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Ella Scoble Opperman Collection

Collection Overview

  • 11 boxes of photographs, memorabilia, and ephemera
  • 1 box of legal documents and correspondence from the executor of Opperman’s estate
  • 1 folder of family letters, etc.


  • Content summary
  • Ella Scoble Opperman Papers at FSU Special Collections & Archives

Ella Scoble Opperman (1873-1969) was the first director of the School of Music at the Florida State College for Women from 1911, and its first dean from 1920 until her retirement in 1944; the FSCW became Florida State University in 1947.

Opperman was an accomplished pianist and organist and served also as a vocal coach. She held degrees from Wesleyan College in Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music; additionally, she studied piano privately in Berlin with Ernest Jedliczka and in Paris with Moritz Moszkowski. Her organ teachers included Alexandre Guilmant in Paris and Harold Gleason at the Eastman School of Music.

As an administrator, Opperman established courses leading to the first degree programs at the School of Music, and she requested an expansion of the Italian language program for the benefit of music students. Under her leadership, the FSCW School of Music became the first state school in the South to be accepted into the National Association of Schools of Music in 1930. From 1923 until her retirement she served as chair of the university committee overseeing the Artist Series, which included musical and theatrical performances, art exhibitions, and eventually lectures. She was active in a number of national organizations; she presented at the southern conference of MENC, and served as a member of the executive committee and as assistant secretary of the Music Teachers’ National Association. The Cincinnati Conservatory awarded her an honorary Doctor of Pedagogy degree in 1943.

The Opperman Collection was a donation of Owen Sellers, cellist, former associate dean of the School of Music, and executor of Opperman’s estate. It consists of twelve boxes and one folder. Its contents include photographs, newspaper clippings, grades and personal notes about students, financial records, a few letters and postcards, assorted memorabilia and regalia (including her baby dress), and numerous concert programs.

For more information, please contact our Special Collections staff.