American Music Collections
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.
Another significant portion of these collections documents the commercial manufacture and traditional building of music instruments. The manufacture and sale of pianos in America are represented by the Wurtlitzer Company Records, 1860-1987, Sohmer & Company Records, 1872-1989, Chickering & Sons Piano Co. Collection, 1864-1985. In addition there is the Albert F. Moglie Violinists and Violin-making Collection containing materials from ca. 1917 to 1985 and the Paul Cadwell Banjo Collection illustrating the development of the banjo and banjo music between 1880 and 1980.
Music's role in American advertising can be found in the N W Ayer Advertising Agency Collection, 1849-1996, Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, ca. 1790-1945, and the "Pepsi Generation" Oral History and Documentation Collection, 1938-1986. Other important collections include the Ernie Smith Jazz Film Collection, 1910s-1970s (mostly 1930s-60s), Frank Schiffman Apollo Theater Collection; Wade in the Water Radio Series Collection of sacred African American Music, 1994; J Scott Odell Collection of Folk Music, 1964-1977; and the Virgil Whyte "All-Girl" Band Collection, 1942-1948 and 1991-1993. Recent acquisitions include the Ella Fitzgerald Collection, ca. 1938-1996, Ray McKinley Music and Ephemera, 1945-1994, and the Bluestime Power Hour Videotape Collection, 1997-1998.
Collection Finding Aids Currently Available On-Line
Revised: December 20, 2012