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Accession no. 997.12

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

The initial intellectual arrangement and physical arrangement of these papers imposed by personnel employed by the Howard Hanson Institute for American Music at the Eastman School of Music, ?1993-1997; revisions to same under the supervision of David Peter Coppen, 2017; description revised by David Peter Coppen, 2018-19.







Accession no. 997.12
Shelf location A2A, 4,1 — A2B 2,2
153 linear feet

Biographical Sketch

Howard Hanson (1896-1981), American composer and music educator, needs no introduction to the educated musical community. The chronology of his life is amply represented in published sources; his creative work has been discussed in both the popular and scholarly musical literatures; and commercial recordings of his compositions have been available on the market since the 1940s. Complementing his extensive work in music education, his work as a school administrator, and his output as a composer, Hanson was a prominent speaker, advocate, and advisor, roles which included his service as chairman of the Panel on Music in the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, to which he was appointed by Secretary of State Dean Acheson, and in which capacity he attended several UNESCO general conferences.

For further reading, recent Hanson literature includes the work of James E. Perone (1993), Andrea Sherlock Kalyn (2001), Allen L. Cohen (2003), and Vincent Lenti (2013). A bibliography appears on page 12.


This collection, bearing accession number 997.12, represents the body of Howard Hanson’s papers and original work—both creative and administrative—that the Sibley Music Library received soon after Hanson’s death. The bulk of the papers represent what remained in his office in the former Cutler Union building at the time of his death in 1981. To these papers were added a later gift (1985) of manuscripts received from his widow, Mrs. Margaret Nelson Hanson.

A separate body of Hanson’s papers and manuscripts was purchased by the Eastman School of Music from private hands in early 2005. Those papers were assigned accession number 2005/3/25, and are described separately.

Scope and Contents

This body of Hanson’s papers represents a broad assemblage of work—music manuscripts, drafts of original writings, administrative correspondence, publicity and press material gathered as supporting documentation, and a library of published music and musical literature. Numerous sound recordings are also present, the greater number of them non-commercial.

Restrictions and Use

Certain restrictions attend use of the collection. The greater part of the content of Series 2 (Correspondence)—specifically sub-series 1, sub-series 2, and sub-series 3—is restricted on grounds that matters pertaining to finances, personnel, and other internal considerations of the Eastman School of Music are explicitly represented. The Dean’s Office of the Eastman School of Music holds sole prerogative to grant right of access to that content.

Copyright considerations attend other parts of the collection, namely the manuscript music, published music, and sound recordings. Where making reproductions is concerned, RTWSC adheres to the provisions of the U.S. Copyright Law (1976) and its revisions. Requests for reproductions (in whatever format) of protected material will be granted only upon presentation of the written permission of all associated copyright holder(s).

Several unpublished compositions are represented in manuscript. The rights to Hanson’s unpublished compositions are administered by the Howard Hanson Institute for American Music at the Eastman School of Music. The written permission of the Director of the Institute must be obtained before reproductions will be granted.


The Howard Hanson Collection is one of numerous collections of professional papers of ESM faculty members and alumni held by RTWSC. Altogether, taking into consideration the Hanson papers under both accession numbers 997.12 and 2005/3/25, the Hanson materials constitute the single largest composer’s collection within RTWSC.

Further, the Eastman Audio Archive (1933- ) is a particularly rich source of recorded performances of Hanson’s work at the Eastman School of Music, whether as composer or conductor (in the case of live concert performances) or as chief administrator (in the case of spoken addresses). The EAA holds the audio masters of many a live performance conducted by Hanson, including at the American Composers’ Concerts, the Festivals of American Music, and the Symposia of Student Works for Orchestra; also performances of Hanson’s music, whether conducted by himself or by other professionals (including the masters of a May, 1955 production of Merry Mount that Hanson conducted).

Elsewhere, Hanson’s creative work and professional activity are represented in numerous collections and repositories outside the Eastman School of Music. The Library of Congress holds several completed full score manuscripts, including those of Dies Natalis and the Symphony no. 6. Hanson’s extensive dealings with his principal publisher, Carl Fischer, LLC, are documented in that company’s own archive. His summertime activity over many years at the National Music Camp (Interlochen, Michigan) is documented within ARTICA (Archives of the Interlochen Center for the Arts), Interlochen, Michigan. Still other material is held by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, by the American Music Center, by the Moldenhauer Archives, and by the Grainger Museum (University of Melbourne).


Series 1:          Addresses, essays, articles, and publicity

This series contains many speeches, addresses, and talks given by Hanson between 1931 and 1965, represented in pencil drafts, typescript drafts and/or finished copies, and in some instances, published copy. The content includes concert broadcast continuity; scripts for, and/or transcripts of, radio interviews; obituaries for deceased members of the Eastman School community; convocation addresses; and lectures on music and/or music education that Hanson delivered before assembled bodies, whether at professional conferences, at academic institutions, or before civic groups. The series also contains texts of articles and essays that Hanson submitted for publication, whether for the Alumni Bulletin of the Eastman School of Music (herein cited simply as the Alumni Bulletin), for music journals and other periodicals, and also biographical articles and sketches written about Hanson. The series also includes several publicity items, such as biographical statements about Hanson. Finally, boxes 9, 10, and 11 contain copies of published items, represented either as pages extracted from their respective publications or else by the printed issues in their entirety.

Throughout, the content is represented in various manifestations: manuscript drafts, typescript drafts, carbon copies, and corrected proof copies. The documents are arranged in approximate chronological order; numerous items remain undated. In some instances, copies of the published texts are present, either as clippings extracted from the given publications, or else within the published issues retained in their entirety.

Hanson’s working method is amply manifest throughout this series. He apparently first drafted his thoughts by pencil and then transcribed these by typewriter. On some occasions he delivered addresses from handwritten copy, but more frequently from typescript copy.

The item-level citations here provided cite given titles wherever such were assigned by Hanson. Where no title has been assigned, a generic description has been provided here. For those drafts that are indicated as having been submitted for publications, their source publications have been cited wherever such have been ascertained with certainty. However, it has not been possible to dedicate the requisite research time to determine the source publications of all such items.

Series 2:          Correspondence

This series is comprised of a considerable extent of professional correspondence, reflecting Hanson’s activity as chief administrator of the Eastman School of Music, his activity as a composer engaged in the creation and promotion of his own work, and his activity as a music educator advocating on behalf of reforms and standards across the profession. Because a significant portion of the collection consists of material that remained in the office that Hanson occupied as Director Emeritus (on the premises of the former Cutler Union building), an extent of his administrative correspondence is here present alongside correspondence pertaining to his own creative work.

The correspondence has been arranged according to the hierarchy of sub-series and sub-sub-series structure spelled out below. The content of sub-series 1, sub-series 2, and sub-series 3 is restricted; access to same will be granted only after the permission of the Dean’s Office of the Eastman School of Music has been obtained. The content of Sub-series D (Hanson’s original works) is arranged in alphabetical order by title of the individual composition; within that sub-series there are two alphabetical sequences, the second having become necessary based on physical housing considerations.

Sub-series A                            Inside Eastman
             Sub-sub-series i           Offices, departments, and budget
             Sub-sub-series ii          Projects, endeavors, and initiatives
             Sub-sub-series iii         Programmed events

 Sub-series B                            Outside Eastman: endeavors and initiatives

 Sub-series C                            University of Rochester River Campus
           Sub-sub-series i           Reports and correspondence
           Sub-sub-series ii          Endeavors and initiatives

 Sub-series D                           Hanson’s original works

Series 3:          Manuscripts

This series is sub-divided into four sub-series:

Sub-series A: Original compositions

This sub-series contains manuscripts, drafts, and published copies of the greater number of Hanson’s compositions. The manuscripts are arranged in alphabetical order by title of composition. The individual item-level entries present the following data elements:

    • a uniform title [bracketed]: as in standard library procedure, so as to collate manifestations bearing variant forms of the given title
    • a transcription of the given title, whether appearing on the item’s front cover, title page, caption, spine; in some instances, what is provided as the given title is nothing more than the heading of convenience appearing on the given item
    • date, if discernible
    • performing forces for which the given manifestation was scored
    • physical format, whether score, vocal score, parts, etc.
    • marking medium or media
    • physical extent, represented by number of pages or else an accounting of the instrumental parts
    • any noteworthy characteristics or attributes, such as markings, dedications or inscriptions, or accompanying matter

N.B. Throughout, manuscripts are autograph (i.e., in the composer’s hand) unless explicitly described as being in a copyist’s hand.

Although Hanson assigned opus numbers to many of his compositions, anecdotal evidence suggests that Hanson actually disavowed their relevance (Watanabe, 1997). The last of his works to which he assigned an opus number was his Song of Human Rights, opus 49, composed in 1963.

Sub-series B: Arrangements of music by other composers

This sub-series is comprised of manuscripts of arrangements that Hanson made of works by other composers. No deliberate order has been devised. One noteworthy item among them is his orchestral arrangement of the Syrian national anthem, which he made during the Eastman Philharmonia’s 1961-62 tour of Europe and the Middle East.

Sub-series C: Other writings

Sub-sub-series i: Harmonic Materials of Modern Music

This sub-sub-series is comprised of draft and manuscript material pertinent to Hanson’s text, published in 1960.

Sub-sub-series ii: Sketches

This sub-sub-series is comprised of a substantial number of disparate sketches, most of which have not been identified as to their source or destination composition.

Sub-series D: Oversized manuscripts

This sub-series has been created for ease of filing, and is comprised of manuscripts that are physically anomalous in that they supersede the dimensions of the records storage containers assigned to their respective series and sub-series.

Series 4:          Press material

Sub-series A: Scrapbooks

The greater part of this series is comprised of the sequence of 34 scrapbooks that Howard Hanson compiled (or else that were compiled on his behalf) throughout his career. Covering the years 1912-1967, the scrapbooks contain press clippings, printed programs, and record reviews.

Sub-series B: Clippings

In addition to the scrapbooks, the series includes a sequence of loose press clippings dating from the years 1906-1979; these have been been chronologically arranged.

Series 5:          Concert programs

This series is comprised of two sub-series:

Sub-series A: American music initiatives at the Eastman School of Music

The sub-series houses printed programs and bulletins that were issued for the American Composers Concerts (1925- ) and for the annual Festivals of American Music (1931-1971), two of Hanson’s major American music initiatives at the Eastman School of Music. These are arranged chronologically. These holdings do not, however, represent a comprehensive gathering of the programs published for either the American Composers Concerts or the Festivals of American Music.

Sub-series B: Programs featuring specific Hanson compositions

This sub-series houses specifically concert programs printed for performances in which original works by Hanson were programmed. The selection is comprised of whichever programs Hanson managed to acquire, together with those that he happened to receive from colleagues and associates. The documents are arranged alphabetically by title of composition, with sundry other gatherings of documents (such as programs from all-Hanson festivals) placed at the end of the sequence. Within this sub-series are two separate alphabetical sequences of programs, each sequence being determined by dimensions of the documents.

Series 6:          Books

This series constitutes a portion of Hanson’s working library. It contains more than 175 books, the greater number of them addressing music composition and/or theory. The books are arranged alphabetically by author surname. Many of the items are presentation copies, bearing inscriptions to Hanson in the hands of their respective authors. Numerous books of non-musical content were permanently separated from the collection and thus are not cited here.

Series 7:          Published music

Sub-series A: Works by Hanson

Sub-sub-series i: Music

Copies of Hanson’s works in publication are arranged alphabetically by title. In some instances, titles are represented by both scores and parts.

Sub-sub-series ii: Books

This sub-sub-series is comprised of published copies of Hanson’s own monographs.

Sub-series B: Works by other composers

Numerous scores with and without inscriptions (mainly by the composers) are organized in alphabetical order by the composers’ name and by the title within same composer.

Series 8:          Arrangements (by others) of Hanson compositions

This series is comprised of manuscripts of arrangements made by other musicians of music by Hanson. The manuscripts are arranged in alphabetical order by title. Of note, there are no fewer than three separate transcriptions of the Andante con tenerezza movement from the Symphony no. 1 ( “Nordic” ).

Series 9:          Sound recordings

Sub-series A: Magnetic reels

This sub-series consists of magnetic reel representations of live concert performances, rehearsals, and interviews. Represented herein are performances of Hanson’s own compositions, together with the works of other composers that Hanson conducted in performance.

Sub-series B: Analog discs

The collection contains aluminum, glass, and acetate discs at either 78 rpm or 33 1/3 rpm. Some of the discs were apparently part of a larger collection, bearing catalogue numbers that today have no relevance.

Series 10:        Awards

This series contains a small number of awards, whether paper-based or artifactual.

Abbreviations used throughout the text:

AFM = American Federation of Musicians

ESM = Eastman School of Music

MS = manuscript

MENC = Music Educators’ National Conference

NASM = National Association of Schools of Music

SML = Sibley Music Library

UNESCO = United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization

UR = University of Rochester


Cohen, Allen L. Howard Hanson in Theory and Practice. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2003.

Hanson, Howard. The Autobiography of Howard Hanson. Compiled and edited from manuscript sources by Vincent A. Lenti. Unpublished. A copy resides in the Eastman School of Music Archives at the Sibley Music Library; the manuscript sources that Lenti drew upon reside in the Howard Hanson Papers, accession no. 2005/3/25.

Kalyn, Andrea Sherlock. Constructing a Nation’s Music: Howard Hanson’s American Composers’ Concerts and Festivals of American Music, 1925-71. Thesis (Ph. D.)–University of Rochester, 2001.

Perone, James E. Howard Hanson: a Bio-bibliography. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1993.

Watanabe, Ruth T. Foreword to Howard Hanson: a Comprehensive Catalog of the Manuscripts, by Marilyn V. Plain. Rochester, New York: Published for the Howard Hanson Memorial Institute for American Music by the Eastman School of Music Press, University of Rochester, 1997.

Williams, David Russell. Conversations with Howard Hanson. Arkadelphia, Arkansas (Box 3665, Ouachita University, Arkadelphia 71923): Delta Publications, 1988.