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From the Archives 

The Bessie Bartlett Frankel Collection of Travel and Early Los Angeles Music

This postcard from the collection, presumably sent to Frankel by a friend traveling in Italy at the turn of the 20th century, features an image of the Piazza del Duomo in Milan. On the reverse is written, “I guess it is a case of giving up the career. It is too hard for me. And better that I give it up now than wait and become gray over its many difficulties.”

Born in 1884 in Los Angeles, Bessie Bartlett Frankel was a concert singer, composer, philanthropist and patron of the arts, and a founder of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra. She established Scripps’ Chamber Music Festival, and she was made an honorary alumna in 1931. Upon her death in 1959, she left a sizable gift to the College that was used to build Bessie Bartlett Frankel and Cecil Frankel Hall and establish the Bessie and Cecil Frankel Endowed Chair in Music. Because of her close ties to the College, Frankel also bequeathed a selection of personal papers to the Ella Strong Denison Library. The 16 boxes that comprise the Bessie Bartlett Frankel Collection of Travel and Early Los Angeles Music include photographs of her family life, programs from the concerts she attended, postcards from her travels throughout Europe and North America, scenic photographs from visits to Alaska and Mexico with Los Angeles city officials, and an extensive collection of autographed portraits and publicity images of classical musicians who performed in Los Angeles between 1910 and 1945.

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