Don Dumler Collection
A small collection of Don Dumler's programs, photographs, promotional materials from St. Patrick's Cathedral, and a jacket.
Language of Materials
2.00 cubic feet
Biographical / Historical
Don Dumler was a lifetime lover of music and especially the organ. He lived from 1938 to 2016. As a student at the University of Oklahoma, he participated in the Pride of Oklahoma marching band. While at the school he also studied under celebrated organist, Mildred Andrews. After his college career, he went on to become the Principal Organist at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. He remained in his position at St. Patrick's for over forty years, becoming known for his annual Three Organists Spectacular. He also played the funerals of firemen who died in the September 11 attacks in 2001.
Collection Historical Note Donald Dumler was born on November 26, 1938 in Okeene, Oklahoma and spent his formative years between Okeene and Norman, OK. Donald displayed extraordinary musical ability from an early age. He had memories of sitting down to play his parents' small Wurlitzer at home before he had any knowledge of how to read music. As a child, Dumler frequently played for Okeene's annual rattlesnake hunt and played Christmas music at Newman's department store in Enid. As a child, Dumler idolized Ken Wright, a radio organist for the famous WKY studio. Donald was also famously interviewed on Prissy Thomas' "Guest Room" show that aired on WKY's TV station. In high school, Donald began taking formal organ lessons in Oklahoma City with Curtis Chambers. Dumler did not seriously study music until he became a student at the University of Oklahoma in 1957. Donald studied organ with Mildred Andrews Boggess, the most well known organ teacher in the state of Oklahoma at the time. As a student at OU, in addition to playing the organ, Don also played the clarinet in the Pride marching band and served as the organist at First Baptist Church in Norman. During his time at OU, Donald began to dream of becoming a student at the Julliard School of Music. This dream became a reality in 1963 and he graduated from Julliard in 1967. After graduating Julliard, Donald entered the performance sphere, performing in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., the Gallery of Modern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Lincoln Center Philharmonic Hall in New York City. In 1970, Dumler's manager asked if he would like to audition for the position as assistant organist at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. Donald auditioned and was appointed associate organist in 1970. He held this position until 1990 and then assumed the position of principal organist and held this position until 2014. After a long life of music, performance, and church services, Donald passed away on March 20, 2016.
Arrangement of Materials:
There was no obvious order to the materials when donated, so they were documented and housed in the order in which they were found in the boxes.
In March 2019, Assistant Archivist Jennifer Sara Whyatt reprocessed the Don Dumler collection. This reprocessing included updating the unit identifiers to better reflect the contents of the collection. It also allows for future expansion of a detailed inventory for ease of patron access. This reprocessing reflects the desire and aim of the American Organ Institute Archives and Library to follow current archival standards.
- Guide to the Don Dumler Collection AOIAL.AOIC.RG0005
- March 2nd, 2017: Revision by Bailey Hoffner, March 2nd, 2017. Folder structure revised, materials consolidated.