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A New Finding Aid for the Moldenhauer Archives!

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The following is a guest post from Archives Processing Technician Dr. Rachel McNellis.

Beginning in the 1940s, musicologist, music collector, and avid mountain climber Hans Moldenhauer (1906–1987) amassed a substantial collection of autograph music manuscripts, letters, and other materials that have been distributed among nine libraries across the globe. The Moldenhauer Archives at the Library of Congress is a treasure trove of approximately 3,750 documents—primarily holograph music and letters supplemented by photographs, clippings, programs, writings, and artwork related to the life and work of more than 1,250 musical and literary figures. From illuminated medieval chant manuscripts to twentieth-century graphic scores, these materials encompass nearly 800 years of Western music from diverse geographical regions.

Pen and ink drawing of buildings clustered between sea and hillside
Felix Mendelssohn. Drawing from Felix Mendelssohn’s travels to Italy, undated. Box 98, Moldenhauer Archives, Music Division.

The Music Division recently released an updated finding aid for the Moldenhauer Archives that includes significant revisions to its format, organization, and description. The revision to the finding aid removed obscure abbreviations, updated physical descriptions, added locations, and listed the materials alphabetically so that users may navigate the document more efficiently. Hyperlinks to approximately 200 digitized materials also allow for greater remote discoverability. Additionally, the finding aid includes new entries for materials related to Andrés Segovia and Heskel Brisman, including a significant amount of manuscript and printed music as well as correspondence and clippings.

Manuscript diary in German
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Diary entry, May 24, 1780. Box 99, Moldenhauer Archives, Music Division.

Music enthusiasts are invited to explore the Moldenhauer Archives both online and in person to experience music history through the lens of primary source documents; Ludwig van Beethoven, Georges Bizet, Pierre Boulez, Johannes Brahms, Ferrucio Busoni, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Frédéric Chopin, Claude Debussy, George Frideric Handel, György Ligeti, Felix Mendelssohn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Giacomo Puccini, Maurice Ravel, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, Kurt Weill, and Giuseffe Zarlino are just a sampling of the composers whose stories await!

Colorful lines of score moving diagonally across staff paper
Aurelio De La Vega. The Magic Labyrinth, for any number of any instruments and/or any number of any voices, undated. Box 57, Moldenhauer Archive, Music Division.

The collection and its history is described at length in The Rosaleen Moldenhauer Memorial: Music History from Primary Sources: A Guide to the Moldenhauer Archives, edited by Jon Newsom and Alfred Mann (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 2000) [ISBN 0-8444-0987-1].

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