American Research Centers

Libraries, Archives, and Research Centers for American Music

The American Music Center (New York)
Approximately 40,000 scores, both published and unpublished, by 20th century American composers; approximately 20,000 sound recordings (primarily LPs, open-reel tapes, cassettes, and CDs); information files on approximately 8,000 contemporary American composers. Scores and CDs circulate to members of the center throughout the world and through inter-library loan.

The American Music Institute (University of Michigan)
30,500-item Corning Sheet Music Collection, including 1800 Wolfe titles, 700 Civil War items, 350 blackface-minstrelsy items, and 1100 African American items; 90,000-item Edison Collection of nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century printed sheet music of American origin; Richard Crawford papers (1949-1974); Baltimore Collection: approximately 7,100 pieces of popular sheet music (film, theater, Broadway, swing, Tin Pan Alley, rock) from the 1920s-1970s; Montgomery Collection: 22,000 pieces of sheet music including 4,500 compositions by black composers, 1,500 pieces reflecting attitudes toward blacks in America.

American Music Research Center (University of Colorado)
Colorado composers (Normand Lockwood, George Lynn, Cecil Effinger), separate music sheets from 1870 to 1920 (contained mostly in the Morris Dry and Hartke Sheet Music Collections), the Helen Walker Hill Collection of Black Women Composers (about 200 pieces), the Alfred Layton Theater Music Collection (2400 sets of parts, ready to play, from a leading Denver theatre orchestra conductor of the 1920s and 1930s).

Arthur Foote Collection (Williams College, access through Douglas Moore)
Contains copies of virtually all of Arthur Foote music published; some manuscripts, published and unpublished; letters to and from Foote; scrapbooks and memorabilia.

Center for American Music (University of Pittsburgh)
Includes the Foster Hall Collection, a major reference and research library for American music and culture between 1840 and 1940, and the principal international source of information about Stephen Collins Foster (1826-1864), the first professional songwriter.

The Center for American Music (University of Texas at Austin)
The mission of the Center for American Music is to advance the teaching, scholarship, and performance of American music from all traditions, including concert, folk, and popular musics. The University of Texas at Austin possesses considerable resources relevant to the study and performance of American music. The Center for American History: The CAH houses approximately 30,000 phonographs of commercial recordings covering every genre of music from 1922 to the present produced by Texas record companies, performed or composed by Texans, or with a Texas theme. Among the genres represented are western swing, Mexican-American music, black gospel, German and Czech folk music, concert music by German immigrant composers, and popular forms such as blues, rock, jazz, and ragtime. Other significant collections include field recordings made in the 1930s by John A. Lomax, private recordings of Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter, the Chris Strachwitz Collection of recorded South Texas Hispanic music from the late 1940s through the early 1950s, the collection of Houston record producer and promoter Huey "Crazy Cajun" Meaux, and the Townsend Miller Collection of 8,000 recordings of country music artists. The Harry Ransom Center: The Music Collection contains manuscripts by Paul Bowles, Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, Nicolas Nabokov, and Virgil Thomson. The archive of Ross Russell, founder of Dial Records, contains photographs, papers, recordings, and interviews of notable jazz musicians from mid-century. In the Minstrel Show Collection are some 4,000 items relating to the production of blackface musical theater between 1821 and 1959. The Collection preserves photographs, prints, letters, sheet music, clippings, programs, playbills, scrapbook leaves, and a small number of tintypes for over 700 minstrel show companies and performers, including George N. Christy and Dan Emmett. In addition, the Performing Arts Collection houses approximately 5,200 items--nearly all of them photographs--from the years 1727 to 1981, with the bulk of materials falling between 1900-1940. Photographs are of approximately 1700 musicians and musical groups: classical composers, conductors, soloists, and ensembles; big bands and bandleaders; bandmasters; impresarios; vaudeville artists, minstrel show performers, and other variety acts; twentieth-century American musical theater composers; and post-1940 popular singers and musical groups, including country singers.

Center for Black Music Research (Columbia College)
Documents, preserves, and disseminates information about black music in all parts of the world. It encourages research in the areas of secular and sacred folk music, blues, ragtime, jazz, gospel music, rhythm and blues, musical theater and dance, opera and concert music, reggae, son, merengue/meringue, bomba y plena, salsa, calypso, and other genres from the Caribbean, and traditional and contemporary music from Africa.

Center for Popular Music (Middle Tennessee State University)
Fosters research and scholarship in American popular music and promotes appreciation for the role of music as an integral part of American cultural history. The collections contain more than 11,500 books and scores, 82,000 sound recordings, 55,000 pieces of sheet music, 3,500 broadsides, 1,200 periodical titles and extensive holdings of posters, photographs, manuscripts, and ephemera from the mid-eighteenth century to the present.

Helen Hartness Flanders Ballad Collection and Vermont Archive of Traditional Music
(Middlebury College)
An archive of New England folk song and folklife materials consisting of field recordings on cylinder, disc, and tape of traditional song and dance music recorded in all of the New England states between 1930 and 1966. Other materials in the collection include photographs, manuscripts, letters, broadsides, books, and journals.

Institute of Jazz Studies (Rutgers University)
Over 100,000 sound recordings in all formats, from cylinders and piano rolls to CDs and laser discs, over 7,000 books on jazz and related subjects, a comprehensive library of jazz periodicals, including the Harold Flakser Collection, extensive research files on individual performers and selected topics, over 30,000 photographs, 7,000 scores and band arrangements, and a large collection of sheet music, instruments and memorabilia.

John Jacob Niles Center for American Music (University of Kentucky)
The John Jacob Niles Center for American Music is a collaborative effort of the University of Kentucky School of Music, College of Fine Arts, and the University Libraries. It is named for Kentucky musician John Jacob Niles.

The Center seeks to provide a comprehensive focus for the research and performance of American music, embracing both vernacular and cultivated aspects of the field, from the early Colonial period through the present, with special emphasis on the indigenous culture of the southeastern United States. The Center's mission is both archival and programmatic. It serves as a repository for primary and secondary research materials and it actively supports the dissemination of scholarly research in American Music.

Collections include the John W. Landon Theatre Organ Archive, the John Jacob Niles Papers, the Glenn C. Wilcox Collection (American, British, Scottish sacred tunebooks and hymnals spanning four centuries from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries), the John L. Lair Research Library Collection (an ideal complement to the Wilcox Collection. While they cover the same general span of American history from the late eighteenth through early twentieth centuries, the Lair Collection is focused on secular material while the Wilcox Collection represents more emphasis on sacred musical expression), the Charles F. Faber Recorded Sound Collection (approximately two thousand vintage hillbilly and country music recordings issued between 1920 and 1950), the Woodsongs Archives, and the Temple Adath Israel Choral Music Collection.

The Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera (Winterthur, Delaware)
Contains various manuscript and printed music dating from circa 1750-1940. Highlights include approximately 120 manuscripts and printed Shaker hymnals from the Edward Deming Andrews Memorial Shaker Collection, eight illuminated hymnals from the Ephrata Cloister, some Mennonite "notenbuchlein," scattered late 18th and early 19th century music manuscripts, and a collection of approximately 800 pieces of sheet music. The printed book and periodical collection also has a large number of late 19th and early 20th century musical instrument trade catalogs.

Larry Taylor-Billy Matthews Musical Theater Archive (University of Miami)
A comprehensive collection of recordings and music focusing on American musical theater and popular music. There are approximately 15,000 long-playing records, 500 compact discs, 300 cassettes, and 20,000 pieces of sheet music. The collection also includes vocal scores, vocal selections, piano-conductor scores, and complete coverage of American recordings of Broadway shows as well as a wide selection of foreign language versions.

Library of Congress American Memory (Washington, D.C.)
Includes collections on African American music, Civil War era band music, dance manuals, folk music, Hispanic music, jazz, Native American music, sheet music, and vaudeville, as well as collections devoted to individual musical figures, including Emile Berliner, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, and Irving Fine.

The Moravian Music Foundation (Winston-Salem, North Carolina)
Over 10,000 music manuscripts, books and documents interpreting Moravian and early American musical traditions, including one of nine surviving copies of the first printing of the Star Spangled Banner; a complete set of Civil War Band books from the 26th NC Regimental Band; the Six String Quintets of Moraivan Composer Johann Friedrich Peter from 1789, possibly the earliest chamber music composed in America; the only known surviving copies of symphonies by J.C.F. Bach; sacred vocal and orchestra works used by the early Moravian settlers in America; hymnals from the 16th-20th centuries; and the Irving Lowens Collection of American Tunebooks.

The Music Library and Sound Recordings Archives (Bowling Green State University)
650,000 popular recordings in all formats of every conceivable popular genre, spoken word, and music. There is a support collection of monographs, reference materials (strength in discography), periodicals, biography, and portrait files, and files of manufacturer and dealers of recordings.

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Library and Archives
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Library and Archives is the most comprehensive repository of materials relating to the history of rock and roll. Its mission is to collect, preserve, and provide access to these resources for scholars, educators, students, journalists, and the general public in order to broaden awareness and understanding of rock and roll, its roots, and its impact on our society.

Smithsonian Institution Archives Center, American Music Collections (Washington, D.C.)
The American Music Collections document this country's diverse popular music and performance traditions. The strength of these collections is the music of the late nineteenth through the twentieth centuries including Big Band jazz, Gospel and African American sacred music, and folk music. Among the largest of these collections are the Duke Ellington Collection, 1927-1988 spanning nearly the entire life and career of one of America's most recognized musicians and the Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music containing images, music, and lyrics of American life and culture between 1790 and the 1980s.

Smithsonian's National Museum of American History Archives Center: The Web site contains information about the National Museum of American History's extraordinary collections of personal papers, business records and commercial ephemera, sheet music, historic film, video, and photographs. Descriptions and examples of these materials are found in American Stories and Collections and Research Aids.

Sousa Archives: A Center for American Music (University of Illinois)
American band music, Patuxent Martial Music Collection (800 musical instruments); 74% of the Sousa Band performance collection, holograph manuscript scores, related correspondence, photographs, and artifacts; Herbert L. Clarke personal library, related photographs and artifacts.

Southern Folklife Collection (University of Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Ranks as one of the nation's foremost archival resources for the study of American folk music and popular culture. SFC holdings extensively document all forms of southern musical and oral traditions across the entire spectrum of individual and community expressive arts, as well as mainstream media production. The SFC contains over 160,000 sound recordings, including cylinders, acetate discs, wire recordings, 78 rpm and 45 rpm discs, LPs, cassettes, CDs, and open reel tapes. Moving image materials include over 3,000 video recordings and 18 million feet of motion picture film. Other materials include thousands of photographs, song folios, posters, manuscript materials, ephemeral items, and research files, as well as an exceptionally strong collection of discographical materials for the 78 rpm era.

Special Collections at Brown University
Includes the Harris Collection, which contains materials on 19th century American minstrelsy, 19th century sheet music and song books, and the James Koetting Archive of old-time string band music and African-American folk music.

University of California, Los Angeles Music Library Special Collections
The Archive of Popular American Music is a non-circulating research collection covering the history of popular music in America from 1790 numbering almost 450,000 pieces of sheet music, anthologies, and arrangements for band and orchestra, and approximately 120,000 recordings on disc, tape, and cylinder. Subject strengths within twentieth-century holdings include music for theatre, motion picture, radio and television, as well as general popular, country, rhythm and blues, and rock songs. In addition to sheet music and sound recordings the Archive also houses a number of comprehensive archival collections, consisting of manuscripts, personal and business papers, correspondence, photographs, and sound recordings. These include the Jimmy Van Heusen Collection, the Walter Jurmann Collection, and the Harry Tobias Collection. The Film and Television Music Archives include manuscripts scores and parts, sound recordings, and associated materials for motion picture productions, and television and radio shows. Significant collections include George Antheil (film and television scores), Capitol Theatre (silent film music), CBS, Inc. (scores and recordings for Columbia films and television productions), General Music Corp. (commercial music libraries), Bernard Hermann (radio, television, and film scores), Henry Mancini (film scores), Alex North (film scores), Hans Salter (film scores), Society for the Preservation of Film Music/Louis B. Schnauber (silent film music), and Herbert Stothart (sound recordings). Jazz Archival Collections include Leonard Feather (approximately 2500 LP recordings), Ella Fitzgerald (sheet music and photographs from the Fitzgerald estate), and Paul Tanner (sound recordings). The Archive of Popular American Music Collections includes a large numbers of sound recordings of Jazz. Of particular note is an extensive collection of the Gennett label, including many early recordings of Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, and Jelly Roll Morton. Emigre Collections: Eric Simon (correspondence between Simon and many important musicians), Ernst Toch Archive (music manuscripts, text manuscripts, correspondence, printed scores and books, photographs, recordings, realia, ephemera), Eric Zeisl Archive (manuscript scores, recordings, correspondence, photographs), Joseph Rumshinsky (music manuscripts, printed scores), Eugene Zador (music manuscripts).

University of California, San Diego Music Library
20th Century "Classical" music, including but not limited to the correspondence and writings of Ernst Krenek (1937 to his death), and the collections of Peter Yates, Pauline Oliveros, Robert Erickson, and others.

University of Hawaii at Manoa Library
Hawaiian music song books in English and Hawaiian, Hawaiian sheet music database, music videos.

University of Maryland Special Collections in Performing Arts
American Bandmasters Association Research Center, located at the University of Maryland at College Park, contains the administrative papers of ABA, collections of Merle Evans, Patrick Conway, Patrick S. Gilmore, Edwin Franko Goldman, Lynn Sams and many other band conductors as well as historic band recordings, the Minichini Band Score Collection and many other score collections, serials, reference books, photographs, and a vertical file. The Irving and Margery Lowens Collection contains 128 linear feet of papers of Irving Lowens, music critic for the Washington Star and American musicologist. Included are correspondence, article and clipping file, subject files, and research notes for Mr. Lowens's publications.

University of Mississippi Blues Archive
Conserves blues and blues-related materials in a variety of formats for scholars of the blues, African American studies, and southern culture. With over 50,000 sound recordings, in most audio formats; over 15,000 photographs; more than 350 videotapes; over 3,000 books, periodicals and newsletters; and numerous manuscripts and ephemera, the Blues Archive houses one of the largest collections of blues recordings, publications, and memorabilia in the world. Important collections include B. B. King's personal record collection, the Jim O'Neal and Amy van Singel / Living Blues Collection, the Trumpet Records Collection, the John Richbourg Collection, and the Percy Mayfield collection.

William Ransom Hogan Archive of New Orleans Jazz (Tulane University)
Strengths of Holdings: a primary resource for New Orleans jazz research, the collection includes oral history interviews, recorded music, photographic collections and film, sheet music and orchestrations and numerous files containing manuscript materials, clippings, and bibliographic references. Special collections include notable donations from jazzmen Nick LaRocca, Ray Bouduc, and Knocky Parker.

Wisconsin Music Archives (University of Wisconsin)
The Wisconsin Music Archives is a special collection housed in the Mills Music Library of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Archives contains over 25,000 items representing all Wisconsin musical traditions from the 1850s to the present. Strengths of the collection include published sheet music (1850s-1960s), folk and ethnic music recordings and field notes, published and unpublished scores by contemporary Wisconsin composers, recordings of state performers, and recordings issued by Wisconsin labels (1910s to the present).

World Music Archives (Wesleyan University)
American experimental composers, especially John Cage (archival holdings relating to his literary works, and significant musical holdings), Alvin Lucier, and other composers of the "New York School"; significant holdings of Native American music, including the largest known collection of Navajo recordings; Fats Waller; saxophonist Bill Barron.