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Music Division





Special Collections in Music
Special Collections in Dance
Special Collections in Theater
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Other Special Collections and Primary Source Material
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Sarah Vaughan. William P. Gottlieb, photographer. August 1946. William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection. Copyright © William P. Gottlieb. Music Division.

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There are literally hundreds of other special collections in the custody of the Music Division that are potential sources for the women's history scholar. A master list is kept in the Performing Arts Reading Room and may be consulted upon request. Collection names in many cases identify those that contain personal papers of women, but in other instances the relevance is not so obvious.

The Modern Music Archives documents the history of Modern Music, the quarterly journal of the League of Composers from 1924 to 1946. Edited by Minna Lederman Daniel (1898-1995), the writings and criticism published in this journal influenced a generation of composers at the forefront of the American musical avant-garde.

Photos of singers and opera characters may be found in the Charles Jahant Collection, which includes both publicity shots and stills from actual productions.

The U.S. Work Projects Administration Federal Music Project documents musical life in America during the years of the WPA, roughly 1935-43. Designed to provide jobs for professional musicians on the relief rolls, many of whom were women, the project employed instrumentalists, singers, concert performers, and music teachers and strove to establish high standards of musicianship and to educate the public through an appreciation of music.

The William P. Gottlieb Collection, featuring the work of noted photographer William Gottlieb, contains more than sixteen hundred photographs documenting the jazz scene from 1938 to 1948, primarily in New York City and Washington, D.C. It includes photographs of some of the great women in jazz: Ella Fitzgerald (1918-1996), Billie Holiday (1915-1959), Lena Horne (b.1917), Sarah Vaughan (1924-1990), Ethel Waters (1896-1977), Mary Lou Williams (1910-1981), and others. The online collection William P. Gottlieb—Photographs from the Golden Age of Jazz presents Gottlieb's photographs, annotated contact prints, selected published prints, and related articles from Down Beat magazine.

Aside from special collections, there is also primary source material in music that is individually cataloged and designated as rare material. Music manuscripts, letters, and first editions of music scores that are not part of a special collection are cataloged and shelved as “Case,” the designation for rare material in the Music Division. Music manuscripts of African-American composer Florence Price, for example, are cataloged separately and are not part of a Florence Price collection.

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