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!

American Ballet Theatre on the Road: Touring Rodeo

The following is a guest post from Sophie Benn, one of the Music Division’s Fellows from Case Western Reserve University this past summer. Dance Archivist Libby Smigel introduces her. I’m beginning to believe that every dance historian could benefit from working alongside a dance-loving musicologist. This past summer graduate student Sophie Benn fit that role […]

Pearl Lang: A Choreographer Between Two Worlds

The following is a guest post from Chava Lansky, one of the Music Division’s Fellows from this past summer. Dance Archivist Libby Smigel introduces her. Meet Chava Lansky, a recent graduate of Barnard College where she wrote a senior thesis on dance autobiographies. With her strong interest in dance history and research on Martha Graham’s […]

A Musical Artifact Rediscovered for Nagrin and Starer’s Indeterminate Figure

Last week we featured a guest post from summer Fellow Rachel McNellis who shared discoveries from her work with the Daniel Nagrin Collection. This week she links an unidentified score titled “Vanity” to one of Nagrin’s seminal dance works, Indeterminate Figure.   Daniel Nagrin, a renowned modern dancer with a humanist worldview, included this brief […]

Severed Limbs and Other Findings in the Daniel Nagrin Collection

The following is a guest post from Rachel McNellis, one of the Music Division’s summer Fellows. Dance Archivist Libby Smigel introduces her. I have been delighted to have two Case Western Reserve University Fellows this summer, and am pleased to have Rachel McNellis share her experience working with the legacy materials of choreographer Daniel Nagrin. […]

Pride in the Library: LGBTQ+ Voices in the Library’s Collections

This is a guest post by Meg Metcalf, women’s, gender and LGBTQ+ studies librarian in the Main Reading Room. It was originally posted on the Library of Congress Blog. The collections of the Library of Congress tell the rich and diverse story of LGBTQ+ life in America and around the world. To share this story, […]

Discovering the Music within our Dance collections: Composer Lucia Dlugoszewski and the Erick Hawkins Dance Company

The following is a guest post from Kaitlin (Kate) Doyle, one of the Music Division’s summer Fellows. Dance Curator Libby Smigel introduces her.    Meet Kate Doyle, a doctoral candidate specializing in experimental composition and sound for performance art at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Kate spent her summer as a CWRU Fellow […]

2016-2017 Concerts from the Library of Congress Season

The moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived! We are pleased to announce the 2016-2017 season of Concerts from the Library of Congress, which builds on our continuing mission: to give the music on the shelves of the Library a living voice, and let the people hear it. You can read the season announcement press […]

New Video Roundup

We’ve released a wide variety of videos from recent concerts, lectures, and other events. Learn what’s newly available below. Sign-up for Library of Congress Video Alerts Enter your email address then direct to “Subscriber Preferences.” Select “New Webcasts” and hit submit to receive notifications of new releases via email. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel Subscribe […]

European Month of Culture: Spotlight on Italy

Here’s a new blog by our colleague Jason Steinhauer about Elia Andrea Corazza’s research in the papers of Serge Diaghilev at the Library of Congress. This blog commemorates European Month of Culture, and is cross-posted from Insights, a blog about scholarly work at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. Elia Andrea […]