Haygood launched Delos in 1973 because she believed that American music and artists were inadequately represented on disc. She was also a pioneer in digital recording: in 1979 she began working with Thomas Stockham on the Soundstream digital recording process. According to a statement, Delos was the first independent label to sell its CDs in the U.S.
The Delos catalogue includes recordings by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, cellist Janos Starker, flutists Jean-Pierre Rampal and Eugenia Zukerman, baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conductors Andrew Litton, James DePreist and Gerard Schwarz, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Amelia Da Costa Stone Haygood was born in Gainesville, Florida, in 1919 and grew up listening to opera broadcasts and old recordings of "Golden Age" singers. She studied at the Sorbonne in Paris at age 16 and wrote articles for her hometown newspaper. Back in the U.S., after studying history and international law, she went to Washington, D.C. to work for the U.S. State Department, where she became editor and director of publications.
In 1945 she married J. Douglas Haygood, a clinical psychologist, and went back to school to study medicine and psychology. She and her husband eventually opened a practice together in Beverly Hills, California; after he died in 1956 she became a psychological consultant to the Los Angeles County Probation Department.
In the early 1970s, after seeing a close friend through a long terminal illness, Haygood re-evaluated her life and decided to focus on her passion for music.
About her decision to name her record company company Delos, she said, "Greek mythology tells us that Apollo set out from the island of Delos every morning with his lyre in hand, bringing light, music and healing to the world. We at Delos International share the awareness that our world needs the balm of music."
Until the last months of her lengthy battle with cancer, which ended last Monday (March 19), Haygood remained executive producer of all Delos recording projects, maintaining artistic and quality control through the various stages of recording, post-production, manufacture and packaging.