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The Samuel Gardner Papers

Call Number: MSS 37

Scope and Contents

The Samuel Gardner Papers document Gardner's varied career as a composer, violinist, conductor, and educator. The Papers hold sketches, manuscript scores, and printed editions of Gardner's musical compositions and pedagogical works. The Papers also include: correspondence to and from Gardner; programs, newspaper clippings, and reviews; photographs; and the transcript of an interview with Gardner made as part of Columbia University's Thomas A. Edison project.


  • 1913-1976 (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 Samuel Gardner 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 Samuel Gardner Papers were established in the Music Library of Yale University by Samuel Gardner in 1983.


In 5 series as follows: I. Music. II. Correspondence. III. Programs and Clippings. IV. Biographical Materials. V. Photographs.


4 Linear Feet (6 boxes)

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Music, correspondence, photographs, and additional materials by and about the violinist, composer, and conductor Samuel Gardner (1891-1984).

Biographical / Historical

Samuel Gardner was born August 25, 1891, in Elizavethgrad, Russia, and was brought to the United States at the age of one. His family settled in Providence, Rhode Island, where Gardner attended elementary and high school. From the age of six, he studied violin with Felix Wendelschaefer. He continued his studies in Boston with Charles Martin Loeffler and Felix Winternitz from 1902 to 1908. At the New York Institute of Musical Art (1908-1913), Gardner studied violin with Fritz Kneisel and composition with Percy Goetschius.

Gardner made his New York debut in 1913, played 2nd violin in the Kneisel Quartet from 1914 to 1915, performed with the Chicago Symphony (several times as soloist) in 1915, and toured with the Elshuco Trio in 1916 and 1917. In addition to solo recitals, Gardner appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic under Stransky and Mengelberg, with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Stokowski, with the St. Louis, Chicago, and Los Angeles Symphonies, and in Germany and Holland. He premiered his own Violin Concerto in 1918 with the Boston Symphony under Monteux.

As a violin teacher, Gardner held appointments at the Institute of Musical Art (now the Juilliard School) from 1924 to 1941. He also taught at Columbia University, the University of Wisconsin, the Hartt School of Music, and the Atlanta School of music. Gardner published a number of pedagogical works which include a method for violin and his Harmonic Thinking school of string playing.

Gardner's conducting appearances included the premiere of his symphonic poem New Russia in 1921 with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the first performance of his Broadway (1924) with the Boston Symphony in 1930. From 1938 to 1939, Gardner conducted for the Federal Music Project in New York, and in 1946 he became the first Conductor and Music Director of the Staten Island Symphony.

Gardner received a prize from the Pulitzer Foundation for his Second String Quartet (1918) and an honorary doctorate from the New York College of Music (1939). The composer of many violin works, Gardner was especially renowned for From the Canebrake, which is still a standard encore piece for violinists. He died in New York on January 23, 1984.

The Samuel Gardner Papers
Edited Full Draft
Compiled by Luis Fernandez and Kendall L. Crilly
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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