Ellen Ballon fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Ellen Ballon fonds

General material designation

  • Graphic material
  • Multiple media
  • Textual record

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Physical description area

Physical description

90 cm of textual records and graphic material. - -- ca. 50 photographs.

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Ellen Ballon was born in Montreal on October 6, 1898 of Jewish Lithuanian immigrant parents. She started taking piano lessons at an early age, beginning her studies at the Conservatorium at McGill under Clara Lichtenstein, a former student of Liszt, in March 1904. She gave her first concert appearance at the age of five. In 1906 she moved to New York to study piano with Rafael Joseffy and harmony with Rubin Goldmark. She performed for Sir Wilfred and Lady Laurier in New York (1909) and made her New York debut in 1910.

In 1914 she moved to Switzerland to study with Josef Hofmann, but wartime conditions forced her return to New York in 1916. She performed as a concert pianist throughout these years, and became a pupil of Wilhelm Backhaus in 1925. Ellen Ballon toured Europe in 1927, and upon her return to Canada, established a scholarship in music at McGill University. She toured Canada in 1928, and in 1934 returned to England to live. Her career suffered a fallback in 1938 when she broke her right ankle getting out of a taxicab. Two years later her leg had healed sufficiently that she could resume concert performances, so she recommenced her career and moved to New York City.

In 1942, both of Ellen Ballon's parents died, and she began to participate actively in war efforts. In 1945 she commissioned a concerto from the Brazilian composer, Heitor Villa-Lobos and performed the world, American and Canadian premiers of this work in 1945, 1946, and 1947, respectively. Ellen Ballon was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Music by McGill University in 1954. She married Colonel Theodore LaFleur Bullock of Quebec in 1958 and died in Montreal in 1969.

Custodial history

This collection was obtained from Colonel Bullock, Ellen Ballon's widower. Ellen Ballon's niece and nephew, the Goldblooms, aided in sorting through the collection before its accession in 1971.

Scope and content

This collection contains correspondence, musical scores (piano and orchestral), photographs, a sketch, harmony notebooks, fliers, programs, newspaper clippings, academic journals, a press book, and letters of composers. The musical scores include several first edition copies and/or autographed copies. Please note that all personal correspondence is incoming correspondence; no outgoing correspondence is included in this collection.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


The arrangement structure is based on the types of materials.

The musical scores may be accompanied by non-musical material such as performance guidelines or instructions. This series is composed of a collection of scores used but not produced or composed by Ellen Ballon. A possible singular exception is the Concerto by Heitor Villa-Lobos, in which she played a small role in its creation.

The scholastic records series also contains certificates from McGill regarding the Honorary Degree and scholarship fund.

For materials originally filed together but separated under this new arrangement structure, appropriate cross-references are made in the file-level descriptions in the finding aid.

Programs originally filed separately were kept as such; other programs originally filed together were kept together and labeled 'miscellaneous.'

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

All files are open.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Materials do not circulate and must be used in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room. Materials may be under copyright. Contact departmental staff for guidance on reproduction.

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No further accruals are expected.

General note

Preferred citation: [Identification of item], Ellen Ballon fonds, MS-5-2, Box [box number], Folder [folder number], Dalhousie University Archives and Special Collections, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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This fonds description comes from the Dalhousie University Archives Catalog. The complete, original description is available there.

Accession area