Expanded Leonard Bernstein Online Collection

Leonard Bernstein at Harvard, 1939? Bernstein Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.

In celebration of composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein’s centennial, the Library of Congress is happy to announce that we have greatly expanded our Bernstein Online Collection, now giving access to 3,741 items and over 42,000 pages of archival material. Through the online collection researchers can find:

  • Music – See sketches for Candide, Chichester Psalms, Kaddish, Mass, On the Town, A Quiet Place, West Side Story, and Wonderful Town. Also included are Bernstein’s coursework, including his counterpoint and harmony exercises.
  • Correspondence – You can now read correspondence to and from the Bernstein family, Marc Blitzstein, Nadia Boulanger, Paul Bowles, Helen Coates (Bernstein’s secretary), Betty Comden, Aaron Copland, David Diamond, Irving Fine, Lukas Foss, Adolph Green, Serge Koussevitzky, Renne Longy-Miquelle, Dimitri Mitropoulos, David Oppenheim , Jerome Robbins, William Schuman, and Mildred Spiegel Zucker (a childhood friend).
  • Writings – Find scripts and notes for Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts and other programs, as well as writings related to particular topics such as Civil Rights, conducting, Israel and Judaism, Mahler, New York Philharmonic, and the Vienna Philharmonic, among others.
  • Scrapbooks – Browse the complete run of the 130 volumes of the Bernstein scrapbooks scanned from the Library’s microfilm copies.
  • Photographs – View 515 photographs related to many of the aforementioned individuals and topics.
  • Audio Recordings – Listen to 17 audio clips, mostly of Bernstein speaking.
  • Miscellaneous — See a handful of miscellaneous items from the Bernstein Collection, including his birth certificate and passports.

Leonard Bernstein working on a score at his piano, 1956. Bernstein Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.



Of course, researchers can read about the contents of our complete Leonard Bernstein Collection in the collection’s finding aid. Researchers are welcome to consult the Bernstein Collection in person in the Performing Arts Reading Room Monday-Saturday from 8:30am-5pm. Questions about the Bernstein Collection? Contact us via Ask a Librarian – our reference librarians are ready to help!





The Library of Congress continues to celebrate Leonard Bernstein during his centennial celebration with two upcoming events (click on the titles for more information):

Leonard Bernstein’s America – Concert in Coolidge Auditorium
Friday, May 18, 2018 at 8:00pm
Michael Barrett, music director
Julia Bullock, soprano  |  Amy Owens, soprano
Amanda Lynn Bottoms, mezzo soprano
Joshua Blue, tenor Adrian Rosas, bass-baritone

Bernstein Centennial Minifest Day-long program in the Madison Building
Saturday, May 19, 2018 – 11:00am-5:00pm
Feel the Bernstein: dive into our special, day-long program, an immersive experience anchored by an extensive display of manuscripts, letters, playbills,  photographs and memorabilia, sketches, casting notes, and designs. The day will include informal talks by Music Division curators, video clips from Bernstein’s lectures and educational shows, a #Declassified presentation on “Bernstein and Social Identity,” and plenty of interesting revelations: fascinating stories, notes, and cut songs from On the Town, West Side Story and Candide, with pianist Jon Kalbfleisch and a team of singers on hand for musical vignettes.

OrchKids at the Library of Congress

The following is a guest post by Anne McLean of the Music Division. OrchKids at the Library of Congress Saturday, April 7, 2018    2:00 pm Thomas Jefferson Building, 1st and Independence, S.E. Talented young musicians from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s impressive OrchKids program perform a special free, family-friendly concert at the Library of Congress Coolidge Auditorium […]

Sheet Music Spotlight: “A National Feeling Song” for Buchanan

The following is a guest post from retired Music Cataloger Sharon McKinley. The Library of Congress recently made the James Buchanan and Harriet Lane Johnston Papers available online. It’s a fascinating treasure-trove of documents, including a wonderful series of letters between Buchanan and his niece and ward Harriet Lane (later Johnston), who served as the […]

Special Collections: New Finding Aids Available!

The Music Division of the Library of Congress is home to over 500 named special collections – that is, the personal papers of significant figures and companies ranging from composers, to musicians, to costume designers, to choreographers, to publishers and beyond. You can see an alphabetical listing of our special collections online that includes links […]

Great and Good Friends: An Exhibition That Showcases the Library’s Thai Instruments

The following is a guest post from Lara Szypszak, Concert Assistant for the Music Division. An upcoming exhibition in Bangkok at the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles (running March 21 through June 30) highlights 200 years of U.S.-Thai friendship, and is thus aptly titled Great and Good Friends. A few of our instruments, including hand […]

Nicholas Longworth and The Friends of Music in the Library of Congress

The following is a guest post from Lara Szypszak of the Music Division. On Friday, January 12, 2018 at 8pm, Italian ensemble Europa Galante will perform in the Coolidge Auditorium. Presented in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute in Washington, DC, this concert honors Nicholas Longworth, former Speaker of the […]

The Music Division Wishes You a Happy New Year!

The following is a guest post by retired cataloger Sharon McKinley Looking for an appropriate New Year’s greeting, I found this song featuring a distinguished-looking gentleman with great facial hair on the cover. The title seems pretty tame, but the subtitle, Dedicated to my customers… is pure click-bait- -19th century style. Pleasant and easy to sing, it’s […]