, correspondence, and publications. There is also an autographed picture of an unidentified gentleman.
SERIES 5 OVERSIZE 1899-1928 OVFF1 :
Materials include a tribute to Arno and sheet music
SUBJECT ACCESS :
: SUBJECT ACCESS - :