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Music Archives at the National Library of Canada

MERCER, RUBY, 1906-1999
MUS 278


Ruby Mercer fonds.  - 1922-1994.  - 2.85 m of textual records.  - 634 photographs.  - 98 slides.  - 8 negatives.  - 991 audio tape reels.  - 360 audio tape cassettes.  - 130 audio discs.  - 3 videocassettes.  - 6 film reels. 

Biographical sketch
Ruby Mercer, a soprano, radio host and author born in Athens, Ohio, studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory with Ruth Townsend and at the Juilliard School with Marcella Sembrich and Florence Page Kimball.  In 1937, she sang at the Metropolitan Opera and made her Canadian debut with the Compagnie d'opéra de Montréal.  She also appeared on Broadway and, in the mid-1940s, with Vancouver's Theatre Under the Stars.  In addition, she hosted various radio programs including Opera Time, Opera in Stereo and Saturday Night at the Opera.  As part of her many activities in the opera field, she founded the magazine Opera Canada in 1960, and the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus in 1968.  She also authored the biographies The Tenor of His Time (1976) and The Quilicos - Louis, Gino and Lina (1990). 

Scope and content
The fonds contains records pertaining to Ruby Mercer's career as a singer, radio host and author.  It includes, among other items, awards and other honours; correspondence; radio texts; texts of lectures and interviews; writings (That's Our Life - biography of Quilico); promotional material; brochures and press clippings; photographs of Mercer, members of her family, friends and artists, including a few with dedications from Luciano Pavarotti, Rosa Poncelle, Claudio Arrau, Maria Pellegrini, Mariana Nicolesco, etc.; sound recordings of Ruby Mercer and of radio programs.  The recordings contain interviews with, among others, Louis and Gino Quilico, Joan Sutherland, Pierrette Alarie, Léopold Simoneau, Mario Bernardi, José Carreras and Huguette Tourangeau. 

Immediate source of acquisition:  acquired from Ruby Mercer in 1997. 

Restrictions:  none. 

Finding aids:  provisional description. 



Proactive Disclosure