Collecting area: Music

Illustrated Sheet Music

Illustrated Sheet Music Collection

1896-1946
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 960
Depiction of Waiting for the Robert E. Lee
Waiting for the Robert E. Lee

Advances in color printing technologies combined with decreasing costs of publication led to a flowering of illustrated sheet music between 1890 and the 1920s.

This small collection is comprised of illustrated sheet music dating primarily from the first quarter of the twentieth century. Representing a cross-section of popular music at the time from minstrel tunes to patriotic marches, most of the songs were selected either for their representation of African Americans (usually in stereotypical and racist caricature) or as examples of pro-war propaganda during the First World War.

Subjects

African Americans--Pictorial worksWorld War, 1914-1918--Pictorial works

Types of material

ScoresSheet music
Katanka, Michael

Katanka-Fraser Political Music Collection

1885-1975
10 boxes 7 linear feet
Call no.: MS 552

The author, publisher, and radical bookseller Michael Katanka (1922-1983) was a staunch Socialist and historian of British labor. Beginning with his 1868: Year of Unions in 1968, Katanka wrote or edited a series of books and articles on Fabianism, satirical caricature, and trade unionism.

The Katanka-Fraser Political Music Collection consists of audio recordings, sheet music, and songbooks of politically-inspired music in a variety of languages. The works range from the English and German Socialist press of the 1880s to the antiwar movement of the 1960s and 1970s, touching upon labor agitation, proletarian songs, student protest, the anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist struggles, the Spanish Civil War, and Communism and Socialism. The collection also includes a few books and sound recordings from the extreme right in Nazi Germany.

Gift of James and Sibylle Fraser, June 2007

Subjects

Communists--MusicInternational Workers of the World--MusicPolitical ballads and songsProtest songsRadicalism--Songs and musicSocialists--MusicWorking class--Music

Contributors

Fraser, JamesKatanka, Michael
Keith, Bill, 1939-2017

Bill Keith Collection

1960-2013
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1037
Depiction of Bill Keith (r.) and Jim Rooney at the Newport Folk Festival, 1965
Bill Keith (r.) and Jim Rooney at the Newport Folk Festival, 1965

A stylistic innovator and influential performer on the five string banjo, Bill Keith is credited with transforming the instrument from a largely percussive role into a one where it carried the melody. A native of Boston and 1961 graduate of Amherst College, Keith cut his teeth as a performer in New England clubs during the hey day of the folk revival, often partnering with his college roomate Jim Rooney, and he spent the better part of the decade as a member of two high profile acts: Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys, with whom he played for eight critical months in 1963, and the Jim Kweskin Jug Band. Adding the pedal steel guitar to his repertoire, Keith performed on stage and in studio with a stylistically and generationally diverse range of acts including Ian and Sylvia, Judy Collins, Richie Havens, Loudon Wainwright, and the Bee Gees. Keith continued performing nearly to the time of his death by cancer in October 2015.

This small collection of photographs and ephemera documents the musical career of bluegrass legend Bill Keith, including early images playing in coffee houses and at Newport Folk Festival and images of Keith with musical collaborators throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The collection includes a series of photographs and ephemera taken during the 50th anniversary Jug Band Reunion tour of Japan in 2013.

Subjects

Folk music--New England

Types of material

EphemeraPhotographs
Kweskin, Jim

Jim Kweskin Papers

1907-2018 Bulk: 1960-2018
57 boxes, flat files 85 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1064
Depiction of Jim Kweskin playing guitar at Fort Hill, 1967
Jim Kweskin playing guitar at Fort Hill, 1967

The Jug Band visionary Jim Kweskin was one of the major lights of the 1960s folk revival, and an influential figure in Americana music since. A native New Englander, Kweskin was born in Stamford, Conn., in 1940. As a student at Boston University, he was drawn into the Boston-Cambridge folk scene and inspired to learn the guitar, developing a ragtime-blues fingerpicking technique that he inflected with jazz and blues that became a bedrock style of the folk revival. Following a sojourn in California, he returned to Boston in 1963 and formed the Jug Band with Fritz Richmond, Geoff Muldaur, Bob Siggins, and Bruno Wolfe, later joined by Maria Muldaur, Mel Lyman, Bill Keith, and Richard Greene. The Jug Band developed a national following performing pre-World War II American music, laced with a sense of humor and 1960s sensibility. At the height of their popularity, the Jug Band dissolved in 1968. For several years in the 1980s and 1990s, Kweskin was relatively removed from recording, but he resumed work as a soloist, as a member of the U & I Band, the Texas Sheiks, the Jug Band; and as fellow performer with a long list of artists.

A rich record of eclectic musical tastes and a passion for American music, the Kweskin collection offers important documentation of a major figure on the folk scene. The collection includes scrapbooks, newsclippings, concert posters and fliers, and ephemera from throughout Kweskin’s career, along with hundreds of personal and prozfessional photographs of Kweskin, the Jug Band, U and I, and later collaborations. As an historian of American music, Kweskin also assembled discographies of major arists and labels and built a library of works on blues, country, and other forms of popular music, along with hundreds of 78 rpm records, 45s, LPs, and compact disc recordings. Finally, there are hundreds of reel to reel, cassette, CD, and DVD recordings of Kweskin from throughout his career.

Gift of Jim Kweskin, 2018

Subjects

Blues (Music)Folk musicians

Types of material

Open reel audiotapesPhotographsSound recordings
Lebow, Howard

Howard Lebow Papers

ca.1960-1968
4 boxes 5.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 115

An accomplished concert pianist and composer, Howard Miles Lebow earned both a BA and MFA at the at the Julliard School of Music. Under the tutelage of Edward Steuermann, a pupil of composer Ferruccio Busoni, Lebow exceled as a pianist, performing throughout Europe and the Americas. Joining the rapidly expanding Music faculty at the University of Massachusetts in September 1965, Lebow mixed lecturing and performing until 1968, when he died in an automobile crash at the age of 32. The Howard M. Lebow Scholarship Fund was established in his name in 1968.

The Lebow Collection contains concert programs of many of Lebow’s performances, copy manuscripts, manuscripts of his own compositions, performance notes, and newspapers clippings about and concert programs of other performers. There are also materials that were interleaved within his extensive sheet music collection, now separated and organized by composition. An extensive collection of sheet music has been added to the Libraries’ general collections.

Massachusetts State College Glee Club

Massachusetts State College Glee Club

ca.1935
1 sound recording (78 rpm)
Call no.: RG 185/1

The Massachusetts State College Glee Club recorded ten songs onto 78 r.p.m. disk in the mid-1930s. One of the few early recordings of the group, the recording includes the Massachusetts State College alma mater, fight songs, and other typical collegiate fare.

Subjects

Massachusetts State College--StudentsMen’s choral societies--Massachusetts

Contributors

Massachusetts State College. Glee Club

Types of material

Sound recordings
Miscellaneous Manuscripts

Miscellaneous Manuscripts

1717-2003
6 boxes 5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 719

Miscellaneous Manuscripts is an artificial collection that brings together single items and small groups of related materials. Although the collection reflects the general collecting emphases in SCUA, particularly the history of New England, the content ranges widely in theme and format.

Subjects

Massachusetts--Economic conditions--18th centuryMassachusetts--Economic conditions--19th centuryMassachusetts--HistoryMassachusetts--Politics and governmentMassachusetts--Social conditions--18th centuryMassachusetts--Social conditions--19th centuryMassachusetts--Social conditions--20th century

Types of material

Account booksCorrespondencePhotographs
Morey, Robert

Robert Morey Collection

1966-2002 Bulk: 1966-1975
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 082

Bob Morey photographed the folk scene in New England during the late 1960s and early 1970s, concentrating especially on Club 47 and other venues in Cambridge and Boston.

Consisting primarily of images of musicians in performance, the Morey collection contains prints of Eric Anderson, Chuck Berry, Donovan, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Frank Zappa, among others, along with a few contact sheets. Also included are an issue of Broadside and a run of monthly calendars from Club 47 dating between September 1966 and the summer 1967.

Gift of Folk New England, AprIl 2018.

Subjects

Club 47 (Cambridge, Mass.)Folk musicians--PhotographsRock musicians--Photographs

Types of material

Calendars (documents)Photographs
Moss, Bernard

Bernie Moss Collection

ca. 1960-1978
7 boxes 10.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 062
Depiction of Bernie Moss with two unidentified women in Moss's home, 1962
Bernie Moss with two unidentified women in Moss's home, 1962

A fixture of the Boston Jazz scene, Bernie Moss began taking photographs in the early 1960s, capturing musicians on stage and after hours in the clubs he frequented. Musicians that Moss would meet at Connelly’s, the Savoy Cafe, Lennie’s on the Turnpike, and later the Jazz Workshop, would often come to Moss’s apartment at 11 Queensberry Street where he would give them a place to stay and a meal. His generosity and love of the music and musicians was renown among the top artists of the era; inspiring Dexter Gordon to compose the song “Boston” Bernie Moss in his honor. Moss was born on Christmas day in 1908 and grew up in a Jewish household. He played trombone as a member of the Massachusetts National Guard 241st Coast Artillery Regiment from 1929 to approximately 1939 but spent the remainder of his life looking after the Boston apartment buildings he inherited from his father, known as the Moss Realty Co. According to Nat Hentoff in his memoir Boston Boy, “he took care that none of his tenants ever knew him as a landlord. His brother collected the rent, and the janitor received all the complaints about services. Bernie just showed up to talk about jazz.” Moss died on February 13th, 1988.

The Bernie Moss Photograph Collection primarily consists of Moss’s color photographs taken at Boston Jazz clubs in the 1960s and early 1970s. The photographs include musicians Alan Dawson, Roy Haynes, John Coltrane, Ben Webster, Dizzy Gillespie, Yusef Lateef, Herbie Hancock, Art Blakey, and many more. Moss’s amateur style brings life to some of the most important years of modern Jazz, showing Jazz greats at the height of their powers, often in informal settings. Many photographs were mounted and catalogued as part of a traveling exhibit curated by the Boston Jazz Society.

Subjects

Jazz musicians--Massachusetts--Boston--PhotographsJazz--Massachusetts--Boston--Photographs

Types of material

Color prints (photographs)
New Song Library

New Song Library Collection

1974-2018
16 boxes 24 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1043

Founded by Johanna Halbeisen in 1974, the New Song Library was a collaborative resource for sharing music with performers, teachers and community activists, who in turn shared with a wide variety of audiences. Based initially in Boston, the Library was devoted to the music of social change and particularly music that reflected the lives and aspirations of workers, women and men, elders and young people, gays and lesbians, other minorities, and Third World people.

This collection contains over forty years of organizational and operational records of the New Song Library along with hundreds of sound recordings, primarily audiocassettes made at concerts, music festivals, song swaps, and gatherings of the People’s Music Network. The Library also collected newsletters and magazines on folk music, and most importantly dozens of privately produced songbooks and song indexes.

Gift of Johanna Halbeisen, 2017-2018

Subjects

Folk music

Types of material

Audiocassettes