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Special Collections & Archives Frank A. Beach

Frank Ambrose Beach

"Having never been West, [Beach] feared the worst and telegraphed ahead and asked Hill if he would have to bring his own kerosene lamps and household equipment, or if they were available at Emporia." - Obituary, Frank A. Beach, Topeka Daily Capital, January 22, 1935

Born in Syracuse, New York, on September 20, 1871, the son of an iron manufacturer, Frank Beach was recruited to the Kansas State Normal School by then president Joseph Hill in 1909. At the time, the music department occupied two rooms on campus. In 1913, Beach organized the first statewide high-school music contest in the country, which continues to this day. In 1915, Professor Beach became head of the KSN music department, a position he retained until his death in 1935. The current music building, which opened in 1926, was renamed the Beach Music Hall in 1956.

Beach's son, Frank Ambrose Beach, Jr., became a prominent psychobiologist who, after graduating from Emporia State, studied at the University of Chicago and Harvard, and worked as an assistant curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, before settling down to a long career on the faculty of Yale University.