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George L. Trombley Collection

Identifier: RH-A-3694

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of sheet music of four songs composed by George L. Trombley (1883-1963) from 1912-1917 as well as a brochure for the Kalamazoo Conservatory of Music and Associated Arts from 1925 or 1926.


  • Creation: 1912-1917
  • Creation: 1925-1926


Biographical / Historical

George “Lem” Trombley was born in 1883 in Saginaw, Michigan. Trombley and his wife, Maude (born 1883- ), moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1905 where he worked as a jeweler and watchmaker. It was not long before he was playing the trumpet for one of the most popular dance bands in the area, Salomon’s Band, while also substituting in other bands. As he was playing with Salomon’s Band, many of Trombley’s compositions were published and performed by other local bands.

The collection includes, “Under the Summer Moon,” (1916), “I Left My Heart In Ireland” (1916), “Sunshine and Sorrows” (1917), and one of his more popular hits, “The Story of a Rose” (1912) that had 15,000 copies sold and were 4,000 in Kalamazoo alone. He and his wife also had two sons, Winfield (born 1911) and Vincent (born 1913), during this time.

Trombley, in 1910, ended his jewelry and watchmaking career and began teaching music out of his home at 130 Arcadia Court and continued in his new home at 113 Den Bleyker Place in 1911. From 1915 to 1925, he moves his music lessons to a room in the McNair Building in the 320-28 block on S. Burdick before establishing the Kalamazoo Conservatory of Music and Associated Arts in 1926. The Conservatory occupied the third floor of the Home and Savings Bank Building at 129 W. Main and contained seven studios and recital hall that seated 150. There were fifteen experienced instructors that offered lessons in piano, organ, voice, violin, viola, cello, bass, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, saxophone, harmony, composition, dancing, and dramatic art. He also started a Young Orchestra of 52 members around 1926.

In 1926, Trombley left Kalamazoo for Santa Rosa, California when his wife had become ill. While in Santa Rosa, he founded the Santa Rosa Orchestra in 1927 where he conducted 179 concerts over 29 years before retiring in 1957. Trombley died on December 30, 1963 in Santa Rosa, California.


.05 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Physical Description

The collection amounts to 0.05 cubic feet and is composed of sheet music for four different songs from 1912 to 1917. Also contains an information brochure for the Kalamazoo Conservatory of Music and Associated Arts from 1925 or 1926. The contents range in size from 7 ½" x 4 ¼" to 14” x 11”.

The sheet music is in good condition with slightly worn and torn edges. “Under the Summer Moon” (1916) is missing its cover and has black print on cream colored paper, the left edges of both sheets are taped while also taped together, the second page’s music is cut off on the top and down the right side. “I Left My Heart in Ireland” (1916) has a green cover with the image of young lady wearing a hat in a heart with two clovers on each side and the music is printed in black on cream colored paper. The dark green sheet cover of “Sunshine and Sorrows” (1917) has a three pained window of outdoor images with the center being sunny and the two outside being dark is more worn with bent and torn corners and ‘29’ written in pencil in the top left corner. The sheet music is in black print on cream colored paper with slightly discolored corners and outside edges and various pencil marks on the bars of music. “The Story of a Rose” (1912) sheet cover has the side profile image of a beautiful young lady facing left with her hair up with a rose that has the side profile of a woman’s face facing right all in different shades of dark maroon. All four corners are slightly worn and has pencil markings on the top right corner. The sheet music is black print on cream paper with worn corners and a crease on the bottom left.

The information brochure is folded in three sections, printed in black and white and is in very good condition.

Genre / Form

George L. Trombley Collection Finding Aid
Claire Ranly
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490