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 to finding aids – the documents that describe the organization and contents of each collection.

If a collection does not link to a finding aid but to a record in our online catalog, that means the collection is yet to be processed (“processed” = completely organized with an official finding aid published online). We are constantly at work processing new collections and happy to report three recently-added online finding aids!

Blue Danube (choreography Leonide Massine) performance of Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, date unknown. Larry Colwell Dance Photographs Collection (7/3), Music Division, Library of Congress.

Larry Colwell Dance Photographs
Larry Colwell (1901-1972) was a noted American art photographer, best-known for his dance subjects as well as his figure studies. This collection of photographs consists primarily of large-format contact prints and negatives. A selection of mounted photographs showing his technique of capturing dance movement on film is also included. Subjects include some of the most famous ballet artists of the 1940s and 1950s, affiliated with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as well as George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein’s Ballet Society (which became New York City Ballet). Other significant photographic subjects are Talley Beatty, John Cage, and Merce Cunningham. A small amount of professional papers is also included.

Florence Klotz Costume Designs
Florence Klotz was an American costume designer best known for her work on Broadway musical collaborations with composer Stephen Sondheim and director Harold (Hal) Prince, including Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), and Pacific Overtures (1976). The collection contains finished costume designs, sketches, fabric samples, and other materials for five musicals and one film adaptation.

Graduation by Louis Horst. Pearl Lang Collection (48/5), Music Division, Library of Congress.

Pearl Lang Papers
Pearl Lang (née Pearl Lack) was an American dancer, choreographer, and teacher. The collection includes clippings and articles, programs and publicity, correspondence, choreographic and teaching notes, photographs, interviews and lectures, business papers, posters, music scores, moving images, and other materials relating to Lang’s career in dance primarily as a choreographer for her own company, Pearl Lang Dance Theater, and as solo performer with the Martha Graham Dance Company. A significant amount of material documents her interest in Yiddish and Jewish culture. (We were also fortunate to have 2017 Junior Fellow Chava Lansky work on the Lang Papers last summer, an experience you can read about in her blog post, “Pearl Lang: A Composer Between Two Worlds.”)

In addition to these newly processed collections, we revised and updated the finding aid to another collection:

American / Century Play Company Scripts and Business Papers
The American Play Company / Century Play Company was a conglomerate publishing house that represented many of the most prominent American playwrights and dramatists of the 20th century. The scripts and business papers in the collection document numerous aspects of American theater production history, including author representation, show production, publishing, and licensing for television, film, radio, and stock productions. The script library notably includes five working copies of The Glass Menagerie (1944) by Tennessee Williams and early performance drafts of Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie (1921), Mourning Becomes Electra (1931), and Strange Interlude (1923). The collection also highlights several unpublished, unproduced works by female playwrights, such as Harriet Ford and Margorie Benton Cooke.

These collections and many more are available for researchers to consult in the Performing Arts Reading Room Monday-Saturday, 8:30am-5pm. When planning a research trip, please call our reference desk at (202) 707-5507 or email our specialists via Ask a Librarian at least two weeks in advance; some special collections are stored off-site and will need to be ordered for delivery. Whether in person, on the phone, or via Ask a Librarian, ask away — we’re ready to help you!

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 […]