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Paul Hume Papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS228

Scope and Contents

The personal papers of music critic Paul Hume comprise this collection. Highlights include correspondence from luminaries of the music world such as Marian Anderson, Pearl Bailey, Leonard Bernstein, Rudolph Bing, Nadia Boulanger, Antal Dorati, Alberto Ginastera, Serge Koussevitsky, John La Montaine, Lotte Lehmann, John Mauceri, Gian Carlo Menotti, Eugene Ormandy, Rosa Ponselle, Ned Rorem, Mstislav Rostropovich, Bidu Sayao, Beverly Sills, Gerard Souzay, George Szell, Virgil Thomson, Alan Titus, and Justine Bayard Ward.

The collection includes an impressive series of remarkable black-and-white publicity stills, with photographs of many of the foregoing, as well as Samuel Barber, Daniel Barenboim, Maria Callas, Pablo Casals, Van Cliburn, Vladimir Horowitz, Charles Ives, Riccardo Muti, Itzhak Perlman, Andre Previn, Leontyne Price, Rosa Raissa, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Artur Rubinstein and Arnold Schoenberg.

Hume's own work comprises an important part of the collection. These include his scripts for programs that he hosted at WGMS-FM radio (Washington, D.C.); as well as both manuscripts and news clippings articles he wrote as music critic for the "Washington Post." The collection also includes several files of research material amassed by Hume and his wife Ruth during the writing of their book on the famous Polish pianist Ignace Jan Paderewski. These include copies of correspondence by Paderewski, as well as by notable individuals in his circle.


  • 1871 - 1997
  • Majority of material found within 1950 - 1990


Collection-level Access Restrictions

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Biographical note

Paul Chandler Hume was born in Chicago, Illinois, on December 13, 1915. His father was Robert Woolsey Hume and mother was Katherine English Rockwell. Hume was graduated with a degree in music from the University of Chicago in 1937. His career as both teacher and critic included many years as professor of music at Georgetown University (1950-1977); as adjunct professor of music at Yale University (1975-1983); and as music editor for the "Washington Post" (1946-1982). Hume also hosted long-running classical music programs at WGMS-FM radio in Washington, D.C. Some of these are still broadcast including "Comment on the Arts," "Guest Conductor," and "Music After Hours." Hume was also a guest commentator for the New York Metropolitan Opera intermission broadcasts.

Hume is a member of the American Association of University Professors; Music Critics Association (member of executive committee, 1962-1963); and Cosmos Club. Recognized for outstanding achievement in music criticism, he received a Peabody Award (1977), and the University of Chicago Outstanding Alumnus Achievement Award (1978). Hume also received honorary degrees from Thiel College (1968), Rosary College (1977), and Georgetown University (1979).

Published works by Hume include "Catholic Church Music," (Dodd, 1956); "The Lion of Poland: the Story of Paderewski," co-authored with wife Ruth Hume (Hawthorne, 1962); "King of Song: the Story of John McCormack," co-authored with wife Ruth Hume (Hawthorne, 1964); "Verdi: the Man and his Music," (Dutton, 1977); and "Puccini: the Man and his Music," jointly with William Weaver (Dutton, 1977). Hume was also co-editor with Clifford Bennett of "Hymnal Christian Unity," (1964).

Paul and Ruth Hume were married in 1949. Their children are Paul, Michael, Ann, and Peter. Paul Hume died Nov 27, 2001, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Ruth Fox Hume was born in New York in 1922. She taught chemistry at Dunbarton College and Latin at the Catholic University of America. She was also author of several mystery books for Dodd, Mead & Co., including "Bitter Ending," (1946), "Deadline," (1947), and "Symphony in Two Time" (1948). A former student of medicine, she wrote a number of books on medical history including "Milestones of Medicine," (New York: Random House, 1950); "Florence Nightingale," (New York: Random House, 1960); and "Medicine in Maryland," (1976). She also collaborated with her husband, music critic Paul Hume, on biographies of pianist Ignace Jan Paderewski and tenor John McCormack. Ruth Hume died March 1, 1980.


11.5 Cubic Feet (12 boxes and 2 oversized folders )

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Paul Hume.

Related Materials

Related collection: Paul Hume audio recordings, GTM-130712

Paul Hume Papers
Lisette C. Matano
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2023: Edited for DACS compliance by John Zarrillo

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057