History Tea

Hello from your friendly neighborhood historians! This past October we held our annual History Tea, which is an event designed to enlighten members of the Chorus’s history. Anne Jones Family ’04 graciously hosted us at her home for the event. An especially exciting aspect were the new amendments to our timeline contributed by Deirdre Courtney-Batson ’74 who, in collaboration with Elizabeth Blunden ‘61, has made serious headway in investigating the more obscure portions of the Chorus’s history. Formerly, very little was known about this group aside from its existence throughout the 1920’s and 1960’s, yet today we are lucky to have such information.

The founder of the Women’s Glee Club was Mrs. Lillian Dudley, wife of the Eric Dudley who was the director of the Glee Club. In 1917 she began leading an informal community choir in downtown Ithaca and in 1920 she was beseeched by some of her female students to direct a women's chorus at Cornell. She obliged, and on April 28, 1921 the Woman’s Glee Club gave their first documented performance. They rapidly became a well-established ensemble that regularly gave concerts and collaborated with other student groups such as the Woman’s Banjo and Mandolin Club -which mirrored its male counterpart- and the Men’s Glee Club. The group continued to prosper throughout the 1940’s and late 50’s. Records show that in the fifties they had grown to over 50 members and collaborated regularly with other college choirs.

We hope to uncover more about our history as we approach our centennial celebration in 2021. Please do not hesitate to contact us at historian@chorus.cornell.edu if you have any leads, contacts, documents, pictures or personal accounts that you wish to share with us. We welcome all of your information whether it be from the 1930’s or the early 2000’s! Despite the holes in our current documentation, we wish to compile a working history that will continue to be built upon by generations of Chorus women to come.


Neireda Ramirez ‘17 & Emily Woo ‘18


P.S.  To keep up to date with present Chorus activities, please “Like” the Cornell University’s Facebook page and become friends with the CU’Historian! And to access our timeline presentation from the History Tea follow this link.