Journal “Czech Music” Volume 11 (Abstract)
Dvořák’s American Ordeal: Part One
by John Clapham
[Czech Music: Journal of the Dvořák Society, Vol. 11, No. 1(1985), pp. 10 – 12 and 18]
Dvořák’s American experience was clouded by serious financial problems. Before the end of his first year in the United States, payments to his account from his sponsor, Jeannette M. Thurber, became irregular and delayed. The Thurbers had lived with six years of severe economic downturn in the United States which made their own financial situation precarious. Mrs. Thurber made a number of excuses for delayed or reduced payments. Though Dvořák was long-suffering, he was forced to complain. While promises of future payment were made, there was further default and the composer found himself during 1894 in great difficulties in maintaining his family in New York.
Dvořák’s American Ordeal: Part Two
by John Clapham
[Czech Music: Journal of the Dvořák Society, Vol. 11, No. 2 (1985), pp. 9 – 1]
Mrs. Thurber was, however, keen to renew Dvořák’s services for a further two years. He made it clear that he would not agree unless her substantial debts to him were settled. His plan to use American revenues to sustain him in his old age had vanished. Agreement was finally reached for an extension of his contract from 1894. But Mrs. Thurber further prevaricated by not making up the outstanding amounts she owed before he left again for the United States. Despite his reservations and threats not to sail he finally decided to return. While he was then more regularly paid, Mrs. Thurber was unable to wipe out her debt to him by the end of his third year in New York. He sent her a tactful resignation letter after returning to Prague in 1895.