Special Collections at the Wilson Music Library: Music Materials in VU Special Collections

An overview of the special collections available for students, faculty, and researchers held by the Anne Potter Wilson Music Library.

Special Collections and University Archives:

While the Wilson Music Library stores some music collections onsite, Vanderbilt University Special Collections and University Archives houses the bulk of collections that include music materials. Certain materials of direct interest to music scholars (including music manuscripts) are better housed in the controlled environment at Special Collections. Materials acquired with the Academic Archives Purchasing Fund to support the partnership between Vanderbilt and the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) are also stored at SCUA. The collections listed below contain materials related to music, dance, and theater. A link is included to the appropriate Collection Finding Aid. Additional information on the Blair School of Music and materials related to the George Peabody College for Teachers are held in the University Archives.

Queries about using these materials can be directed via e-mail or phone at (615) 322-2807.

Individual Collections:

Francis Robinson Collection, MSS.0367:

Francis Robinson (1910-1980) was a Vanderbilt alumnus, writer for the Nashville Banner, WSM radio announcer, and, most notably, tour manager and spokesman for the Metropolitan Opera. Known as "Mr. Met," Robinson was known for his "Biographies in Music" series during the third intermission of the Met's Saturday broadcasts, and he hosted the "Live from the Met" telecast series beginning in 1978. A noted scholar of Enrico Caruso, Robinson's collection is rich in memorabilia, including photographs with leading opera performers of the day (including Lotte Lehmann, Marian Anderson, Maria Callas, and Maria Jeritza), correspondence, and programs. You can learn more about the Robinson Collection by accessing the collection guide at this link.

Francis Craig Collection, MSS.0091:

Born in Dickson, TN, Francis Craig (1900-1966) was a Vanderbilt alumnus, band leader, and song writer. His major hit, "Near You," sold two and a half million copies, the first Nashville recording to sell more than a million copies. Craig also wrote Vanderbilt's fight song, "Dynamite!" His collection contains newspaper clippings, sheet music, photographs, and recordings. Craig's portrait hangs in the Wilson Music Library.

Emma L. Ashford Papers, MSS.0027:

Emma Ashford (1850-1930) was an organist, conductor, and prolific composer, publishing more than 600 works in her lifetime. She came to Vanderbilt in 1884 when her husband accepted a position at the university. Ashford wrote a number of compositions about Vanderbilt, the most famous of which, "Vanderbilt Ode," was written in 1900 to commemorate the university's 25th anniversary. Her papers include manuscripts, programs, and works about Vanderbilt by other composers.

Alfred Schnittke Manuscripts, MSS.0895:

This collection is made up of two manuscripts by Russian composer Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998): Sinfonisches Vorspiel and Epilog Peer Gynt: A working short-score manuscript for the entire work notated in pencil on 32-stave "Star Nr. 37" music manuscript paper, containing numerous corrections, amendations, directions, indications pertaining to scoring, and furnished with lists of numbers (in cm) indicating the space to be allowed for the width of each bar in the successive fair-copy autograph.

Richard Danielpour Music Manuscript, MSS.0926:

A manuscript of American composer Richard Danielpour's (b.1956) An American Requiem (2000 or 2001): A spiral-bound, final manuscript draft in pencil on 18-stave manuscript paper incorporating numerous erasures, corrections and deletions in both lead and red pencil, and including significant corrections and additions to both notation and dynamics. Performance markings also added by the composer in red pencil. 62 + 32 pages + additional leaf laid down in rear inner cover of the 1st volume. Titling in red pencil on both covers. Covers also labeled #14A and #14B.

George Richard Miller Collection, MSS.0905:

The George R. Miller ’18 Collection consists of letters, realia, and other documents acquired via an auction facilitated by Christie’s on June 15, 2017, of items from the Metropolitan Opera Guild Collection. The collection was donated to Vanderbilt University Special Collections as a collective effort between buyer/donor Richard Miller, President of the Metropolitan Opera Guild, the Anne Potter Wilson Music Library, and Jean & Alexander Heard Libraries Administration. It is named for George R. Miller (Vanderbilt class of 2018), the son of the donor.

Grand Ole Opry Collection, MSS.0178

Donated in 1967 by Jesse Wills, president of the National Life and Accident Insurance Company (the parent company of WSM and the Grand Ole Opry), this collection contains correspondence, fan letters, songbooks, photographs, and programs.

WSM Radio and Television Collection, MSS.0535:

The Grand Ole Opry Collection is complemented by the WSM Radio and Television Collection (MSS.0535). WSM radio is best-known as the station that broadcasts the Grand Ole Opry. This collection was also donated by Jesse Wills, and contains scripts from Opry broadcasts, and autographs and photographs of Opry stars.

Louis Thurston Nicholas Papers, MSS.0314:

Louis Thurston Nicholas (1910-2005) was a noted vocalist, choir director, scholar, and member of the music faculty of the George Peabody College for Teachers. Nicholas served as the music editor and critic for The Tennessean from 1951-75, and he published numerous book chapters and articles on music topics. Nicholas was a charter member of The National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), serving as its president from 1962-64. The collection contains correspondence, extensive records of NATS, programs, music, and personal memorabilia.

George Pullen Jackson Papers, MMS.0225

George Pullen Jackson (1874-1953) retired as professor emeritus from Vanderbilt University in 1943. While he taught in the German department, he was a noted scholar of American folk music, particularly white southern spirituals and shape note singing. Jackson wrote several books on folk music and lectured extensively on the topic. He founded the Tennessee Sacred Harp Singing Association and organized and managed the Old Harp Singers of Nashville.

Joseph Hyman and Moss Hart Collection, MSS.0787:

Joseph Hyman (1897-1977) and Moss Hart (1904-1961) (along with his brother, Bernard Hart) attained great success in their theatrical collaborations. Hyman was a producer; the Hart brothers were playwrights. Together, they had a string of major Broadway successes from the 1930s through the 1960s, including Dear Ruth, There's Always a Breeze, Winged Victory, and Make Mine Manhattan. The collection includes correspondence, professional materials, postcards, and photographs.