With holdings of nearly three-quarters of a million items, the Sibley Music Library is recognized as one of the world’s preeminent research libraries devoted to all aspects of the study of music. Materials are assigned either to the circulating collections or to the Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections, which includes rare books, archival collections, the Eastman School of Music Archives, and the Eastman Audio Archive.

Circulating Collections

The circulating collections include scores, books, journals, microforms, and audio and visual recordings. Some of these formats, such as current periodicals, recordings, and microforms, circulate for use primarily within the Library. Scores and books are loaned for use; the precise loan periods are specified under “Circulation Policies.”

Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections

The Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections include scores, books, and journals, as well as manuscripts, sheet music, and various archival collections. Notable items or collections include:

  • 11th-century Reichenau/Rochester Codex, and the 12th-century Admont/Rochester Codex (MS 494) both containing significant theoretical treatises by Aribo, Guido of Arezzo, and others.
  • Oskar Fleischer collection of manuscripts illustrating musical notation from the 10th to the 16th centuries.
  • Petrucci’s printing of Josquin’s Masses, and a number of Palestrina’s sacred works printed by Gardane.
  • Orlando di Lasso’s complete Magnum opus musicum (1604).
  • Autograph manuscript of a Trio-sonata by Purcell.
  • Sketches from Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.
  • Autograph songs by Schubert, Brahms and Fauré.
  • Nearly 60 letters in the hand of Berlioz, forming a special collection within a large collection of musical correspondence.
  • Rare Wagner scores, including the publication of Tannhauser lithographed by the composer.
  • Debussy’s holograph short score of La Mer.
  • Holographs by American composers Copland, Diamond, Harris, Hovhannes, Read, Rogers, Sowerby, Thomson, and of course, Howard Hanson.
  • Library of the critic Arthur Pougin (1834-1921), some 3,000 volumes on French theater and opera including rare almanacs, and writings of Guerre des Bouffons.
  • Henry Krehbiel’s library of several hundred books on folklore and folk song anthologies, and the oil portrait of Mozart by Johann Heinrich Tischbein.
  • Performing editions from the extensive libraries of violinist Jacques Gordon and composer/pianist Ferruccio Busoni.
  • Oscar Sonneck’s working library, including preliminary materials relating to his development of the Library of Congress classification for music in 1904.
  • Sheet music collections numbering some 80,000 pieces.
  • A comprehensive collection of editions of “Home Sweet Home,” occasioned by the autograph score of Sir Henry Bishops Clari, or the Maid of Milan containing this air.
  • Publishers’ collections including the rental stock (mainly operas) of Schott-Freres (Brussels) and the last copies forming the Archives of Carl Fischer, and first editions of composers Friedrich Kuhlau and Carl Nielsen amassed for their thematic catalogs issued by Dan Fog (Copenhagen).
  • Photographic portrait studies of composers and musicians by Leveton and Lou Ouzer.

History Collection

The Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections holds a variety of resources pertaining to the history of music in Rochester and the history of the Eastman School of Music, including special collections, organizational collections, and special subject files, and catalogued materials. The following pages provide descriptions of the department’s relevant resources:

Rare Books and Music

Shapenote Books

Shapenote Books

Sibley Music Library has a variety of resources related to shape-note singing, including several rare 19th-century shape-note hymnals.

Puccini Editions

Puccini Editions.

This catalog contains title-page facsimiles of all editions of Puccini operas held in the Special Collections; a print version is also available.

Anna’s Oboe List

Anna’s Oboe List

Compiled by Anna Hendrickson in 1997, this list enumerates most of the Sibley Music Library Rare Books and Special Collections holdings related to the oboe.

Courtney’s Harp List

Courtney’s Harp List

A bibliography of harp-related materials available in Special Collections, including music, methods and exercises, books and journals, and collections.

Archival collections on deposit

The Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections department is host repository of the archival papers of the following associations and entities:

  • New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA)  since 1992
  • International Horn Society (IHS)  since 1997
  • Isabel McNeill Carley Library of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA)  since 2001
  • Music Theory Society of New York State (MTSNYS)  since 2002
  • The Commissioning Project (TCP)   since 2003
  • Society for Chamber Music in Rochester (SCMR)  since 2003
  • Music Publishers Association (MPA)  since 2005
  • Chamber Music America  (CMA)  since 2012
  • Rochester Flute Association  since 2012 

Please contact the Special Collections department for further information.