Tag Archives: Pittsburgh Music Archives

Another Part of the Foerster

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A Foerster Manuscript – note the correction he added on the bottom right

I recently had the pleasure of doing some preservation work on this beautiful volume of handwritten manuscripts of songs by Adolph M. Foerster. The pages are filled with musical notation set down in fountain pen, some with corrections added later in pencil. It is beautiful calligraphy.

Works dated from the late 19th and early 20th Century

Adolph Martin Foerster (1854 – 1927), an internationally known composer, music teacher, music historian, and conductor, was born and resided most of his life in Pittsburgh. He taught privately at the Pittsburgh Female College. He became the conductor of the Symphonic Society in 1879, and was elected conductor of the Musical Union in 1882. After 1883 he devoted himself to teaching, composition, and writing articles about the music history of Pittsburgh, fellow musicians in Pittsburgh, and other topics. His articles were featured in The Musical Forecast and other national periodicals.

Foerster materials in The William R. Oliver Special Collections Room include 6 scrapbooks, a photograph album, 2 volumes of his manuscripts, and 5 volumes of his published compositions. The library has other examples of Foerster’s published works, some available for circulation.

One scrapbook of particular interest to me is Scrapbook Volume 5, which contain a series of articles from The Pittsburg Dispatch. Written in August and September of 1900 by Mrs. Henry B. Birch, they are titled “Musical Pittsburgh in the Olden Days,” “Growth and History of Music in Pittsburgh,” and “History of the Work of Pittsburgh Musicians.”

Ah, articles written 115 years ago about music in the olden days of Pittsburgh. Bliss.

More photos of the manuscripts:

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-Joelle

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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.”
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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.

 

 

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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.

-Joelle

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Little Boxes in the Archives – a Photoblog

I am currently working on preserving a set of 22 scrapbooks from the Tuesday Musical Club from 1903 – 1973. The Tuesday Musical Club, founded 1889 and still active, started as a social and educational organization for “amateur” women musicians and music enthusiasts of Pittsburgh. Their members perform concerts, bring national musical acts to Pittsburgh, and provide scholarships for music students. Men were admitted starting in 1976. The scrapbooks themselves are a fascinating look at both the history of music in our region and a social history of women in American society. They are permanently housed in the William R. Oliver Special Collections Room.

Scrapbook3 The scrapbooks were meticulously put together by club members, and are in okay shape despite their age. This one is from 1911 – 1915. The club printed programs on beautifully embossed cardstock.

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I clean the pages with a special sponge and insert buffered acid-free interleaving tissue paper between the pages. Newspaper is especially acidic and non-archival. (Look! It’s a picture of Mr. Charles N. Boyd!)

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Scrapbook4When the scrapbook is ready, I make a custom fitted, archival, corrugated clamshell box. I learned how to make these as an intern at the Preservation Lab at Pitt. My technique was refined by our own in-house Preservation Department. These are all the tools I use.

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Scrapbook5I take measurements on a strip of cardboard. I have to be careful to get the right measurement for the thickness of the book, because it has many high and low spots.

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SB5I transfer the measurements to a piece of archival cardboard, using a jig (that small piece of cardboard that measures one, two, or three board-thicknesses), and a square (it’s called a square, but its a triangle).

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SB6I cut out the template.

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TMC19I score the lines, then fold the edges of the box.

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SB9The “fun” part – removing the inner layer of cardboard for the corners.

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scrappyI put a thin layer of glue on the flaps, and place it around the other edge to make a closed corner.

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sb10Here is the completed box. Each one takes me between fifteen and twenty minutes to make.

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sb11Volume 5 completed. Volume 6 up next.

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-Joelle

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Well Isn’t That Special

Music Special Collections at the Main Library

special collection

noun Library Science.

a collection of materials segregated from a general library collection according to form, subject, age, condition, rarity, source, or value.

Dictionary.com Unabridged

Music and culture existed in Pittsburgh before the arrival of the Internet.  Music Librarians collected and preserved the music history of the region found on newspaper and magazine clippings, concert programs, and the like.  In those days, musicians and music lovers attended music events and played music using sheet music, much like they do today.  The big difference is the way things were published, the way information was transmitted, the type of music that was popular, and the formats available for recorded music. Here in the Music Department, we’ve worked to preserve that history for years to come.

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Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Music Special Collections are not as extensive as the special collections of the music division in the Library of Congress, but we have our share of great resources.  Most of our collections have a Pittsburgh connection, each collection has its own (sometimes quirky) history, and each deserves a blog post of its own.

Here is an overview of our major collections:

Click for a full list of CLP’s Music Special Collections and sheet music collections.

Librarians in the Music Department are happy to discuss questions concerning personal collections of music-related materials.

-Joelle

P.S. Special…

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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:

http://www.carnegielibrary.org/research/music/pittsburgh/archivalmaterial/boyd/

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

-Joelle

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Paur Play

Once in a while, you hear in the news about how a librarian discovers something interesting hiding on the shelves, like the recent Paul Revere print found at Brown University.  Here’s my story (cue chung-chung Law and Order sound effect):

Before the longtime head of the Music Department, Kathie Logan, retired recently, we conducted a shelf inventory. One discovery was a packet of letters from the early 1900’s, held together with rusty straight pins. The only thing known about them was that they were written in part by the contentious conductor of the Pittsburgh Orchestra, Emil Paur (pronounced Power). Kathie did not recall anything about them. They might have come into the library before she arrived in 1984.

Paur, conductor of the Pittsburgh Orchestra from 1904 – 1910, was somewhat controversial in his day. Our Music Archives house a collection of scrapbooks from George H. Wilson, the manager of the Pittsburgh Orchestra at the time. All I knew was that Wilson did not get along with Paur, and actually quit the Orchestra because of him.

On closer inspection, I found 34 letters from 1905-1914 between Paur and William C. Hamilton. There were typewritten copies of what Hamilton sent to Paur, and original, handwritten responses from Paur to Hamilton. The contents of letters indicated a close personal relationship between the men, with Hamilton acting as Paur’s agent or manager, and describe the atmosphere and circumstances surrounding Paur’s tenure as the conductor of the Pittsburgh Orchestra. The letters include dealings with finances and personalities, “to be kept in strict confidence” gossip, machinations of Orchestra Committee members, warnings from Hamilton for Paur to stay away from this one or that one, and a lot of sour grapes. Obviously, Hamilton was a key player in the dealings and controversy at the time. Passages are peppered with family events and dinner parties.

I knew a little of the back story of Paur, but who was Hamilton? No, he is not found on Google. I went to look at A History of Pittsburgh Music, 1758-1958 by Edward G. Baynham.  This is one of the go–to Pittsburgh music reference books¹. He wasn’t mentioned in there either. I searched the Pittsburgh Music Information File.  Paur is there, but no Hamilton. I looked at A Short History of the Pittsburgh Orchestra, 1896 to 1910 by Richard J. Wolfe² and once again found nothing specifically about Hamilton. Then I went to the Concert Programs of the Pittsburgh Orchestra and found my first clue.

Here was my path:

Clue one –William C. Hamilton is named as an orchestra committee member in early concert programs.

Clue two – from the concert programs: There is a “S. Hamilton Co.” where tickets to the concerts are sold – is there a connection?

Clue three – There is a card catalog (yes, they still exist!) in the Pennsylvania Department that contains names with volumes in which biographies of Pennsylvanians can be found. Aha! Success! I found him (I had to wade through other William Hamiltons, but I did find my man) in Pittsburgh of Today: Its Resources and People by Frank C. Harper. William C. Hamilton succeeded his father Samuel Hamilton as the president of “S. Hamilton and Company,” a prominent music store in Pittsburgh from 1870 through to the 1940s. So there was a connection to “S. Hamilton.”

Clue four – I went to another card catalog (yes another one) in the Music Department for the detailed index to the Musical Forecast, a music magazine from Pittsburgh from 1921-1948. There is a small obituary and small blurb about W. C. Hamilton in those volumes.

Clue five – I went back to Baynham and read about Samuel Hamilton, W. C.’s father, and music entrepreneur.

From all this information, I was able to write a short blurb for the finding list that I posted online:  William C. Hamilton.

With my interest piqued, I went to the Oliver Room to look through George Wilson’s scrapbook all about Paur. Wilson was the manager of the Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, as well as the Pittsburgh Orchestra housed there. He also managed the Art Society of Pittsburgh. He rubbed elbows with the likes of Mr. Andrew Carnegie. Wilson’s family donated 45 of his scrapbooks to the library, including the one containing newspaper clippings and correspondence about his feud with Paur. Amazingly, Mr. Wilson saved all of the newspaper and magazine articles pertaining to the feud, including negative press, and (BONUS!), two letters from William C. Hamilton himself, full of vitriol toward Mr. Wilson, with Wilson’s script on the top of the letters reading “not answered.”

Some selected highlights from Mr. Wilson’s scrapbook Pittsburgh Music Archive #37, Box 11:

 From April, 1907, “Paur or Manager, and the Committee Chose Conductor” “Among the matters upon which the manager and the conductor failed to agree, it is said, was the action of the latter in bringing to public notice his abilities as a pianist, and the implied contention of the manager that the orchestra was becoming known as an organization for the exploitation of a piano manufacturing concern.”

[That piano manufacturer was none other than W.C. Hamilton]

From April 18, 1907, “More than Jealousy”  “Luigi von Kunitz, concertmeister of the Pittsburg Orchestra, issued a statement tonight in which he says he has been forced to resign from the organization because he would not obey private mandates from Emil Paur, the conductor. He charges that Mr. Paur is connected with some piano manufacturer, whose make he insists on the musician using.”

From the Pittsburgh Post [Gazette?], May 1907, “Pittsburgh Orchestra has Brightest Kind of Prospects” “Gustav Schlotterbeck and W. C. Hamilton [are] in full charge of organization’s affairs. W. C. Hamilton [will be] Acting Director, who will manage the affairs of the orchestra here. Gustav Schlotterbeck … will book orchestra and manage out-of-town engagements.

Did Hamilton in fact coerce orchestral musicians into using certain instruments to his own gain, as seemed to be the contention of Wilson? Mmmm. Maybe you’ll have to read this amazing original source material from just over 100 years ago for yourself.

-Joelle

1. This book started as a scholarly dissertation for Baynham’s PhD in history and was expanded upon and privately published afterwards.  It is extremely well researched, but unfortunately, doesn’t have great bibliographic notes, and is a fairly dry read.

2. This is another scholarly dissertation.

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