Introducing the Music Division’s Summer 2019 Interns: Part 2

Each summer, several interns arrive at the Music Division to complete a variety of projects with our collections. This year, we’re introducing them as they arrive, and will share stories of what they discover throughout their time at the Library.

This week, we’re introducing our interns from the University of North Carolina: Chapel Hill—Sophia Maria Andricopulos, Emily Hynes, Kelli Smith-Biwer—and from Case Western Reserve University—James Aldridge and Taylor McClaskie. These interns split their time between working on their own research and projects for the Music Division

Musicology graduate students Sophia Maria, Emily, and Kelli are working with Archivist Chris Hartten on the Henry Mancini Collection.

From left: Emily Hynes, Kelli Smith-Biwer, Sophia Maria Andricopulos

Because the Henry Mancini Collection is so extensive, what aspects of the project will you be working on?

Emily: So far, we are working to understand the previous owners’ many alphanumerical systems of cataloging the collection to see if we can use it to wrap our heads around the sheer size of the collection.

Sophia Maria: Once we have a better idea of what’s there (and what’s not), we’ll develop a plan for processing and rehousing.

Kelli: Our current priority is to identify the sheet music organization system used by Mancini and his family so that we may rejoin stray sketches and parts with their original projects. We hope to rehouse the extensive collection of sheet music, handwritten scores and sketches, and film cues while concurrently creating an inventory.

What is your research project, and what are you hoping to find / work with in our collections this summer?

Emily: My research involves the Lomax collections in the American Folklife Center. Mainly, I try to understand folk song collecting in the American South, and I do this in part through analyzing the work of John Lomax, Herbert Halpert, and David Cohn, among others. I am listening to many of John Lomax’s recordings from the 1930s in order to fill in some gaps in my thesis research

Sophia Maria: My research this summer involves representations of baseball in American music, using the new revised Bibliography of Baseball Music and Songs as a guide throughout the project. I’m focusing on music before 1950, so most of what I’m looking at is commercial sheet music. There is so much to get from sheet music, and to start with I’m trying to take in everything—the lyrics, the illustrations and dedications on the cover, and of course the music. My biggest question is how these artistic representations might speak to what baseball games sounded like, especially before they were broadcast on radio and TV. But I’m also trusting that the right direction for this project will become clear as I work with more material.

Kelli: I am working on the Federal Music Project as it was deployed in the region most deeply impacted by the Dust Bowl. I hope to integrate reports, correspondence, programs, and clippings from the Federal Music Project, Federal Theater Project, Seeger Family Papers, and the United States Work Progress Administration special collection to develop a better understanding of the application, successes, and failures of the project throughout the region.

What are you most looking forward to about your summer at the Library of Congress?

Emily: I am so excited to work more in the American Folklife Center in the beautiful Jefferson Building and to discover exciting documents in the Mancini collection! The proximity of the Library to so many other museums and sites to see is also a plus, since I can go visit those when I get off work. 

Kelli: As a person who grew up on the border between Kansas and Oklahoma and whose documented family history begins on the Great Plains during the Dust Bowl, I look forward to the opportunity to explore the understudied history of a place that is very close to my heart. That, and having the main theme to the Pink Panther stuck in my head all summer.

Sophia Maria: So far, I’m finding that working in the Music Division involves a particular balance of order and chaos that I find invigorating. There’s something both satisfying and fun about trying to impose some kind of organization on an unprocessed collection of hundreds of boxes. I guess what I’m looking forward to most is sustaining that excitement and seeing where it takes me this summer.

Musicology graduate students are working with our collection of lead sheet copyright deposits.

From left: James Aldridge, Taylor McClaskie

What project are you working this summer for the Music Division?

Taylor: We are working in the Music Division’s cataloguing section to gather metadata for unpublished sheet music copyright deposits. This work will make it easier in the future for researchers to locate unpublished music by jazz and popular music composers.

James: Before it was possible to obtain copyright protection for sound recordings, jazz musicians would submit lead sheets (minimalistic scores they supplied band members) to the library in their place. Today, these documents are extremely valuable as they allow musicians, researchers, and collectors to confirm the accuracy of their transcriptions while better understanding the history behind their craft/topic of interest.

What is your research project, and what are you hoping to find / work with in our collections this summer?

Taylor: I am working with the Edward and Marian MacDowell Collection, specifically with the work and correspondence of Marian MacDowell. In the first half of the twentieth century the MacDowell Colony offered female writers, artists, and composers a unique opportunity to spend extended time in nature while working their craft. I hope to better understand how (or if) Marian and the colonists discussed nature as a part of the colony experience.

James: While at the library, I will be studying Eric Dolphy’s sketchbooks in the Eric Dolphy Collection. Eric Dolphy is one of jazz’s most eccentric and misunderstood soloists. His sketchbooks, however, shine a light on his musical personality, clarifying his methodology and the logic of his approach. This project is a small part of my forthcoming dissertation on resistance in 1960s jazz.

What are you most looking forward to about your summer at the Library of Congress?

Taylor: I’m most looking forward to the opportunity to use the Library’s resources, both in and out of the Music Division, and hope to find a couple gems along the way!

James: More than anything, I am looking forward to leafing through copyright deposits! I’ve already found a few gems in the Ornette Coleman collection (unrecorded tunes unknown to the general jazz public) and have been playing through them on the piano to get a sense of their sound!

Stay tuned for posts throughout the summer from our interns discussing their work.

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