Jean Stor Papers

Institution: Columbia College Chicago - Center for Black Music Research
618 South Michigan
Chicago, Illinois 60605
Phone: (312) 369-7586
Date: 1920-1950
Extent: 25.45 Linear Feet
Finding Aid: None

Biographical/Historical Note:
Jean Stor was the pseudonym for William Astor Morgan, a composer, choral conductor, and playwright impresario who worked mainly in New York City beginning in the early 1920s. Stor’s musical career began in the church, and throughout his life he often served as a church organist and choir director. He studied music in college in addition to directing performing groups, and his military service was spent as a band member and chorus director. From 1920 to 1925 he ran his own music publishing business, Arrow Music Publishing. Subsequently he became director of the classical department for Clarence Williams’s publishing house. From 1929-1931 Stor headed the music department at Selden Institute in Brunswick, Georgia. While there he was able to collect and arrange Negro spirituals. He returned to New York and founded the Jean Story Symphony Choir, which performed on various radio stations. During the 1930s he also ran the Nile Little Theater, which performed original plays, and worked as an arranger for Handy Brothers Publishing. In July of 1942 Stor’s First Suite for Strings was performed at Lewisohn Stadium in New York by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Dean Dixon. That composition and his Second Suite for Strings were also performed on the radio. In 1947 he composed incidental music for a production of Rain by the American Negro Theater, but according to the New York Times, the music was not performed because of budgetary problems. Little is known about Stor’s later life. Around 1960 he was befriended by music publisher Joseph Lewis, who took possession of Stor’s scores after his death and donated them to the Center for Black Music Research in 2001.

Scope and Content Note:
The collection includes original compositions, short stories, and plays.

Related Material: None