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August 28, 2010

Emma Diemer, College High, Warrensburg, Missouri Musician

Emma Lou Diemer A bio Bibliography, interesting reading

Emma Lou Diemer was born in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Gustavo Romero, brilliant concert pianist from Texas, came to visit recently. He astounded our piano with my Sonata No. 3 and sight-read at tempo my equally difficult Seven Etudes and Psalms for Piano. It is so good when artists perform the music of living composers (along with glorious music of the past). And the piano has been the first love for many a composer.  2017
Her father, George Willis Diemer, was an educator (college president of the University of Central Missouri); her mother, Myrtle Casebolt Diemer, was a church worker and homemaker. Her sister, Dorothy Diemer Hendry, was an educator, poet, writer (married to Col. Wickliffe B. Hendry; their children are Betty Augsburger, Terri Sims, Alan Hendry, Bonny Gierhart). Her brothers were George W. Diemer II, an educator, Marine fighter pilot, musician, and John Irving Diemer educator, musician (his children are George W. Diemer III, René Krey, Jack Diemer, Dee Dee Diemer).  Emma Lou played the piano and composed at a very early age and became organist in her church at age 13. Her great interest in composing music continued through College High School in Warrensburg, MO, and she majored in composition at the Yale Music School (BM, 1949; MM, 1950) and at the Eastman School of Music (Ph.D, 1960). She studied in Brussels, Belgium on a Fulbright Scholarship and spent two summers of composition study at the Berkshire Music Center.She taught in several colleges and was organist at several churches in the Kansas City area during the 1950s. From 1959-61 she was composer-in-residence in the Arlington, VA schools under the Ford Foundation Young Composers Project, and composed many choral and instrumental works for the schools, a number of which are still in publication. She was consultant for the MENC Contemporary Music Project before joining the faculty of the University of Maryland where she taught composition and theory from 1965-70. In 1971 she moved from the East Coast to teach composition and theory at the University of California, Santa Barbara. At UCSB she was instrumental in founding the electronic/computer music program. In 1991 she became Professor Emeritus at UCSB.  Through the years she has fulfilled many commissions (orchestral, chamber ensemble, keyboard, choral, vocal) from schools, churches, and professional organizations. Most of her works are published. She has received awards from Yale University (Certificate of Merit), The Eastman School of Music (Edward Benjamin Award), the National Endowment for the Arts (electronic music project), Mu Phi Epsilon (Certificate of Merit), the Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards (for piano concerto), the American Guild of Organists (Composer of the Year), the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers/ASCAP (annually since 1962 for performances and publications), the Santa Barbara Symphony (composer-in-residence, 1990-92), the University of Central Missouri (honorary doctorate), and many others. She is an active keyboard performer (piano, organ, harpsichord, synthesizer), and in the last few years has given concerts of her own music at Washington National Cathedral, St. Mary's Cathedral and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, and elsewhere. Emma Lou lives in Santa Barbara, California, five minutes from the Pacific ocean.

Last Known Activity

Myrtle Casebolt Diemer


SEPTEMBER 9. 1955. DR, DIEMER IS TO RETIRE WARRENSBURG COLLEGE PRESIDENCY TO BE GIVEN UP JUNE 1. In Addition to His Administrative Work for C. M. S. C. He Has Served on Foreign Missions and Other Groups. Dr. George IV. Diemer. Warrensburg, Mo., Sept. 8.— Dr. George W. Diemer, nationally and internationally known educator, disclosed to his faculty today his retirement as president of the Central Missouri State college, effective July 1. 1956. Coming here from the presidency of t Kansas City Teachers college in 1937, Dr. Diemer has found time, in addition to his executive duties here, to serve on five recent educational missions abroad, as well as on dozens of national regional, state and local educational and civic projects. The college he now heads, and its educational offerings have been expanded under his administration to have the largest student body and faculty in its 84-year history. Delivering the last of a series of addresses at the 3-day faculty plan day sessions, Dr. Diemer said : "Please understand that I am not retiring from work nor from needed services. I shall, however. be relieved from active duty as president of the college and as a member of the college staff. “The last eighteen years have been tremendous in the history of the world; of America, and hence of this college Problems have been complex and multitudinous, and sometimes it has been difficult to be optimistic and to keep your faith in the future.” Dr. Diemer reiterated his prediction that by 1965 the C. M. S. C. enrollment probably will double, to somewhere between 3.500 or 4.000 students. Reviewing his days as president of the teachers college in Kansas City, Dr. Diemer said I was happy in what I was doing in Kansas City, . . . but a group of school men there obtained for me an invitation to the regents. The board accepted my principle of college administration, and I was appointed as president here June 19. 1937. ”  President and Mrs. Diemer entertained the faculty at a dinner tonight, and expect to greet incoming freshmen at a reception Sunday afternoon. Dr. Diemer will address the beginning class at an opening freshman orientation convocation in Hendricks Hall tomorrow. Dr. and Mrs. Diemer will receive the student body, faculty and guests at a reception to be held next Thursday at the residence.

23 Jan 2015
To the Editor,
The UCM Board of Governors has apparently decided not to renovate and preserve the President’s home, Selmo Park, a Missouri Historic Site since 1962, and an important and beautiful residence of which the town and university were proud for many years. Of course for me, who lived there for nineteen years, it is/was a treasured place. My parents and grandmother and brothers and sister rejoiced in its stateliness and space and surroundings, and felt privileged to call it home.
When I was nine, my father became president of then-CMSTC, and the enchantment of living at 518 South Holden began. My parents entertained the entire student body for many a reception and gathering, greeting hundreds of young people at the door, guiding them to refreshments in the dining room to the accompaniment of music played by faculty musicians. Over the years countless visitors came to the historic home, welcomed by my mother for tours of all the rooms. To many a starry-eyed youngster and many an out-of-town and local visitor it must have seemed like a mansion. It did to us.
At that time, before the building of Yeater Hall, there were wheat fields to the south, and I could see the moon from my bedroom window and smell the honeysuckle in the night air. The old house creaked sometimes at night—ghosts of past dwellers?—but we were safe within the thick and sturdy walls.
The structural renovation of 1950 was extensive, and is detailed on the Selmo Park website along with the fascinating history of the house and property. I believe the improvements were done for the sum of about $75,000, a substantial sum at that time. ($75,000 of 2014 dollars would be worth $7,650.00 in 1950). In today’s dollars the re-building necessary now surely would have been worth it. Schools do it, churches do it, government buildings do it, most universities do it; there is a desire among citizens and boards to preserve and protect what belongs to the people.
Over the years all the college/university presidents and especially their wives spent countless hours planning and seeing the result of the beautifying and decorating, the enhancing of the College Residence, time spent for the comfort and pleasure of young people who visited and dignitaries who stayed there. I can remember Dale Carnegie, various governors, visiting authors, artists, musicians, scholars, officials of the college, meetings of the then-Board of Regents. Of course the campus has many accommodations for this, but one remembers the president’s home with quite a bit more pleasure than an office or conference room.
My thoughts are not only sentimental ones—with warm memories of family life and of the pleasure that students and visitors expressed in being there—but they also echo the desire of those who wish to preserve historical places where important people have lived and are living. The future of the college, now a university, is in the hands of the principal occupant of the College Residence, the president, and the quiet strength of the old house, Selmo Park, must have inspired each new president as it did earlier ones. That inspiration is evidently no longer wanted.
Yes, in the future it may be a lovely, spacious green place for people to gather, but the house will be gone, and with it the memory of its dignity and pride in its beauty for generations of people young and old alike.
Dr. Emma Lou Diemer
Professor Emeritus,
University of California

Selmo Park

Selmo Park, the president's residence and reception center at University of Central Missouri, has a rich and proud history.
The gracious post-Civil War mansion was built in 1866 by Edmond A. Nickerson, a well-known attorney of western Missouri and one of the original signers of the 1875 Missouri Constitution. Because of Nickerson's prominence in the state, many of the nation's greats shared the gracious hospitality offered by the Nickerson family.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, August 31, 1832, Edmond Augustus Nickerson came to Missouri in 1857 and settled in the Franklin County town of Union where he practiced law. He was commonly referred to as Major Nickerson, although he never served in an army. A young man in his 20s, he and his bride the former Hulda Tyler of St. Louis county, moved to Warrensburg soon after they were married in 1866. He bought a wooded 20-acre tract more than a mile south of the then business portion of town. Nickerson located the site for his mansion near the center of his property, in the midst of virgin forest, which at the time was one mile from town . He delayed bringing his wife and three young daughters to the new home until 1869 due to "civil chaos" in Warrensburg following the Civil War. Solid and ageless, the big square built post-bellum brick house was constructed in the Italianate style characteristic of the homes of dignity and chaste simplicity of earlier days, with 18-inch brick walls, high ceilings, a grate in each room, white trim and polished walnut finish, appropriate furnishings, oil paintings of distinguished forebearers and an air of dignity and worth. The brick came from a St. Louis foundry and was shipped up the Missouri River by paddle boat to Lexington, where it was hauled over rough country roads and through the woods to the site of the new home.
Mr. and Mrs. Nickerson loved the outdoors, and they took pride in their new home. They planted all kinds of trees that would thrive in this climate among the big forest trees already on the spacious grounds. The Nickersons had an orchard containing different kinds of fruit, and a vineyard with thirty varieties of grapes in the park. Southwest of the house was a white picket fence that surrounded an acre vegetable garden, which included a rose garden maintained by Nickerson and his granddaughter. A graceful circular driveway was built in front of the house, which was often lined with the decorative carriages of the Nickerson's many visitors. Later, it was removed because of the dust and fumes from automobiles, and today a paved drive entering and exiting on Holden Street circles the house. The original driveway was laid out by the civil engineer who surveyed the first railroad across Missouri. He was assisted by Louis Nickerson, a brother to Edmond.
Five years after the house was built, the state located the then Second District Normal School on an adjacent 16-acre tract, and it served as a magnet to draw the growth of the city in that direction. That growth took the north five acres of Nickerson's land. Reverend James Henry Houx, the famous pioneer Cumberland Presbyterian minister, obtained the south five acres and resided on that property. The remaining 10 acres constituted Selmo Park, which Nickerson named for the former slave to whom Nickerson owed his life and freedom.
Missouri was a divided state during the Civil War, with Warrensburg residents having sympathy for both the North and South. During the war, Nickerson was disbarred for speaking out for the Southern cause, and on August 16, 1861, he and three other residents were imprisoned in the Gratiot Street Prison in St. Louis, near the levy of the Mississippi River where he remained in custody for three years. In those days, prisoners were not given food. The families were responsible for feeding their jailed relatives. Hulda lived with her family, while Edmond was in jail. The newly emancipated slave, Selmo, went daily to the old prison by the levy with a basket of food for Nickerson, and later aided Nickerson in his escape from prison.
Elizabeth Tyler Nickerson, one of the Nickersons' four daughters, was a mathematics teacher at Normal School Number Two from 1890 to 1915, and she inspired her parents to stage annual receptions honoring summer students and faculty for many years. In 1962, the large red brick residence hall northwest of the house was named for her.
Nickerson, more commonly referred to in his later years as Judge Nickerson, died April 21, 1920, and was buried in St. Louis. Six and one-half years later, on November 4, 1926, the Board of Regents of then Central Missouri State Teachers College used $35,000 from local funds to purchase "West Campus", a 19-acre block of land located two blocks west of the quadrangle. On the southern end of the property stood Selmo Park. Land north of the home was later developed with additional tracts into west field, renamed Vernon Kennedy Field in 1954. The remaining acreage became the grounds that surround the Selmo Park mansion today and the site for residence halls on the south and west.
Within a short period of time, the 60-year-old structure was renovated and made the home of the president. Several additions were made to the structure at this time including the addition of the south sun room, a half bath, dining room, upstairs master bedroom, office and closets. Wrought iron work replaced wood on all the porches. The mansion has served as the official residence for University presidents and their families. Residents have included President E. L. Hendricks and his wife, Frances Viola, 1926-1937; President George W. Diemer, his wife Myrtle, and their children, Dorothy, twins George Jr. and John, and Emma Lou, 1937 to 1956; President Warren C. Lovinger, his wife, Dorothy, and their children, Patricia (Patsy), Jeanne and Warren (Bud) Jr., 1956-1979; President James M. Horner, his wife Evelyn, and their children, Steven and Karen, 1979-1985; President Ed Elliott, his wife, Sandra, and their sons Glenn, Gregg and Grant, 1985 to 1999; and President Bobby R. Patton and his wife, Eleanor, 1999 to 2005, President Aaron M. Podolefsky and his wife, Ronnie, 2005 to 2010, and President Charles Ambrose, his wife, Kris, their son, Charlie and daughter, Kathryn, 2010 to present.
The Diemers had the stately house partially rebuilt in 1951, when it was discovered that some floors, the roof and much of the bracing needed to be replaced. The renovation was extensive as ceilings were lowered, indirect lighting was added in the dining room, fireplaces were made gas and the tile on all fireplaces--except in the den-- was changed.
White shutters were added and the original wooden porch floors were replaced with eight-and-one-half-inch bricks that were used in the crosswalks of the old Normal School. During the renovation, Mrs. Diemer requested a large porch be built at the back of the house, and it remains part of the structure today. Red Belgian glass replaced the old ruby glass beside the wide front door. All of the hardwood floors in the house were retained, and some of the more traveled areas of the hallway and study were replaced by parquet. The dining room floor was meticulously hand laid with black walnut and dark oak by a cabinet maker.
The front entrance to the rambling 14-room house is through a hall flanked on the right by a narrow stairway. On the landing stands a grandfather clock. To the left of the hallway is a formal sitting room. It, and the majority of the large rooms on the main floor, are decorated in soft colors. Also located on the ground floor are the music room, library, and the old sun porch which extends from the main body of the house on the south side. It has been divided into two rooms, a solarium and a powder room.
The guest bedroom fireplace was closed to allow for a 10-foot walnut headboard. Of the five remaining colonial fireplace mantles in the house, three are supported by colored ceramic tiles. In the library, Selmo Park's only working fireplace is surrounded by its original green tile with pictures around which depict the story of the stag leading off the hounds to protect the doe and fawn. Other fireplaces in the music room and the parlor have hand-painted ceramic Dutch tiles selected by Mrs. Diemer.
Upstairs, a hall runs the entire length of the house, and at the far end is a small study. The rest of the second floor consists of four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Doors from the old-fashioned wardrobes that were originally in the house have been mounted as doors for the closets. With carved lines and moldings in cherry and walnut, they are a striking contrast to the rest of the furnishings. The original painted china wash basin set in marble in the north bathroom has been saved to be used in the guest bath downstairs when it is renovated.
Jessie Hart of Kansas City, then a member of the Board of Regents, was chairman of the committee to direct the decoration of the college residence following the 1951 renovation. James C. Kirkpatrick, then secretary to Governor Forest Smith and president of the Board, and later named the university's first Distinguished University Fellow after serving 20 years as Missouri's Secretary of State, assisted Mrs. Hart. Their work is still quite evident.
The long library table in the downstairs front hallway was donated to the university by President and Mrs. Diemer in 1956. A beautiful walnut bed, which is in the upstairs north bedroom, was given to the university by Lucille Morgan. Miss Morgan, a nurse, was on campus from 1938 to 1952. Clark Hall, a retired university cabinet maker, restored the bed to its present, beautiful condition. It is believed that the bed was brought from England more than 150 years ago. A pier table and mirror, in the upstairs back hallway, was donated to the University by Laura Yeater, a Latin teacher on campus from 1900 to 1914. In addition, an 1860's jeweler's clock, originally donated to Yeater Hall by Miss Yeater, has been moved to Selmo Park.
Today, thanks to Mrs. Elliott's efforts, and in cooperation with the Department of Art, a number of paintings donated to the University's permanent art collection help decorate Selmo Park. They join the painting hanging on the south wall of the music room which shows how the home looked in 1935. Lillian Weyl of Indianapolis, Indiana, painted that oil for President and Mrs. Hendricks, and it was presented to the university in 1958.
During the late 1980's decorative and functional outdoor lighting was installed around the drive near the house and three white flagpoles were added to the north edge of the front lawn to display the Stars and Stripes, the Missouri flag and the university flag. New copper and terned tin flat roofs and English-style, slate-bend concrete tile elevated roofs, in keeping with the architecture and history of the house, were also added in 1987. Selmo Park's west lawn contains tall wrought iron gates that were originally parts of the stalls in the old Nickerson barn. Also cherished are two old stone mounting blocks, one of which is located near the north drive.
The endless stream of student tours, receptions, luncheons and dinners at Selmo Park help the university's chief executive officer build relationships that contribute to fulfilling the mission of the university and enhance the effectiveness of its president.
Selmo Park has been listed as a Missouri Historic Site since 1962.

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