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Music Archives at the National Library of Canada

JAMES, FRANCES, 1903-1988
MUS 128


Frances James fonds.  - 1920-1988.  - 5.65 m of textual records.  - 736 photographs.  - 16 negatives.  - 88 audio discs.  - 99 audio tape reels.  - 1 videocassette. 

Biographical sketch
Born in Saint John, New Brunswick, soprano Frances James studied singing at McGill Conservatorium in Montréal and moved to Toronto, where she performed on radio.  Her many appearances on CBC radio programs (Friendly Music, Footlights, Artistes de renom ) made her known throughout the country.  In the late 1920s, she took part in the CPR Festivals, which took her to Quebec City and many cities in the West, including Banff where she met her future husband, composer Murray Adaskin.  Frances James contributed to many Canadian premières of 20th-century music, including Hindemith's Das Marienleben in 1945.  From 1952 to 1973, she taught voice at the University of Saskatchewan. 

Scope and content
The fonds consists of records pertaining to Frances James' personal life and music career as a performer and teacher:  biographical information; personal and professional correspondence, correspondence with students and colleagues (Harry Somers, Darius Milhaud, Jean Papineau-Couture, Isaac Stern, etc.); contracts; radio texts; teaching (University of Saskatchewan, University of Victoria); 10 scrapbooks of clippings, programmes and publicity; concert programmes; autographed or annotated scores; sound recordings of Frances James (also containing works by Murray Adaskin such as Serenade Concertante, Coronation Overture, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra and Algonquin Symphony); video documentary on the life and career of the James-Adaskin couple; photographs chiefly of Frances James. 

Immediate source of acquisition:  acquired from Frances James, in several accessions, between 1980 and 1984; from the Archives of the Canadian Rockies, Banff, in 1981; from Rogers Cable 10 - Victoria, in 1986; from Murray Adaskin in 1993 and 1997. 

Restrictions:  the Jane McKenzie file, also containing letters from Morag Noble and Françoise Sutton, is confidential. 

Finding aids:  lists; provisional description. 



Proactive Disclosure