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Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections
Sibley Music Library
Eastman School of Music
University of Rochester

Finding aid by Carol M. Moen, Fall 1995
Revised by Gail E. Lowther, Summer 2021

Alexander Courage Collection




Location: M1A 3,4 – 7,8
33 linear feet

Biographical Sketch

Alexander Mair (“Sandy”) Courage (1919–2008) was born in Philadelphia on December 10, 1919, and raised in New Jersey. He received a bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music in 1941. After serving in the United States Army for five years during World War II, he settled in Los Angeles and began work as a composer/arranger for radio. His credits in radio include the well-known programs The Camay Hour and Sam Spade. In 1948, he was employed by MGM as an orchestrator. He worked extensively in film music; his credits as a composer/arranger include Funny Face, Guys and Dolls, Showboat, Doctor Dolittle, and Superman. He was a frequent Academy Award nominee. He has also gained great distinction as a composer/arranger for television, and is perhaps best-known for his work on the programs Wagon Train, Peyton Place, Daniel Boone, The Waltons, and the original Star Trek series. Active in numerous professional organizations, Courage was a member of the first temporary executive board of the Composers and Lyricists Guild of America and was a regular adjudicator of the Academy Awards.

Courage died on May 15, 2008, in Pacific Palisades, California, after a period of declining health. He had been preceded in death by his third wife, Shirley Pumpelly Courage (1926–2005); his survivors include four stepchildren, Renata Pompelli, Raphael Pumpelly, Andrea Steyn, and Lisa Pompelli; and six grandchildren.


The collection was the gift of Alexander Courage, received by the Sibley Music Library in several installments between 1989 and 1997.


Scope and Content

The Alexander Courage Collection contains materials emanating from Courage’s professional and personal activities. These include scores, scripts, sketches, notes and recordings for film and television productions (both Courage’s original scores and his arrangements for other composers), arranged scores for pops orchestras and awards broadcasts, sheet music, personal papers, and photographs (both professional and personal). The scores in the collection are identified by type: conductor’s scores (the short, or reduced, scores used by orchestrators and during recording sessions), manuscript scores, sketches, and lead sheets (melodic line with chord symbols). Many of the scores are annotated with arrangers’ markings, composers’ corrections, cuts, and references to the films.

The productions represented by the largest collections of scores, notes, and recordings include Leslie Bricusse’s Doctor Dolittle, Arthur Schwartz’s The Band Wagon, Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars, John Williams’s Superman and Superman IV, and Alexander Courage’s The Waltons. Among the other composers featured prominently in the collection are Jerry Goldsmith and Alex North.


Restrictions and Use

While there is no restriction on research access for study, the provisions of the US Copyright Law and its revisions do attend use of the collection and the reproduction of its contents.


The Alexander Courage Collection is one of a large body of collections documenting the professional activities and careers of Eastman School of Music alumni, particularly those who specialized in composition. Other collections in that number include (but are not limited to) those of Wayne Barlow (BM 1934, MM 1935, PhD 1937), Gordon Binkerd (MM 1941), Will Gay Bottje (DMA 1955), Sydney Hodkinson (BM 1957, MM 1958), Michael Isaacson (PhD 1979), Louis Karchin (BM 1973), Homer Todd Keller (BM 1937, MM 1938), John La Montaine (BM 1942), Burrill Phillips (BM 1932, MM 1933), Gardner Read (BM 1936, MM 1937), and Malcolm Seagrave (MM 1952, DMA 1961). Of these, the Michael Isaacson Collection may be of particular interest as it documents the career of another Eastman alum who made his career composing and arranging music for television and film.



Series 1: Motion Picture Scores

The series contains musical scores, including original manuscripts and reproductions of composers’ scores, manuscripts, piano scores, and lead sheets. Also included are manuscript sketches identified by title. The scores are arranged in alphabetical order by title of the motion picture. The individual scores for each film are arranged chronologically by reel number, where possible, and by alphabetical order when no reel number is indicated. Each film is further identified by studio production number, where possible.


Series 2: Television Scores

The series contains scores, including original manuscripts. The scores are arranged in alphabetical order by title of the television show. The individual scores for each television show are arranged chronologically by date and episode number where possible, and by alphabetical order when no date is indicated.


Series 3: Occasional and Miscellaneous Scores

The series contains scores, including arrangements made for television specials, such as Christmas and Academy Awards broadcasts, and for the Boston Pops. The scores are arranged in alphabetical order by title.


Series 4: Scripts and Filming Schedules

  • A. Motion Pictures
  • B. Television

The series contains documents relating to motion picture and television productions, including scripts and screenplays, script changes, filming schedules, cast lists, and music notes. Both sub-series are arranged in alphabetical order by the title of the production.


Series 5: Recordings

  • A. Motion Pictures
  • B. Television
  • C. Other

The series contains recordings, including soundtrack music and personal tapes. Included in this series is a set of tapes made by Alexander Courage, in which the composer gives information about this collection. The sub-series are each organized by reel size (5″ and 7″), arranged in alphabetical order by the title of the production, with individual recordings in chronological order.


Series 6: Notes and Sketches

This series contains miscellaneous or unidentified manuscript sketches and compositional notes, arranged in alphabetical order.


Series 7: Personal Papers

This series contains various items, grouped and organized by type (correspondence, movie and concert programs, articles, etc.)


Series 8: Photographs

  • A. Prints
  • B. Slides
  • C. Negatives

This series contains several hundred photographs, most taken by Alexander Courage. The photographs are grouped within each sub-series by subject where possible, and extensively annotated by Courage. Prints are boxed according to size. Particularly noteworthy are Courage’s photographs of Igor Stravinsky and Dmitri Shostakovich.


Series 9: Sheet Music

This series contains published sheet music, the bulk relating to various motion picture scores arranged by Courage. The music is arranged in alphabetical order by composer’s surname.