Tag Archives: Charles N. Boyd

Pittsburgh Music – Scrapbooks of Yore


tmc53It has been my privilege and pleasure to contribute to the preservation and archiving of the 200+ scrapbooks about Pittsburgh music that are housed in the William R. Oliver Special Collections Room. These scrapbooks come from many different sources and were put together by significant figures or organizations important to the music history of Pittsburgh. Some were donated to the Carnegie Library by the individual or organization, others bequeathed to CLP by the families after the person passed away. Some had been meticulously put together, and others collect every scrap of paper having to do with music from every region and from every source. Some span years of time, and others a single season. They contain correspondence, photos, concert programs, newspaper and magazine articles, and other various forms of ephemera.

To view an index of finding aids, please see Pittsburgh Music Archives.

A few highlights:

Adolph M. Foerster – A composer, music teacher and music historian Foerester scrapbook 006especially about Pittsburgh, his articles were featured in The Musical Forecast and other national music periodicals. His eclectic scrapbooks contain a wide variety of things. Look especially at Scrapbook #5 which contains articles about the music history of Pittsburgh, the first one being from August 12, 1900: “Musical Successes of Old Pittsburgh.”

William Evens – 6 scrapbooks from 1791-1860. Evens taught singing for 40 years and helped to organize Pittsburgh’s first Musical Society. These books are one of the only sources of information available on the development of music in Pittsburgh during the first half of the Nineteenth Century.

Charles C. Mellor – a scrapbook dated 1858-1875, and his father John H. Mellor, scrapbooks from 1848-1860. John Mellor came to Pittsburgh in 1831 to become the organist at Trinity Episcopal Church. He founded the first music store in Pittsburgh, “Mellor’s,” in 1831. This was billed as America’s oldest piano house. His son, Charles C. Mellor, took over ownership of the store in 1863, and was a trustee of The Carnegie Library, appointed by Andrew Carnegie in 1895.

PoiaWalter McClintock (1870-1949) lived with the Blackfoot Indian tribe for many years, and wrote a number of books about their society and customs. Poia, an opera based on the Blackfoot tribe, was composed by Arthur Nevin at the request of McClintock. The library has a scrapbook from McClintock, half devoted to clippings about one of his books, Old North Trail, and half devoted to clippings about Poia and how it was received (hint – not very well).

Tuesday Musical Club  – 22 volumes of scrapbooks from 1903 – 1973. tmc47I have been working on the preservation of these scrapbooks, and am currently up to volume 16. tmc40They are a wonderful resource for Pittsburgh Music History, and for a look at the role of women in society. The styles of the scrapbooks change with the different secretaries that put them together.











George H. Wilson – Wilson came to Pittsburgh in 1895 to serve as manager for the newly opened Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, as well as for the Pittsburgh Orchestra housed there. He was also manager for the Art Society of Pittsburgh. His 44 scrapbooks have different categories. Some are personal scrapbooks containing things like correspondence, and some are for the organizations that he was a part of, like The Grand Opera, and The Pittsburgh Orchestra. We also have 22 volumes of the associated collection – Pittsburgh Orchestra Correspondence, which contain items such as official letters for the organization, contracts, and programs.

Charles N. Boyd – The library houses over 100 scrapbooks from Mr. Boyd, including the biggest scrapbook I have ever seen. Fifteen of them are primarily about Mr. Boyd himself, articles he wrote, or groups and performances he participated in.

The Carnegie Library is an important resource for primary source material. You need to make an appointment at the Oliver Room to view these in person.



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The Biggest Scrapbook I Have Ever Seen

Boyd Scrapbook

Boyd Scrapbook

The library houses 100+ scrapbooks of a Mr. Charles N. Boyd. His bio can be found here and here, but briefly, Boyd was the co-founder and director of the Pittsburgh Musical Institute, a music professor at Western Theological Seminary, a long-tenured organist/choir director at North Avenue Methodist Church, the initiator/director of the Pittsburgh Choral Society, president of the Music Teachers National Association, a scholarly writer for Grove’s Dictionary of Music, and (ahem) somewhat of a paper hoarder.

Boyd’s scrapbooks are housed in the Oliver Room (rare books and special collections). They range in size and scope, from single subject small scrapbooks to six extremely large and fragile ones. The larger contain newspaper articles, magazine clippings, concert programs, and other ephemera from many sources and about many music topics, some of which have a direct Pittsburgh connection, most of which do not. We preserved intact the smaller ones and the ones containing information primarily about Mr. Boyd himself, articles he wrote, or groups and performances he participated in. For the large and larger ones (volumes 31-99 to be precise) we extracted just the articles pertaining to Pittsburgh music. I removed the bindings and created preservation boxes for them, consolidating volumes when possible. We created finding lists, and then collated all of the information to create a web page for this collection:


This project took a little over a year to complete.

On one of Kathie Logan’s last days before she retired as Head of the Music Department in 2011, the whole Department went up to the Oliver Room to see what music-related material there was and take an inventory. That’s when we discovered the biggest Boyd scrapbook yet, sitting sideways on a lower shelf at the back of the room all by itself. I was ready to treat it like all of the rest: extract just the material pertaining to Pittsburgh. As I wheeled it down from the Oliver Room on a book truck, I was struck with the idea that we might preserve this last one in its entirety for its value as an artifact. This would make it unusable for getting information from, but we have seen and saved lots of other similar articles from the others.  After talking with other staff members, we decided that it would be nice to keep it intact. Due to its fragile nature, we will not be able to open it up to make a finding list for it.

We consulted our in-house Preservation Department, and they said that they would make a special box for it.

I think perhaps it might have been serendipity that made us overlook this last Boyd scrapbook.  It will be nice to display this interesting behemoth at special events.

Large and Fragile

Large and Fragile

Interesting Behemoth

Interesting Behemoth



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