By the late 1970's visitors to 7 Cromwell Place were a routine event. Someone finally decided in October 1977 that it would be a good idea to keep a record. The Guest Book was acquired and took its place on a desk in the corner of the dining room.
The Guest Book's pages hold quite a story. The very first signature is Burnett Cross. He's the fella who worked on the free music machines with Percy during the 1940's into the 50's. It is fitting that he has the honor of starting off.
About midway down the second page is Barry Ould's signature. His visit is dated May 1, 1978, Ella Grainger's birthday. Barry, the current president of the International Percy Grainger Society, was lucky to arrive just then and spend some time with Ella. Ella passed away a little over a year later in July 1979 at 90. Barry keeps visiting White Plains each year and tending the collection. Percy Grainger's works are still a major focus of Barry's music publishing company, Bardic Editions.
Two lines down from Barry, British Composer Ronald Stevenson signed in beautifully crafted script. He must have come to celebrate Ella's birthday, since his signature is dated May 1st also.
It's interesting to see who has visited 7 Cromwell Place over the years. Many musicians, often along with their families and friends, and a band director or two. Several years ago, the IPGS board was holding its annual meeting when there was a knock at the door. It was the band director from Ohio State University, who happened to be passing by. He decided to knock and had the good fortune of catching the board mid-meeting. Rolf Stang, Ella's longtime friend, dutifully left the meeting and led a tour.
Visitors at the May 12, 2017
Historic Landmark Dedication sign and examine the Guest Book.
Last year, the entire band, two buses full of high students, from Fargo North High School, Fargo, North Dakota, stopped by. With over eighty students, the house was overflowing, but each seems to have a great time looking over Percy's scores and programs. Each one, along with their chaperones, signed the Guest Book.
The Guest Book is nearly filled now, ready to be filed away. It will take its place in among the many treasures that make up 7 Cromwell Place.