By Jeremy A. Smith
Title: Oberlin Conservatory Library Collection of Musicians’ Autographs and Photographs, 1786-1985 and undated
Extent: 4.0 Linear Feet
This collection contains a variety of autographs, letters, stamps, and photographs of musicians. Among the musicians represented are C.P.E. Bach, Amy Beach, Hector Berlioz, Nadia Boulanger, Henry Cowell, Claude Debussy, Lou Harrison, Vladimir Horowitz, Franz Liszt, Felix Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, Richard Wagner, Iannis Xenakis, and many others. The overall collection is arranged into the following series, based on provenance: Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Best Collection of Autographs and Stamps, Frederick G. Marks Collection, Charles W. Morrison Collection of Photographs, Frank H. Shaw Collection of Photographs, and Miscellaneous Autographs and Photographs.
To request access to the collection, contact Conservatory Library special collections staff at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Series 1: Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Best Collection of Autographs and Stamps: This series, consisting autograph letters from various musicians along with postage stamps from various countries commemorating musical people and events, was given to Oberlin College in 1948. Cyrus W. Best (April 22, 1865-June 14, 1948) was an 1890 graduate of Oberlin Conservatory. After additional studies with Martin Krause in Leipzig, Germany, Mr. Best returned to the US to direct conservatories in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Alabama. Among the musicians represented in this series are C. P. E. Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Amy Beach, Johannes Brahms, Frederic Chopin, Franz Liszt, Clara and Robert Schumann, and Richard Wagner. In 1967, the staff of the Conservatory Library translated each letter in the collection and published a guide, containing the translations along with select facsimiles (cataloged as ML94.B53).
Series 2: Frederick G. Marks Collection: This series consists of signed portraits and letters. Marks (July 20, 1919-June 20, 2005) graduated from Oberlin College in 1940, after which he served in the Army in World War II and then worked as an agent for New York Life Insurance Company. He had a specific interest in the music of Richard Wagner, which is reflected in the focus of these materials. Along with the signed portraits and letters, Marks donated 67 volumes of music and books, related primarily to Wagner, which have been separated and are available here.
Series 3: Charles W. Morrison Collection of Photographs: This series consists of 25 signed photographs and portraits of musicians. Morrison was Director of the Conservatory from 1902-1924.
Series 4: Frank H. Shaw Collection of Photographs: This series consists of signed photographs and portraits of musicians. Shaw was Director of the Conservatory from 1924-1949.
Series 5: Miscellaneous Autographs and Photographs: This series was compiled by Library staff from a variety of purchases and donations. Information on provenance is included, when known.
Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research. To request access to the collection, contact Conservatory Library special collections staff at: email@example.com.
Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in this collection may not have been transferred to Oberlin College. For more information, contact Conservatory Library staff.
Related Materials: A digital collection featuring highlights from the materials is available here.
Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], [Identification of series title], Oberlin Conservatory Library Collection of Musicians’ Autographs and Photographs, Oberlin Conservatory Library
Other Note: A complete inventory of the collection is available here.