Schwob Sister Reinforces Family Legacy of Giving to CSU

Thirty years after local humanitarian Ruth S. Schwob helped establish Columbus State Universitys first music program, Schwobs sister Helen S. Pitzele continues the family philanthropic legacy by recently donating her personal music library to the Schwob School of Music.

A professional violinist since the mid-1920s, Pitzele has performed across the country for 75 years, attaining a vast compilation of sheet music and scores. Comprised of 130 pieces, the collection features the work of several famous composers dating all the way back to the Baroque period.

This generous gift leaves a legacy of artistic capital and cultural assets that will benefit our students and faculty for years to come, said Laurence Kaptain, director of the Schwob School of Music.

Pitzeles own student career began at the early age of 5. Although her mother taught piano to all six of her children, Pitzele became intrigued with th e violin when she was 12 years old and became the only sibling to decide on pursuing a music profession.

By the time Pitzele entered college at the University of Iowa, the nation was coping with the Great Depression, but she did not allow this to be a deterrent. She found full-time work playing in the local pit orchestra and received free meals as compensation for playing in the universitys tearoom. She also had her own weekly radio show and performed for a local theater.

After graduating, she continued to play professionally but moved to Chicago to continue her education at the Chicago Conservatory of Music, Inc., as well as Northwestern University and Drake University in Des Moines. Therefore, as a longtime music student herself, Pitzele said she understands that students face a financial burden purchasing music.

Students cannot afford to buy music, especially quartet music of Bach, Mozart and Haydn. It is just too expensive nowadays, said Pitzele. So I am glad to offer my collection of music to the Schwob School of Music.

Accidentally included in the collection were numerous non-musical materials of local historical significance, which were forwarded to CSUs Archives by Schwob Music Librarian Roberta Ford upon Pitzeles approval.

While looking through the music, I stumbled on a few miscellaneous items that were tucked into the pages of the scores, said Ford. Clippings from The Columbus Tattler and old CSU concert programs were discovered, as well as brochures from Columbus College and the Musemont School of Music in Pine Mountain, Ga.

Pitzele began acquiring these artifacts after claiming Columbus as her second home. She first visited the area after her sister Ruth married local industrialist Simon Schwob. For the next 50 years, Pitzele made repeated trips to visit her sister and soon came to know and love the Columbus area. She can easily recall many of CSUs prestigious faculty and institutional growth over the years, as well as key events and developments in Columbus history.

Pitzele last visited Columbus after her sister died almost ten years ago, but she said she hopes to make her final return to the area some day soon to see how the school named after the Schwob family has grown. In case that day should not transpire though, said Pitzele, she wanted her personal assembly of music to benefit CSUs music students.

Columbus State University and the Schwob School of Music greatly appreciate the type of generosity associated with the gifts of scores, sheet music and other historical and cultural items donated by Mrs. Pitzele, Kaptain said.


Contact: Rex Whiddon, (706) 568-5185