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The Gustav Jakob Stoeckel Papers

Call Number: MSS 27

Scope and Contents

The Gustav Jakob Stoeckel Papers contain sketches, manuscript scores, and published editions of Stoeckel's musical compositions, including operas, orchestral works, keyboard pieces, choral music, and songs. The Papers also include Stoeckel's arrangements of music by Battell, Wagner, and Weber. Stoeckel's life and work are further documented by: writings by and about Stoeckel; programs; and miscellaneous items.


  • 1852-1939 (inclusive)


Language of Materials

Materials chiefly in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Papers are open to researchers by appointment. There are no restricted materials in the collection. Please contact the Special Collections staff to schedule an appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

The Gustav Jakob Stoeckel Papers are the physical property of the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library of Yale University. Copyrights belong to the composers and authors, or their legal heirs and assigns.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Gustav Jakob Stoeckel Papers were bequeathed to the Music Library of Yale University by Stoeckel's daughter, Irene Stoeckel, in 1933.


In 4 series as follows: I. Writings by Stoeckel. II. Miscellaneous items. III. Musical works by Stoeckel. IV. Musical works by others arranged by Stoeckel.


3 Linear Feet (7 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Music, writings, and other materials by and about the German-American composer and teacher Gustav Jakob Stoeckel (1819-1907)

Biographical / Historical

Gustav Jakob Stoeckel (or Gustave Jacob Stoeckel, as his name was usually spelled in America) was born in Maikammer in the Bavarian Palatinate on November 9, 1819. He was educated in the Palatinate's two largest cities, Speyer and Kaiserslautern, graduating from the Bischofsschule in the latter. He continued his education with composition lessons from Josef Krebs and was subsequently appointed principal of the gymnasium at Landstuhl. During this period he also served as the cathedral organist in Speyer.

Stoeckel was involved in a political movement based on what David Stanley Smith termed the "subversive, democratic ideas" of men such as Johann Gottfried Kinkel and Carl Schurz, and was forced to flee Germany when his job there was threatened. Landstuhl's loss was Yale's gain, for Stoeckel's arrival in New Haven in 1848 signaled the beginning of a new era for music at the college.

Stoeckel quickly became a prominent musician in New Haven. He began as a private teacher, became Director of the New Haven Musical Association, founded the New Haven Philharmonic Society (a distant ancestor of the New Haven Symphony), and finally opened a private conservatory in 1870. In the words of Luther Noss, "it served, in effect, as Yale's unofficial music department." He staged a Beethoven Festival in the same year, giving the first complete performance in New Haven of the Ninth Symphony.

Stoeckel's association with Yale began in 1855, when he was appointed Instructor in Vocal Music through the efforts of Irene Battell Larned. His responsibilities grew in 1856 when he was made Organist and Chapel Master. In 1864 he was awarded the first honorary Doctor of Music degree at Yale. From 1868 to 1874 he directed both the Chapel Choir and the Glee Club; Thomas G. Shepard took over the Glee Club in 1874. Stoeckel organized the orchestra, played the organ at Sunday services and in recitals, and taught many undergraduates privately. In spite of all this it was not until 1890 that he was officially listed as a member of the faculty, although his courses in sight-singing had occasionally appeared in the course catalogue. In 1890, a "Musical Department" was formally established, and Stoeckel was finally appointed Professor of Music. He retired in 1894.

Besides his activities as a teacher, performer, and administrator, Stoeckel was also a composer. He completed six operas: Harold, Lichtenstein, Mahomet, Miles Standish, Miskodita, and Münchhausen. All except Miles Standish are in German. Stoeckel's operas were greatly influenced by Wagner's. (Stoeckel attended the opening of the Bayreuth Festspielhaus in 1876, and wrote an article after his visit.) Like Wagner, Stoeckel served as his own librettist, and all of his operas except the earliest feature continuous music throughout each act.

Gustav Jakob Stoeckel died in Norfolk, Connecticut on May 17, 1907.

The Gustav Jakob Stoeckel Papers
Edited Full Draft
Compiled by Adrienne Nesnow
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Music Library Descriptive Practices
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Gilmore Music Library Repository

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