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Stella Prince Stocker papers

 Collection — Item: on shelf
Identifier: S3089

Scope and Contents

The collection contains articles and music written by Stella Stocker, photographs, newspaper clippings, and two scrapbooks about her interests. One scrapbook contains mementos and newspaper clippings about her trip to Germany and New York in 1900-1901, the second covering 1894-1917 includes newspaper clippings on the productions of Ganymede and Sieur duLhut, and clippings on the organization Alliance Francaise Circle D. G. duLhut, for which Stocker was president in 1922-1923. (A copy of the text of the Sieur duLhut pageant is available in our pamphlets collection.)

Two diaries/journals and one photograph album are coordinated. The handwritten diaries/journals and photo album are accounts of camping trips onto Minnesota's White Earth and Red Lake Indian reservations and other visits to Mille Lacs, Leech Lake, Nett Lake, and Fond Du Lac.  The photograph album holds snapshot illustrations of the same trips (1916, 1917). The trips were apparently made in preparation for writing the Sieur duLhut pageant. The 1916 volume contains 52 pages. The 1917 volume is 31 pages written in pencil. Transcriptions of the diaries are available in "Additional Description" below.

The photograph album holds 145 snapshots, the largest of which are 3x3 ¼ inches. The photographs document individuals, scenes, dwellings, structures, campsites, dance, peace pipes, ceremonies, garments (including bandolier bags and beadwork), family groups, individual women, men, and children. Many of the snapshots are identified but many others are not. There are no original negatives.  There is one August 22, 1917, letter from Frances Densmore to Stella Stocker.


  • 1894-1925


Conditions Governing Access

Open for use in the Kathryn A. Martin Library, Archives and Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Stella Prince Stocker was born in Jacksonville, Illinois, April 3,1858, to Dr. David and Lucy Manning Chandler Prince. Her father was a well-known surgeon and founder of the David Prince Sanitarium in Jacksonville. Stella Prince graduated with a B. A. degree from the University of Michigan in 1880, followed by post-graduate studies at the Sorbonne in Paris. She was a graduate of the Conservatory of Music in Jacksonville. She studied piano with Frau Gliemann, Dresden, and Xaver Scharwenka of New York, voice with Giovanni Shiglia during 1910 and 1913, and counterpoint and composition with Bruno Oscar Klein also in New York. She lectured in America and Europe on musical topics including Wagner operas, Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande, and Paderewski's Manru.

She came to Duluth, Minnesota in 1885 where she was a musician, composer, and founder of the Duluth Cecilian Chorale Society, which she directed for several years. This large society was the precursor of the Matinee Musicale and brought many famous artists to Duluth in the early days, among them Edward MacDowell of the MacDowell colony at Peterborough, New Hampshire. Mrs. Stocker also founded the Cecilian Society, a small club for music study that she began organizing in 1887.

Stella Stocker lived in New York city for a time, and lectured for five years (some sources say two years) for the New York City Board of Education on American Indian music and other musical topics in Manhattan and the Bronx.

She was said to be an authority on American Indian culture, a topic on which she lectured. She collected Indian music among the Ojibwe in Minnesota and either provided or saw - sources are mixed and unclear on this point - an exhibit of this research at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.In an undated, 5 page essay titled "Dance of the Wild Rice Gatherers", she refers to "The Indian blood in my veins…" and wrote that she was given the Ojibwe name Mesquawigishigoque, Red Sky Lady, in an Ojibwe christening ceremony during the wild ricing season in Minnesota. An undated Chicago Daily Tribune article refers to music she studied of the Omaha and the Zuni Indians. It is not clear if there was American Indian ancestry in the Prince family or if her reference acknowledges the close ties with the Ojibwe of Minnesota through the "christening ceremony" and naming about which she wrote.

Mrs. Stocker may have corresponded with the noted ethnologist Frances Densmore. Densmore's biography notes that she was introduced to American Indian music at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. A letter from Densmore, dated August 1917 is present in the Stocker papers.

Stocker composed a number of vocal and instrumental pieces of music including, in 1902, a light opera in three acts titled Ganymede. One production of it served as a fund-raiser for the Duluth Home Society, another, in 1902, for Vassar Students Aid Society in New York. She also wrote Evelyn: A Musical fairy Story (1908) and the pageant Sieur DuLhut (copy right 1916). The latter was performed in 1917 in Duluth to raise funds for the Red Cross. Additional titles are named in news articles but are not present in this collection; see folder two.

Stella Prince married Samuel Marston Stocker who became a Duluth physician, head of St. Luke's Hospital, a member of the State Board of Health, and served two terms on Duluth's Library Board. His office was at 13 West Superior Street downtown, and their home was at 1014 East 2nd Street.

Samuel Marston Stocker was born in Muscatine, Iowa, September 19, 1857, son of Samuel and Celesta Cabot (Patrick) Stocker. He was educated at the University of Michigan, graduating B. P. L., in 1880, and Medical Department, University of New York, 1885.  He and Stella Prince married at Jacksonville, Illinois May 20, 1885, and came to Duluth, Minnesota in the same year.

Stella and Samuel Marston Stocker had two children, daughter Clara, born May 9, 1886, and son Arthur, born in 1888. Arthur is known by newspaper clippings of him as a featured boy soprano in his mother's performances and lectures in New York City and Germany, 1900-1902. No other mention is made of him, and his death record has not been located; it is presumed that he died while still a boy. Clara was also a musician and performer who lived all of her adult life in Duluth.  See the related collection, Clara M. Stocker Papers, S3090.

Stella Prince Stocker died in Jacksonville, Florida on March 29, 1925.  An 8:00 p.m. concert was held in her memory on May 7, 1925, in Duluth's First Unitarian church sponsored by the Cecilian Society and Matinee Musicale to benefit the MacDowell Fund.

Her biography was included in the 1918 International Who's Who in Music, and in The Norton/Grove Dictionary of Women Composers, 1995.

Stella Prince Stocker was a Duluth musician, composer, and founder of the Duluth Cecilian Chorale Society.  She was born in Jacksonville, Illinois, April 3, 1858, graduated from the University of Michigan in 1880, and came to Duluth in 1885.  She began organizing the Cecilian Society in 1887.


5.00 Linear Inches

Language of Materials



The collection contains articles and music written by Stella Stocker, photographs, newspaper clippings, and two scrapbooks about her interests.

Physical Location

This collection is located at the University of Minnesota Duluth Archives. For more information about this collection or to make an appointment, contact us at or 218-726-8526.


This collection is part of the Northeast Minnesota Historical Collections, which are housed in the University of Minnesota Duluth Archives at the Kathryn A. Martin Library, and are on permanent loan from the St. Louis County Historical Society.

Guide to the Stella Prince Stocker papers
Finding Aid Authors: P. Maus.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University of Minnesota Duluth Archives and Special Collections Collecting Area

Kathryn A. Martin Library
University of Minnesota Duluth
416 Library Drive
Duluth MN 55812-3001
(218) 726-8526