Music at Columbia: The First 100 Years

The Online Catalog, 2012 > Foreword to the Online Catalog

After many years in the works, I am delighted to present this online version of the printed exhibition catalog Music at Columbia: The First 100 Years. Whan I first saw a copy of the 2000 catalog, I realized that since so much of the material came from the University Archives and the Rare Book and Manuscript Library collections, it might not be so difficult to find the original items and make digital images of everything listed. This work was greatly facilitated by the merger of the University Archives into the RBML in 2006 and its subsequent move from Low Library to the 6th Floor of Butler Library over subsequent years.

Jocelyn Wilk and the students mentioned in Mary Monroe's "Introduction to the Online Catalog" were key to finding the bulk of the items in the University Archives. Once the initial search was completed, I began looking for other items that might be added to help tell more of the story of the people who were most important to the development of the Music Department. This led me to search the RBML and University Archives collections for a wide variety of photographs and documents, such as a portrait of Alice Ditson, Music Department benefactor; George Herzog, pioneering ethnomusicologist; the RCA Mark II Sound Synthesizer, still installed in Prentis Hall; and an early syllabus for Music Humanities, first designated as Humanities MB.

Walter Frisch kindly gave his permission for the printed catalog to be translated into the online environment, in order to give a wider reach to the significant work created by Mary Monroe for the Centennial. The story of Edward MacDowell alone is very much worth telling, and is not widely known even by those who know of the MacDowell Colony. While a future exhibition will bring the Music Department story up to date, this online catalog can serve as a splendid reminder of its past glories and accomplishments.

Jennifer B. Lee

Curator, Performing Arts Collection, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

October, 2012


Rare Book & Manuscript Library / Butler Library, 6th Fl. East / 535 West 114th St. / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-5153 /