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Inda Howland Papers


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

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Inda Howland Papers, 1934-1984, undated | Oberlin College Archives

By Sabra Henke

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Collection Overview

Title: Inda Howland Papers, 1934-1984, undatedAdd to your cart.

ID: RG 30/320

Primary Creator: Howland, Inda (1907-1984)

Extent: 0.2 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 09/23/1999. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Dalcroze, Émile Jaques-, 1865-1950, Eurythmics

Forms of Material: certificates, ephemera - printed ephemera, notebooks, photographs - photographic prints, postcards, publications, sheet music

Languages: English, French

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The papers of Inda Howland primarily document her career as a teacher of Eurhythmics and Music Theory at Oberlin College. Two notebooks and sheet music illustrate Howland’s teaching methods. In addition, the collection includes some materials relating to Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, a pioneer in Eurhythmics, and the L’Instititute Jaques-Dalcroze.

A small amount of biographical information consists of materials relating to the memorial service for Inda Howland, September 23, 1984 (i.e., Roy Wixson’s presentation), a copy of Haskell Thomson’s memorial minute for Howland, November 20, 1984, and a list of students who presented a gift to Inda Howland, ca. 1974. Researchers should also consult the faculty file of Inda Howland, Alumni and Development Records, RG 28.

The remainder of the textual materials in the collection consists of postcards from Emile Jaques Dalcroze, 1935, and a unknown source, 1940; a report concerning Howland’ s research of Asian Rhythm, August 1958 (report to David Robertson, Director of the Conservatory of Music); a copy of La Rythmique Jaques-Dalcroze: Histories, d’autrefois, et d’aujourd’hui, 1981 (French); brochure for the Music Education Workshop, The University of Texas Austin, Summer 1977 (Howland was a presenter); and a color poster from Mandalay.

Photographs depict Howland’s classes in Music Theory and Eurhythmics, ca. 1973; sabbatical leaves in Bali, Japan, and Korea, 1956-1959; a theatrical performance, undated; and Emile Jacques-Dalcroze, 1934.

The collection is arranged in alphabetical order with no series designations.

Collection Historical Note


A nationally recognized Eurhythmics and Music Theory teacher, Inda Saxby Howland was a member of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music faculty from 1940 until her retirement in 1974. Her dynamic and rigorous teaching methods, her expectations of excellence, high standards and disciplined musicianship in students influenced great numbers of Conservatory graduates throughout their music careers as reported in alumni surveys.

She was born in Summitville, New York on November 18, 1907 and the only child of Clyde Howland (1878-1921) and Mary Saxby Philcox (1883-1947). Her father, a vaudeville dancer, moved his family to Sparks, Nevada, hoping to prevent his daughter from becoming a dancer. He worked in the railroad yards until his death. Inda was fourteen years old at the time of his death. Her mother taught her to play the piano well enough that Inda was able to augment the family income as a pianist during silent movies.

Hoping to improve Inda’s educational opportunity, especially her piano training, Inda and her mother moved to New York City. As a student of James Friskin (1926-1930) at the Institute of Musical Art (later Julliard), she became interested in rhythmic movement and piano improvisation. He encouraged her to continue her music study in Geneva, Switzerland with Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, a pioneer in eurhythmics, the representation of musical rhythms in movement. In 1932, she entered L’Institute Jaques-Dalcroze, earning both the certificate and the diploma in 1934, the first American woman to do so.  Her training involved two intensive years of concentrating in solfege, rhythmic movement, and piano improvisation with Emile Jaques-Dalcroze.

Returning to the United States, she taught at Cummington School for the Arts in Cummington, Massachusetts (1935-1936), solfege and improvisation in a private school in Washington D.C. (1936), and rhythmic movement and improvisation for dance majors at Smith College (1936-1940) until that program was discontinued.

In 1940, she joined the Oberlin faculty as Instructor of Eurhythmics and Music Theory. She was later granted tenure status (1947-1948), followed by appointment as Assistant Professor (1949), Associate Professor (1956), and Professor (1971). Sabbatical leaves, especially to Southeast Asia, served to augment her improvisatory skills and classroom instruction. She continued to work in her field for several years after retirement, presenting workshops and lectures at Aspen, Colorado, and elsewhere.

Her diverse interests beyond teaching music—archaeology, anthropology, travel to remote areas in the American West, the Middle East, and Asia—all served to enrich her life and the lives of those who visited her museum-quality home.

At the time of her death, September 14, 1984, in Cleveland, Ohio, a memorial service in Fairchild Chapel in Oberlin, September 23, 1984 brought together many of her friends and former students. The Inda S. Howland Prize for Excellence in Teaching was established in her memory to be awarded every three years to an outstanding woman member of the Oberlin College faculty.

Inda Howland was a Christian Scientist. She had no known relatives.


Faculty file of Inda Howland, Alumni and Development Records (RG 28).

The Papers of Inda Howland (RG 30/320).

Subject/Index Terms

Dalcroze, Émile Jaques-, 1865-1950

Administrative Information

Repository: Oberlin College Archives

Accruals: Accession Nos: 1999/097, 2002/079.

Access Restrictions: Unrestricted.

Acquisition Source: Roy Wixson; Haskell Thomson

Acquisition Method: The Oberlin College Archives received the papers of Inda Howland in two lots. The bulk of the collection was received from Roy Wixson in 1999 (accession 1999/097). Additional materials were received from Haskell Thomson in 2002 (accession 2002/079).

Related Materials: The records of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (RG 10).

Preferred Citation: Inda Howland Papers, 1934-1984, undated, RG 30/320, Oberlin College Archives.

Processing Information: Processed by: Sabra Henke, July 2002.

Finding Aid Revision History: Revised by Archives Staff, April 2024.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],

Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Biographical materials, 1984, undatedAdd to your cart.
Includes a list of alumni and student donors for a gift on Howland's retirement and materials from Howland's memorial service including a Memorial Minute by Roy Wixson.
Folder 2: Certificate of completion, L'Institute Jaques-Dalcroze, 1934 January 24Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Correspondence–Postcards with notes, 1935, 1940Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Notebook–Eurythmics, undatedAdd to your cart.
Removed from 3-ring binder.
Folder 5: Notebook–Sabbatical Study of Asian Music, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Photographs–Oberlin College Classes, ca. 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Photographs–Other, 1934, 1956-1959, undatedAdd to your cart.
Photographs depict sabbatical leaves in Bali, Japan, and Korea, 1956-1959; a theatrical performance, undated; and Emile Jacques-Dalcroze, 1934.
Folder 8: Printed matter, 1977-1981, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Report of Study of Asian Rhythm, 1958 AugustAdd to your cart.
Sent to Oberlin Conservatory of Music Director David Robertson from Inda Howland.
Folder 10: Sheet music, undatedAdd to your cart.

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