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THE FELIX G. ROBINSON PAPERS

Introduction

The Felix G. Robinson Papers consist of the correspondence, manuscripts, notes and photographs of Felix Griffon Robinson, along with the genealogical notes of Charles Hoye and the correspondence and other papers of "Tableland Trails" and the Mountain Choir Festival. The Papers comprise 25 linear feet, arranged in 586 folders contained in 21 boxes.

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Felix Griffon Robinson was born in Oakland, Maryland in 1898, the son of John Griffon Robinson and Martha Hinebaugh. He received his B.A. at Gettysburg College in 1920 and in 1925 received his B.D. at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He was ordained the same year. He also did graduate work at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago and at the Union Theological Seminary, New York City.

Halfway through the seminary, Robinson accepted a position with Loudon Charlton, impresario of Carnegie Hall and co-founder of Columbia Artists, Inc., New York. In this capacity he became associated with many of the noted musicians of the day. He was so successful in his work that he was offered a junior partnership.But Robinson declined in order to continue his chosen career and re-entered the seminary in January, 1924.

In August, 1925, Robinson moved to New York City with his wife, Lucille Henry, where he became pastor at a Lutheran Church in Jamaica, Long Island. Two years later, he accepted a call from Emanuel Lutheran Church in the Bronx, at which time he was elected president of the Bronx Clergy Association. In 1932, the Robinsons moved to Long Beach, Long Island, where Rev. Robinson became pastor at St.John's Lutheran Church By-the-Sea. Following an altercation with a member of the Board of Trustees, Robinson's ordination papers were temporarily confiscated from him by the Synod of New York, and his career as a Lutheran pastor was permanently damaged.

After leaving Long Beach, he secured a Lutheran parish in Keyser, West Virginia. He went there in 1934 and began a parallel career by founding the Mountain Choir Festival. This festival was held for eight seasons in mid-summer at the old summer resort village of Mountain Lake Park, Maryland. Its purpose was to further the ecumenical movement through cultivation of Christian musical heritage and church liturgy. These were depression years and the festival was seldom a financial success, although it was always widely acknowledged to be an artistic accomplishment. In 1937 Robinson worked at the Westminster Choir School in Princeton, New Jersey, while keeping up the Mountain Choir Festival.

In 1943, the Community Church of Arthurdale, West Virginia called him to their church. There followed six years of experimentation with an inter-denominational congregation. The Choir Festival was revived in the years from 1946 to 1948.

In 1949 Robinson resigned from the Arthurdale church and returned to Oakland, Maryland. That year was spent in promoting the town's Centennial observances for which he wrote a long historical ode, "The Ballad of Oakland." It was at this time that Felix Robinson and his family converted to Roman Catholicism. While Felix Robinson was comfortable theologically with this decision to convert, it caused great financial hardship upon his family as his source of income as a pastor disappeared.

In 1953 a lifelong, intense interest in the history of the Allegheny Tableland area made it possible for him to begin publishing a periodical magazine, "Tableland Trails." Over a period of about ten years, eight issues were published and all were widely appreciated by the public and fellow historians of the region. "Tableland Trails" was not, however, a financial success, and Robinson had to supplement his income by becoming a sales agent for St. Anthony's Guild of Patterson, New Jersey and by giving lectures to a variety of organizations and institutions. Felix Griffon Robinson died suddenly at his home in Oakland, Maryland on September 11, 1967.

The Felix G. Robinson Papers trace Robinson's career as a Lutheran pastor, a musician and a local historian. His career as a Lutheran pastor is best reflected through an enormous amount of correspondence and his notes and manuscripts for sermons he gave from 1929 to 1935. Correspondents from this period include Samuel Trexler, Hildegarde Hoffman Huss, the Archbishop of Upsala and numerous pastors from around New York City. Material from his career as a musician include papers from the Mountain Choir Festival and the Schola Cantorum, a summer choir workshop organized by Robinson in the early 1960's. Corespondents about music include Leopold Stokowski, Eleanor Roosevelt, Roy Harris and the Westminster Choir School. Robinson's work as a historian is reflected by his papers about "Tableland Trails"and by his correspondence with numerous Maryland and West Virginia figures such as Governors and members of Congress.

Felix Robinson was a colleague and friend of Captain Charles Edward Hoye (1876- 1951), a well known local historian in Western Maryland. Hoye wrote as many as 59 pamphlets on families in Western Maryland and West Virginia, was the founder of the Garrett County Historical Society and was the editor of its serial, "The Glades Star" from its founding in July 1941 until his death in 1951. Felix Robinson acquired much of Hoye's papers in connection with local history, and they are contained in the Felix Robinson Papers. The Charles Hoye Series primarily consists of Hoye's notes on nearly 200 families in the Tableland region, unfortunately with very few of the pamphlets Hoye wrote on many of those families. The Clippings Series contains nearly a complete run of "The Glades Star."

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The Felix G. Robinson Papers consist of nine series: the Correspondence Series, the Manuscripts Series, the Notes & Notebooks Series, the Organizations Series, the Charles E. Hoyes, et al. Series, the Photographs Series, the Clippings Series, the Index Cards Series and an Oversize Series.

The Correspondence Series consists of Robinson's correspondence from the late 1920's until his death in 1967. In it there is much discussion of his career as a Lutheran pastor and his involvement with "Tableland Trails" and the Mountain Choir Festival. The Series can be broken down into two sections: an individuals file and a subject file. In the individuals file we find letters from many outstanding people such as Eleanor Roosevelt, T. S. Eliot, Leopold Stokowski, J. Paul Getty and Roy Harris. The subject file contains letter on various subjects including Lutheranism; Long Beach, Long Island; the Schola Cantorum and the Horn papers.

The Manuscripts Series consists of manuscripts by Robinson and by others which he sometimes collected for publication in "Tableland Trails." Much of Robinson's work is on an autobiographical account of his conversion to Catholicism using his journals and diaries found in the next series. Most typescripts by Robinson are arranged alphabetically by subject.

The Note & Notebooks Series consists of Robinson's notes on various subjects, including sermons, lectures, local history and layouts for "Tableland Trails." This series also contains Robinson's journals kept from the early 1920's until his death in 1967, with extensive discussion of his interest in music and his conversion to Catholicism.

The Organizations Series consists of correspondence, notes and ephemera surrounding Robinson's involvement with "Tableland Trails" and the Mountain Choir Festival. Robinson's subscriber lists for "Tableland Trails" can be found in the Index Cards Series, which consists of a box full of index cards used by Robinson to organize his mailing lists for the magazine.

The Charles Hoye, et al. Series consists of genealogical notes kept by Captain Charles Hoye on nearly 200 Families in Western Maryland and West Virginia. The Series also contains a set of 25 handwritten logs of employees' hours at Parsons Pulp & Paper Company of Dobbin, West Virginia from 1888 to 1919. The logbooks were kept by the foreman at the sawmill, "A. L. Roth." it is unclear whether this was Alfred L. Roth or his father, Alphaeus Lorenzo Roth, both of whom worked at the mill.

The Photographs Series consists of 1 box of photographs collected by Felix G.Robinson, many of which are unidentified. The subject matter of the photos is usually local history, with a large number of photos probably used by Robinson in a photo exhibition on the history of West Virginia. The Clippings Series primarily consists of newsclippings collected by Robinson, mostly about local history. Also contained in the series is a complete set of "Tableland Trails" and nearly a complete set of "The Glades Star."

The Oversize Materials Series mainly consists of scrapbooks kept by Felix Robinson containing newsclippings relating to local history, his career and music.

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Extent: 25 linear feet Number of boxes: 21 Provenance: Gift of Ariel D. Robinson, June 1990 Span Dates: 1793 - 1967 Bulk dates: 1920 - 1967 Processed by: Michael J. North Date: October 5, 1990 ACCESSION DATA: Gift of Ariel D. Robinson, May 1990.
BULK DATES: 1920 - 1967
SPAN DATES: 1905 - 1975 EXTENT: 21 boxes

SERIES


SERIES: 1. Correspondence Series


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Correspondence of Felix G. Robinson arranged first by significant individuals and then according to subject.

SERIES: 2. Manuscripts Series


SERIES DESCRIPTION: This series contains manuscripts written by or collected by Felix G. Robinson. It can be divided into three parts: MSS by FGR according to subject (FGR's arrangement), MSS by FGR not arranged by subject, and miscellaneous MSS not by FGR. Handwritten and typed notes made and collected by FGR are in the Notes & Notebooks Series.

SERIES: 3. Notes & Notebooks Series


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Notes, notebooks, binder contents and diaries of Felix G. Robinson.

SERIES: 4. Organizations Series


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Correspondence, ephemera and other records collected by FGR about Tableland Trails and the Mountain Choir Festival.

SERIES: 5. Charles Hoye, et al., Series


SERIES DESCRIPTION: The genealogical files kept by Charles Hoye for the Tableland area. Hoye gave these files to FGR before his death. Also includes notes books of A. L. Roth, a mill operator in West Virginia at the turn of the century.

SERIES: 6. Photographs Series


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Photographs collected by FGR, mostly consisting of local history photos.

SERIES: 7. Clippings & Printed Materials Series


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Clippings, Scrapbooks and printed materials (mostly periodicals) collected by FGR.

SERIES: 8. Index Cards Series


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Index cards used by FGR to collect and organize subscribers for "Tableland Trails."

SERIES: 9. Oversize Materials Series


SERIES DESCRIPTION: Oversize material, mostly consisting of scrapbooks kept by FGR.

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