Source: NMHS Newsletter, November 1986

Grace Von Studiford Opera Star

Grace Von Studiford was a North Manchester girl who made a national name for herself in the early 1900's. She was an opera star who performed in Chicago, New York, and other major cities in the United States and Canada.

Mrs. Von Studiford was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Quivey of North Manchester. The Quiveys were part owners of a general merchandise store which operated here for several years. The Quiveys had five children who were Maude, Ralph, Grace, Claude, and Mary.

The children apparently inherited musical abilities from their parents. Mrs. Quivey sang in area churches and Mr. Quivey played violin although neither ever were professional musicians.

Little is known of the sons but the three girls stayed with music all of their lives. Grace became the best known and she starred in light opera including "The Merry Widow" and "Red Feather." She eventually married a horse trader and settled in St. Louis.

Maude received musical training at the Conservatory of Music in Chicago. She played in the Thomas Orchestra which today is known as the Chicago Symphony. She later played organ and piano in the local Methodist Church and the organ there was inscribed with her name.

Source: North Manchester Journal, April 3, 1902

Mrs. VanStuddiford in Town

Visitors in the city a couple of days last week were Mr. and Mrs. Charles VanStuddiford at the home of her parents, R.E. Quivey and wife. Mrs. VanStuddiford, as all our readers are aware, is the prima donna of the Bostonian opera company and has made a very decided success in her work the past winter. She secured a vacation during Holy week to visit St. Louis where they are building a fine residence, to inspect the work, and stopped off here on her way back to New York to rejoin the company. Mrs. VanStuddiford was looking extremely well during her visit here and has enjoyed the best of health all season. She has contracted with the Bostonians for next season at the highest salary paid any light opera singer in the country today, together with many special privileges and advantages not usually granted. The company will close its season in about four weeks.

Source: North Manchester Journal, June 22, 1905

Mrs. Grace Van Studdiford closed her opera season at St. Paul last Saturday night and at once went to her home in St. Louis. She is expected here for a visit with her parents in a few weeks.

Source: North Manchester Journal, November 11, 1909

Miss Mary Quivey was here with her parents, R.E. Quivey and wife, a few days last week, and went from here to Anderson where she joined her sister, Mrs. Grace Van Studdiford, and will continue with her in the Golden Butterfly company.

Source: NMHS Newsletter Aug 2000

Grace Quivey Von Studiford

Grace Quivey who became Mrs. Von Studiford was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Quivey of North Manchester. The Quiveys were part owners of a general merchandise store in North Manchester. Their five children were Maude, Ralph, Grace, Claude, and Mary. The three daughters of the family were involved with music during most of their lives. Maude attended the Conservatory of Music in Chicago and played in the Thomas orchestra which became known as the Chicago Symphony. She then played organ and piano in the local Methodist Church.

Grace was the one known nationally. In the early 1900s she starred in operas in Chicago, New York and other major cities in the United States and Canada. Notes about her appearances and at least one feature article about her appeared in the New York Times. The following was in the News Journal in 1900:

Retires From the Stage

Mrs Grace Quivey VanStuddiford Said to Have Resigned from the DeAngelis Opera

The following which is taken from Monday's Chicago Record, will be of interest to many people in this city.

Mrs. Grace Van Studdiford has surrendered her position as prima donna of the Jefferson DeAngelis Opera company, which served to restore her to professional notice at the beginning of the season, after the retirement consequent upon her marriage. She is doubtless better remembered as Grace Quivey, one of a number of beautiful young women who, with Miss VanDresser and Miss Methot, began their musical careers in Chicago, and have attracted much attention within a wonderfully short period.

At the time of Mrs. VanStuddiford's marriage it was said her husband was a very wealthy and aristocratic young man. However, her retirement was brief, and last fall she announced that she would go back to the stage in order to improve her husband's financial condition. The re-entrance upon her interrupted career has not been without its storms. Last week when the DeAngelis company was playing in St. Louis her home town, Mr. DeAngelis' rule forbidding flowers to be handed over the footlights interfered with her and happiness and she resigned.

Grace Studdiford returned to North Manchester not long after her resignation. She lived with Maude in a house on North Mill (later purchased by the Hardmans) and soon was giving voice lessons to students who were pleased to have lessons from such a well-known person. Nothing further is known about her husband but it is believed that he had mis-represented himself and was not the wealthy person he was thought to be. Mrs. Liegh Freed is one of those who remembers going to the house each week for a lesson.  
Page Twelve

Source: North Manchester Journal, September 16, 1909

The Van Studdiford Divorce--Charles Van Studdiford's failure to enter appearance in the divorce suit brought against him at St. Louis two weeks ago by Grace Van Studdiford, the comic opera star, has made necessary the continuance of the suit until the September term of court. Being informed that she could not obtain her decree immediately Mrs. Van Studdiford left St. Louis for New York, where she will prepare for the coming season on the stage.

Source: North Manchester Journal, September 23, 1909

Will fight Divorce--The husband of Grace Van Studdiford, who filed a case for divorce a few weeks ago in St. Louis, is not going to let her have things her own way, according to a dispatch from St. Louis. Van Studdiford has filed a cross complaint in which he denies that he has deserted his wife or mistreated her in any respect. He says further that he believes she intends to marry another man who resides in St. Louis if she is divorced. He intimates that she has not done her duty toward him or shown him the respect and affection expected. Van Studdiford belongs to an old pioneer family of St. Louis and was once wealthy. He lost his fortune and is now a traveling salesman for a coffee house.

Source: North Manchester Journal, November 11, 1909

Divorce was Granted--In the courts at St. Louis Monday Mrs. Grace Van Studdiford was granted a divorce from Charles Van Studdiford on account of desertion and non support. The evidence in the case was heard sometime ago, but the judge took it under advisement, and did not render decision until Monday.

Source: North Manchester Journal, October 14, 1909

To Hear Mrs. VanStuddiford--On account of the appearance of Miss Grace Van Studdiford in the "Golden Butterfly," at Marion Thursday evening the Big Four will run a special train leaving here at 6:30 Thursday evening, and returning after the show is over. The fare for the round trip will be $1.40.

Source: North Manchester Journal, October 21, 1909

Grace VanStuddiford will appear at the Indiana theatre at Marion Thursday evening of this week in her opera "The Golden Butterfly." It is likely a number of people from this city will attend as the opportunity of seeing her on the stage is probably as good as people here will ever have.

Source: North Manchester Journal, September 22, 1910

Mrs. Grace VanStuddiford Lost Money With Her Own Opera Company.

Information from the east is in effect that Mrs. Grace VanStuddiford has filed a voluntary petition in bankruptcy. She gives her liabilities as $20,901.10 with assets of $10, that sum being deposited with the Hudson Trust company at New York. The petition is filed in New York. Her statement shows that she owes John W. Thompson of St. Louis $16,000, secured by a mortgage on two acres of land, buildings and live stock, located in St. Louis county, worth $30,000, and ninety-eight shares of the common stock of the Grace Van Studdiford Amusement company; Reginald DeKoven, $850.25 balance of royalties due on "The Golden Butterfly," and Charles Bradley of Wantaugh, L.I. $420 salary as business manager.

Her financial difficulties seem to have come about since she has been managing her own company. While a success as a singer, always drawing a good salary herself, and attracting good business to the shows she was with, yet it appears that the management and work with the company was more than she could stand, and the financial difficulties were the result. She has never had any trouble getting the best of positions with the best of companies, and will probably continue in the profession with some one of the larger companies.

Source: North Manchester Journal, June 11, 1914

Miss Grace Quivey is at home from Chicago where she has been attending a music college for some time.