Special Collections & Archives

Archives and Manuscripts and Rare Books

Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music

The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music consists of over 29,000 pieces of American popular music. The collection spans the years 1780 to 1980, but its strength is throrough documentation of nineteenth-century America through popular music.

To access the collection website: Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music
For an on-line tour of collection highlights: Grace Notes

Other Sheet Music Collections

Collections smaller in scope, but rich in variety and content, are included in distinct collections cataloged in Special Collections.

A sampling from the T.E. Hambleton Collection, the Turner Collection, the Brinley Collection, the Joan Gould Collection, and the Frenkil Collection offers the marches of John Philip Sousa, the blues of W. C. Handy, the ragtime piano of Scott Joplin, show tunes of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole Porter, and George M. Cohan, and recent "standards" made famous by Perry Como, Hoagy Carmichael, Patti Page, Nat King Cole, and Gordon Jenkins.

From the Dickens Collection and the Poe Collection are "Little Dorrit's Polka" and the musical scores to accompany "The Raven" and "A Kingdom by the Sea," examples of the prose and poetry of prominent writers that inspired composers.

Along with 19th-century waltzes, the Hofmeister Collection contains a copy of "The Star Spangled Banner" with a fifth verse written by Oliver Wendell Holmes. Many sheet music covers portray well-known entertainers from theater, film, radio and television, some of whom are Kate Smith, Eddie Cantor, Al Jolson, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Other collections by name are Alliker, Brinley, Clements, Englemeyer, Hughes, Kunkel, Miller, Taylor, and Wilson. Card catalogs in the Special Collections Department provide access to each of the collections by title, lyricist, composer, publisher, and first line. Please contact us for further information.