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Donald C. Gilley Papers, 1921-1982: Finding Aid

Published in November 2018

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
    https://www.usna.edu/Library/sca/index.php
  • Call number: MS 471
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: Donald C. Gilley Papers
  • Dates: 1921-1982
  • Size: 2.79 linear feet (4 manuscript boxes, 1 half-manuscript box, 2 card file boxes)
  • Creator: Gilley, Donald C.
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: Donald C. Gilley was an organist and choirmaster at the United States Naval Academy. The Donald C. Gilley Papers span from 1921 until 1982. The papers document Gilley's career as a as a musician (organist), choirmaster, and musical educator, with a focus on his tenure at the United States Naval Academy, as well as his earlier tenures at Earlham College, Butler University's Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music, and Wesley United Methodist Church in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Biography of Donald C. Gilley

A native of Stoughton, Wisconsin, Donald Curtiss Gilley attended Beloit College before enrolling in the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he received his Bachelor of Music in 1928. Following graduation, Gilley accepted a position at Earlham College as College Organist, Professor of Music Theory, and director of campus music organizations. After earning his Master of Music from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in 1933, Gilley joined the faculty of the Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music at Butler University as head of the Organ Department, where he stayed until 1938, when he moved to Worcester, Massachusetts to become Minister of Music at Wesley United Methodist Church.

With U.S. entrance into World War II, Gilley joined the United States Navy, serving as director of the choir at the United States Navy School for Chaplains in Williamsburg, Virginia. In January 1944, Gilley reported for duty as an instructor at the United States Naval Academy, ultimately rising to the rank of full professor. At the Academy, Gilley served as organist and director of four choirs, including service as the first director of the Naval Academy Glee Club and Antiphonal Choir. Donald C. Gilley retired from the Naval Academy on October 1, 1972.

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Description of Contents

The Donald C. Gilley Papers, comprising 2.79 linear feet of documentation, span from 1921 until 1982. The papers document Gilley's career as a as a musician (organist), choirmaster, and musical educator, with a focus on his tenure at the United States Naval Academy, as well as his earlier tenures at Earlham College, Butler University's Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music, and Wesley United Methodist Church in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The collection consists of photographs, event programs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, notebooks, resumes, and index cards.

The Gilley Papers are organized into two series by document type. Series 1: Subject Files consists of correspondence, clippings, and printed ephemera from each of Gilley's professional posts as a choirmaster and educator, as well as from his own education. The documents in the series focus overwhelmingly on musical performances by both Gilley and the choirs/students under his direction, as well as musical selections played by Gilley during church services. Series 2: Photographs consists mainly of portraits of Gilley and the choirs under his direction, as well as photograph of Naval Academy choir and glee club performances, as well as performances of the United States Navy School for Chaplains Choir.

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Arrangement

The Donald C. Gilley Papers are organized into the following two series:

  • Series 1: Subject Files, 1921-1982
  • Series 2: Photographs, 1930-1972
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Access and Use

Access

Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The Donald C. Gilley Papers are the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Custodial History

Transferred from Naval Academy Archives in November 2018.

Provenance and Acquisition

Unknown.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Material

Additional documentation pertaining to the operations of the choir is available in RG 405.2.1 Entry 39b, Office of the Superintendent/Correspondence: General Correspondence, 1845-1989.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection and cataloged separately.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

Donald C. Gilley Papers, MS 471

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was initially processed Gary LaValley, with additional processing by David D'Onofrio in November 2018. Finding aid written by David D'Onofrio in November 2018.

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Subject Headings

These materials have been indexed in the Naval Academy Library online catalog using the following terms. Those seeking related materials should search under these terms.

Name and Subject Terms

  • Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music
  • Choirs (Music)
  • Earlham College
  • Gilley, Donald C.
  • Naval Chaplains School (U.S.)
  • Organ music
  • United States Naval Academy -- Choral organizations
  • United States Naval Academy. Chapel
  • United States Naval Academy. Glee Club
  • Wesley United Methodist Church (Worcester, Mass.)

Genre Terms

  • Card indexes
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Faculty papers
  • Manuscripts
  • Notebooks
  • Photographs
  • Programs (documents)
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Contents List

Series 1: Subject Files, 1921-1982 Boxes 1-4, 6-7, MSOS

Series Description

Documentation of Gilley's career as a musician (organist), choirmaster, and musical educator. Specifically, the materials in the series focus on the musical performances of both Gilley and the choirs under his instruction at the United States Naval Academy, United States Navy Training School for Chaplains, Earlham College, Butler University's Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music, and Wesley United Methodist Church in Worcester, Massachusetts. Included in the series are event programs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, notebooks, resumes, and index cards.

Documentation from Gilley's time at the United States Naval Academy pertains to Gilley's appointment to the Academy, performances of the Glee Club and choirs, and musical selections for services at the Naval Academy Chapel.

Also included in the series are documents pertaining to Gilley's education and personal life, namely his wedding, as well as his membership in the American Guild of Organists and writings on choir administration.

Series Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by institution name, document type, and topic.

Box 1 Folder 1

American Guild of Organists, 1930-1963

Annual convention programs and Gilley's choirmaster examinations, as well as Gilley's "List of Useful Materials for the Choirmaster and Organist".

Box 1 Folder 2

Articles and Speeches, 1936-1950, undated

Articles and speeches by Gilley on choir administration, hints for choir members, and the history of music at the Naval Academy, including a description of the organ.

Box 1 Folder 3

Beloit College/Oberlin Conservatory of Music/Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, 1921-1933

Musical and commencement programs from Gilley's time as a student in Ohio.

Box 1 Folder 4

Butler University/Earlham College - Curriculum, 1933-1934

Course offerings at Butler University's Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music.

Box 1 Folder 5-6

Butler University/Earlham College - Event Programs, 1928-1938, undated

Musical event programs from Gilley's tenures in the music department of Earlham College and the Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music at Butler University, including glee club events and Gilley's own recitals.

Box 1 Folder 7

Butler University/Earlham College - Press Clippings, 1929-1937, undated

Newspaper and student publication clippings regarding Gilley and the music activities of Earlham College and Butler University/Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music.

Box 1 Folder 8

Guest Appearances and Miscellaneous Recitals, 1929-1976, undated

Includes the order of worship for Gilley's service as a substitute musician at Fountain Street Baptist Church and several Annapolis area churches, including the dedication of the Annapolis Naval Station chapel.

Box 1 Folder 9

Miscellaneous Event Programs, 1949-1962, undated

Box 6 Folder 

Music Index, undated

Box 7 Folder 

Music Index, undated

Box 1 Folder 10-11

Notebooks - Hymns, Chants, and Anthems, 1944-1962

Musical selections for choir performances at the Naval Academy.

Box 2 Folder 1

Notebooks - Hymns, Chants, and Anthems, 1962-1972

Musical selections for choir performances at the Naval Academy.

Box 2 Folder 2-4

Notebooks - Organ Music -- Services, 1944-1972

Musical selections during service preludes and postludes at the Naval Academy.

Box 2 Folder 5-7

Notebooks - Organ Recitals, 1944-1958

Includes programs and musical selections.

Box 2 Folder 8

Notebooks - Service Book, 1937-1938

Box 2 Folder 9

Personal Correspondence, 1928-1980, undated

Correspondence with or regarding Oberlin College, the College Music Association, Bishop Noble C. Powell, Messiah performances, the Naval Academy choirs, the Naval Academy organ, and Gilley's retirement. Includes a 1953 article on the Naval Academy organ.

Box 2 Folder 10

Resumes, 1934, undated

Box 2 Folder 11

Retirement Correspondence, 1972

Box 3 Folder 1

Stoughton High School, 1971

Box 3 Folder 2

United States Naval Academy - Appointment Letters, 1943-1968

Also includes Gilley's discharge from the Naval Reserve. Includes correspondence with Chaplain William N. Thomas.

Box 3 Folder 3-7

United States Naval Academy - Event Programs, 1945-1982, undated

Programs for Naval Academy Glee Club, Choir, and organ performances, including church services, at the Naval Academy, Washington National Cathedral, Arlington National Cemetery, and other venues.

Box MSOS Folder 1

United States Naval Academy - Event Programs, undated

Oversize program for the Combined Musical Clubs performance entitled "Hubba Hubba."

Box 3 Folder 8

United States Naval Academy - Letters of Appreciation, 1948-1972

Includes a copy of a letter from President Harry Truman, and a 1963 choir roster.

Box 3 Folder 9

United States Naval Academy - Press Clippings and Releases, 1944-1972

Press coverage of Naval Academy musical activities and biographical articles on Gilley. Also includes a 1959 Glee Club roster and tickets to the Glee Club's concert in Morristown, NJ.

Box 4 Folder 1

United States Naval Academy - Professional Correspondence, 1943-1972, undated

Letters regarding Gilley's appointment, promotions, the chapel organ, and performances, including those on the Ed Sullivan Show and the Pat Boone Chevy Showroom.

Box 4 Folder 2

United States Naval Reserve, 1942-1943

Material on Gilley's enlistment in the Reserves and service with the Choir of the United States Navy Training School for Chaplains. Includes material regarding "The Navy Sings" on CBS.

Box 4 Folder 3

Wedding, 1928

Also includes programs for "In Abraham's Bosom."

Box 4 Folder 4

Wesley Methodist - Correspondence, 1938-1980

Gilley's application to and activities as Minister of Music at Wesley Methodist Church in Worcester, Massachusetts, as well as his leave of absence to join the Navy, and the gift and installation of a Zimbelstern.

Box 4 Folder 5

Wesley Methodist - Event Programs, 1927

Dedication program for Wesley Methodist Church in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Box 4 Folder 6-7

Wesley Methodist - Event Programs, 1938-1942, undated

Programs for Wesley Methodist musical events and Gilley's organ recitals.

Box 4 Folder 8

Wesley Methodist - Newsletters, 1938

Box 4 Folder 9

Wesley Methodist - Press Clippings, 1938-1940

Coverage of Wesley Methodist musical events and Gilley's organ recitals.

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Box  Folder 

Series 2: Photographs, 1930-1972 Boxes 4-5

Series Description

Photographs, predominantly black-and-white, from Gilley's career as a musician (organist), choirmaster, and musical educator, with a heavy focus on his time as organist and choirmaster at the United States Naval Academy. Much of the series consists of portraits of Gilley, as well as depictions of the Naval Academy choirs and Glee Club, both in performances and still portraits, as well as the Naval Academy Chapel and its services. To a lesser extent, the series also depicts the musical activities of the United States Navy School for Chaplains Choir, as well as the choirs of Butler University.

Series Arrangement

Portraits of Gilley arranged chronologically. Remainder of the series arranged alphabetically by institution thereafter.

Box 4 Folder 10

Portraits, 1930-1939

Includes portraits of Gilley with two unidentified choirs.

Box 4 Folder 11

Portraits, 1940-1949

Includes portraits of Chaplains Charles H. Lambdin and Clinton Andrew Neyman.

Box 4 Folder 12

Portraits, 1950-1959

Includes a 1957 portrait of a Naval Academy Chaplain, likely Fred D. Bennett.

Box 4 Folder 13

Portraits, 1960-1969

Box 4 Folder 14

Portraits, 1971

Includes portraits of Naval Academy officers and chaplains.

Box 4 Folder 15

Portraits, undated

Includes portraits of Naval Academy officers and chaplains.

Box 4 Folder 16

Arthur Jordan Conservatory Choir, 1935-1936

Box 4 Folder 17

Butler University Choir, 1935-1937, undated

Box 4 Folder 18

United States Naval Academy - Chapel, 1940-1963, undated

Includes images of the organ console and Chapel/Music offices, as well as midshipmen marching to Chapel services.

Box 4 Folder 19

United States Naval Academy - Chapel/Church Services, 1955-1957

Includes images of Gilley playing the organ in Saint Andrews Chapel.

Box 4 Folder 20

United States Naval Academy - Choir and Glee Club Performances (Armistice Day, Arlington National Cemetery), 1953 November 11

Box 4 Folder 21

United States Naval Academy - Choir and Glee Club Performances (Chapel/Church Services), 1940-1963, undated

Box 4 Folder 22

United States Naval Academy - Choir and Glee Club Performances (Christmas Carols), 1940-1959

Box 4 Folder 23

United States Naval Academy - Choir and Glee Club Performances (The Messiah), 1947-1967, undated

Includes one photograph from the Hood College Chapel.

Box 4 Folder 24

United States Naval Academy - Choir and Glee Club Performances (Morristown High School), 1960 February 11

Images also feature New Jersey Governor Robert B. Meyner.

Box 4 Folder 25

United States Naval Academy - Choir and Glee Club Portraits, 1944-1945

Box 4 Folder 26

United States Naval Academy - Choir and Glee Club Portraits, 1950-1959

Box 5 Folder 1

United States Naval Academy - Choir and Glee Club Portraits, 1960-1969

Box 5 Folder 2

United States Naval Academy - Choir and Glee Club Portraits, 1970-1971

Box 5 Folder 3

United States Naval Academy - Choir and Glee Club Portraits, undated

Box 5 Folder 4

United States Naval Academy - Grounds, undated

Box 5 Folder 5

United States Naval Academy - Retirement Ceremony, 1972 October 1

Box 5 Folder 6

United States Navy School for Chaplains, 1943 October, undated

Includes photographs of performances for "The Navy Sings" on CBS.

Box 5 Folder 7

Wesley Methodist Church, undated

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