Location: M2B 4,7
Size: .5 feet
Provenance: The provenance of this collection is uncertain and varied. It appears to have begun in the early years of the Sibley Library, possibly before the establishment of the Eastman School. The bulk of the materials seem to come from two major sources: correspondence relating to the British publication, The Musical Standard, and the activities of music lover and autograph collector, David James, an army technical sergeant from the Rochester area. A smaller group of items are inscribed to the violinist Arthur Hartmann, who taught at the Eastman School for a short time in the early 20's. The Musical Standard apparently solicited autographs, photographs, and commentary from composers for feature articles from the late 1890's up to World War I. James, whose military career in the 1930's and 40's seems to have centered around Camp Ritchie, Maryland, not only sought autographs by mail, but often approached composers and musicians in person (see Villa-Lobos, for example). Other items seem to have come into the collection individually, perhaps as gifts, or on occasions when the writers visited the school.
Scope and Content: Containing 94 items, the collection consists mostly of first pages or fragments of holograph scores, with a few short pieces written out completely. The earliest dated item is 8 bars of a song inscribed in November of 1867 from Irish composer Michael William Balfe (1808-1870), and the latest dated pieces are from the late 1940's. Many items are undated, and may have a somewhat later origin. The composers represented range from the relatively obscure to major figures such as Carl Nielsen, Kurt Weill, Serge Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky, Richard Strauss, Peter Tchaikovsky, Edvard Grieg, and Robert Franz.
Associations: Because a large number of items in this collection originated in connection with correspondence, the Sibley Library's Letter file and Iconography Database contain letters and inscribed photographs which often correspond directly with musical autographs in this collection. The Arthur Hartmann Collection also contains correspondence which may relate to autographs associated with him. The department also holds a collection of photographs of prominent musicians gathered by David James.
Series Name: Manuscripts
Series Description: The collection consists of a single series of autograph manuscripts of fragments or entire small musical compositions. Items are arranged in alphabetical order.