December 31, 2013
2014 Is Here — With It, Cornish’s Centennial Year
: Nellie Cornish. Courtesy of Cornish College of the Arts.
Centennial Watch: 100 years ago today, a beaten Nellie Cornish was in Alturas, Calif., pondering her next move: before the year was out, she had founded a new school.
Happy Old Year! January 1, 1914, found music teacher Nellie C. Cornish in tiny, out-of-the-way Alturas, Calif., at her father’s home. She had arrived for the holidays and was at an all-time low, struggling to get over a disappointment in love. Incredibly, a little over nine months later, on November 14, 1914, Nellie Cornish would be back in the Northwest founding the Cornish School of Music, precursor to the Cornish School and the present College.
The official Cornish centennial year begins on November 14, 2014; get the whole story of Nellie Cornish and the institution that bears her name on the Cornish website.
Nothing seemed to be working for Nellie that year, plan-wise: not romance, not teaching and not even travel. At the close of 1913, at Christmas, Nellie and her father began planning a recuperative trip to Europe for the upcoming summer. “I wanted to see Germany,” Cornish wrote in her autobiography, Miss Aunt Nellie, “I knew that the great centers of musical education were there.” Only someone with epically bad luck would have planned a trip to Europe for August of 1914. For those who require a historical pick-me-up, that’s the month World War I hit full stride. Fans of Cornish can count themselves lucky that the Imperial German Army chose August to go slashing through Belgium on its way towards Paris. Had Nellie been able to make that European trip, she may well have gone ahead with a planned move to New York, with the great likelihood that there would never have been a Cornish College of the Arts.
The “Great War” was one challenge Nellie faced, but was not the only one by a long shot. Follow the centennial story with us all 2014 and into 2015.
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