Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Heath, Cheston L. mss., ca. 1931-1947, consist of photographs and correspondence describing the wartime experiences of Cheston Heath, organist and choirmaster at Christ Episcopal Church in Indianapolis, Indiana for twenty one years. The collection also contains Xeroxed copies of two of Heath's original compositions.

Born in Corpus Christi, Texas, Cheston Heath directed his first choir at the age of fourteen. A year later, he entered the New England Conservatory of Music, and went on to earn an M.A. degree from Harvard University. After graduation, he traveled through Rome, Paris and Vienna, studying choral music and organ from Saint-Saens and Alexandre Guilmant. He is reported to have trained over one thousand choirboys for his choir and also was widely known for his musical compositions. During the St. Louis exposition, he was recognized as one of the seven greatest organists in the world. Heath died on February 11, 1947 at the age of 61.

The correspondence in the collection is primarily from former choirboys of Heath's serving overseas (1943-1945). Additionally, there are oversized photocopies of choir music featuring original compositions bearing Heath's initials ("CLH").

An inventory is available.

Acquired: 2009

Collection size: 23 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.