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Major Collections of the Music Division

Jenny Lind., Digital ID 1270118, New York Public LibraryJenny Lind. Muller Collection. The Music Division is a repository for musical documents, past and present. It has assembled many of its vast holdings through generous gifts from the music community. The contents of these collections are either listed individually in the Catalog or in on-site finding aids maintained by the Music Division. A growing number of collection guides are available online. Inquiries about these collections may be submitted to musicdiv@nypl.org.

Major collections housed in the Division include:

Arthur M. Abell Papers

Among the items in Abells papers are 95 letters from Max Bruch, 32 letters from Serge Koussevitzky, 85 letters from Isidore Philipp, 8 letters from Richard Strauss, and a large collection of photographs, including a candid shot of Feodor Chaliapin.

American Music Center Collection

This unique collection of 50,000 music scores represents a cross section of over sixty years of American concert music and jazz. Founded in 1939, the mandate of the American Music Center Collection is to make the music of its composer members available to performers and conductors, and to act as a clearinghouse for the dissemination of information vital to its membership.

George Antheil Manuscripts

Manuscripts and manuscript sketches of major works such as the Ballet méchanique, Jazz Sonata, and Volpone.

Rose Bampton Collection

Materials relating to Rose Bampton's career performing with Arturo Toscanini. Included are autographs of Paul Dukas, Vincent d'Indy, and an autograph continuity draft of Ernest Chausson's Symphony in B-flat minor.

Pierre Bernac Collection

Autographs of composers from whom Bernac commissioned songs or song cycles, with emphasis on Francis Poulenc. Individual items can be searched in the Catalog under Bernac as author.

George Bristow Manuscripts

Autograph scores by a major 19th-century American composer who was concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic during the 1850s.

Burnside Collection

Manuscripts of works performed at the Hippodrome Theater, including incidental music to plays, as well as songs by Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hart, Victor Herbert, Emmerich Kálmán, and Jerome Kern.

John Cage Music Manuscript Collection

Includes autograph manuscripts of nearly all of Cage's musical works, as well as sketches and other pre-compositional materials. All works are cataloged individually and can be found in the Catalog.  (Cage's personal papers are at Northwestern University; his literary works are at Wesleyan University.)

Carlos Chávez Collection

Autograph manuscripts of Chávez's major works, as well as memorabilia and correspondence with Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, and Edgar Varèse, among others.

Composers Forum Archives

Correspondence and business papers of this organization that sponsored concerts of new American music, 1935-1995.

Henry Cowell Papers

Personal papers, correspondence, photographs, and ephemera. Most of Cowell’s music manuscripts are located at the Library of Congress.

Louis Moreau Gottschalk Manuscripts

Manuscripts of all his major works, as well as his correspondence, diaries, and programs.

Charles Griffes Collection

Approximately 100 manuscripts of his symphonic and chamber music, including Tone Pictures, The Pleasure-Dome of Kubla Khan, Roman Sketches, and the Poem for flute and orchestra.

Harrach Family Collection

32 volumes of manuscripts from the Harrach Family household, containing approximately 100 compositions copied from the 1730s to the 1740s, including works for voice, solo instruments, and ensemble by Reinhard Keiser, Leonardo Vinci, Nicola Porpora, and many others.

Christian Herter Collection

A collection of musical manuscripts, including autographs of Johann Sebastian Bach, Joseph Haydn, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Individual items can be searched in the Catalog under Herter as author.

Otto Hess Collection

4000 candid photographs of jazz musicians in concert or at leisure. Listed under the names of the musicians in the Music Divisions Iconography File.

ISCM Archives

Business papers of the International Society for Contemporary Music.

League of Composers Archives

Business papers of this new music organization.

Letter File

Catalog of several thousand letters owned by the Music Division of musicians from the 18th through the 20th centuries. Includes single items by composers such as C. P. E. Bach, as well as larger bodies of correspondence of musicians such as Ferruccio Busoni, Ruggero Leoncavallo, and Adelina Patti. Especially strong in 19th-century French composers.

Arthur Lourié Collection

Autograph scores, including The Feast during the Plague, Sinfonia dialectica, and Concerto spirituale.

Otto Luening Collection

Contains manuscript scores, correspondence, family papers, and business papers that document Luening's work as a composer and his contributions to the American Composers Alliance, the American Music Center, Composers Recording, Inc., and the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Studio.

Mendelssohn Family Letters

700 letters written by Felix Mendelssohn and his sister Fanny to their parents and to each other from the years 1821-1847.

Joseph Muller Collection

Over 6000 prints, especially rich in contemporary portraits of musicians from the 17th through the 19th centuries.

Neapolitan Librettos Collection

1300 librettos for operas performed in Naples from the years 1705 to 1865.

New Music Society Archives

Correspondence and business papers of the organization founded by Henry Cowell to publish scores and recordings of music by contemporary composers.

Sy Oliver Collection

Scores and parts for Oliver's original compositions and arrangements.

Opera Set and Costume Design Collection

Contains original set and costume designs by artists active locally and internationally. Represented in the collection are Leon Bakst, Cecil Beaton, Eugene Berman, Frederick John Kiesler, Simon Lissim, Donald Oenslager, Alfred Roller, Richard Rychtarik, Günther Schneider-Siemssen, and Rouben Ter-Arutunian.

Ernst Oster Collection of the Papers of Heinrich Schenker

Theoretical and analytical writings of the Austrian theorist Heinrich Schenker. A finding aid for the collection, as well as microfilms of its contents, can be provided to individuals and libraries at cost.

Vincent Persichetti Papers

Holograph scores and sketches for most of his works as well as personal and professional papers.

Wallingford Riegger Papers

Manuscript scores, correspondence, and performance, business, and personal files, including his testimony to the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

George Rochberg Papers

Scores and papers document the musical life and writings of this composer whose search for musical identity generated both praise and controversy in the 1960s and 70s.

Joseph Schillinger Collection

Papers documenting the Schillinger system of musical composition. Includes correspondence from such composers as George Gershwin, Vernon Duke, and Carmine Coppola.

William Schuman Papers

Schuman's papers contain complete documentation of his work as composer, educator, and administrator. They cover his pioneering work at Sarah Lawrence College, his innovations as President of the Juilliard School, his Presidency of Lincoln Center, and his founding of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. His music manuscripts are kept in the Library of Congress.

Harry Schumer Collection

Copyists’ manuscripts of 19th-century Italian operas in full score, including works of Gioacchino Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti, Vincenzo Bellini, and Giuseppe Verdi. Individual items can be searched in the Catalog, under Schumer as author. Also in the collection are photographic images documenting the Metropolitan Opera Company. A finding list of these images is available in the Music Division.

Marcella Sembrich Collection

Correspondence, sheet music, photographs, and memorabilia. Particularly interesting are Sembrich’s correspondence with Eduard Hanslick, her manuscript books of cadenzas, and rare photographs of many of her colleagues.

Sheet Music Collection

Extensive holdings of American sheet music spanning the years from about 1769 to the present. There are special collections of rags, marches, songs from musical comedies, and pop songs. For information on holdings, you may contact us at musicdiv@nypl.org. Sheet music collections include:

  • AM1 collection (American sheet music, 1769-1830)
  • AM2 collection (American sheet music, 1830-1870)
  • AM3 collection (American sheet music, 1870-1890)
  • American Popular songs (American popular sheet music of songs, 1890-1973), call number: *ZB-768
  • American Popular songs (supplement), call number:  A.P.S.
  • American Popular songs (supplement, 1906-1950), call number: *ZB-2491
  • U.V. (uncataloged vocal music, American and non-American imprints, mostly 19th-20th century)
  • U.O. (uncataloged octavo, music for choruses)
  • P.I. (General) - popular instrumental music primarily for piano
  • P.I. (Marches) - popular marches, primarily for piano
  • P.I. (Rag) - ragtime music, primarily for piano
  • P.I. (Shows) - piano arrangments of music from musicals, movies, and television
  • War Songs - songs concerning particular military conflicts or the military in general
  • M.C. - songs from musicals, plays, movies, and television

Songsters

Minstrelsy and temperance songs of the 19th century are especially well represented in our holdings.

Toscanini Legacy

Toscanini's annotated scores and parts, correspondence, photographs, biographical material, and memorabilia. Sound recordings, including many rehearsal tapes, are in the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.

Toscanini Memorial Archives

A microfilm collection of more than 3,000 autograph music manuscripts written by 18th- to 20th-century composers, acquired from libraries and private collections all over the world. Among recent acquisitions are 42 microfilm copies of Benjamin Britten autographs from the Britten-Pears Library in Aldeburgh, England.

Bruno Walter Papers

Personal papers documenting Bruno Walter's long career (including his years with the New York Philharmonic) as well as several important letters and music manuscripts of Gustav Mahler, including a complete draft of the first movement of his Seventh Symphony. Walters music library is in the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna.

Paul Wittgenstein Collection

Autograph music manuscripts commissioned and collected by the pianist Paul Wittgenstein. Contains eight autograph Brahms manuscripts, among them the Alto Rhapsody. Individual items can be searched in the Catalog under Wittgenstein as author.