The Music Division's Clipping File: The Scandals

By Bob Kosovsky, Librarian
April 4, 2016
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Last week I introduced Melissa, a volunteer with the Music Division, who began a series of three blog posts on the newly available inventory of the Music Division's Clipping file.  Here is part two of Melissa's observations about the Music Division's Clipping File.

Read the full series by Melissa:The Music Division's Clipping File Part 1: Musicians and PoliticsThe Music Division's Clipping File Part 3: Performers and Performances

Plus, find more resources to help you explore our Clipping File with our research guide.

I hope you enjoyed the first part of the mini series where you read about a woman USO singer signing a bomb to be delivered to Hitler, a woman writing music for the suffragist movement in England, a piano manufacturer who was running to become mayor of Brooklyn as a prohibitionist, and a music critic who had a barbed pen and was not afraid to use it.

On to part two, the scandals!

The music world is not devoid of its share of scandals.  Here is a sample from the “S” boxes of juicy tabloid-worthy articles spanning from 1912–1952.  This first article is not exactly a scandal but most musicians in NYC can relate to this problem of practicing in their apartment. 

from the New York Times, August 8, 1952

This next article is about a pianist who robbed a bank and played the piano in jail to earn him less jail time in NYC.

From Music Trades, January 24, 1925

Paternity issues arose in 1946:

From an unidentified newspaper, May 10, 1946

This is what happens when you lie about knowing your music to the Metropolitan Opera:

From the New York Times, February 14, 1912

We may not have people performing their way out of jail (or maybe we do, as we see in the musical The Producers), but even in 2015, people have sound wars with their neighbors over practicing their instruments, paternity issues, and being called out for not knowing their music.  History does repeat itself.

If you are interested in more scandalous music articles, please come down to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and have a look at the collection.

Stay tuned for the final blog post of this three-part mini-blog series: Performers and Performances: from the politically incorrect, to just plain weird, to a really cool twist.

Inventory of Music Division Clipping File: Names

Melissa captures images of fascinating clippings

More on the Music Division's Clipping File

Read more about clippings and how you can use them to support your research:

The Music Division's Clipping File Part 1: Musicians and Politics: Read the first post in Melissa's series on our collection of clippings and the surprising connections between the music world, critics, and politicians.The Music Division's Clipping File Part 3: Performers and PerformancesRead the final post in Melissa's series, about more extraordinary and strange stories unearthed in our Clipping File.Research Guide: Clippings at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts: This librarian-curated guide will help you explore our collection on your own. Learn how you can access the collection, the best ways to browse, and find more information about the scope of the Clipping File.