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March 4, 1999

Hodges curatorship established

Hodges curatorship established

As a tribute to the person who helped assemble the Foster Hall Collection, Pitt has established the Fletcher Hodges Jr. Curatorship at the Center for American Music.

In 1931, Hodges and Josiah Kirby Lilly, began building a vast collection of Stephen Foster's original music, letters, notes, books and periodicals, art works, sound recordings and mementos.

The holdings were formally presented to Pitt in 1937, at which time Hodges became founding curator. He remained curator until his retirement in 1982. The collection is now part of Pitt's Center for American Music, which is housed in the Stephen Foster Memorial.

Hodges researched and wrote about Foster for three decades and provided extensive background material for "Swanee River," a 1939 motion picture based on the life of Foster.

He was instrumental in the U.S. Mint coining a Stephen Foster half-dollar in 1936, the issuance of a 1-cent Foster stamp in 1940, the development of Stephen Foster Memorial State Park in White Springs, Florida, in 1950 and the election of Foster to the Hall of Fame of Great Americans.

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