The Clarence Dickinson Special Collection, which is housed in the Smith Rouse Library on the Hattiesburg campus of William Carey University, contains the papers, music, manuscripts, furniture, art works and personal belongings of Clarence Dickinson. Dr. Dickinson was the organist at Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City for fifty years. He was also a prominent concert organist in the United States and Europe, and a composer of numerous organ pieces and choral anthems. Dickinson was the founder of the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary, which had the distinction of being the first graduate level music program for men and women in the United States. Prior to its founding in 1928, those who wanted to pursue a graduate degree in sacred music were forced to travel to Europe.
The Clarence Dickinson Special Collection contains the books, papers and music of Clarence's wife and partner, Dr. Helen Adell Dickinson. Dr. Helen Dickinson was the first woman to receive a PhD from Heidelberg University in Germany at a time when women were not generally welcomed in graduate philosophy classes. She was a well-known lyricist, translator, and art historian who frequently lectured for classes at Union Seminary as well. Together the Dickinsons wrote hundreds of chorales and anthems for church choirs, and many of their works are still in the music libraries of churches all over the United States and Canada.
The Dickinson papers, which were cataloged in 2005, are contained in 88 running feet of archival shelf space. The Dickinson's personal library of 1653 music and art books is also housed in the collection's space along with the memorabilia of some famous hymn writers. Tours of the collection are available upon request. Please contact the library office at 601- 318-6782 to arrange a tour.