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The Yale School of Music Papers

Call Number: MSS 3

Scope and Contents

The Yale School of Music Papers document the School and its activities with correspondence, student works, concert programs, and miscellaneous items. The correspondence includes letters to and from Yale administrators, faculty members, composers, performing musicians, and benefactors; it is limited to 1897-1918 and 1943-1950. Horatio Parker, who served as Dean from 1904 to 1919, is especially well represented. The concert programs feature performances by Yale faculty and students, and also include some New Haven concerts by performers not affiliated with Yale. Dates of the programs range from 1875 to 1993, but it is important to note that programs were not systematically collected during all periods.


  • 1875-1993 (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 Yale School of Music 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.


In 5 series as follows: I. Correspondence. II. Student Compositions and Papers. III. Programs. IV. Bulletins. V. Student registers.


14.7 Linear Feet (35 boxes)

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Yale School of Music Papers include correspondence, student works, lists of students, concert programs, and miscellaneous items.

Biographical / Historical

In 1855, the Yale Corporation appointed Gustave Stoeckel to supervise the College's musical activities; his duties would eventually include directing music in the Yale chapel and teaching non-credit courses. A "Musical Department" was established in 1890 to provide formal academic instruction in music; Stoeckel became its first professor. In 1894, four students received Yale's first Bachelor of Music degrees, and Horatio Parker and Samuel Sanford were appointed to the faculty. That date is traditionally regarded as the founding of the Yale School of Music, although the School's name did not become official until 1914. Parker became the first Dean in 1904, a post he held until his death in 1919. He was succeeded as Dean by David Stanley Smith (1920-1940), Richard Donovan (acting, 1940-1941), Bruce Simonds (1941-1954), Luther Noss (1954-1970), Philip Nelson (1970-1980), Frank Tirro (1980-1989), Ezra Laderman (1989-1995), and Robert Blocker (1995-present). Though it initially concentrated on undergraduate education, the School of Music began offering graduate degrees in 1932, and discontinued the Bachelor of Music degree in 1958. Undergraduate instruction was henceforth provided by a separate Department of Music, established in 1940, which also offered graduate degrees in the history and theory of music.

Further information about the history of the Yale School of Music may be found in Luther Noss, A History of the Yale School of Music, 1855-1970 (New Haven, Yale School of Music, 1984). Scholars interested in the School's history may also wish to examine the Gilmore Library's archival collections relating to individuals who taught or studied at Yale, including Horatio Parker, Charles Ives, David Stanley Smith, Richard Donovan, Marshall Bartholomew, Quincy Porter, Paul Hindemith, David Kraehenbuehl, and Mel Powell.

The Yale School of Music Papers
Edited Full Draft
Compiled by Dorothée Recordon
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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