Lawrence, Dorothea Dix
- Susan Feder
(b New York, NY, Sept 22, 1899; d Plainfield, NJ, May 23, 1979). American soprano and folklorist. She studied voice in New York with Cesare Stunai, Henry Russell, and Katherine Opdycke, and made her debut in 1929, as Gounod’s Marguerite, with the Quebec Opera Company, Montreal. During the 1930s, while continuing to sing opera in New York, Philadelphia, and elsewhere (her roles included Aida, Tosca, and Carmen), she became interested in American folk music and folklore and began collecting songs, particularly from residents of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey and the Zuni Indians of New Mexico, about both of which she lectured and wrote articles. Her recital programs (from 1937) ranged from Hopkinson and Billings to MacDowell, Farwell, and Gershwin (often performed from manuscript); she also sang Native American songs in original languages and folksongs from all over North America. A frequent performer on radio, she was the soloist on ...