Open for research; material must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use. Contact the Archive for assistance.
Materials documenting virtually every stage of Crooks' career, starting with newspaper clippings and programs apparently kept by his mother from his appearances as a boy-soprano in churches, at resort concerts and in vaudeville. Included are materials related to Crooks' high school classmate George Antheil. The collection contains photographs, programs, and other items for nearly every role Crooks undertook at the Metropolitan Opera and with other opera companies in the United States and abroad. There are also printed interviews and memorabilia from numerous concert tours and the years broadcasting "The Voice of Firestone" (1932-45), as well as sheet music. The collection contains letters from colleagues and friends from throughout his career and into retirement. Among these are a number of letters from Lauritz Melchior and his wife, Will and Ariel Durant, and single but important items from Faith Baldwin, Kirsten Flagstad, and Grace Moore. Also included are letters from musicians associated with various interests and charities which Richard and Mildred Crooks pursued in retirement and condolences sent to Mrs. Crooks after her husband's death. Rounding out the gift is Crooks' own record collection. This contains test pressings and privately recorded material. There are also "air checks" from radio broadcasts, including several duets with Bing Crosby.
Gift of Mildred Crooks, 1988-1989.
Related materials: videotape of presentation Richard Crooks gave at Stanford on December 2, 1971, is also located at the Archive of Recorded Sound.
Alexander Richard Crooks, tenor, was born in Trenton, N.J. on June 26, 1900. He toured widely, and sang with the Metropolitan Opera Company from 1933 to 1942. Crooks recorded extensively for the Victor record company, and was featured on several radio series from 1929 to 1945. He married his childhood friend Mildred Pine in 1921 and they had two children, Patricia and Richard, Jr. In retirement, the couple settled in Portola Valley. Richard Crooks died on September 30, 1972.