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Mildred Dilling concert papers, circa 1920-1980

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 7775 Series 2
This series contains concert programs and promotional advertisements collected by Mildred Dilling, circa 1920-1980. The concert programs are all performances of which she was a part.


  • circa 1920-1980

Conditions Governing Access

Open to public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material from the Mildred Dilling papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.


1 carton

6 boxes

Biographical History

Mildred Dilling (1894-1982) was a prominent harpist who studied under Henriette ReniƩ. She collected various instruments and by the end of her life had obtained over 120.

Mildred Dilling was born on February 23, 1894, in Marion, Indiana. From a young age, Mildred knew she wanted to play the harp. Unfortunately for her, there was no harp teacher in Marion. So at age six, she began to take piano lessons at the Marion Conservatory of Music. When she was eleven, her family moved to Indianapolis for her father's business. Her parents arranged for her to have harp lessons from Louise Schellschmidt, and one year later, Mildred was given her first harp. It had previously belonged to General Evangeline Booth, of the Salvation Army. She later went on to study under Henriette ReniƩ before performing for many occasions.

On her first tour of the country, Mildred gave over 85 concerts and while in the height of her career traveled approximately 30,000 miles each year. She visited over seventy-five different cities in the United States and had the opportunity to play for five different presidents. Mildred had a passion for the instrument itself and was fascinated with how widely the harp varies in terms of style, sound, and appearance. Because of this, she traveled with seven different harps. Yet another one of her accomplishments was her own CBS radio show where she played harp solos each week.

In 1943, she married Clinton Parker and lived happily until his premature death five years later. To cope with his passing, she decided that work was the best therapy. She became a soloist in the Bergen Symphony Orchestra, the oldest in the world.

One of her most widely known accomplishments was co-founding the American Harp Society. In 1981, she presented the Celtic Single Action Harp, Dilling Model. This new harp had seven levers on top of the harp, acting in the place of pedals. Each lever controlled one note in every octave and either hand could be used to activate them. She also taught lessons and held numerous masterclasses in countries all over the world. Some of her students included "Harpo" Marx, Deanna Durbin, Laurence Olivier, Bob Hope, and even the Crown Princess of Michiko Japan. She became the world's foremost collector of harps. Since then, she had acquired over 120 different instruments. Some of these included rare harps from Burma and Ireland, and the harp that had belonged to Queen Marie Antoinette. She died in 1982 at age eighty-eight.


This series has retained its original order.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States