Warner Collection of Eleanor Steber Materials

Biographical descriptions:

Eleanor Steber (1914-1990) was an American soprano who graduated from New England Conservatory in 1938; she debuted with the Metropolitan Opera in 1940, and performed with them extensively through to 1962. From then through the 1970s she went on to give many recitals and perform with other opera companies across the country. She was also noted for her work for the program The Voice of Firestone, which aired on radio until 1956 and on television until 1963.

John Warner was born in western Massachusetts, and attended University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Harvard, where he received his masters and doctorate in English literature. He taught at Drew University in New Jersey from 1962 until his retirement in 2000. His family regularly listened to The Voice of Firestone and the Metropolitan Opera’s Saturday radio broadcasts, and he was drawn to Steber’s voice. Thereafter he attended performances of hers, both with the Met and on her own, and began collecting the recordings and publications found in the collection.

Physical Description:

The Warner/Steber consists of two record cartons of paper materials, one containing six folders, and three record cartons of recordings. This collection includes paper materials, photographs, vinyl records, 78-rpm records, and reel-to-reel tapes.


Materials were collected by John Warner and donated to the New England Conservatory in September 2014. This collection was processed by Grace Gist in 2014.


Access to the Warner/Steber Collection is granted by the Archivist. Appointments must be scheduled in advance. There are no access restrictions on this collection.


Copyright restrictions may apply; consult with the Archivist regarding publication permissions. Citation should read: NECA 18.30. Warner Collection of Eleanor Steber Materials, New England Conservatory Archives Boston, MA

Scope and Content Note


This collection is organized into five series:


  1. Photographs
  2. Publications
  3. Programs
  4. Foundation Materials
  5. Recordings

In addition to the materials, John Warner included notes pertaining to the various parts of the collection:

Photographs: "These autographed photos were sent out as a part of an effort to raise money for her ESMF [Eleanor Steber Music Foundation]. Others were picked up here and there."

Publications: Newspaper clippings: "Reviews which I clipped here and there, especially Coleman's article in NYTimes- 2/22/59. A lot of stuff now on the net. I've included the Innaurato (Mrs. John Claggart now) which compliments his article in Opera News. A fan might appreciate not having to look these up (or a biographer)"

Foundation Materials: "These may be of interest re: the ESMF. She worked hard for my rather ardent support (though my salary then wouldn't thank us)."

Recordings, Tapes: "I've marked in red those programs and selections I have not seen on YouTube or elsewhere. I had meant to burn some of these to CD's but... Concerts at Detroit are important. I assume you have tapes of her concert with NEC in NYC. There are some treasures here for someone with patience."

Container list


Folder 1- Photographs

Folder 2- Publications: Newspaper clippings (1954-2003)

Folder 3- Publications: Promotional material ([1963]-1993)

Folder 4- Programs (1/2: 1945-1972)

Folder 5- Programs (2/2: 1973-1990)

Foundation materials

Folder 6

Copies of Silver Tone


Publications: Other

Publications: Periodicals (1947-2003; bulk 1952-1959)

The Absolute Sound The Hudson Review The Met (New York Times supplement) Michael’s Thing Music Journal Newsweek New York

Opera News Theatre Arts



Cetra Columbia Masterworks Columbia Odyssey Columbia Special Products Eleanor Steber Music Foundation Legendary Melodram New World Records Parade Philips Minigroove



RCA Camden RCA Victor Red Seal

Tapes 1-13



RCA Victrola Richmond ST/AND ST/AND Desto World’s Greatest Operas