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Photographs - Collections - 701-750 - #00745

Title: Belle Mehus

Dates: ca. 1920s-1974

Collection Number: 00745

Quantity: 85 items

Abstract: Images of Belle Mehus, her music students, and her Conservatory in Bismarck.

Provenance: The State Archives acquired as a transfer from the Museum Division in March 1991.

Property Rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.

Copyrights: Copyrights to materials in this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs. Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code and an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed.

Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Citation: Researchers are requested to cite collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.

Related Collection:
20791 Belle Mehus

Biographical Sketch

Belle Mehus was born February 12, 1896 to Mikkel and Annie Mehus in Brinsmade, North Dakota. Both parents were born in Norway. Her siblings were Oscar, Hilda and Alma C. Belle graduated from high school in Benson County, studied at the Dakota Conservatory of Music in Fargo for three years, and graduated with honors from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. She studied in Berlin with Franz Liszt’s pupil Adel aus der Ohe and spent several summers studying with pianist Josef Lhevinne and his wife Rosina.

She taught theory and piano at McMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois for two years and was Chair of the Piano and Theory departments at Augsburg College in Minneapolis for five years. She served on the senior staff of the McPhail School of Music in Minneapolis.

She came to Bismarck in 1928 and established her conservatory, teaching violin, voice, piano, and dance. From the thousands of pupils trained at the Mehus Conservatory came many accomplished musicians. Belle gave performances as a pianist and spent four summers on the Chautauqua circuit

Belle was a Charter member of the Upper Midwest Metropolitan Opera, she attended each of the 284 performances during its run from 1944 through 1985. She was presented with an award for promoting the arts in the state in 1973 by the Bismarck Arts Association.

Home to the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony, Bismarck’s City Auditorium greeted its first crowd in January of 1914 and has been an important part of the community ever since, hosting everything from Italian operettas to screenings of "Birth of a Nation" to performances of the work of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Brahms. The building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was renamed the Belle Mehus Auditorium in 1989 in honor of the much-loved music teacher.

Belle Mehus died in Bismarck on January 5, 1988.

Bismarck Tribune, Sept. 25, 1973, Nov. 3, 1978, Jan. 10, 1988
Bismarck Civic Center website


00745-01              A woman leans up against a car holding a rifle. Sharptail grouse or prairie chickens from her successful hunt rest on the hood of a car
00745-02              Mrs. M. K. Mehus (Mama) portrait
00745-03              Group in a car, men wearing women’s hats
00745-04              Girl holding sheet music. Inscription: With Love to Belle - Alma
00745-05              Pre-School Recital June 1942: Anne Marit Studness, Diane Lee Aanestad, Judy Sullivan, Sally Burau, Karen Leonhard, Elsa Freise, Kathn Lindell,  Helen Marie Tunell, and Delores Gerlach
00745-05-1          Bismarck City Auditorium September 9, 1949: Belle Mehus at the piano surrounded by Marilyn Mushik, Rita Lindellm Evelyn Peters, Winnelon Halverson, Josephine Mushik, Jeane Leonard, and Lorna Boutrous. Photo by Mason Owens
00745-06              Anne Marit Studness Bergstrom 1957
00745-07              Tiny Tots Music Club of the Mehus Conservatory April 16, 1950
00745-08              Belle Mehus portrait 1949
00745-09              Belle Mehus in her study with cat, Rene
00745-10              Belle Mehus portrait                                     
00745-11              Governor Art Link presenting and award to Belle Mehus, Belle
00745-12              Mehus Conservatory of Music, Bismarck (ND)
00745-13              Group of children with musical instruments. Finney’s Daily Photo Studio, Bismarck, N. Dak.
00745-14              Copy of newspaper article: about Belle and Alma Mehus
00745-15              Copy of newspaper announcement of Belle Mehus Recital at Stone’s Auditorium
00745-16              Painting of Belle Mehus and cat, Rene by Mansfur Niufar, an Iranian student at Bismarck Junior College
00745-17              Belle Mehus and three others March 1964
00745-18              Belle Mehus, Bruce Allard (violin), Priscilla McAfee (French horn), and Dennis Russell Davies (music director of SPCO) November 19, 1974
00745-19              Mehus Conservatory of Music sign
00745-20              Mehus Conservatory of Music, Bismarck (ND)
00745-21              Belle Mehus studio with pianos, books and artwork
00745-22              Belle Mehus studio with pianos, books and artwork
00745-23              Belle Mehus studio with pianos, books and artwork
00745-24              Belle Mehus studio with pianos, books and artwork
00745-25              Belle Mehus studio with pianos, books and artwork
00745-26              Belle Mehus studio with pianos, books and artwork
00745-27              Belle Mehus studio with pianos, books and artwork
00745-28              Piano practice room
00745-29              Piano practice room
00745-30              Stairway inside Conservatory
00745-31              Stairway inside Conservatory
00745-32              Piano practice room
00745-33              Stairway inside Conservatory
00745-34              Stairway inside Conservatory
00745-35              Interior view of Conservatory
00745-36              Piano practice room
00745-37              Piano practice room
00745-38              Piano practice room
00745-39              Stairway inside Conservatory
00745-40              Stairway inside Conservatory
00745-41              Piano practice room
00745-42              Piano practice room
00745-43              Interior view of Conservatory
00745-44              Autographed portrait of Mattiwilda Dobbs, opera soprano
00745-45              Autographed portrait of Doris Laine, ballerina 1959
00745-46              Autographed portrait of Pilar?
00745-47              Autographed portrait of Mary Garden? April 3, 1929
00745-48              Autographed portrait of Renatta Scotto
00745-49              Autographed portrait of Blanch Thebom, mezzo soprano
00745-50              Miss North Dakota Margaret Aandahl 1952 piano
00745-51              Autographed portrait of Jean Nadeira
00745-52              Autographed portrait of Ruth Slenzyuska October 8, 1956
00745-53              Portrait of Colette Boky as Musetta in Puccini’s La Boheme
00745-54              Autographed portrait of Rose Barthel
00745-55              Portrait of Lucine Amara as Eva in Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nuernburg
00745-56              Portrait of Dorothy Kirsten, soprano
00745-57              Autographed portrait of Lawrence Winters, baritone
00745-58              Autographed portrait of Steven Kennedy 1951
00745-59              Autographed portrait of Robert Russell Bennett
00745-60              Autographed portrait of Leonard Warren, baritone
00745-61              Autographed portrait of M. Henry Boatright
00745-62              Portrait of unknown violinist
00745-63              Autographed portrait of Jacob Lateiner, pianist 1966
00745-64              Portrait of George London in the title role of Wagner’s Der Fliegende Hollaender
00745-65              Autographed portrait of Jerry Hines, opera bass
00745-66              Autographed portrait of Lenus Carlson, baritone
00745-67              Autographed portrait of Robert Merrill as Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata
00745-68              Autographed portrait of Franco Corelli as Cavaradossi in Puccini’s Tosca 1973
00745-69              Autographed portrait of Andrea Velis as Goro in Puccini’s Madam Butterfly 1972
00745-70              Autographed portrait of ? Guderjahn, violinist
00745-71              Autographed portrait of Berno Rabinof, violinist
00745-72              Autographed portrait of Jan Peerce, tenor
00745-73              Autographed portrait of Walter Fredericks
00745-74              Autographed portrait of Paul Pliska as Don Fernando in Beethoven’s Fidelio
00745-75              Portrait of Morley Meredith as Alfio in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana
00745-76              Autographed portrait of Jerry Vander Mee
00745-77              Autographed portrait of Sherrill Milnes
00745-78              Autographed portrait of Norman Farrow January 1969
00745-79              Autographed portrait of Alexander Alexeai?, pianist
00745-80              Autographed portrait of Josef Schenfer 1953
00745-81              Autographed portrait of Lisa Taxell?, ballerina
00745-82              Autographed portrait of William Glenn and Roslyn Bohner of the Ballet Russe Quartet
00745-83              Autographed portrait of Los Churumbeles de Espana
00745-84              Autographed portrait of the National Male Quartet
00745-85              Autographed portrait of Rejik Vell, Aurora Natole, Joel Rosen

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