To celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8th), I would like to highlight the story of an extraordinarily successful woman whose legacy is preserved in the Archives and Special Collections.
Lily Dumont Mindus was born in Berlin, Germany on July 12, 1911 to Jakob and Rosa Dymont (Dymont is the German spelling of the last name). Lily Dumont was a child prodigy in music whose talent was fostered by her father, a conductor and composer of liturgical music for a synagogue in Germany. Lily began playing the piano at a very early age and made her debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1926 when she was only 15 years old. She studied under her father, and Theodore Bertram. She fled to the United States when Nazi pressures made it difficult for her to play in German concert halls because she was Jewish. She left Germany in 1937. Her fiancé, Dr. Walter Mindus, joined her in the United States and they were married in 1938. They eventually settled in New Bedford and had two children, Lester and Paul.
Lily Dumont continued to perform and tour in the United States, Europe and Latin America, eventually returning for a performance in Germany in 1957. She recorded for His Master’s Voice, Polydor, and the Concert Society labels. . For more than 40 years Lily Dumont was a piano instructor at the Longy School in Cambridge, MA. She also taught students out of her home in New Bedford and during summer sessions for the SMU Music Department (now University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth). She performed recitals on New Bedford’s WNBH and Boston’s WCRB radio. She was the founder and long-time president of the New Bedford Concert Series. Lily Dumont Mindus died on March 6, 2006.
The Archives of the Center for Jewish Culture at the Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections is proud to be the repository chosen for Lily and Dr. Mindus’ personal papers, 1908-2006 (MC 78). They can be viewed by appointment Monday through Friday by contacting Judy Farrar at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lily’s musical papers are at the International Piano Archives in College Park, MD.