My Present Past
A genealogical experience
Click on an image to view full size
Oberlin Conservatory of Music
Oberlin, Ohio 1891
Charles King Barry
    Born:  October 18, 1865 in St. Charles, Kane, Illinois
    Died:   June 03, 1958 in Coral Gables, Miami-Dade, Florida
    Burial: Cremated

    Father:  Alonzo Hamilton Barry
    born:  July 18, 1824 in Brookfield, Madison, New York
    died:  August 29, 1902 in Elgin, Kane, Illinois

    Mother:  Catherine Elvira King  
    born:  May 22, 1826 in New York  
    died:  February 07, 1918 in Elgin, Kane, Illinois
Charles King Barry, A. B., Music B., Professor of Piano Forte
Graduated, Oberlin Conservatory, 1891; Teacher of Pianoforte, Oberlin Conservatory, 1891-1892; Student at
Berlin, Leipzig and Vienna, 1892-1894; Instructor in Pianoforte, Oberlin Conservatory, 1894-1906; A. B., Oberlin
College, 1899;
Music B., Oberlin Conservatory, 1906, retiring in 1931.

June 03, 1958, there passed away in his ninety third year Charles King Barry whose loyalty to Oberlin never
ceased during the seventy five years he had been a part of it. He enrolled as a Freshman in 1883, remaining
through his Sophomore year, when he yielded to his lawyer-father’s wish that his son prepare for a career in
law.  As with
Robert Schumann, the law was abandoned as soon as possible, and in 1888, Charles Barry returned
to Oberlin as a student in the Conservatory, from which he was graduated in
1891. That fall he began teaching
here as an
Instructor in Pianoforte. Then followed two years of study in Germany and Austria, years filled with
rich experiences in art, philosophy and music. Mr. Barry returned a disciple of
Brahms, this at a time when most
American students were so dazzled by the brilliance of
Wagner that they seldom discovered Brahms.
Throughout the years Mr. Barry continued to introduce students and friends to a music which he found deeply
satisfying. For some years Mr. Barry was an Instructor in Singing and later for a year he was an instructor in
German. He gained the rank of
Professor of Pianoforte in 1906 and continued until his retirement in 1931 to
lead his students with patience and kindliness to a fuller appreciation of music.
The death of a colleague always stirs the memory. The first picture that comes to mind is that of
Charles Barry
as he strode forth in the village and in the country about, chin high, his cane swinging, his eyes blinking. And what
was he discoursing with a willing companion? Perhaps he was quoting at length from his beloved
Jane Austin;
perhaps he was reciting a poem by
Leopardi or Heine or pointing up an idea in a letter of William James or
Robert Louis Stevenson; perhaps he was listening attentively to his friend. Rarely contentious, he quietly
supported his credo. Charles King Barry was little interested in the affairs of organization or administration,
little concerned with position or honors. He cared not all to possess things and for one who loved so intensely
beauty in art, nature and man, he was strangely content to hold all in the “mind’s eye”. He shared his love of
beauty freely with students and colleagues; his sensitive response to great music superbly performed
occasionally overflowed in a “Bravo” which in those days broke the staid concert conventions of Warner Hall.
Charles King Barry seemed to have leisure to spare for friendships, which he kept continually blossoming by the
warm, responsive giving of himself. Such genuine interest in others brought forth generous returns. His Florida
residence in retirement was the gift of a colleague, Bruce H Davis; other friends lent him their eyes when his
own could no longer summon his favorite authors. In these later years his weekly schedule included an evening of
Brahms, another Beethoven, another of bridge, his revised version of the “Three B s”. His days were apparently
never lonely, only “wondrous free”. Very few of his colleagues of the nineties remain, and none has been more
loyal and faithful servant of the
Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

James H Hall ‘14
Emeritus Professor of History and Music
Oberlin College and Conservatory
October 11, 1958
"I do not deplore all modern music or most of it and I do not
question its right to flourish alongside the classics. But for
me there must be shape and form in music, as well as
meaning and depth. And I do not find these qualities in much
contemporary music"

"I listened to
Stravinsky's opera "The Rake's Progress"
when it was broadcast. There was a great deal that was new
and clever in it - but then I thought about
profound operas and
"The Rake" seemed like child's play.

Professor Charles K Barry
Charles K Barry graduated from the Elgin Academy on
June 01, 1882. He presented the oration and valedictory
of his class with " Possunt Quia Posse Videntur".
After rooming at different residences, Charles
purchased property in
Oberlin Village in 1911.

1915 he was elected to the advisory board of
Oberlin Dramatics Association, replacing
outgoing board member Professor
Harry C Thurnau,
who took a
position with the University of Kansas.
Harold Mead Swing was an alumni of Oberlin Conservatory,
a student and close friend of Professor Barry. Tragically he
was killed in an
automobile accident on September 23, 1915
Oxford, Chester, Pennsylvania.
Charles wrote a
personal tribute dedicated to his faithful
student, who like him, cherished classical music.
Another student of Professor Barry was
Mary Louise Winters who performed a successful
number, "Allegressi" by
Christian Sinding at the
class recital of Oberlin Conservatory, 1915
Bruce Headley Davis was born July 07, 1878 in Waterloo, Black Hawk, Iowa to Joshua and Mandana Ermine
(Headley) Davis.  He attended Oberlin College and Conservatory, graduating in 1903. He attained  his Associate
Professor of Piano Forte in 1909. He married Dr. Miriam T Runyon on June 26, 1913 in Oberlin. In 1921 the
couple moved their summer home to
Coconut Grove, a suburb of Miami, Florida along with their good friend
Charles K Barry. In 1928 he earned his Associate Professor in Organ and Piano Forte from Oberlin. Right before
the war Professor Davis wanted to study in Europe and the college granted him a leave. He arrived in 1939 and
shortly later the war broke out trapping him in Europe for
two years. Professor Davis during his tenure at
Oberlin studied at
Leipzig, Berlin, Boston, New York, Winchester Cathedral and Worcester in Britain.
Bruce H Davis retired from Oberlin in
1943 and the same year was awarded the organist position at Trinity
Episcopal church in Miami, which he held until
1957. He made his permanent home in Florida until his death on
November 24, 1969. He was a member of the Theta Chapter, Pi Kappa Lambda, Miami Chapter, American Guild of
Organist, elected Dean in 1949 and President of the Miami Music Teachers Association.
"I have worked with Beethoven's 106 Sonata throughout
my whole life and I expect to start where I left off in the
next life. And the deeper I come to grasp it now, the
further ahead I shall be in the next life".

Professor Charles K Barry
"When I finally had to choose between the
classics at Harvard or music at Oberlin, I cast my
lot with music. I spent three years studying piano
abroad but it was my last year at Vienna that I
really learned how to play piano and began to
search out all the deeper meanings of music".