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HENRY COWELL IN THE FLEISHER COLLECTION
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
2007 Gary Galvan
To the memory of Edwin Adler Fleisher.
I am deeply indebted to Kile Smith, Curator for the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of
Orchestral Music. He carries on the noble ideas established by Edwin Fleisher and Arthur Cohn
and inherently understands that "the best thing we can be about is access to these works ... that's
the whole point in writing the music, so that it can be performed." To that end, he has generously
opened the seemingly boundless archives of the Fleisher Collection to me and proved an endless
source of information on former Fleisher copyists and curators. His encyclopedic knowledge and
ardent support have been instrumental in making this dissertation possible.
Thanks go to my supervisory committee, David Z. Kushner, Jennifer Thomas, Welson
Tremura, Raymond Chobaz, James Oliverio and Susan Read Baker, for their sage counsel and
guidance for my project. My supervisory committee chair, the eminent Dr. Kushner, stands out
as a persistent font of inspiration and a shining example of what a musicologist can and should
be. Through his encouragement, I have had many fine opportunities to present my research in
regional, national, and international venues. He is a real mensch.
Richard Teitelbaum and Hiroko Sakurazawa of the David and Sylvia Teitelbaum Fund,
Don McCormick, Curator for the Rodgers & Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound at the
New York Public Library of Performing Arts, and Alyce Mott, Artistic Administrator at the
Little Orchestra Society, granted the necessary permissions to acquire a recording of Cowell's
Symphony No. 13 Madras L848 and attain a deeper appreciation for and understanding of
Cowell's work in the "whole world of music."
Valuable support came from the Music Library Association with the 2007 Carol June
Bradley Award for my research on Henry Cowell. The welcome news of the very generous prize
came from Bonna J. Boettcher, Music Librarian and Adjunct Professor of Music, of Cornell
University, and Rick McRae, Chair of the Carol June Bradley Award Committee.
My dear friend and mentor from the University of Central Florida, the wondrous composer
Stella Sung, prompted my journey to Gainesville and research under Dr. Kushner. Her
encouragement and friendship continue to inspire. Joscelyn Godwin candidly shared his
memories of his dissertation and the story of how he wound up in Sidney's attic with the "mess
of manuscripts." His pioneering work continues to help devoted Cowell scholars everywhere.
Christopher Shultis has helped validate the usefulness of the virtual Cowell Files and my
appendix of annotations in his own research at Fleisher. His encouragement has provided me the
opportunity to delve into my next big project the WPA Music Copying Project at Fleisher.
Mary Louise Fleisher, Edwin's first cousin once removed, provided a singular source on family
history and kindly took the time to entertain my inquiries. I appreciate her good humor and
insights. Closer to home, my niece, Tehya Allen Duckworth, facilitated genealogic research on
the Fleisher family and the quest for biographical details on otherwise obscure figures by sharing
access to Ancestry.com.
Librarians and archivists from across the United States have extracted countless details
from their respective archives. University of Florida music librarians, Robena Cornwell and
Michelle Wilbanks-Fox, kept me updated whenever relevant new materials arrived at the
university and readily responded to requests to expand the library's CD and score collections
with works by Cowell. I appreciate their kind attention. Information has also come from an ever-
growing list of contributors who have been kind enough to answer the dozens of e-mails I have
sent over the past five years. Help with research on Cowell's awards and activities came from
such great people as Patti Kinsinger, Head of the Reference Department at the Watson Library of
Wilmington College; Jeff Rankin, Director of Communications and Lois Cook, Director of
Advancement Records and Research, at Monmouth College; Maryalice Mohr,
Archivists/Records Manager of the Spalding Library of the New England Conservatory of Music
in Boston; James Kortz, Orchestra Librarian for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; Craig
Doolin, Office Assistant at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; Bridget P. Carr, Archivist,
Boston Symphony Orchestra; Cantor Stephen Richards; and maestro Sandor Salgo. A special
expression of gratitude goes out to David Gansz, former director of Watson Library at
Wilmington College in Ohio, who was particularly helpful with Cowell's elusive Symphony No.
8. The following people proved pivotal with details of Edwin Fleisher's biography: Librarian
Liza Vick and Researcher Robin Carlaw from Harvard University; Sara J. MacDonald, Public
Services Librarian of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia; Sarah Sherman of the
Philadelphia Jewish Archives; Miriam Seidel of the Gershman Y; Claire Schweriner of Temple
Keneseth Israel Archives; Kerey and Gorman Ruggierio of the Philadelphia Mental Health
(former home of the Symphony Club); Robert Capanna, Executive Director of the Settlement
Music School; and Allan Brown, Director of Archives, and Judith Hill, Director of Libraries, of
Penn Charter School.
Aaron and Cari Keebaugh kindly hosted my stay during the defense of this document and
joined me along with Christopher "C. Wiley" Cary, Dilek Gokturk and David Goldblatt for post-
defense festivities at the Swamp. I greatly appreciate their support and encouragement and that
of all my friends in the musicology department, Jacare Brazil and around the MUB. Go Gators!
Finally, Tammy Rowe and Geddy Rowe Galvan have supported me faithfully throughout
this project. They have waited patiently as I have wrestled with the dissertation and deadlines.
They are my family and my foundation.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOW LEDGM ENT S............... ............................................. ....... .............. 4
L IST O F TA B L E S ................................................ 9
LIST OF FIGURES .............. ............ ................. ............ .............. 10
ABSTRACT .... .......... ..... ....... ................ ........ ............... ..............
1 IN T R O D U C T IO N ................................................................. .................................... 12
P u rp o se .................................................................................................. 1 2
Literature Review and Biography ................................. ........................ .. ......... 13
Cow ell the Pianist ................ ....................................... ....... ......... 14
Cowell as Champion of New Music and World Music .............................................. 18
Cow ell in Posthum ous Print .......................................................... .............. 22
2 THE EDWIN A. FLEISHER COLLECTION OF ORCHESTRAL MUSIC .......................29
The Fabulous Philanthropic Fleisher Fam ily ........................ ................. ....... ....... ....... 32
In the B eginning.................................. .................. 32
E dw in's F father ..................................................................................................34
E dw in A dler Fleisher ............................................................................................ 38
The Colossal Collection ..................................................................... ........ 44
The WPA Years: An American Dream ..................................... .................. 46
A after th e W ar ................................................................ ..................................... 5 0
The Legacy Lives................................... .............. 56
3 DIGITIZING THE COWELL FILES ............................................ ........ 60
Why Digital Preservation? ...... .......... .. ......... .................60
Preserving an Archival Treasure Trove ............................ ............ 63
Selection of a Collection ..... ............ ................. .........64
Preparation of Documents .............. ..................... .............. 65
Digitizing Materials ...... ............. ....... .................. 66
Naming and Cataloging Files .............. ............... ...............68
Observations and Considerations ........... ....... ........... ....... ........70
4 DISCUSSIONS AND CONCLUSIONS ............. ....... ...... ........ .............. 73
Fleisher and the Future ........................ ....... ............................................................... 73
Regarding H enry .............. ....... ....................................................... ...... 75
C o n c lu sio n s ........................................................... ..................... ............ ..... 8 6
A THE HENRY COWELL FILES IN THE FLEISHER COLLECTION ......................... 93
B COWELL' S COMPOSITIONAL OUTPUT BASED ON LICHTENWANGER' S
C A T A L O G U E ........................................................................................................ 18 6
C COWELL'S REPRESENTATION IN THE FLEISHER COLLECTION ......................... 188
LIST O F R EFEREN CE S ............... ............................................................... ...... 190
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH........................................................... 200
LIST OF TABLES
1-1. Numbered entries from A Guide to the Music ofLatin America................................. 21
1-2. A selection of courses taught by Cow ell...................... .... ......................... .............. 22
2-1. Albany Records Music from the Fleisher Collection ..............................................30
2-2. Honors and awards bestowed on Edwin Adler Fleisher. ............. ...... .................. 55
2-3. Fleisher C collection C urators .... ..... ................................. ..................... .............. 58
3-1. D distribution of docum ents in the Cow ell Files.............................................. ... .. .............. 65
4-1. Summary of information provided by Cowell on 11 September 1940............. ..............79
4-2. Cowell's compositions listed in the 1945 supplementary Fleisher catalogue............ ...... 81
4-3. Cowell's compositions added to the Fleisher Collection between 1945 and 1966.............. 84
4-4. Cowell's representational compositions in American Composers on American Music........ 87
A -1. C correspondence ................... ....... ...... ............................................................ 94
A -2 M iscellan eou s ...................... .. ............. .. .................................................... 15 6
A -3. N ew s Clips and Press R eleases ........................................ ....................... ............. 159
A -3 P ro g ram s ............. ......... .. ............. .. .......................................................... 17 2
A -4 Q u estio n n aires ....................... ................ ..................................................... 18 1
C-1. Cowell's fifty-five works with complete scores and parts.......................................... 188
C-2. Cowell's twenty-one incomplete/uncirculated works................................................ 189
LIST OF FIGURES
2-1. Fleisher Yamrns button......................................................................... ......... ..................... 35
2-2. S.B. Fleisher and the family home .. ............................................... 36
2-3. Edwin Adler Fleisher .................................................................... ........ 39
2-4. The Symphony Club building at 1235 Pine Street in Philadelphia.............. .................42
3-1. The W PA Files.. ...................................................................... ......... 66
4-1. Fleisher C collection study desk........ .......... ........ .......... .................... .............. 92
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
HENRY COWELL IN THE FLEISHER COLLECTION
Chair: David Z. Kushner
Nearly a half-century after American composer Henry Cowell's death, with an official
biography pending, his singular identity in American music continues to emerge from untapped
American archives. One of those archives is the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral
Music in the Free Library of Philadelphia which, in 1935, recognized Cowell as one of the
"leading contemporary American composers" and requested he submit manuscripts for inclusion
in the largest and most complete collection of orchestral scores and parts in the world. The
archives of the Fleisher Collection contain scores and correspondences which provide an
unparalleled look at this key composer's efforts to establish his symphonic identity and promote
American music. The Collection archives of correspondence provide valuable clues for further
research into his unexplored roles in the Office of War Information and as sage counselor for
Ted Seder's preparation of Ives's Fourth Symphony for the stage. Digital preservation of these
unique documents in a virtual collection universalizes access to these valuable perspectives and
safeguards those visions for the musicological community in a new and revolutionary way.
From the moment of his birth in a small cottage in Menlo Park, California, on 11 March
1897, Henry Cowell seemed destined for a biography. His mother Clara,1 a struggling writer,
recorded the details of his penurious youth and innate musical talents in an unpublished
manuscript entitled "Material for a Biography."2 Nearly a half-century after Cowell's death, with
an official biography pending,3 his singular identity in American music continues to emerge from
untapped American archives. One of those archives is the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of
Orchestral Music in the Free Library of Philadelphia which, in 1934, recognized Henry Cowell
as one of the "leading contemporary American composers"4 and requested he submit
manuscripts for inclusion in the largest and most complete collection of orchestral scores and
parts in the world. The archives of the Fleisher Collection contain scores and correspondences
which provide a unique and essential insight into Cowell's life as a symphonic composer and
advocate of modern orchestral music in America.
This dissertation represents a focused case study in digital archival preservation of
documents directly related to Henry Cowell and contained in the world's most important
1 Clarissa Bethshua Dixon (1850-1916) left a husband and son, George (b. 1849) and Clarence Davidson (b. 1871),
in Iowa to live in San Francisco. She married Irish emigrant Henry "Harry" Clayton Blackwood Cowell (1866-
1954), whom she divorced in 1903.
2 Clarissa Dixon, "Material for Biography," Henry Cowell Collection, *L (Special) 88.33, The Rodgers and
Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
3 Nearly twenty years in progress, Joel Sach's authorized biography, Henry Cowell: A Biography, was initially listed
for a November 2004 release date on Amazon.com. Most recently, Amazon listed the text for availability on March
31, 2007. The Oxford University Press does not yet list the ISBN (0195108957). Inquiry to Sachs produced the
following good-natured, if brief, reply: "Still writing it!" (Joel Sachs to Gary Galvan, 11 September 2005, electronic
mail). Meanwhile, Sachs has produced several landmark recordings of Cowell's works, including the Irish Suite, for
String Piano and Small Orchestra L452, with his performance group, Continuum,.
4 Franklin H. Price to Henry Cowell, 12 June 1935, Fleisher Collection Archives (Cowell Files: 1935 06 12 Price-
C .i. .. 11 i
American orchestral music archive the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music at the
Free Library of Philadelphia. Digitizing and cataloging archival documents in the Fleisher
Collection specifically related to Henry Cowell creates an universally accessible virtual
collection essential to facilitate further research and help define his extraordinary role in
twentieth century America. In the spirit of national goals to make "resources available and useful
to ... the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and
creativity for future generations,"5 I offer this dissertation.
Literature Review and Biography
In 1910, Stanford Professor Lewis Madison Terman, a developer of the Stanford-Binet
measure of human intelligence, would encounter Henry Cowell, a unique adolescent "with eyes
that seemed utterly void of self-consciousness," who "was likely to forget what he was doing
while trying to compose and whistle a tune."6 Proclaiming, "There is only one Henry," and
predicting, "If he attains fame as a musician, his biographer is certain to describe his musical
genius as inevitable,"7 Terman determined Cowell's IQ, at age fourteen, to be 132. Nature had
produced something special to be nurtured in the American melting pot of the Pacific rim.
On his fifteenth birthday, with little more than a third grade education, relatively cursory
experience on zither harp and violin,8 and a year of lessons on piano, Cowell premiered
5 James H. Billington, "Welcome Message from the Librarian of Congress (Library of Congress)," Library of
Congress (Accessed 5 January 2007) http://www.loc.gov/about/.
6 Lewis Terman, Intelligence of School Children, 248-249. Cited in Michael Hicks, Henry Cowell: Bohemian
(Urband and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002), 32.
SLewis Terman quoted in William Lichtenwanger, "Henry Cowell, Composer of Music," The Whole World of
Music: A Henry Cowell Symposium (Netherlands: Harwood Academic Publishers), 149, 151.
8 Propensity for zither prompted C ... c!i s first violin lesson with Sylvia Holmes on 12 November 1902. Within a
few weeks, Henry Holmes (1839-1905) took over the teaching and employed his own edition of Spohr exercises.
While some sources suggest Sydenham's Chorea ended the lessons, Hicks asserts it was actually young Henry's
perceived disrespect which caused Henry Holmes to terminate lessons. Apparently, after correcting a mistake,
Holmes continued to talk while Henry played. Henry protested, and Holmes told him to never return.
unconventional and original piano compositions at the Hotel Fairmont sponsored by the San
Francisco Music Club. By 1914, local enthusiasm afforded him the opportunity to attend the
University of California Berkeley under "special status"9 and study contemporary music with
Charles Louis Seeger, theory with Edward Griffith Stricklen and counterpoint with Wallace
Cowell the Pianist
Cowell embarked on a highly acclaimed and controversial concert tour through Europe in
the spring of 1923. Performing programs devoted exclusively to his own compositions, he
attained worldwide fame and notoriety as an intriguingly percussive pianist. Indeed, controversy
surrounding Cowell's techniques quickly appeared in printed media with illustrative descriptions
and cartoons. Visual elements reverberated with the contemporaneous development of
animation, and Cowell's characteristic clubbing soon evolved into a standard part of musical
sight gags in animated cartoons during the 1930s.10 Reviews of Cowell's performances, which
ranged from invectives to accolades, invariably focused on his unconventional tone clusters and
their realization. Cowell achieved the combinations of notes by depressing immediately adjacent
9 Hugo Weisgall, "The Music of Henry Cowell," The Music Quarterly 45 (October 1959): 486. Despite two
honorary doctorates (1953 Wilmington College; 1963 Monmouth College), Cowell only ever completed the third
grade and never earned a terminal degree.
10 See Gary Galvan, "Cowell in Cartoon: A Pugilistic Pianist's Impact on Pop Culture," Hawaii International
Conference on Arts and Humanities January 11-14, 2006 Conference Proceedings, ISSN 15415899, for a more
complete discussion of pianistic Cowellisms in cartoon.
notes on the piano with an open hand, closed fist or entire forearm.11 An early and favorable New
York Times report from 1922 offers an early public image and noteworthy social circle:12
Greenwich, Conn. July 12 All musical and fashionable Greenwich was present this
afternoon at a musical causerie given at the home of Mrs. Ernest Thompson Seton13 for the
benefit of the Anna Howard Shaw Memorial.14 In illustration of a brilliant lecture on
"Modern Tendencies in Music" by Miss Jeanne de Mare, a musical composition of a
completely revolutionary character, providing a new idiom in music, called The Tides of
Manannann [recte Manaunaun], by a young Western composer, was given in public for the
This composer is Henry Cowell, born in Menlo Park, Cal., in 1898 [recte 1897]. He played
the violin in public at six years of age but his health breaking down, had to abandon music
until his sixteenth year. From twelve years of age he supported his mother by selling
flowers in the street, at last obtaining a job as a gardener to a musician in exchange for
lessons. He was heard playing his own composition by a San Francisco musician, who was
so impressed that he obtained a scholarship for him at Stanford University.
The Tides ofMannannan [recte Manaunaun] is the first part of an Irish trilogy founded on
an Irish myth discovered a year ago, and dating back to Druidical times. It is a series of
remarkable clusters of tones and overtones and the bass is played entirely with the whole
forearm, the elbow end playing the low notes of the bass harmony, and the fingers the high
notes forming melodies in counterpoint. The theme is played with the right hand in a
steady rhythmic flow which, in conjunction with the great "tone clusters" composed of the
" Cowell's early piano style appears an amalgamation of natural childhood curiosity, experience with a zither harp
and the fist-clenching "milk-maid's grip" symptoms associated with his childhood bout with Sydenham's Chorea.
First described by Thomas Sydenham in 1686, Sydenham's Chorea is a self-limited neurological disorder which
causes involuntary muscular contractions and spasms. A particularly bad choreic spasm forced Henry to crawl home
from school on elbows and knees at age eight and prompted his mother to withdraw him from a public school
system she already despised.
12 I ic., Work in Music/Given at Mrs. Ernest Thompson Seton's Home in Greenwich/Special to the New York
Times," New York Times, 13 July 1922, p. 9
3 Nee Grace Gallatin (1872-1959), Mrs. Seton served as president of the Connecticut Women's Suffrage League,
organizer of a woman's mobile relief unit in France during World War I, author of seven travel autobiographies, and
president of the National League of American Pen Women. In 1896 she married the English-born Ernest Thompson
Seton (1860-1946) who established his reputation with animal stories and played a pivotal role in the formation of
the Boy Scouts of America. The Setons divorced in 1935, and Mr. Seton married the much younger Julie Moss
Buttree within the year. Grace's and Ernest's only daughter, Anya Seton, authored historical novels.
14 The Rev. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw (1847-1919), America's first female ordained Methodist minister (1880)
physician, and associate of Susan B. Anthony, supported women's suffrage. She served as a member of the
Women's Christian Temperance Union, the president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (1904-
1915), and published her autobiography, The Story of a Pioneer, in 1915. At the lead of the Women's Council of
National Defense during WWI, She stands out as the first woman to receive the Distinguished Service Medal for her
dedication to world peace.
higher harmonics from the eleventh up in units, gives a magnificent stirring whole which is
entirely new on every point.
The work was played by Mme. Margaret Nikoloric,15 who is the only pianist, save Mr.
Cowell himself, who has been able to master its technical difficulties.16 Mme. Nikoloric
was recalled many times, and finally consented to play the piece over again.
New York critic Edward Dent would also find favor with Cowell's performances, and
approving articles appeared in London, Paris and Vienna from the desks of Lawrence Gilman,
Georges Migot and Erwin Felber. In 1926, praise again poured from Professor Terman's pen.
This time Terman lauded Cowell's critical success in an introductory note to the young
composer's article, "The Process of Musical Creation," for the American Journal of
Nine years ago I wrote as follows: "It remains to be seen whether Henry will become one
of the famous musical composers of his day; several musical critics of note hope for this
outcome." The hope seems to be well on the way toward realization. Pitts Sanborn, in The
League of Composers Review, May, 1924, writes: "I have no hesitation in saying that to
me the outstanding American composer of the season was Henry Cowell, of tone-cluster
fame." Adolf Weissmann, in Die Musik, Berlin, January, 1924, describes the appearance of
Henry Cowell in Berlin in the autumn of 1923 as "the most remarkable event" of the local
concert season. According to the London Daily News, December 23, 1923, "there is no
reason ... why Mr. Cowell's theory should not acquire a place in Grove 's Dictionary of
Music, and an honored position on the concert platform." The nature of Mr. Cowell's
original contribution to musical technique is indicated by the following statement of Paul
Rosenfelt [recte Rosenfeld] in The Dial, New York, April, 1924: "Felicitations on the
discovery of a method cannot be denied Henry Cowell; and in an age of small technical
innovations he cuts a not unrespectable figure."
That figure would stand strong in the face of controversy, as Cowell would later recount
his own Stravinsky-like Sacre de passage in Leipzig in 1923:
15 Born Mary Margaret Cook in Indianapolis, Nikoloric (1885-1974) produced at least eight Welte-Mignon
Reproducing Piano Rolls including HC's "Three Irish Legends" No. 1 The Tides of Manaunaun. Albert M. Petrak,
a classical radio announcer from Cleveland Ohio, has produced an extensive list of piano rolls.
16 Frederick Elind Bristol II (1896-1974), a New York pianist, would also include Cowell's Tides ofManaunaun on
a Jordon Hall, Boston recital on November 7, 1923.
1 Henry Cowell, "The Process of Musical Creation," American Journal of Psychology 37 (1926), 233-236.
I was engaged to play a recital of my own compositions, and I had been going about one
minute when the trouble began. Some of those in the hall shouted for my immediate
departure from the city.
Others defended me. They said it was terrible music, but I should be permitted to play the
concert. The first attackers swarmed onto the stage by a stairway at the side. The others
leaped across footlights. They were brawling, and I was playing the piano, and it sure was
The police came and arrested 20 people. I went on playing, and every number was hissed. I
wondered why they didn't walk out on me if they disliked the music so much, but they all
stayed and hissed all evening long. All but the 20 that were taken to the hoosegow, that is.
Did you ever try to play a concert while two opposing factions fought all around the
Cowell's prominence as a pianist prompted an invitation to become the first American
composer to perform in the USSR in 1929. Remarkably, officials would unceremoniously cancel
his scheduled appearances before later recanting and permitting performances. Critical
commentary in the Soviet Union on Cowell as pianist carried on well past his concertizing
career. The image of Cowell's maverick performances left an indelible and powerful impression
which lasted well into the late 1940s. For example, two years after the Central Committee of the
Soviet Party launched its assault on "decadent bourgeois culture" in 1946 and threatened the
livelihood and safety of Soviet composers such as Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich,
Sovetskaya Muzyka published a cartoon of Cowell launching his own assault on a grand piano
and exemplifying everything wrong with music.19 In 1949, Vladimir Nabokov's cousin Nicolas
addressed an enduring universal concept of Cowell in the Partisan Review along with a
translation of the two Cyrillic quatrains beneath the drawing:
18 Joseph Mossman, "Composer's Success Aid: A Sense of Humor," The Detroit News, 21 January 1959.
19 Other "first offenders against the mores of Soviet music" included Aram Khachaturian (1903-1968), Vissarion
Shebalin (1902-1963), Gavril Popov (1904-1972), and Nikolai Miaskovsky (1881-1950).
In the U.S.A., the main offenders, according to the Soviet press, are Gian-Carlo Menotti
and Henry Cowell20 The July, 1948, issue of Sovietskaya Muzyka carried a cartoon of
Mr. Cowell, his feet swimming in air, beating the keyboard of a piano with his right fist
and at the same time plucking the strings with his left hand. The reference, of course, is to
certain experiments with "note-clusters" conducted by Mr. Cowell twenty-five and more
years ago, some of which were published at that time, I believe, by the Soviet State Music
Press. Below the cartoon is a rhyme which says, "Cowell bangs it (the piano). Hop-la!
Look out, or I'll kill you. The listener sits silent, afraid for his life. Look at the brute! He is
a hysteric, and about to collapse ... All this is good business in America, where music is
used to make money."
Cowell as Champion of New Music and World Music
Seeger's tutelage had prompted Cowell to complete his manuscript for New Musical
Resources with the help of Stanford English professor Samuel Swayze Seward Jr. Finished
around 1920, the book would appear in print in 1930 and address such advanced concepts as
polyharmony, dissonant counterpoint, meter and time combinations, and scales of rhythm.
Cowell's treatment of simultaneous multiple tempi is comparable in part to the work of advanced
theorist and composer Joseph Schillinger.21 Fascination with polyrhythms and scales of rhythm
ultimately led to Cowell's collaboration with Russian inventor Leon Theremin and the 1932
invention of the rhythmicon a musical device, which with sixteen keys, generated the overtone
series in beats mathematically proportional to their base tone. Ultimately, scholars such as
Gilbert Chase would label Cowell "one of the most 'advanced' musical theorists of our time."22
Cowell supported contemporaneous composers from the U.S. and abroad through his
organization, the New Music Society. Established in 1925, the association presented the works of
composers such as Charles Ives, Carl Ruggles, Carlos Salzedo, and Edgard Varese in print,
20 Sexual orientation remains a valid point to ponder as a catalyst for caustic critique. By this time, the admittedly
bisexual Cowell had served jail time for sodomy charges. Menotti maintained a lifelong intimate relationship with
American composer Samuel Barber (1910-1981). In February 2007, Menotti was laid to rest along side Barber at the
Oaklands Cemetery in West Chester, PA.
21 Joseph Schillinger, The \.,, i,',ii. r, -System of Musical Composition (1 ic, York: Carl Fischer, 1941).
22 Gilbert Chase, American Music: From the Pilgrims to the Present. (1 ic' York: McGraw-Hill Book Company,
performances, and recordings at a time when European fare dominated mainstream media.23
Cowell would also take part as a board member for the International Composers' Guild and help
found the American Society for Comparative Musicology (1933), the New York Musicology
Society (1930 predecessor to the modern day American Musicological Society), and the
American-Soviet Music Society. In addition, he would act as president of the Pan American
Association of Composers from 1929 to 1933.
In March 1931, the Guggenheim Foundation announced the names of seventy-seven award
winners for its sixth year of operation among them a 34-year-old "Henry Dixon Cowell,
composer and lecturer on music, Menlo Park, Cal., [for the] study of phonographic archives of
the University of Berlin"24 with Erich von Hornbostel. New York Times music critic Olin
Downes noted Cowell's accomplishment in an April 1, 1931 concert review. In step with other
critics, Downes focused mainly on the pianist/composer's unusual piano oeuvre but introduced
his subject with a rather neutral preface:
Henry Cowell, pianist, who was announced as a winner of one of the John Simon
Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowships several days ago to make a study of the
phonographic archives of the University of Berlin, appeared in recital last night at the New
School for Social Research. He played a program devoted entirely to his own
23 Rita Hursch Mead, Henry Cowell's .. i Music, 1925-1936: The Society, the Music Editions, and the
Recordings (Ph.D. diss., City University of New York, 1978) offers an in depth examination of Cowell's pioneering
24 "Fund Awards to 77 Aid Creative Work Guggenheim Fellowships Worth $175,000 to Enable Artists and
Scholars to Study," New York Times, 30 March 1931, p. 12.
Established between 1900 and 1905 and managed by comparative ethnomusicologist von Hombostel, the
Phonogrammarchiv in Berlin counted among four pioneering recording repositories that included the
Phonogrammarchiv in Vienna (est. 1899), the Societe d'Anthropologie in Paris (est. 1900) and the sound archives in
Leningrad (est. 1902-1903).
25 Olin Downs, "Music/Henry Cowell Plays Own Works," The New York Times, 1 April 1931, p. 40.
Although von Hornbostel had yet to publish in English26 when Cowell applied for the
fellowship, the young American composer's genuine curiosity regarding his place in the "whole
world of music" had undoubtedly led him to quench his thirst for knowledge. For Cowell, the
desire to study exotic music outweighed the prospect of working with an important comparative
musicologist as evidenced by fundamental philosophical and practical differences with
Hornbostel. Cowell had always perceived himself as a participant in a global practice and
included a wide array of multicultural styles in his work. Conversely, as Steven Blum points out:
The comparative musicology of Carl Stumpf, Erich M. von Hornbostel, Jaap Kunst and
Robert Lachmann was centered on the study of musical systems rather than on style
analysis. Hornbostel's method for the analysis of non-European systems may be
understood as an extension and adaptation of familiar Aristotelian and Aristoxenian
principles and procedures: the analyst attempts to enumerate the components of a system
and to identify their typical functions and relations, distinguishing the more permanent (or
'essential') elements and relations from the more changeable (or 'incidental'). In practice,
the analysis of musical systems by comparative musicologists and musical folklorists
commonly entailed separate treatment of tone systems and of rhythmic or metric systems.27
Notably, none of Cowell's compositions dating from the Berlin years include new cultural
elements, and one must wonder at the immediate impact of his studies with Hornbostel
compositionally. His exposure to social realism, however, undoubtedly influenced the
composition of Six Proletarian Songs and a March, L497. The six choral pieces for voices with
and without piano exist as sketches and remain unperformed and unrecorded.
Back in the United States, Cowell's dedication to contemporary composers led to a book in
1933 entitled American Composers on American Music. Unlike many works on "American"
composers devoted exclusively to citizens of the United States, Cowell provided space for
26 Articles in English begin to appear in the mid-1930s. The earliest article evident from a survey of literature
available from JSTOR
(July, 1936): 357-367.
2Stephen Blum, "Analysis of Musical Style," Ed' ..inI'I..... .-i An Introduction, (New York: W.W. Norton &
Company, 1992), 165-6.
contributions from Mexican composer Carlos Chavez, and Cuban composers Alejandro Garcia
Caturla and Amadeo Roldan as well as two foreign-bor immigrants Russian-bor Nicolas
Slonimsky and French-bor Dane Rudhyar. Arguably an exercise in mutual back-scratching, the
work nevertheless provides a valuable perspective on American music between the wars.
Gilbert Chase documented Cowell's historic contribution to, respect for and unusual
attention to Latin-American composers as part of A Guide to the Music of Latin America a
1962 joint publication of the Pan American Union and the Library of Congress (see Table 1-1).
Table 1-1. Numbered entries from A Guide to the Music ofLatin America2
98 HC. "Four little known modem composers." Ae iwlie magazine. Vol I, No. 3 (Aug.
1930) p. 1, 19-20 Includes Carlos Chavez.
1464 HC. "Roldan and Carturla of Cuba." Modern Music 18 (1940), 98-99.
1485 HC. "The 'Sones' of Cuba." Modern Music 8 (Jan. Feb. 1931), 45-47.
1753 Copland, Aaron. "Carlos Chavez Mexican composer." In Henry Cowell, ed.
American Composers on American Music. Stanford University Press, 1933. 102-106.
1754 HC. "Carlos Chavez." In Ewen, David, ed. The Book of Modern Composers. New
York: 1942. 441-446. ML390.E85B6 Includes also a portrait, a biographical sketch,
p. 433, and a statement of Chavez's views on music quoted from his book Towarda
New Music (p. 434-440)
1755 HC. Pro-mfnsica 6 (June 1928), pp. 19-23. Biographical sketch.
1829 Chavez, Carlos. "The music of Mexico." In Henry Cowell, ed. American Composers
on American Music. Stanford University Press, 1933, 167-172. ML60.C87A5
Cowell's global perspective shaped lectures he would give throughout his career as
educator at the New School of Social Research, Columbia University, the Peabody
Conservatory, Mills College, University of California Berkeley, Stanford, and Eastman School
of Music. Over the course of thirty years, he would present a variety of topics which covered not
only domestic modem music but also embraced a variety of cultures (see table 1-2). His unusual
commitment to domestic modern music inspired his selection of "modern composers" to present
during his lectures of the early 1930s. Presentations focused on living contemporaries such as
28 Gilbert Chase, A Guide to the Music ofLatin America (Washington, DC: The Pan American Union and the
Library of Congress, 1962).
Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, Cowell's own counterpoint student George Gershwin, and the
enigmatic Charles Ives. Several courses, such as "Music of the World's People," recurred
annually, but the specific focus changed regularly. For example, the year after Cowell returned
from his Soviet sojourn, "World Survey of Contemporary Music" included a portion devoted to
"The Paradoxical Musical Situation in Russia." Having been invited to concertize but been
forbidden from playing by the Soviet government upon arrival, Cowell was well equipped to
address the socio-political context of "Musical conservatism in Russia as a result of following
Table 1-2. A selection of courses taught by Cowell
Comparison of the Musical Systems of the World
Creative Music in the Americas
Music of the World's People
Musical Systems of the World (Comparative Musicology)
Primitive and Folk Origins of Music
World Survey of Contemporary Music
Cowell in Posthumous Print
Joscelyn Godwin's 1969 Cornell dissertation30 on Cowell's music offered the first
significant examination of Cowell's oeuvre but placed it within the shadow of Western European
art music. Retrospectively, Godwin has admitted:
One of the troubles with my dissertation was that the more of HC's later music I examined,
the less highly I thought of it. I reckoned that I could tell sloppy work (weak forms,
repetitive themes, banal fugal developments, unimaginative orchestration) when I saw (or,
less often, heard) it; but I was judging it against the music of Strawinsky, Bartok, or Berg,
and seeing Cowell's modernism in the shadow of Varese, Messiaen, Boulez and
Stockhausen ... I do remember becoming exasperated by the later symphonies ... and I
29 New School for Social Research: Announcement of Courses ofStudy, Spring 1930, p. 23. Cited in Edward R.
Carwithen, Henry Cowell: Composer and Educator (Ph.D. Dissertation University of Florida, Gainesville, FL,
1991), p. 49.
30 Joscelyn Godwin, The Music ofHenry Cowell (Ph.D. diss. Comell University, 1969).
think I made this pretty plain, with all the arrogance induced by my Oxbridge
Sidney Robertson Cowell,32 the composer's widow and a "neighbor and acquaintance" of
Godwin's adoptive mother, "initially welcomed the idea of a helper to sort out and catalogue the
mess of [manuscripts], but she saw ... [Godwin] primarily as a bibliographer, not a critic."33 She
would subsequently successfully suppress the Cornell dissertation shortly after its publication
and declare, "Godwin was a mistake."34 Godwin's work remained unavailable well into the
1990s.35 Cornell, for their part, reported that "After investigating the matter, we do not appear to
have a complete file of correspondence on the issue, and even if we did, it would likely fall under
the Education Rights and Privacy Act."36
Sidney's action set the tone for future publications, as she controlled access to the Cowell
Collection in the New York Public Library and sought to personally endorse a biographer. The
Cowell Collection would remain closed to the general public until 20 June 2000.
Scholars who followed Godwin presented more positive perspectives on Cowell's role in
promoting new music in general and American music in particular. Rita Mead, for example,
championed "The Amazing Mr. Cowell"37 and his dedication to publishing and promoting
31 Joscelyn Godwin to Gary Galvan, 18 August 2003, electronic mail.
32 Born 2 June 1903 in San Francisco, CA, Sidney bore the rather masculine moniker, Sidney William Hawkins. She
would mary Kenneth Greg Robertson in 1924 and divorce him in 1934 before venturing into WPA
ethnomusicological projects in the late 1930s.
33 Joscelyn Godwin to Gary Galvan, 18 August 2003, electronic mail.
34 Sidney Robertson Cowell to Steven Johnson, 15 February 1990, telephone conversation quoted in Hicks, 4.
35 In response to questions regarding the suppression, Godwin claims Michael Hicks "has said there all that needs to
be said about Sidney Cowell's suppression of the work." Hick's, in Henry Cowell: Bohemian (Urbana and Chicago:
University of Illinois Press, 2002), says little other than offering Sidney's "mistake" statement.
36 Bonna J. Boettcher, Cornell University Music Librarian and Adjunct Professor of Music, to Galvan, 28 September
2006, electronic mail.
37 Rita Hursh Mead, "The Amazing Mr. Cowell," American Music 1 (Winter 1983), 63-89.
modern music through New Music enterprises in the 1920s and 1930s.38 Edward Carwithen's
dissertation for the University of Florida in 1991, Henry Cowell: Composer and Educator,
focused on Cowell's career in education. Other authors tended to center their studies on
indispensable, if relatively neutral, catalogues and annotated lists. For instance, William
Lichtenwanger's 1986 catalogue39 of Cowell's musical oeuvre a considerable body of 966
pieces contains commentary limited primarily to general descriptions with compositional and
premiere dates. In addition to Sydney Cowell's guidance, Lichtenwanger relied, in part, on
correspondence, questionnaires and catalogue entries in the Fleisher Collection. Martha
Manion's annotated compilation of Writings about Henry Cowell, and Bruce Saylor's 42-page
register, The Writings of Henry Cowell offered straightforward annotated bibliographies.40
Manion's work provides excerpts from a daunting 1,359 sources. As impressive as this may be,
she neglects literally hundreds of articles from such major sources as the New York Times and the
Christian Science Monitor, and foreign-language articles do not come with translations.41 Dick
Higgins would assemble a collection of forty-six "essential" essays by Cowell.42 Among the
entries are commentaries on eighteen of Cowell's contemporaries, including Ferrucio Busoni,
Virgil Thomson, Edgard Varese, Colin McPhee, and Igor Stravinsky. For Cowell's centennial in
38 Rita Mead, Henry Cowell's w.. 'Music, 1925-1936: The Society, the Music Editions, and the Recordings
(Ph.D. diss., City University of New York, 1978) and Rita Mead, "The Amazing Mr. Cowell," American Music,
Winter 1983, 63-89.
39 William Lichtenwanger, The Music ofHenry Cowell: A Descriptive Catalog (Brooklyn, NY: Institute for Studies
in American Music, 1986).
40 Martha L. Manion, Writings about Henry Cowell: An Annotated Bibliography (Brooklyn, NY: Institute for
Studies in American Music, 1982) and Bruce NIc .i. Saylor, The Writings ofHenry Cowell: A Descriptive
Bibliography (Brooklyn: Institute for Studies in American Music, Dept. of Music, School of Performing Arts,
Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, 1977).
41 This author has provided translation for the seventeen French language excerpts referenced in Manion's book in
an unpublished paper, Henry Cowell: French Impressions (University of Florida, 2005).
42 Henry Cowell, Essential Cowell: Selected Writings on Music, ed. Dick Higgins (Kingston, NY: McPherson &
1997, the Institute for Studies in American Music sponsored Henry Cowell's Musical Worlds, a
four-day conference dedicated to "the exuberant, pluralistic, boundlessly open-minded work of a
pioneer among American experimentalist composers."43 David Nicholls published the resultant
collection of essays in The World of Music: A Henry Cowell Symposium.44 Headed by Cowell's
1954 credo, "I believe in music, in the force of its spirit, in its exaltation, its nobility, its humor,
and its power to penetrate to the basic fineness of every human being," the collection begins with
Nicholls's contribution, "Henry Cowell: The Whole World of Music." Sprinklings of
remembrances from Cowell's recently deceased widow are interspersed among the chapters.45
The most controversial part of Cowell's biography remains his incarceration in San
Quentin State Prison from 1936 to 1940 on a sodomy conviction. Remarkably, eminent scholars
such as H. Wiley Hitchcock have continued to deem the indictment a "flimsy moral charge"46
despite Cowell's confession.47 The legendary multi-lingual lexicographer Nicolas Slonimsky,
who referred to Cowell as "my Rock of Gibraltar," called Cowell a "victim of social bigotry"
and devoted a chapter of his 1988 autobiography primarily to correspondences with the confined
composer.4 In 1991, Brigham Young University music professor Michael Hicks provided the
first serious and unbiased view of Cowell's imprisonment. Hicks delved into primary sources
43 ISAM Newsletter, Volume XXVI, No. 1 (Fall 1996), p. 4. The conference included performances from Sorrel
Hays and Joel Sach's Continuum.
44 David Nicholls, The Whole World of Music: A Henry Cowell Symposium (Australia: Harwood Academic
45 H. Wiley Hitchcock edited A Chapbook of Cheer: Vignettesfrom Sidney Robertson Cowell in 1995 "and tried to
find a publisher to take it, without success" (Hitchcock to Galvan, 7 April 2006, electronic mail). The David &
Sylvia Fund, Inc. now controls the rights to this manuscript.
46 H. Wiley Hitchcock, Music in the United States: A Historical Introduction 4th ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Prentice Hall, 2000), 213.
47 For a complete transcript of C I c! s statement, see Michael Hicks, Henry Cowell: Bohemian (Urbana and
Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002), 158-163.
48 Nicolas Slonimsky, Perfect Pitch (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), 161-167.
such as official court transcripts to document Cowell's ordeal. Ultimately, in 2002, shortly after
the Cowell Collection at the New York Library opened to the public, Hicks would publish Henry
Cowell: Bohemian, an exemplary examination of Cowell's singular childhood and its impact on
the composer's inimitable identity. To date, this remains the most complete account of Cowell in
Two years after Cowell's release from prison, California Governor Earl Warren granted a
pardon so the composer could take a position as Senior Music Editor in the overseas branch of
the newly formed Office of War Information (OWI) a position Cowell would hold until 1945.
The OWI served as a propaganda agency designed, in part, to counteract Nazi accusations of
racist U.S. policies and U.S. imperialism over Latin-American nations. Cowell worked closely
with his lifelong friend and former tutor, Charles Seeger, who headed the Pan American Union.
Cowell's assignment capitalized upon his natural interest in Latin-American music and
effectively appointed him the primary editor of Latino music for the United States.
Kunst enumerates the next significant phase of Cowell's contributions to world music:
After Worldwar II... there resulted, in the nick of time, from the fertile collaboration of
ethno-musicologists with gramophone- or broadcasting-companies a number of splendid
collections ... issued by the Folkways Records and Service Corporation, 117 West 46th
Street, New York 36 (N.Y.):
Music of the Russian Middle East (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Uzbekistan) (notes: Henry
Folk Music of Rumania (rec. Bela Bart6k; notes: Henry Cowell)
Music of Southeast Asia (Thailand, Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Malaya) (notes:
Music of the Ukraine (instr. A.o. duda (bagpipe), balalaika) (notes: Henry Cowell)
Folk Music of the Mediterranean (Algeria, Sardinia, Albania, Syria, France, Egypt,
Morocco, Italy, Tunis, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Serbia, Libya and Palestine) (selection and
notes by Henry Cowell)
Music of the world's peoples (Madagascar, Caucasus, Greece, Japan, Nigeria, India,
Russia, U.S.A., Ireland, France, Bali, Arabia, Tahiti, Tibet, Iceland and Spain) (instr. a.o.
harp, koto, sho, sanai, esraljalatarang) (selection and notes by Henry Cowell)
Music of the world's peoples, vol. II (Serbia, Iran, Albania, China, Congo, Finland,
French Canada, Ukraine, Chile, Italy, Kashmir, Australia, Cuba, Azerbaijan, Palestine
Jews, Sioux) (selection and notes by Henry Cowell)
The Eskimos of Hudson Bay and Alaska (rec. by Laura Bolton; notes by id. and Henry
Appropriately, this period leads off with Cowell's composition UnitedNations: Songs of
the People, L671. A 1956 Rockefeller Foundation grant sent Cowell on a mission to study
Persian, Iranian and Japanese music. Compositional impact turned up in three of Cowell's
strongest works: Persian Set, L838; Ongaku, L846; and Symphony No. 13 Madras L848.
Reverence for Cowell's abilities prompted J. H. Kwabena Nketia (b. 1921), a 1958 Rockefeller
Foundation Fellowship winner, to study advanced composition with Cowell at Columbia
University.5s Cowell's reputation as a composer and scholar of international stature resulted not
only in a commission from Iceland to compose Symphony No. 16 Icelandic, L912 for the
dedication of an auditorium at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, but also in Cowell's
appointment by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 as the U.S. representative at the International
Music Conference in Teheran and the East-West Music Encounter in Tokyo.
These honors and appointments highlight the twilight of one of the most impressive and
receptive multicultural musical careers of the twentieth century. Cowell's unusually open
attitude toward and persistent perseverance in promoting world music find their roots in his
49 Jaap Kunst, Ed .... -I........I. -v (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1955): 30-33. Other albums in the series which
Cowell edited and described include Music ofIndonesia, Music of the Mediterranean, Music of the U.S.S.R., and
Primitive Music of the World.
50 Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje and William Carter, African Musicology: Current Trends, (Los Angeles: Crossroads
Press and African Studies Association, 1989), 10.
exceptional childhood exposure. They reveal their power in his philosophy of field research in
the world of music:
I have never deliberately concerned myself with developing a distinctive 'personal' style,
but only with excitement and pleasure of writing music as beautifully, as warmly, and as
interestingly as I can.
THE EDWIN A. FLEISHER COLLECTION OF ORCHESTRAL MUSIC
A veritable Alexandria among music libraries, the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of
Orchestral Music in the Free Library of Philadelphia has maintained its unchallenged position as
"the world's largest lending library of orchestral performance material"1 for over three quarters
of a century:
It houses virtually the entire standard repertoire, and is also known for its many rare and
out-of-print works available for lending around the world. It is a unique source of 19th-
and 20th-century American music, and has a longstanding commitment to promoting new,
noteworthy, and overlooked works.2
The Fleisher Collection boasts the largest holding of Latin American, Moravian, Russian
and Swedish orchestral materials in North America. In addition, the Collection may arguably
possess the largest assembly of works by twentieth century American composers.
With nearly 21,000 titles, the Fleisher Collection serves as a singular source for hundreds
of performing organizations throughout the world every year by providing the scores and
complete sets of parts for works in the Collection. During the 2006 fiscal year alone its
seventy-seventh at the Library the Collection circulated 33,726 scores and parts.3 Over the past
five years, the Collection has loaned an average of over 32,300 scores and parts per annum.
In addition to lending performance materials, Fleisher Collection collaborative activities
include a monthly radio program. Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection, carried on WRTI
90.1 Philadelphia airs the first Saturday of each month and is available online at wrti.org. The
hosts, Collection Curator Kile Smith and WRTI Program Director Jack Moore, "uncover the
1"FLP Fleisher Orchestral Music," Free Library of Philadelphia (Accessed 2 November 2006)
3 Kile Smith, Curator, "Free Library of Philadelphia: FY 2006 Annual Report for the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection
of Orchestral Music" (Philadelphia: Free Library of Philadelphia, 2006), 2.
unknown, rediscover the little-known, and take a fresh look at some of the remarkable treasures
housed in the Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music in the Free Library of Philadelphia."4
Since the late 1990s, the Fleisher Collection has also been working with the Czech National
Symphony Orchestra and Albany Records to produce five recordings of works from the Fleisher
Collection (see Table 2-1). Each recording features works from the Fleisher Collection
performed under the batons of Paul Freeman (vols. 1, 3, 4 and 5) or JoAnn Falletta (vol. 2). The
most recent release featured music by Czech composer Tibor Serly. Serly's works existed only
as manuscripts until the Collection produced bound scores and complete set of parts which were
then used specifically for the premiere recordings.5
Table 2-1. Albany Records Music from the Fleisher Collection
Catalog No. Content
TROY467 Vol. 1 (2001)- Louis Gruenberg
TROY502 Vol. 2 (2002) The American Clarinet: Elie Siegmeister, Burnet Corwin Hill,
Norman Dello Jolo, Frederick Shepherd Converse
TROY594 Vol. 3 (2003) Karl Boelter
TROY635 Vol. 4 (2004) John Biggs
TROY876 Vol. 5 (2006) Tibor Serly
Descriptive catalogues and lists issued by the Library have managed fleeting snapshots of
the titanic Fleisher Collection. The first catalogue, privately printed in 1933, provides the first
formal portrait of the Collection to aid potential users. A two-volume set published in 1946
included a revised edition of the 1933 catalogue and a supplementary volume of works added up
to 1945. Volume II effectively captures works added under the WPA Copying Project.
Supplementary lists published in 1956 and 1966 each documented Collection acquisitions
between 1945 and their respective dates. The most recent attempt to capture the Collection in
4 "WRTI.org Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection," WRTI 90.1 FM (Accessed 27 November 2006)
SCoincidently, German music critic Joseph Marx, in "Musik zweier Kontinente," Wiener Zeitung on 6 March 1955
compared rhythmic characteristics of Henry Cowell's Seventh Symphony to a concerto by Serly.
print came in 1977 with the release of a cumulative catalogue funded in part by a Ford
Foundation grant. Prepared with the assistance of such noted musicologists as Karl Geiringer and
Alfred Einstein, each tome "remains an invaluable reference tool for all librarians, critics,
students, radio stations, and professional musicians concerned with orchestral repertory."6 An
online catalogue of the Collection's orchestral works nears completion at the time of this writing
and places this inestimably valuable cornucopia of information in an universally accessible
medium. Catalogued information on compositions represented in the Fleisher Collection
Date and place of birth and death of the composer.
The title of the work in its original language and the translation into English.
The instrumentation, showing not only the different instruments for which the work is
scored, but also the number of each woodwind and brass instrument required for the
performance (it being unnecessary to specify the number of string instruments).
The approximate length of time, in minutes, required for performance.
The date of composition; the place and date of the first performance; the orchestra; the
conductor; and in the concertos, the soloist.7
To fully appreciate the unique nature of the Fleisher Collection and its significance in
American history one must examine the man who established this singular collection. Born on 11
July 1877, Edwin Adler Fleisher's true blessings came not from the financial wealth bestowed
upon him, but from the richness of character passed down to him by his German-Jewish
6 Lee Fairley, "The Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music in the Free Library of Philadelphia. A
Descriptive Catalogue. Volume Two," Notes 3 (March 1946), 178.
7 Edwin A. Fleisher, Preface to The Edwin A. FleisherMusic Collection (Philadelphia: Privately printed, 1933), v.
Fleisher and crew resource Karl Geiringer and Alfred Einstein, in part, for biographical data on composers.
The Fabulous Philanthropic Fleisher Family
In the Beginning
Edwin's paternal grandfather, Benjamin Wolf Fleischer, arrived in Philadelphia and
declared his intent to become a naturalized citizen in 1837.8 Benjamin, a dry goods merchant,
had married his partner's sister, Hannah Technor, before emigrating to the U.S., and his name
appears in the 1840 United States census for Meadville, Crawford County, Pennsylvania
immediately below that of his partner and brother-in-law, Jacob.9 When Benjamin Wolf died
prematurely in 1845 at age thirty-five after a visit to his father in Germany,10 he left behind a
pregnant widow and three small children, Simon, age four, Moyer, three, and Henry, a month
shy of two-years-old. Hannah bore her youngest son, Benjamin Wilfrid ("B.W.") Fleisher, in
Meadville after her husband's death. Benjamin's last will and testament of 9 March 1845
provides an eerily premonitory perspective. Proclaiming "I am about to make a journey to
Germany," Benjamin declares his intent shouldud it be the Will of God that I should not come
back.""11 "Should my wife marry again," he proffers, "I request the Guardian to make sure that
my children are well treated by their step-father." His request found favor in fate.
8 Sources for this information include Ancestry.com., Philadelphia, 1789-1880 Naturalization Records [database
on-line] (Provo, UT: MyFamily.com, Inc., 2003) Original data: P. William Filby, ed. Philadelphia Naturalization
Records (Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1982) and Gale Research, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-
1900s [database on-line], (Provo, UT: MyFamily.com, Inc., 2005) Original data: P. William Filby, ed., Passenger
and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s, (Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Research, 2005).
9 Fleisher family members dropped the "c" from their name to de-Germanize at the time of the Franco-Prussian War
in the early 1870s. Jacob's family name appears in the census as "Tuchner."
10 In an interview with the author on 24 October 2006, Mary Louise Fleisher declared of her great grandfather that,
"he did not die at sea, nor was he buried at sea. He came back on the Augustus Fi ... i-, landed in Boston and died
in Philadelphia at the home of his brother and is buried in Mount Sinai [Cemetery]. And the plaque there that's in
Hebrew is not a memorial. It's his tombstone."
1 This and the subsequent quotation come from a text translation of Benjamin's will, originally in German,
contained in and provided courtesy of the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center.
Abraham Adler, a 35-year-old Bavarian language scholar who taught Hebrew in Germany
and France, sailed from Le Havre on the North Carolina to arrive in New York on 12 June
1845.12 "Here he entered upon a mercantile career in Philadelphia, though his love of literature,
music and the fine arts continued and much of his leisure time was devoted to reading, and to the
development of his tastes for various studies."13 In 1847 Adler moved to Meadville in Crawford
County, Pennsylvania where he established the lucrative Kohn & Adler millinery house with
partner Isaac Kohn. Whatever her penchant for Kohn & Adler's wares, Hannah found
Abraham's proposal of marriage attractive enough to accept, and as husband and wife, they
would raise her four boys and complete their clan with a daughter in 1848.
As a businessman, Adler set a fine example, for the 1860 U. S. Census lists Abraham's
estate value at $19,000 shortly before the family relocated to Philadelphia. Kohn, Adler &
Company continued to thrive in the Delaware Valley,14 and within ten years Adler's worth
welled to $28,000. The value of his generosity, however, became immeasurable. Adler gained
renown for his charity and dedication "to extend education among the humbler classes, and to
promote a knowledge of the Hebrew language and of the Jewish religion among the offspring of
Jewish parents" through organizations such as the Hebrew Education Society.15 When his only
daughter, Mathilde Adler Loeb, died at age twenty-seven, the grieving parents, along with "Mr.
Loeb, her husband an ardent laborer for charity erected the most important addition to the
12 Ancestry.com. New York, 1820-1850 Passenger and Immigration Lists [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:
MyFamily.com, Inc., 2003. Original data: New York. Registers of Vessels Arriving at the Port oJ .. i Yorkfrom
Foreign Ports, 1789-1919. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. Micropublication
M237, rolls # 1-95.
1 Henry Samuel Morais, The Jews ofPhiladelphia (Philadelphia: The Levytype Co., 1894), 240.
14 By the beginning of the early 1900s, Kohn, Adler & Co. expanded to consume 720-722-724 Market St. in Center
City Philadelphia, where they manufactured, wholesaled, and retailed hats, silk, laces, chiffons and mousselines, and
maintained the largest ribbon department in U.S.
15 Morais, 240. Author's note: The Hebrew Education Society of Philadelphia incorporated in May 1849.
Jewish Hospital, called the Mathilde Adler-Loeb Dispensary ... the beneficent work of which is
constantly manifested."16 His biography laments his loss:
Unfortunately, his labors were of short duration; for on November 9th, 1879, he was called
to his rest, while in the midst of his works. This excellent Israelite was eulogized for his
good deeds, and held up as an example to the young, of an honest, earnest, and God-
The eldest of Mrs. Adler's boys, Simon B. (Figure 2-2A), "first attended a village school,
and was sent to an Academy in New York City, of which the late Rev. Dr. Max Lilienthal was
principal."18 Employed in the New York dry goods trade at fifteen, S.B. returned to Meadville to
hone his skills at Kohn & Adler, by then a general dry goods dealer. As his family departed for
Philadelphia, S.B. headed back to New York to take on the tobacco trade. In 1866, Simon
married German-born Celia Hofheimer, sired a daughter, and moved his small family to
Philadelphia. Once in the City of Brotherly Love, Simon partnered with his brother Moyer to
establish S.B. & M. Fleisher (Figure 2-1), a pioneering and highly lucrative braid, worsted wool
and yarn manufacturing company.19 By 1870, Simon's fortune had grown to $19,000, and by the
end of the decade, Simon had established his estate at 2220 Green Street (Figure 2-2B),
Philadelphia, a palatial 19,200-square foot brownstone home, where he and Celia would raise
their five children immersed in wealth and culture.20 Celia served as one of eighteen Directors
16 Ibid., 241.
17 Ibid., 240.
18 Ibid., 263.
19 The company eventually became S.B. & B.W. Fleisher with the addition of Simon's youngest brother Benjamin
and Moyer's retirement. The company was the first worsted yam spinner in the U.S. Simon's cousins, formed
Fleisher Brothers, a leading wholesale clothier, which operated in Philadelphia and Atlantic City between 1876 to
20 The United States census record for 1880 documents three live-in servants. Census records for 1900, 1910 and
1930 indicate four to five servants maintained residence at the Fleisher's 2220 Green Street home. The booklet for
for the Women's Committee for the up-and-coming Philadelphia Orchestra starting in 1904, and
the Memorials and Tributes in the Philadelphia Orchestra Endowment Fund of 1919 records a
Personal Memorial in honor of Simon B. Fleisher.21 The lessons S.B. learned under Adler's
guidance manifested in civic issues, as well:
Mr. Fleisher's reputation, second to that of no merchant in the community, is not solely
based upon his success as a merchant, his experience as a business man, and his honorable
course in the walks of trade. For a lengthy period that gentleman has earnestly participated
in public affairs and in the doings of coreligionists. He was among the organizers and
charter members of the Independence National Bank, of which he is Director, and is also a
Director of the Advisory Board of the Investment Company of Philadelphia; the
Philadelphia Bourse; the Committee of Fifty22; the Finance Company of Philadelphia; and
the "Model Dwelling" Association, of which he is Treasurer. He is an active member and
Trustee of the Congregation Keneseth Israel; a Director of the Jewish Hospital
Association; and is identified with other organizations, secular and Jewish. He served as
Vice-President, and subsequently as a Director, of the Young Men's Hebrew Association,
and as a Treasurer of the Hebrew Education Society.23
Figure 2-1. Fleisher Yams button. Philadelphia Jewish Archives. Used by permission.
Diligence, activism, kindness and sacrifice spanned S.B.'s generation. His brother Moyer,
an accomplished watchmaker and machinist, developed four patents and participated in at least
the 60th Annual Fleisher Family Party 1986 proclaims that "Green St. was almost a Fleisher Axis," as family
members owned homes at 2045, 2113, 2133, 2219, 2222, 2223, and 2301, as well.
21 Frances Anne Wister, Twenty-five Years of the Philadelphia Orchestra, 1900 1925 (Freeport, NY: Books for
Libraries Press, 1970), 48, 126-8.
22 In 1893, The Committee of Fifty for the Investigation of the Liquor Problem formed out of the Sociology Group
to examine issues raised by the temperance movement. They concluded alcohol was safe in moderation and that
individuals were responsible for self-discipline.
23 Morais, 263-4.
one other.24 Moyer served first as Director and then President of the Hebrew Education Society.
B.W. Jr., the posthumous child of Benjamin Wolf, Sr., lost his own wife shortly after the birth of
their youngest child in a peculiar twist of fate which left him alone to raise his eight living
children of whom four were under 10. His personal warmth becomes evident in a list of
anecdotes, "I remember BW but he was always Grandpa to me," from B.W.'s eldest grandson,
Willis Fleisher, Jr.25
A I- B
Figure 2-2. S.B. Fleisher and the family home. A) Photograph embroidered with silk. Fleisher
Collection Archives. Used by permission. B) 2220 Green Street, Philadelphia, PA.
Photograph by G. Galvan.
24 In 1866, Moyer developed two patents for clamping and strapping ice skates to shoes (Pat. Nos. 58,084 and
59,575). The skate design employs an F for the forward post of the blade. Patents related to the wool and yarn trade
included a tank for acids and dyes (Pat. No. 284,402) and a water tube boiler (pat. No. 304,090). Patent No. 345,948
for a "Stop-Motion for Twisters" by Charles Alexander offers equal credit "to S. B. Fleisher, B. W. Fleisher, and M.
25 The essay is part of the 60th Annual Fleisher Family Party -1986 booklet. Authors note: The ashes of B.W. and
wife, Ida, are interred at Mount Sinai Cemetery in a plot next to Benjamin Wolf Fleisher. Benjamin Wolf's plot
holds only the patriarch's remains. The three remaining graves in lot 1261 are vacant. Hannah Technor Fleisher
Adler lies with Abraham Adler in an Adler-Loeb plot.
S.B. passed the teaching of civic responsibility along to his own children who bore the
standard of the Fleisher family legacy. Theresa Fleisher and her husband Joseph A. Louchheim,
for example, would champion Philadelphia organizations such as the Jewish Maternity
Association, the Young Women's Union, United Hebrew Charities, the Jewish Foster Home and
Orphan Asylum, the Orphans' Guardians, as well as the Hebrew Union College of Cincinnati
and the Jewish Congregation at Jebenhausen, Wilrtemberg. Simon's eldest son, Ben, organized
the American-Japan Society in 1917. From 1908 to 1940, he owned and edited The Japanese
Advertiser, "long considered the most influential English-language newspaper in the Far East."26
As the first and only American daily published in Japan, the Advertiser brought buyout bids as
high as $500,000 and earned the 1933 University of Missouri Gold Medal Award, in part,
for exemplifying the highest type of American journalism in a foreign country; for the
excellence of its informational and editorial content, which has won for the journal a
position of prestige and influence unsurpassed by any other foreign-language newspaper in
the Far East; for its courageous and persistent service, often in the face of complicated
political situations, in furthering world peace and effecting an understanding and more
amicable relations between Japan and America; for tenacity of purpose and maintenance of
high ideas over a period of a quarter of a century, despite the difficulties encountered
through serious earthquakes, fires and other hazards.27
Simon's and Celia's youngest three children, Samuel, Helen and Edwin, each remained
unmarried and continued to live together at 2220 Green Street as they sculpted the cultural face
of Philadelphia with their trademark Fleisher philanthropy.28 In 1898, Samuel established the
26 Demaree Bess, "Tokyo's Captive Yankee Newspaper," The Saturday Evening Post (6 February 1943), 2.
27 Award text quoted in Bess, 66. According to Mary Louise Fleisher, Ben was disowned by S.B. for a bad debt or
check which the father covered. Ben is the only child of S.B.'s not contained in the family mausoleum.
28 Unprecedented contemporary focus on issues of sexual propensities necessitates comment here. Despite common
speculation, Mary Louise Fleisher asserts, "I think they were very, very content in their lives, but Sam and Ed, I
understand, had a few extracurricular activities ... mother told me Sam had a mistress." As for Edwin, Mary Louis
bore witness to "one woman sitting in Oliver Bair [Funeral Home] crying with this young man ... [W]hen they
closed the casket, this woman came and they had to open it up again. I went, 'hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, Ed! "' She
maintains the position the mystery woman may well have been Edwin's lover and the young man Edwin's son.
Further, Mary Louise indicated Sam and Ed likely devoted themselves to their sister, Helen, who suffered a mild
case of polio.
Graphic Sketch Club, "the nation's oldest tuition-free art school"29 in the Jewish Union building
at Fourth and Bainbridge. Upon Samuel's death in 1944, the organization became the Samuel S.
Fleisher Art Memorial and continued to thrive under a generous endowment from its founder.
The Fleisher Art Memorial now operates under the administration of the Philadelphia Museum
of Art at 719 Catharine Street in Philadelphia where it houses a Romanesque revival church
dedicated "to the patrons of the busy streets of Philadelphia" and intended as a "playground for
the soul."30 Helen, concerned over recent young Russian immigrants settling in Philadelphia
around the turn of the century, established the Fleisher Vocational Training School the first
women's vocational school in the city.31 She served as Chairwoman for the Philadelphia Trade
School for Girls and stands out as one of the most ardent supporters of the Young Women's
Hebrew Society and subsequent Young Women's Hebrew Association.
Edwin Adler Fleisher
Edwin Fleisher (Figure 2-3) graduated from the William Penn Charter School in June
1894.32 An active participant in the Science Club, he regularly produced papers and offered
commentary at meetings. The October 1894 issue of the Penn Charter Magazine included a
"Class of '94 Prophecy" which recognized the Fleishers in general and the recently graduated
Edwin, in particular: "The Fleishers, now a business firm most prosperous do run/Though Edwin
29 Fleisher Art Memorial, hup i i i % -lic' ,/.
30 Samuel Fleisher quoted in "History of the Sanctuary at the Fleisher Memorial," Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial
(Accessed 29 November 2006) http://www.fleisher.org/about/sanctuary.php.
31 Over time the school evolved the Stoddart-Fleisher School.
32 Seven members of the extended Fleisher family attended Penn Charter School in 1894. Edwin graduated with his
cousin Arthur Adler Fleisher.
had to promise that with traveling he'd done."33 Nevertheless, Edwin ventured to Cambridge
where he completed an A.B. degree at Harvard University and took one course in harmony his
senior year with Walter Raymond Spalding. Fleisher apparently exhibited adequate piano skills
since the course description in the 1898-99 Catalogue explains:
Proficiency in piano or organ playing is required of students ... [and] the course is open to
Freshmen who, by examination, show sufficient talent and proficiency in music.
Figure 2-3. Edwin Adler Fleisher. Fleisher Collection Archives. Used by permission.
No source identifies Edwin's instrumental tutors in childhood or adolescence, and how he
attained proficiency on violin and viola remains unclear. The Harvard Division of Music
Announcement for 1898-1899 sheds little light:
3 While the Penn Charter Magazine fails to elaborate, one should note the manifesto for the Inman Line ship, City
oJ .. York, documents the return of Simon, Celia, Samuel, Helen and Edwin to New York from Liverpool on 4
No instruction in instrumental playing is provided by the University, but the services of
eminent teachers ... may be obtained in Boston or Cambridge.34
Soon after his return to Philadelphia, Edwin took his place as treasurer and director in the
family business and joined the philanthropic fount of Fleishers who devoted Sunday evenings to
musical soirees. Edwin's parents "are patrons of music and the fine arts, and Mrs. Fleisher is a
pianist whose artistic playing has won the praise of the critical. Their home is visited by persons
of culture and by lovers of music, and on more than a few occasions a group of talented members
of this and other families assemble there, and discourse works of masters of the art that appeals
to the innermost senses, that entertains while it instructs, that edifies while it incites to study and
thought."35 Thus nature and nurture would combine to create the greatest American music
philanthropists of the 20th century.
The Symphony Club
Herman Weinberg, a teenage violinist later destined to play in the Philadelphia Orchestra
under Stokowski and Toscanini, regularly performed sonatas with Celia and often accompanied
Edwin to concerts. According to former Collection Curator Harry Kownatsky, in early 190936
Weinberg's direction of a string ensemble comprising youths from humbler circumstances
caught Edwin's attention, and the elder violinist requested an opportunity to attend a practice
When they arrived they found a group of boys congregated outside the building. Weinberg
approached them and asked why they were not inside, setting up. They told him that the
caretaker, who had been getting twenty-five cents for each use, hadn't been paid for two
34 Franz Kneisel, Otto Roth and Eugene Gruenberg, were each active in the Boston area at the time.
35 Morais, 264.
36 Coincidentally, Edwin's second cousin Blanche Wolf Kohn, along with her friend Jeanette Selig Frank, had
established the Settlement Music School in 1908 by offering nickel piano lessons at the College Settlement House to
immigrant children of the Southwark section of Philadelphia.
weeks and wouldn't permit them to use the facility until the money was forthcoming. The
trouble was that there was not fifty cents among them.
Fleisher ... exclaimed that this happened to be his sister's building and he therefore had
some say in the matter. The caretaker was called out and was told by Fleisher that the boys
were to have free access to the building whenever necessary.
May Curtis Watkins weaves a slightly less romantic story, reportedly recounted from
Fleisher, "as he told it to me:"38
He is very modest about it, and says it was not an original idea with him; but that twenty-
five years ago, two boys from the southern part of Philadelphia came to him, and said that
they would like to form an orchestra; but that they had no music, no money to buy any, and
they had no place to meet. Mr. Fleisher said to them "Well, get your group together, and
we will see what we can do." So he rented the gymnasium of the Day Nursery, engaged a
conductor, and they arranged a time for the first meeting.
He said, never would he forget that first meeting. About sixty of them came, bringing their
instruments, and SUCH instruments there were all kinds, most of them very cheap ones.
The brass was not properly tuned, and some of the string instruments had no tone at all,
they were simply atrocious but the enthusiasm was tremendous.39
Indeed, Fleisher found their dedication an inspiration and launched "a little orchestra
among the slum boys in Philadelphia"40 the Fleisher Collection's raison d'etre. The Little
Symphony Club, as it was initially known, began with sixty-five boys ranging in age from seven
to seventeen. Comparable in some ways to Earnest Read's and Kennedy Scott's Junior
Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, Fleisher's Symphony Club represented a novel and
unparalleled social endeavor. Fleisher recognized the significant challenges but also saw a
diamond in the rough:
The attempt at a full symphony orchestra with boys so young in years, with little technical
ability, and with some of the necessary woodwind and brass instruments missing because
no performers of these instruments could be found, I must admit, was not productive of
7 Harry L. Kownatsky, "A History of the Collection, Part 1," News fom the Fleisher Collection 1, April 1991, 1.
38 May Curtis Watkins, "A Momentous Musical Achievement," 26 January 1934, Fleisher Collection Archives.
40 "The Philadelphia Amateur Orchestra Club," The Musical Times 70, 1 September 1929, 791.
any amazing results, judged solely by their performances. Nevertheless, we struggled
along with this little orchestra for two years and the enthusiasm of these youngsters, their
regular attendance at rehearsals, and the enjoyment they derived, convinced me that the
project was worth while.41
Fleisher purchased and renovated a five-story building at 1235 Pine Street (Figure 2-4A)
for use as a rehearsal hall and clubhouse.42 Further, he provided new instruments and convinced
Camille Zeckwer43 a former student of Antonin Dvorak and Philipp Scharwenka and the future
director of the Academy of Music to join the club as a conductor. Fleisher continues the story:
Little interest was evinced by our young music students for instruments other than piano
and strings. Stringed instrument players, however, applied for membership in such large
numbers that two string orchestras, a senior and a junior, were formed and subsequently
even a third. While these orchestras continued and improved for some years, we
encountered the difficulty of finding a sufficient number of compositions for pure string
orchestra, to keep three such orchestras supplied. Besides, our more advanced students in
the senior orchestra were craving for symphonic works.44
'ma A B
Figure 2-4. (A) The Symphony Club building at 1235 Pine Street in Philadelphia. Photograph by
G. Galvan. (B) The Symphony Club 1915-1916. Courtesy of the Fleisher Collection
Archives. Used by Permission.
41 Fleisher, vi.
42 The Pine Street building now houses the Philadelphia Mental Health Center (philamentalhealth.org). Signs of the
Symphony Club's occupancy linger as curved ceilings sit above dropped ceilings on the third floor and building
owner, Kerey Ruggiero, still owns a signed picture of musicians.
43 Herman Weinberg served as the ensemble's first conductor. Conductors who followed Zeckwer included Jay
Speck, Johann Grolle, William F. Happich and Arthur Cohn.
44 Fleisher, vi-vii.
In 1913, Fleisher traveled to Europe in search of scores unavailable in the U.S. to satisfy
club needs. He personally met with dozens of publishers45 and purchased hundreds of scores to
meet and exceed club demands. The Fleisher family ingenuity manifested in Edwin as he
"experimented with various kinds of boxes and folders and finally designed a box which is dust-
proof and practical" for storing scores and parts.46 Each box has been tailored in size for its
particular composition and contains a checklist of contents.
When William F. Happich (1884-1950) began conducting the full orchestra for the 1915-
16 season (Figure 2-4B), a position he would hold for twenty-six years, Fleisher expanded
membership to include all races and both sexes. Fleisher noted:
We have pretty well every nation represented. There are Russians, many negroes, one real
American Indian, inhabitants of the Malay Peninsula and the Philippines, and we once had
a Japanese girl who came in native dress until we found her costume attracted rather too
By this time, the Club now comprised a Junior String Orchestra, a Senior String Orchestra
and a full Symphony Orchestra, and members benefited from "chamber music classes, theory
classes, and two grades of pianoforte."48 To ensure rehearsals both enjoyable and instructive the
Club adopted "the policy of devoting the first hour of rehearsal to the careful study of a
symphony or other important work, and the second hour to sight reading."49 As a result,
members profited not only from the study of many standards but also of an even larger number
of lesser known works.
45 Fleisher lists 236 publishers and dealers in the 1933 catalogue.
46 Fleisher, vi. The Collection still stores thousands of scores in boxes manufactured and marked by Fleisher
47 Ibid., 792.
48 Edwin Fleisher quoted in "The Philadelphia Amateur Orchestra Club," p. 792.
49 Fleisher, vii.
The Club charter, approved 25 March 1924 by the Philadelphia County Court of Common
Pleas No. 1, incorporated the Club "for the encouragement and promotion of higher musical
education and attainments, gratuitously, through ensemble music exemplified by chamber, Music
Classes, Orchestral Training and Classes in Theory" and "to provide free musical education for
all applicants regardless of race, creed and sex; to encourage a higher standard of musical
development and appreciation, to maintain a complete library of music and musical subjects; and
to assist worthy aspirants with the training necessary for a musical profession."50 The endeavor
became a Fleisher family affair as Edwin, Samuel and Helen filled the offices of President, Vice
President and Secretary, respectively. Their eldest nephew, Stephen Louchheim, participated as a
The Colossal Collection
By 1925, Fleisher retired from the family yarn company and devoted his time to collecting
music. Spending as much as fifteen to twenty thousand dollars per year on orchestral materials
he would again sail to Europe51 to persuade publishers and dealers to sell him music "with the
proviso that the material should be used only by amateur orchestras and never at a concert where
admission was charged."5 For months after each venture, shipments of scores arrived from
50 Charter of Symphony Club as approved by Philadelphia County Common Pleas Court no. 1, 25 March 1924.
Fleisher Collection Archives.
51 Fleisher sailed to Europe in 1927, 1929 and 1930. The second trip required he traverse Europe to spend three
months in the Soviet Union on a special passport. Fleisher also traveled to Barbados and Chile in 1924 and 1925, but
I have seen no evidence of collection activities from these voyages. The 1933 catalogue lists no South or Central
American companies in its expansive list of publishers and dealers. The few works by Latin American composers,
Chilean Humberto P. Allende, Cuban Alejandro Garcia Caturla and Venezuelan Reynaldo Hahn, came through
Parisian publishers. Nevertheless, one might reasonably speculate his excursion planted seeds for the Collection's
later growth in Latin American orchestral music.
52 "Music Library Association Annual Meeting, Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, December 5-
6, 1941," 19.
Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary,
Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Realizing his Pine Street clubhouse could not practically contain the flourishing Collection
much longer, Fleisher called on Librarian53 John Ashhurst in early 1929 to discuss options.54 In
1927, the Free Library of Philadelphia had opened the doors to its Central Library along the Ben
Franklin Parkway -just blocks from Edwin's Green Street mansion. The magnificent limestone
and steel structure on Logan Circle seemed a favorable home for the awesome Collection, as the
Library already ranked as the fourth largest and "the most technologically sophisticated [library]
in the world."55 Fleisher transferred his Club's Collection to the Free Library of Philadelphia in a
Deed of Gift, dated 6 May 1929.56 Estimated to be worth $500,000, the Collection contained:
Works of old masters, strange scores from distant parts of the world, concertos and
orchestrations which are virtually unprocurable in the present day The collection is to
be augmented in the near future, after Mr. Fleisher has visited Russia to gather new scores.
The trip is to be made on a special Soviet passport and will occupy the entire summer. He
will go into remote parts of the country.57
Fleisher would arrive in the USSR just a few months after Cowell's pioneering and
controversial Soviet debut. When authorities realized Fleisher sought music for an amateur group
which performed annual concerts free of charge, they supported Fleisher's altruistic communal
53 The meager title, Librarian, belies Ashhurst's awesome responsibility as de facto chief librarian.
54 An apocryphal story alleges the Collection had grown so heavy that floors in the Pine Street facility had to be
reinforced and city officials cited a potential hazard and forced the move.
55"75th Anniversary History Construction, 1920-1926," Free Library of Philadelphia (Accessed 5 January 2007)
56 An inventory sheet dated July 2, 1929 prior to Fleisher's Soviet sojourn tallies 3306 orchestral works, 241
chamber works and an unspecified number of books and miniature scores. Non-orchestral material became part of
the general music collection in the Library. Originally restricted to in-library use, Fleisher maintained unconditional
access to materials for the Symphony Club.
5 "E. A. Fleisher Offers Music to Library," New York Times, 1 June 1929, 21. While several articles from 1929 and
1930 estimate the value at $500,000, obituaries for Fleisher in the New York Times and the Philadelphia Evening
Bulletin later reported the Collection's initial value at a paltry $100,000.
enterprise by helping him acquire rare and unpublished manuscripts from over seventy
composers, including Mikhail Mikhaylovich Ippolitov-Ivanov. Fleisher's 1929 jaunt included
collection treks through Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary and Poland, as well. By the
time he hit Vienna in late July, he would report his success to Philadelphia:
Carloads of music are coming! Here as well as in London and Moscow articles are being
printed about The Symphony Club and more especially about the library which is now
recognized as the largest and finest in the world. The Universal Edition has never sold
music, except to me.5
The WPA Years: An American Dream
Shortly after the publication of the 1933 catalogue,59 Arthur Cohn, a young violinist with
the Civil Works Administration (CWA) Orchestra operating under the Local Works Division
(LWD) in Philadelphia, prompted Fleisher to seek unpublished manuscripts by modern
American composers. Together Fleisher, Project Head Cohn and Librarian Franklin H. Price
were able to "interest the Government and the State authorities in the desirability of preserving
the works of American Composers ... copying manuscript scores and making parts of
unpublished works by contemporary American Composers."60 Fleisher provided materiel, the
Library offered a work environment, and the U.S. Government paid salaries. Officially launched
on November 26, 1934 under the CWA-LWD, the Project employed a 21-member staff
including fifteen copyists. By the spring of 1935, dozens of invitations began flowing to "leading
58 Edwin Fleisher, Vienna, to Maurice A. Bokser, Philadelphia, 30 July 1929, Fleisher Collection Archives.
59 The Edwin A. Fleisher Music Collection (Philadelphia: Privately printed, 1933).
60 Franklin H. Price, Philadelphia, to Robert Braine, New York, 1 April 1935. This is the earliest invitation letter I
have found in the Fleisher Collection files to date. Ironically, Braine refused to submit works. Nearly identical form
letters were sent to hundreds of American composers. Mistakenly, Price continued including a claim that copyists
had been at work "during the past seven or eight weeks" as late as September 1937 when the project had been
underway for nearly three years. The Music Copying Project ultimately operated under the following identities:
CWA-LWD Project 1176, WPA Project 2361, 11960, 14564, 19795, 24086, 28383, and 28908.
American Composers" every week.61 Price praised Fleisher's continued and extraordinary
dedication to the Collection in a speech to project copyists:
Mr. Fleisher occupies a very curious position in relation to this project. First of all, he is
the only man in Philadelphia who had faith enough in music to put his hand in his pocket
to the tune of $5,000 and buy the supplies you are working with. He comes up here about
once a week and he never gets out of this building for less than $20.00. Sometimes it is a
When this project was stopped during the summer he used all his spare time during nine
weeks to get you back to work. He went to Washington, New York, and Harrisburg; he
tel[e]graphed and telephoned.
I do not know anywhere else in the city of Philadelphia where I can get an "angel" to
underwrite this job.62
Cohn spearheaded the crew of professional music copyists which grew from fifteen to
seventy-nine and added 747 scores with full sets of parts to the Collection by the end of 1939.
Cohn reported the phenomenal progress in a report to WPA administrators:
Representation of each particular phase of composition within the contemporary field has
Among the works copied is the "classic" school represented by such men as Franz C.
Bornschein, of Baltimore; Rosseter G. Cole, of Chicago; Felix Borowski, of Chicago; F. S.
Converse, of Boston; Cecil Burleigh, of Wisconsin; Wesley La Violette, of De Paul
University; Albert Elkus, of California, etc. The "romantic" school contains composers
such as Charles Haubiel, of New York; Powell Weaver, of Kansas; Carl Mc Kinley, of
Massachusetts; Harold Morris, of New York; Charles Wakefield Cadman, of Colorado;
Paul White, of Rochester, etc. The modern school is represented by such men as Aaron
Copland, of New York; Walter Piston, of Harvard University; Bernard Wagenaar, of New
York; Emerson Whithorne, of California; David Diamond, of New York; Edwin
Gerschefski, of Massachusetts; etc. The "nationalistic" school is represented by such men
as Joseph Achron, of Los Angeles; Ferde Grofe [sic], of New Jersey; Harl McDonald, of
Philadelphia; William Grant Still, of California; etc. Works copied of the "ultra-modern"
school are by such men as Henry Cowell, of California; Charles Ives, of New York;
Adolph Weiss, of California; John J. Becker, of Minnesota; Roger Sessions, of Princeton
61 No clear methodology for the selection and prioritization of composers comes to light for the letters of invitation,
although Chris Shultis has convincingly argued, with assistance from correspondences annotated in this dissertation,
that Claire Reis's lists for the League of Composers provided a key source.
62 Price's statement to workers on the WPA Project 2361, 20 November 1935, Fleisher Collection WPA Files.
University; etc. The works of Philadelphia composers including Otto Mueller, George F.
Boyle, Arthur Cohn, etc. have also been copied.63
Fleisher and Symphony Club Musical Director William Happich selected twenty-five
scores from the new works to present with the amateur symphony in "a series of six educational
broadcasts ... in order that the people of Philadelphia may have an opportunity to hear some of
the beautiful works which either have never had any performances at all or have had no previous
performances in this city."64 Fleisher convinced local CBS affiliate WCAU to donate a monthly
half hour segment during the 1936-37 season and assured composers "this is not a commercial
undertaking and that no one receives any compensation, either directly or indirectly, for the
Aware of the burgeoning behemoth before him, Fleisher declared, "I am of the opinion that
a wider and better use of my said Collection could be made."66 Consequently, he amended his
original Deed of Gift and granted permission for the Library to loan works from the Collection.
Price sanctioned Library policy which permitted loans to performing organizations provided
performance material was otherwise unavailable, the composer (or designated representative)
granted permission, and no admission fees would be charged for performances.67 Music from the
Collection became a regular feature at WPA concerts, and "Material for performance has been
borrowed not only by all the outstanding symphony orchestras of this country and by the three
leading broadcasting systems, but also by several European orchestras. More than one thousand
63 Arthur Cohn," Report of Music Copying Project, Philadelphia, PA.: Work Project # 14564," Fleisher Collection
WPA Files, 30 March 1938.
64 Edwin A. Fleisher to Franklin H. Price, 24 July 1936, Fleisher Collection WPA Files.
66 Fleisher, amendment to Deed of Gift, 3 May 1938. Fleisher Collection Archives.
67 Composers' fees were a private matter to be handled between the artists and the performing groups.
works have been lent for performance since 1937 ... a single work, lent for broadcasting and
entered on the Library's records as one loan, was heard by almost a half million persons."68
As the nation entered World War II, Federal re-allocation of funds crippled the Music
Copying Project at the Library and threatened to terminate Project activities altogether. In
response to nationalistic war efforts the Library began "cooperating directly with the
Government of the United States in its definite effort to establish and cement cultural relations
between this country and the South and Central American Republics."69 Fleisher "personally
commissioned Nicolas Slonimsky, the well-known conductor, musicologist and author, to visit
all the countries of South America and Central America in order to interview composers and
secure their works so that they might be copied for the Fleisher Collection."70 Further, with a
monetary prize donated anonymously by Samuel S. Fels, Fleisher facilitated a Latin American
violin concerto competition.1 Ultimately, Charles Seeger, Chief of the Music Division of the
Pan American Union, and Henry Cowell, Overseas Music Editor of the Office of War
Information, employed Latin-American scores from the Collection for broadcasts and
performances focused on international relations.
Tightening governmental purse strings slowly strangled the U.S. Work Projects
Administration and the Music Copying Project at the Free Library quietly succumbed in late
February 1943. Many of the hundreds of works collected were left "lacking either a full score of
68 The Edwin A. Fleisher Music Collection in the Free Library ofPhiladelphia: A Descriptive Catalogue Volume II
(Philadelphia: The Free Library of Philadelphia, 1945), 503.
69 Arthur Cohn to Stefana Szweda, "The Philadelphia Music Copying Project and its share in National Defense," 30
December 1941, Fleisher Collection WPA Files.
70 Ibid., 502. See Nicolas Slonimsky, Music of Latin America (1 ic' York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1945) for a full
account of Slonimsky's quest.
1 Camargo Guamieri won the $750 First Prize and a premiere of his work by the orchestra of the Teatro Municipal,
Rio de Janiero on 20 September 1942.
complete set of parts."72 Fleisher's unwavering commitment and a grant from the City of
Philadelphia funded completion of "a limited number of compositions needed for short wave
broadcasts to Latin America."73
The 1946 catalogue effectively encapsulates production during the WPA years. It records
the addition of "nearly two thousand unpublished compositions"74 since 1933, along with a
directory of 277 publishers with corresponding agents, and a special section list dedicated to 691
works left lacking either score or full set of parts "a direct result of the present World War."75
Arthur Bronson, in the American Mercury, placed the Collection's value at this point at six
million dollars with overvr a thousand works, by 350 carefully selected contemporary
After the War
Arthur Cohn embodied Fleisher's ideal curator and set the caste for those to come. Cohn's
annual unpaid leaves to artists' colonies such as MacDowell and Yaddo kept the Library abreast
with the most contemporary composers and fostered ongoing relationships with the most
important figures leading twentieth-century symphonic music. Fleisher continued contributing
"about $6,000 annually for the maintenance of the Collection and the purchase of new items."
In addition, he personally paid the salaries for two copyists to continue processing new works
and the ever-growing backlog of incomplete performance materials. Fleisher's clear intent for
72 The Edwin A. Fleisher Music Collection in the Free Library ofPhiladelphia: A Descriptive Catalogue Volume II,
73 Ibid., 502.
74 Ibid., 501.
75 Ibid., 967. The list includes seven titles by Cowell.
76 Bronson, 445.
77 Alan Montgomery to Gordon A. Block, 27 January 1959, Fleisher Collection Archives.
the care of his magnum opus came through in meetings with Library directors where he outlined
his expectation that future Curators must strive "to make additions to and maintain the Edwin A.
Fleisher Collection that it will continue to be as it now is the most important collection of
orchestral music in existence."78 To that end, Fleisher turned to postwar Europe, and on 17
February 1949, the FLP Board of Trustees resolved to:
[A]ccept with pleasure Mr. Fleisher's very generous offer of Ten Thousand Dollars
($10,000) to send Nicolas Slonimsky, a trained musicologist, and Arthur Cohn, Head of
the Library's Music Department, to Europe, in order to secure material for the Edwin A.
Fleisher Music Collection; the understanding being that all expenses will be provided by
The Free Library's expense will be limited to the salary paid to Mr. Cohn during his
absence, and to the purchase, up to the sum of Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000) of such
items as he may select for the Music Department.79
The ten-week, seventeen-country tour netted an additional 1,530 works which included
compositions by dozens of composers ranging from renowned legends to the obscure. The
Collection added works by living composers such as Alois Haba, Luigi Dallapiccola, Geofreddo
Petrassi, Knudage Riisager, Svend Erick Tarp, Fleming Weis, Lars-Erik Larsson, Moses
Pergament, Ture Rangstrom, Hilding Rosenberg, Marius Flothius, Guillaume Landre, Bertus van
Lier and members of Maurice Ohana's anti-serialist Groupe Zodiaque.80 In his initial report to
the Library, Cohn indicated:
[O]ptions have been placed on the photographing or microfilming, etc. of 821 works from
the French National Radio, the Belgium National Library, the Brussels Conservatory, the
Belgium National National Radio and the Music Division of UNESCO [United Nations
8 Edwin A. Fleisher to the Directors of the Free Library of Philadelphia, 15 November 1946, Fleisher Collection
79 Board of Trustees Resolution, 17 February 1949, Fleisher Collection Archives.
80 Other members of the Groupe Zodiaque included Alain Berat, P. de la Forest Divonne and Stanislas
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization] Society of Finnish Composers, the
Library of the Musikfreunde of Vienna and the Archives of Swiss Composers.81
With letters of introduction from the Library and the State Department, Cohn and
Slonimsky ventured from Grecian islands to Scandinavian countries and even managed a day trip
to the Russian zone in Berlin where Cohn is rumored to have secretly smuggled out a handful of
scores. Treasures emerged from throughout Europe. For instance, in Milan the dynamic duo
discovered one of Giacomo Puccini's two early orchestral works, the Capriccio sinfonico for
piano orchestra. Their excursion held innumerable adventures:
Practically the entire trek was made by plane and its adventures ranged from the thrill of
finding a perfect reproduction of the score of Lucia di Lammermoor in Donizetti's hand at
three o'clock one morning in the cellar of a book shop next to a noisy night club in Milan,
to blacking out in a little crate of a plane flying high over the Alps because the pilot, a
countryman of Donizetti, had forgotten to bring along a supply of oxygen.82
Just as Fleisher found Arthur Cohn's energy a breathe of fresh air, he perceived the grip of
Library administrators as suffocating. Shortly after returning from Europe, Cohn departed again
on the continuous quest for new symphonic music this time to the MacDowell Colony. In
Cohn's absence, Franklin Price stowed away the crates of music arriving from Europe in "a
locked rare book room on the third floor of the Library"83 where they were to remain untouched
and unprocessed until Cohn's return in October. The idea of waiting for the Head of the Music
Department to open packages and check parts "clerical work which any school boy can do"84
vexed Fleisher greatly. Fleisher justly complained as both an astute business man and a feeling
81 Arthur Cohn to Franklin H. Price, 8 July 1949, Fleisher Collection Archives.
82 Edwin H. Schloss, "Rich Cargo of Manuscripts is Bought by Phila. Pair," The Philadelphia Inquirer, 14 August
1949. Clipping in the Fleisher Collection Archives.
83 Franklin H. Price, confidential statement, 16 September 1949, Fleisher Collection Archives.
84 Edwin A. Fleisher, confidential statement, 16 September 1949, Fleisher Collection Archives.
[T]he holding if music in its original packages, unopened for three or four months without
examination, is most unfair to me who has paid for it out of my personal funds, and is not
proper business procedure ... no publisher, manufacturer or business man will entertain
claims three or four months after shipment has been made.85
I have at no time had in my possession a complete or up-to-date list what the collection
contains. I am now in the position of being able to give in no way information as to what is
or is not in the collection and, as the donor, I feel that this is inconsiderate of those who
have this matter in charge ... it is self-evident that the Collection is not being given the
attention it deserves nor is the donor being given proper consideration.86
Fleisher demanded the two copyists, whose salaries he paid, take on the task of processing
the shipments immediately. Price refused the accommodation. Within days of his return to
Philadelphia in early October, Cohn would negotiate a peace. It was clear to all, most painfully
to Fleisher, that the Collection was now firmly in the hands of the Library. Fleisher had to begin
letting go of his life's work. In 1955, Fleisher conveyed the Symphony Club and its Pine Street
property to the Philadelphia Board of Education who placed it under the direction of the School
Extension Division as part of the adult music education center.
Approaching eighty and suffering declining health, Fleisher focused on his formidable
Collection's transcendence in the face of his own transience.87 In the second and final codicil to
his last will and testament, Fleisher placed his faith in curators to come:
It is my intention that the Collection retain its present [sic] name and be kept in its
entirety in the main building at Logan Square ... In order to continue and increase the
usefulness of the Collection, I am providing funds that the Collection may be maintained
and additional compositions acquired which in the opinion of the Curator are important;
but more especially for the acquisition of compositions, scores or parts, or both, which are
8 Edwin's co-habitant siblings, Helen and Samuel, had passed on in 1931 and 1944, respectively. After Samuel's
death, Edwin retreated from the Green Street estate to an apartment at 1530 Locust Street, Philadelphia. No archival
information has been retained by subsequent owners of the property of the Locust Street property now known as the
not obtainable elsewhere in the United States The Curator is to be the sole judge of the
importance of such additions.88
Recognizing that "much of his great contribution to music has been performed so quietly
that only the recipients of his aid know about it,"89 the American Federation of Musicians offered
Fleisher their "gratitude and affectionate esteem ... [for] his untiring efforts in behalf of
orchestral music."90 Philadelphians honored the fragile octogenarian in a special meeting at his
Locust Street apartment on October 30, 1958 (See Table 2-2). A testimonial decree presented by
school officials declared:
The School District of Philadelphia and the Board of Public Education honors Edwin A.
Fleisher on the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Symphony Club for bringing fine music to the
citizens of Philadelphia, helping in the development of outstanding amateur and
professional musicians, enriching the cultural life of Philadelphia and for a distinguished
record of contributions to music education through long and devoted service.91
Fleisher's long and devoted service came to an end on January 9, 1959 when he quietly
died at home.92 To the very end he remained "a musical philanthropist of the first order"93 and
"made his last purchase on the day he died."94 Free Library Director Emerson Greenaway
recalled the dignified memorial:
The funeral services were most impressive in their quiet simplicity and Rabbi [Bertram
Wallace] Korn was simply magnificent in his tribute. The idea of having music form an
88 Edwin A. Fleisher, Second Codicil to Last Will and Testament, 20 July 1955, Fleisher Collection Archives.
89 Theodore A. Seder, Philadelphia, to Stanley Ballard, 3 April 1958, Fleisher Collection Archives.
90 Charles Musumeni, "Engrossed Testimonial to Edwin A. Fleisher," 2 June 1958, Fleisher Collection Archives.
91 Quoted in "E. A. Fleisher Honored," School News and Views, 14 November 1958.
92 Fleisher provided a $100,000 fund for the Collection's future.
93 "The Philadelphia Amateur Orchestra Club," 792.
94 "Edwin A. Fleisher Dies at 81; Donor of Music Collection," Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, 11 January 1959,
newspaper clipping in the Fleisher Collection Archives.
important pert of the service has led me to propose that a memorial concert be presented at
the Free Library.95
An unnamed string orchestra under the baton of William R. Smith, Assistant Conductor of
the Philadelphia Orchestra, performed six selections from the Fleisher Collection on February 4,
1959 for family members and close friends of Edwin. The program included Bach's Come, Sweet
Death, arranged by Henri Elkan, and Elegy for Strings, Op. 58 by Edward Elgar. Edwin's
nephew, Stuart Louchheim, thanked Greenaway for "one of the loveliest tributes that could have
been given ... Knowing Uncle Ed as I did, nothing would have touched him or pleased him more
in every detail."96
Table 2-2. Honors and awards bestowed on Edwin Adler Fleisher.97
1934 Fourth Jewish Award of the Alumni of Temple Keneseth Israel
1941 Philadelphia Musical Academy Honorary Doctor of Music
1942 National Association for American Composers and Conductors Award of Merit
1949 Philadelphia Art Alliance Distinguished Achievement Award
1958 Award for Outstanding Contributions to Music from American Federation of Musicians
1958 Philadelphia Board of Education/Philadelphia School District Award
Fleisher's final contribution to the Collection came posthumously. Venancio G. Flores, one of
Edwin's privately funded copyists, had commenced work on a new score in December 1958.
Upon approval from estate managers, Flores completed work on his copying assignment and on
30 March 1959 submitted a work that "has a certain symbolism in its title: Liszt's From the
Cradle to the Grave."98 In his lifetime, Edwin Adler Fleisher left a legacy unmatched in 20th
century history. His contribution to the world carries incalculable consequence, and he easily
95 Emerson Greenaway to Stuart Louchheim, 20 January 1959, Fleisher Collection Archives.
96 Stuart F. Louchheim to Emerson Greenaway, 6 February 1959, Fleisher Collection Archives.
97 Original plaques and framed documents reside in the Fleisher Collection Archives.
98 Theodore A. Seder to Thomas V. Zug, 30 March 1959, Fleisher Collection Archives.
stands as the greatest American musical philanthropist a destiny fostered from his cradle to his
The Legacy Lives
A steady flow of scores have continued pouring into the Fleisher Collection. A small
aggregate of copyists produced tens of thousands of sheets from microfilm, original scores and
various copy media over the years, even as staffing cuts added to the backlog of scores and parts
to be completed from the WPA years. Circulation continued to increase and broaden as
performance organizations increasingly turned to the Philadelphia institution for works lost in the
wars, abandoned by failing publishers, or otherwise unavailable. Supplementary lists of
compositions added during the periods 1945-1955 and 1945-1966 complemented the original
1933 catalogue and the 1945 supplement to document the continued growth of the Collection.
During the 1950s, Curator Theodore A. Seder began documenting circulation statistics for
performance materials, acquisitions, copy production and seminal projects to expand the Fleisher
Collection. Dozens of historically significant undertakings in the 1950s included the following
seven American music acquisition endeavors:
Philadelphia Orchestra Project. During 1956[,] 108 works from the orchestra's storage
library were transferred to the Collection. These are being added to the catalog as quickly
as they can be brought up to the instrumentation requirements of duplicate string parts.
Modarelli Project. The works of the late Antonio Modarelli, conductor, composer, and one
of the founders of the American Symphony Orchestra League, are being added to The
Collection in cooperation with the League in the establishment of a Modarelli Memorial.
Moravian Music Project. Work was begun on the completion of scores and parts from the
holdings of the Moravian Archives. Many of the works of this project are by composers
who are unknown at the present, while other compositions are unknown works by known
writers. It is proposed to perform six of these works at the biennial Early American
Moravian Music Festival in June 1957 under the leadership of Thor Johnson, conductor of
the Cincinnati Symphony.
Americana Project. Work is continuing with the addition of the music of the American
composers of the period between 1850 and 1900.
Latin American Project. The Collection continues its activities in this field, maintaining its
leadership as the largest repository in North America of music from this region.
Eastman School of Music Project. Works of talented young composers are added each
year. Introduction to these young men and their music is made possible through attendance
at the annual Festival of American Music held in Rochester each May.
Charles Ives' Fourth Symphony. The final movement of this work was transcribed by the
curator in 1958 and has just been reviewed by the composer, Henry Cowell, a close friend
of Mr. Ives. After final editing, the parts will be extracted at the Fleisher collection. The
remaining three movements will be re-edited and the entire work will be published in a
prestige edition by Associated Music Publishers. The symphony is considered to be of
such significance that the Contemporary Music Society paid the curator one thousand
dollars, which he set up as an endowment fund for the Collection.99
Annual reports over the next few decades continued to paint a portrait of the perpetual
struggles to meet increasing demands while maintaining a grasp on managing the growing and
aging Collection. Frustrations generated by an administrative steeplechase for adequate facilities
and personnel with dwindling resources became a norm. In 1966, Seder reported:
The continuous, overpowering growth in professional services practically stifled the non-
public activities of the staff of the Fleisher Collection in 1966. The pressure of trying to
stay afloat of the flood of circulation made it impossible to investigate musical activities
away from Philadelphia, thus cutting down on the nature of the acquisitions made. This
inundation caused a decline in the number of acquisitions and in the continuance of the
various projects which had formed a part of the Collections's activities for several years.
The replacement of materials now being worn out by the constant erosion of circulation
requires a large share of the annual music budget.100
Over a dozen years later, Curator Sam Dennison reported that, "[a]s anticipated in earlier
annual reports, staff shortages have caused serious problems in our effort to realize the full
potential of Fleisher Collection; day-to-day operations are hampered in meeting deadlines for
orchestral performances, rehearsal dates, and providing scores for research." Despite the
challenges, the Collection mounted remarkable accomplishments and sustained a rigorous
99 Information derived from the Fleisher Collection 1956 Annual Report, 28 January 1957, Fleisher Collection
Archives and the Fleisher Collection 1958 Annual Report, 29 January 1959, Fleisher Collection Archives.
100 Theodore A. Seder, "Annual Report 1966," 5 January 1957, Fleisher Collection Archives.
agenda with invaluable worldwide activities and contributions. A Ford Foundation Grant, for
example, funded a five-year project to publish a cumulative catalogue in 1979 the first
comprehensive assessment of the Collection since 1945. Once again, the Library's publication
represented the most comprehensive catalogue of symphonic music to date. Dennison noted the
electric energy that runs through the Collection in an assessment that holds true to this day:
A discernable vigor and optimism pervades every facet of our operation and morale seems
high. If our staffing problems could be at least partially solved, the future would look
Table 2-3. Fleisher Collection Curators.
1934 -1951102 Arthur Cohn
1952 1967 Theodore A. Seder
1968 1974 Harry Kownatsky
1975 1988 Sam Dennison
1988 1992 Frederic James Kent
1993 present Kile Smith
A multi-million dollar renovation project promises to add 160,000 square feet to the
Central Library building, and the Fleisher Collection faces the prospect of moving to more
spacious accommodations in the original building.103 Today, Curator Kile Smith, a 26-year
veteran of the Collection, professes that staffing remains a challenge because of "cutbacks in the
City and in the Library [budgets] over which we have no control,"104 but he shares a vision of
the Collection as "a wonderful example of a public-private partnership where you have a
philanthropist who's focused on a certain aspect of civilization, brings it to an institution like the
Free Library of Philadelphia, and they combine to create this wonderful thing." Proclaimed "The
101 "The 1978-79 Annual Report," Fleisher Collection Archives.
102 Cohn served as defacto curator for the Collection from his inception at the Library in 1934. In early 1943, "AC"
replaces "FHP" as reference initials on the bottom of letters signed by Price and suggest Cohn likely authored these
and other official correspondences for the Collection.
103 The Central Library Project, designed by architect Moshe Safdie, has yet to break ground.
104 Authors interview Kile Smith, 23 December 2005.
World's Greatest Music Library"105 and "The World's Most Remarkable Collection of
Orchestral Music,"106 the Fleisher Collection's value cannot be overestimated:
It is not an ordinary depository, but a living collection in constant use. Future generations
of critics and historians will be able to trace the development of most orchestral music to
its source through this gigantic collection.107
105 Arthur Bronson, "The World's Greatest Music Library," American Mercury 62 (1946), 444-447.
106 "The World's Most Remarkable Collection of Orchestral Music," Etude 67 (April 1949), 219-220.
107 Ibid., 219.
DIGITIZING THE COWELL FILES
Why Digital Preservation?
Worldwide trends in computer technology have spawned digital preservation initiatives
globally. National programs in Australia, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, for
example, have been established to address issues surrounding preservation and presentation of
digital information. In 1990, the United States Library of Congress (LOC) began digitizing
archival American history documents as part of their American Memory Project and concluded
"there was ample evidence that many people wanted these materials and they wanted more of
them."1 Originally a CD-ROM project, American Memory now resides on the worldwide web
and offers direct access to more than 7.5 million items from the LOC collections and
repositories.2 Recognizing a need to "Develop a national strategy to collect, archive and preserve
the burgeoning amounts of digital content for current and future generations,"3 the U.S.
Congress passed Public Law 104-53 in 1996 and Public Law 106-554 in 2000 to create the
National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) under the
auspices of the LOC. In 1995, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded the birth of JSTOR, an
internationally renowned online service dedicated "to create and maintain a trusted archive of
important scholarly journals, and ... to offer researchers the ability to retrieve high-resolution,
scanned images of journal issues and pages as they were originally designed, printed, and
illustrated."4 Subscribers have access to hundreds of multidisciplinary and discipline-specific
1 "About the Digital Preservation Program," Library of Congress (Accessed 5 January 2007)
4 "Welcome to JSTOR," JSTOR (Accessed 15 January 2007) http://www.jstor.org/about/desc.html.
journals, including 32 titles dedicated exclusively to the field of music. International in scope,
JSTOR "includes journals published in the Netherlands, Croatia, Hungary, Germany, and
France."5 JSTOR's exemplary mission and goals6 identify four globally applicable advantages
of digital archive preservation:
* To universalize access to historically significant documents
* To assist scholarly research by complementing existing collections
* To address preservation issues such as deterioration, damage and disaster recovery
* To reduce costs
Institutional missions and goals ultimately guide the way in which digital archives will be
stored and offered to the public. For example, the LOC maintains free and unlimited access to its
capacious online collections. Conversely, JSTOR limits access primarily to institutional
participants. Fees are directly proportional to participants' institutional size and requirements.
Research and academic organizations pay an Archive Capital Fee (ACF), ranging from $200 to
$45,000, and an Annual Access Fee (AAF), which varies from about $200 to $8,500 per year.:
The ACF is a one-time-only fee designed to ensure that JSTOR has the necessary
resources to meet its archival obligation as technology evolves. The AAF helps cover the
recurring costs of updating the archive and maintaining access and support services for
Universalized access to archival content ultimately revolutionizes scholarly research by
providing ready access to primary source documents from geographically disparate sources.
Considering archives such as the Henry Cowell Collection in the New York Public Library
generally contain only incoming communications, researchers traditionally only see one-sided
conversations. With access to multiple related archives which have been digitized, scholars can
5 "Currently Available Collections and Journals," JSTOR (Accessed 15 January 2007)
6 "Mission and Goals," JSTOR (Accessed 15 January 2007) http://www.jstor.org/about/mission.html.
7 "Participation Fees for U.S. Academic or Other Research Institutions," JSTOR (Accessed 20 January 2007)
assemble complementary combinations of documents to create complete chains of
communications in "virtual collections" with significant ease.
Not only does digitization of primary sources capture the details of stationery and subtle
nuances in handwriting and marginal notes which are otherwise lost in simple transcriptions, it
also preserves documents in their present state and prevents further deterioration by minimizing
unnecessary handling. Researchers can examine and manipulate high-quality copies of
documents while the physical archives can be stored in acid-free supporting folders and
protective cases under environmentally controlled conditions. Furthermore, in the event of
floods, fires or other accidental, incidental or intentional destruction, digital archives provide a
recovery systems for valuable historic documents.
Cost benefits abound. Scholars can reduce travel cost to remote libraries and museums
appreciably with direct access to images of primary source documents and collections either
online or via electronic mail. Collection personnel benefit greatly as requests for archival copies
may be processed more quickly. Through the use of Portable Document Format (PDF) files,
electronic mail, and online databases, archivists and librarians practically eliminate institutional
photocopying expenses and time spent retrieving physical archives. Globalization of archival
content brings increased attention to little known or neglected collections and raises
opportunities for badly needed funding and grants.
With a solid rationale for conversion of archives to a digital medium, librarians, archivists
and historians face the challenge of initiating programs. The prospect can be daunting as rapidly
changing technologies test even the most computer literate. At a base level, however, digitization
and preservation involves four fundamental stages:
* Selection of a collection
* Preparation of documents
* Digitization of materials
* Naming and cataloging files
Preserving an Archival Treasure Trove
The Fleisher Collection is more than a repository of representative works for the most
important composers in America; it is also an archive of irreplaceable correspondence which
tells of America's symphonic coming of age. Since about 1934, Collection curators have saved
programs, questionnaires, card files, administrative documents, and correspondences with
leading composers, conductors, publishers and authors. Perhaps most striking is the fact curators
saved copies of outgoing letters, along with those addressed to the Collection, to create
continuous chains of communication. The amassed assemblage of archival materials comprises
tens of thousands of documents, consumes dozens of cabinets surrounded by scores of scores,
and represents one of the broadest collections of communications covering American music in
the twentieth century. Fleisher's prediction for his juggernaut to "become increasingly valuable
as time goes on"8 easily extends to include the archival repository. Presently, no index exists for
the salubrious array of archived materials in the Fleisher Collection. As it approaches its
centennial, the Fleisher Collection warrants preservation and closer examination as an American
archival treasure trove.
The overwhelming corpus of archival papers in the Fleisher Collection is roughly divided
into two groupings: A general archive with over 250,000 documents subdivided into
administrative files and communications with composers, conductors and publishers; and a
8 "The Philadelphia Amateur Orchestra Club," 792.
focused archive of approximately 14,000 documents collectively known as the WPA Files.9
Materials in the general archives and focused on individual artists have been arranged
alphabetically while administrative files, such as annual reports, are arranged chronologically. In
each case, the general archives are housed in hanging folders. The WPA Files have been sorted
alphabetically by correspondent for the most part and cover a period from 1934 to as late as 1947
- despite the program's demise in 1943.10 WPA Files overlap communications in the general
archives from around 1940 to 1947.
Selection of a Collection
For the purposes of this study, I have centered my attention on archival material directly
related to Henry Cowell, "champion of new music, impresario, performer, lecturer, critic, editor,
teacher, and sponsor of the young.""1 In addition to fifty-five catalogued orchestral works Henry
Cowelll12 (each with a score and full set of parts) the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral
Music at the Free Library of Philadelphia has maintained files of correspondences,
questionnaires, programs, press releases, newsletters and miscellanea directly related to Cowell
and his symphonic oeuvre maintained in the Philadelphia library. I hereafter refer to these
collectively as the Cowell Files. The Cowell Files comprise nearly 500 items ranging in size
from one page to multi-page documents and divided among files scattered throughout the general
archives and the WPA Files (Figure 3-1).
9 The author has been working with the Fleisher Collection since August 2006 to digitally preserve the entirety of
the WPA Files. As of this entry, approximately 5,500 documents have been scanned and catalogued.
10 The Federal Music Copying Project officially began on 26 November 1934 as CWA-LWD Project 1176. The
Project subsequently operated under seven more identities: WPA Music Copying Project Nos. 2361, 11960, 14564,
19795, 24086, 28383 and 28908.
11 Weigsall, 484.
12 The Fleisher Collection possesses the full score and set of parts for fifty-five works and partial materials for
twenty-one non-circulating works. For a complete list see Appendix C.
Table 3-1. Distribution of documents in the Cowell Files
General Archive 363 documents
News clippings/Press releases (21)
Programs and catalogues (14)
WPA Files 98 documents
Associated Music Corporation
Boosey & Hawkes
National Symphony Orchestra
Office of War Information
TOTAL NUMBER OF DOCUMENTS
Preparation of Documents
Archival preservationists refer to the past century and a half as "the era of bad paper."13
Acidity resulting from the use of alum rosin, bleaching chemicals, inks, and transference through
direct contact with other acidic documents has reduced life expectancy of modern paper to less
than fifty years.14 With this fact in mind, urgency to preserve the singular Fleisher Collection
becomes even more pressing. An essential part of document preparation includes basic
preservation. Document preparation begins with removal of destructive paper fasteners such as
staples, paperclips and rubber bands. Although papers in the general archives reside in legal-size
hanging folders, documents in the WPA Files have been stored in file drawers unsupported,
13 Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler, Preserving Archives and Manuscripts (Chicago: The Society of American Archivists,
misaligned and exposed to incidental damage such as edge tears, cracks, and corner folds.
Consequently, many papers also required flattening prior to scanning. Once digitized, general
archive documents were returned to their original hanging folders in ascending chronological
order. WPA Files, on the other hand, required placement in protective folders before they were
returned to their original file cabinets.
To reduce impact on Library resources, I established an independent and portable work
station for scanning and digitizing files. Hardware included a 17" Macintosh PowerBook G4
laptop with a 1.5 GHz processor and a portable Canon CanoScan LiDE 60 flatbed scanner with
an 8" x 14" scan area. Documents were scanned at a resolution of 300 dpi, processed through
optical character recognition (OCR) software, and saved as PDF files. Items larger than 8" x 14"
Figure 3-1. The WPA Files. One of three drawers devoted to over 14,000 archival
correspondences related to the WPA Music Copying Project. Photo by G. Galvan.
were scanned into Adobe Photoshop, merged to create single complete files and saved as PDF
files. The rationale for the particulars of scanning and formatting follows.
Created and controlled by Adobe Systems Inc., the Portable Document Format has become
"the global standard for trusted distribution and viewing of information."15 Adobe distributes its
Reader program on the worldwide web free of charge to "view, print, search, sign, verify, and
collaborate on PDF documents, online as well as offline."16 To create PDFs from a scanner,
however, one needs commercially available software such as Adobe Acrobat Standard 7.0. Since
University Microfilms and JSTOR, in general, and the University of Florida, in particular,
manage distribution of documents and dissertations as PDF files, the Adobe format became a
OCR software facilitates text recognition at resolutions of 300 dpi or greater. Higher
resolutions may improve OCR slightly but they also create significantly larger files. Increasing
resolution to 600 dpi, for example, doubles file sizes. Because a significant portion of the Cowell
Files consists of carbon copies and handwritten documents, a substantial number of documents
defied text recognition regardless of resolution. Without significant benefits from higher
resolutions, a 300 dpi standard provided accurate reproduction of document details while
maintaining easily manageable file sizes. Color scanning also greatly increases file sizes and was
reserved for multi-colored documents. Grayscale scanning served practical preservation needs
for simple typewritten or handwritten documents. With file standards established, physical
scanning ensued. The process required each individual sheet be placed on the scanner, previewed
in the scanning software, cropped and scanned. Documents comprising multiple pages were also
15 "About Reader," Adobe Systems, Inc., (Accessed 21 January 2007) ,lllp i. d I.,~.. 'm/products/reader/.
scanned one sheet at a time and in their respective cases, saved as complete PDF files. Oversized
documents (larger than 8 1/2" x 14") were scanned in segments and assembled in Adobe
Photoshop. Resultant files were saved as PDFs.
Naming and Cataloging Files
Although the four stages of fundamental preservation generally take place concurrently,
preliminary work mandated establishment of logical consistent naming conventions. A practical
system should not only briefly clarify file contents but also establish a sensible practice for
project expansion. With this caveat in mind, file names for correspondences reflect the year (all
four digits), month, date, sender and recipient in that order. For example, a letter from Fleisher
curator Franklin H. Price to Fritz Mahler dated 10 January 1941 carries the file name
1941 01 10 Price-Mahler.pdf Underscores have been used in lieu of spaces to ensure ease of
use online and in both Macintosh and PC environments.17 Double dashes replace numbers when
the specific date is unknown. For example, the Cowell Files contain an undated letter from
Vladimir Ussachevsky, electronic composer and chairman of New Music Edition, to Harry
Kownatsky, Acting Curator of the Fleisher Collection. Based on Kownatsky's apparent reply,
dated May 21, 1953, Ussachevsky's letter dates from the same month and year.18 With a specific
date lacking, the file bears the name 1953 05 -- Ussachevsky-Kownatsky.pdf In the case of
correspondences, this naming convention inherently organizes the PDF files in chronological
order and facilitates searches by date, author and/or recipient. For example, while a search field
of"Cowell" will produce any document to or from the composer, a search field of"-Cowell"
will reveal only documents addressed to Henry Cowell.
17 Spaces in file names are generally replaced by the combination, %20, when files are placed online.
18 Remarkably, letters in the Collection frequently arrived the day after they were written as evidenced by stamped
receipt dates and dated replies.
Concert programs and newspaper articles permitted a similar titular scheme. A program for
the May 25, 1933 concert of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra conducted by John J. Becker carries
the title, 1933 05 25 Program Polyphonica L458. In this case, the title identifies the document
as a program and presents the name of the featured Cowell composition along with its
Lichtenwanger catalog number. Indeed, except for correspondence, wherever a particular work
by Cowell is identified, the title appears in the file names. Where months and days are
unimportant, file names have been simplified and contain no compensatory dashes. For instance,
an article from the monthly Stereo Review is named 1974 12 Stereo Review.pdf and the
Associated Music Publisher works list for 1945 bears the name 1945 AMIP Brochure.pdf Once
again, the naming convention ensures a chronological list of documents and eases searches for
specific works or publications.
Each questionnaire file bears the name of the composition, the Lichtenwanger catalog
number, parenthetical year of composition and the year the questionnaire was completed (i.e.
American Melting Pot L594 (1940) 1940.pdf). Some title discrepancies exist, and in these
cases, I compared the various Fleisher Collection catalogs and lists, the Lichtenwanger catalog
entries, and relevant archival documents from the Cowell Files before settling on the most
correct choice. For instance, Little Concertofor Piano and Band L620a appears as such in the
Lichtenwanger catalog. The 1977 cumulative Fleisher catalog, however, documents the work as
Concerto Piccolo. In his letters, Cowell used both titles. As the latter name might falsely
suggests this work is a piccolo concerto, it exists in the virtual Cowell Files as
Little Concerto L620a.pdf The dates and Lichtenwanger numbers ensure accuracy for cross
Observations and Considerations
An efficient physical filing system must address not only space and environmental issues
but also maintain a consistent and logical methodology over decades, through personnel changes
and in the face of funding caps. In retrospect, any system carries imperfections, however trivial.
Filing practices in the Fleisher Collection have naturally changed through the years and
presented considerable challenges. For example, where does one file a letter to the Associated
Music Corporation which refers to Charles Ives's Fourth Symphony and its preparation with
Henry Cowell for an intended performance under Leopold Stokowski versus Leonard Bernstein?
The question becomes even more complex when famed conductors requested works from
multiple active composers or continued a line of communication after having changed orchestras.
Indeed, general archives devoted exclusively to Henry Cowell contained 336 items divided
among four folders titled as follows: "1943-1969," "1970-1990," "1991-present" and
"Questionnaires." The files marked with years contain items sorted, of course, by date. Primarily
correspondence, the dated files also contain various press releases and newspaper articles,
brochures from Associated Music Publishers and Broadcast Music, Inc., and programs for
performances which featured compositions by Cowell. Forty questionnaires, dated between 1940
and 1976, provided specific information regarding dedications, premieres, instrumentation and
compositional dates of compositions in the Collection. Curators employed questionnaires to
update information on works listed in the Fleisher Collection catalogs and lists published
between 1945 and 1977. An additional fifty-seven documents were grouped together in the
section of the WPA Files devoted to Cowell. However, general archive folders dedicated to
Charles Ives and Nicolas Slonimsky contained an additional twenty-one correspondences and
five programs relevant to Cowell, and an additional forty-one documents laid scattered among
seven folders in the titanic compilation of WPA Files. While the majority relate to acquisition of
Cowell's works under the WPA Music Copying Project, others were generated in his official
capacity in the Office of War Information. Moreover, the WPA Files concerning Cowell date
from June 1935 to March 1947. As a result, overlapping chronological contents created
complicated discontinuities in the physical files a problem eliminated in the virtual Cowell
Electronic files generated in this project have been organized on CD-ROM into five
categories: Correspondences; News clippings and press releases; Programs and catalogs;
Questionnaires; and Miscellaneous. PDFs created from the WPA Files have been included with
general archival documents and divided among the relevant categories to create one virtual
archive. Appendix A contains a complete list of the Cowell Files with annotations and presents
them chronologically within each of their respective categories. The table contains file names in
the left column with the ".pdf' tag omitted. The right column contains descriptions of and quotes
from the specific documents. When a particular composition has been identified in the document,
its full title appears in bold type complete with its corresponding Lichtenwanger catalog number.
Ultimately, this document represents a searchable database of correspondence and other items in
the Cowell Files.
With the Cowell Files collectively assembled as a virtual archive and named as indicated
the compilation of materials appears in chronological order within four of the five categories.19
In their entirety, the Cowell Files consume 587 MB of memory and conveniently fit on one
standard CD-ROM. Should further research uncover additional documents in the Fleisher
Collection related to Cowell, individual items may be scanned and added to the digital archive
with relative ease. For instance, during the course of my research, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
19 A single undated item in the "Miscellaneous" folder stands as the sole exception to this rule.
Librarian James Kortz provided a scanned copy of a 1974 program in which conductor Dennis
Russell Davies, in his second season with the SPCO, reproduced their complete May 25, 1933
program20 of the modernist American Five John J. Becker, Henry Cowell, Charles Ives,
Wallingford Riegger and Carl Ruggles in an "Ultra-Modern American Concert, at the biennial
convention of the National Federation of Music Clubs." The added file21 has subsequently been
included rather simply into the virtual Cowell Files.
20 1933 05 25 Program PolyphonicaL458.pdf The 1933 performance represented the one and only concert of
the performance organization prior to its officially recognized formation under Leopold Sipe in 1959.
21 1974_06 22 ProgramPolyphonica L- ',if
DISCUSSIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
Fleisher and the Future
International trends in archival digitization provide a unique opportunity for the modern
musicologist to form partnerships with archival collections and take leadership roles in
preserving valuable primary source documents. Preservation represents one of the underlying
responsibilities of archival repositories. Certainly, the Free Library of Philadelphia addresses this
concept in its missions and goals:
The mission of the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation is to develop resources in
order to expand, enhance and support the services, collections, building programs and
other activities of the Free Library of Philadelphia. Through its Board of Directors, the
Foundation will seek those resources from individuals, corporations, foundations, and
other organizations. Additionally, the Foundation will provide faithful stewardship of the
resources and special collections which it owns, and of the funds which the foundation
raises or which have been entrusted to it. The Foundation will also ensure efficient and
appropriate expenditure of funds in keeping with the goals and mission of the Free Library,
as well as the expressed wishes of donors. Finally, the Foundation will, from time to time,
manage and administer those programs whose funding is raised through the Foundation, in
concert with the Board of Trustees of The Free Library.1
Digital preservation and assembly of the virtual Cowell Files in cooperation with the
Fleisher Collection epitomizes this aspiration and provides a vantage point from which the
necessity for further action becomes evident. These obligations include provisions for proper
storage and research facilities within the Collection, full cooperation with the Fleisher Collection
Curator to identify and aggressively pursue goals consistent with Edwin Fleisher's expressed
wishes, and active pursuit of sufficient funds and adequate personnel to accomplish these aims.
The digital archives created in this study have been stored on CD-ROM and included with
this dissertation, but opportunities for online availability must be explored as the Collection's
S"FLP Our Role in the Community," The Free Library of Philadelphia (Accessed 8 February 2007)
virtual archives grow. Access to PDF files through the Library website would necessitate an
expandable infrastructure of hard drives with support personnel and might reasonably justify
establishment of a subscription service similar to the JSTOR arrangement. Independent of this,
the actual physical archives still need to be properly stored in acid-free supportive folders and
protective archival quality boxes. Resultant shelving requirements create space issues which
must be addressed prior to the forthcoming relocation of the Collection. Further, the study of
scores and archival materials would be greatly enhanced by a dedicated research area with ample
desk space (Figure 4-1). In fact, the Collection's role as a research facility demands such
Edwin Fleisher's dedication to modern composers shone during the WPA era.
Unfortunately, over the years visions of that dream have dimmed. "We still accept new music
and we love that part of what we do," reports Curator Kile Smith, but "we have run out of shelf
space." As a result, the Collection generally limits new acquisitions to works which have been
performed or for which there is an impending premiere. In the case of upcoming performances,
the Collection is often pivotal in creating and providing performance materials for these
premieres. Once again, the Collection's move offers a chance to resurrect the Fleisher
Collection's active participation in modem and groundbreaking orchestral music.
The question of funding remains inescapable and paramount to carrying out these goals.
The singular role that the Fleisher Collection has played in America's orchestral coming of age
and its position as one of the most significantly intriguing archives focused on the development
of twentieth century music positions it as a prime candidate for grants from the National
Endowment for the Humanities, Library of Congress, Rockefeller Foundation and other similar
organizations. With the approach of the Symphony Club's centennial and the seventy-fifth
Anniversary of the Federal Music Copying Project in 2009, the need to support and promote the
Fleisher Collection becomes particularly pressing, and an opportunity to coordinate conferences
and exhibits at the Library centered on this unique Collection presents itself.
On 12 June 1935, under the auspices of Civil Works Administration-Local Works Division
Project 1176, Free Library of Philadelphia head librarian Franklin Price wrote to Henry Cowell:
As one of the leading contemporary American Composers, The Free Library of
Philadelphia is very anxious to have your works represented in its Collection of orchestral
I am sending to you ... a copy of The Edwin A. Fleisher Music Collection,2 from which
you will see that the world's outstanding collection of orchestral music is now owned by
this Library while the Collection is exhaustive as regards the classics and much of the
old world music, unfortunately it is lacking in many of the works of prominent American
Composers, because, as you know, most of the American compositions are still in
The Free Library has been able to interest the Government and the State authorities in the
desirability of preserving the works of American Composers, and has secured the services
of eighteen trained music copyists .. who have been at work during the past seven or
eight weeks copying manuscript scores and making parts of unpublished works by
contemporary American Composers.3
The invitation represents a veritable form letter, as Price would write nearly identical
requests to other American composers on a weekly basis over the next five years, but Price
individualized his invitation by identifying five symphonic works for inclusion in the Collection:
* Four Continuationsfor String Orchestra L486 (1932)
* Suite for Small Orchestra L499 (1934)
* Polyphonica, for Chamber Orchestra L458 (1930)
* Vestiges for Full Orchestra L305a (1922)
* Three Irish Dances for Small Orchestra4
2 The Edwin A. Fleisher Music Collection. Philadelphia: Privately printed, 1933. Fleisher produced 700 numbered
volumes. Cowell received copy no. 683.
3 Franklin H. Price, Philadelphia, to Henry Cowell, San Francisco, 12 June 1935, Fleisher Collection Archives,
(Cowell Files: 1935 06 12 Price-C. "c, il,
4 No listing for Three Irish Dances for Small Orchestra exists in the Lichtenwanger catalogue. Cowell's Irish Suite
for String Piano and Small Orchestra L452 (1928), an orchestration of three of his early piano works, may have
On 26 June, Cowell responded to the Library's invitation favorably and offered assistance
in the Library's search for "leading American composers" by providing his own catalogue of
modern works by contemporary composers:
Thank you for your request that I send you certain of my manuscript works for copying. I
shall do so, as I obtain the scores from conductors who now have them. Some of these
scores are here, and I will send them at once. I thank you also, for sending me the catalog
of works now in the Fleisher Collection. I was struck with the fact that the New Music
Edition ... is not included in the publishing houses whose works are in the collection. I
therefore enclose a catalog, in which is to be found many well known American scores.
The Library's copyists worked swiftly, for by mid-July the score and parts for Reel L463-
la had been copied into the Fleisher Collection and returned to Cowell. Over the next year, the
Fleisher Collection added four more symphonic works by Cowell: Suitefor Small Orchestra
L499; Four Continuations L486; Vestiges L305a; and Horn Pipe L493. By the July of 1936,
Library copyists had added complete scores and parts for 118 orchestral works from various
composers under CWA-LWD Project No. 1176 and commenced work on WPA Music Copying
Project 2361, which would produce an additional 184 works for the Collection by January 1937.
Cowell's contributions, however, came to an abrupt, albeit temporary, halt on May 22, 1936
when the composer was arrested on sodomy charges in San Francisco.
Remarkably, Cowell's imprisonment at San Quentin one of the worst and most violent
prisons in the U.S. at the time did little to hamper Cowell's compositional output. After an
seemed a likely candidate; however, in December 1935, Price asks for "Hornpipe and Jig, Numbers 2 and 3, of
Three Irish Dances for Small Orchestra (No. 1, Reel, is already copied.)."4 Although Cowell wrote an unpublished
three-page piano manuscript in early 1937, entitled Back Country Set L530, which comprises three movements
named "Reel," "Jig" and "Hornpipe," the works Price desires are most likely Reel No 1 L463-1 a (1932), Horn Pipe
L493 (1933), and Slow Jig L415a (1933) all for small orchestra. Although Cowell may have linked these three
symphonic pieces on a program under the collective title Three Irish Dances, no program has come to light to
confirm this assumption.
5 Henry Cowell to Franklin H. Price, (Cowell Files: 1935_06_26_Cowell-Price).
initial drop in productivity as Cowell worked in the prison jute mill, Cowell gained employment
in directing musical activities at the prison and was soon producing over twenty works per year -
his highest annual yield since 1924. Even with an impressive career average of sixteen works per
year (see appendix B), Cowell would never again match his San Quentin numbers. At the height
of his productivity, Cowell relied mainly upon his designated representative agent, Johanna
Beyer, to get his works from the page to the stage. In May 1935, for instance, he would forward
"Blarneying Lilt," the first movement of his symphonic Old American Country Set L567, "Two
Ritournelles for Piano," the third movement of Incidental Music to Jean Cocteaus's Les Maris
de la Tour Eiffel L563 for piano and percussion, and "A Blarneying Bit," the eventual second
movement of Two-Bits L611 for flute and piano, to Beyer with the designation that, "The
Ritournellas and Bit are specially for Mr. Richard [Franco] Goldman, as he has requested them.
The Orchestra work was specially requested by [Lehman] Engel, of the Arrow Music Press."6
Henry's faith in Johanna was well-placed. As an agent, she sent several of Cowell's works
to the Fleisher Collection for copying. These included compositions completed in prison such as
his Symphony No. 2 Amiii/ "1'p L541 and Symphonic Opus 17 L547a. When the BBC sought to
perform Reel L463-la, it became apparent that the Fleisher Collection possessed the only
complete set of performance materials. Under the Library's loan conditions, composers were
required to grant permission before works could be sent to performance organizations, and Beyer
felt compelled to appeal to Arthur Cohn in case problems arose regarding timely receipt of
Cowell's permission from San Quentin:
Although I air-mailed H.C. immediately, the response is always delayed, as you know, by
all sorts of rules ... I wonder whether the Free Library [and] the Fleisher Collection could
not possibly make an exception in this unique case and accept the permission, to send
6 Henry Cowell to Johanna Beyer, 3 May 1939, Fleisher Collection Archives (Cowell Files: 1939 05 03 Cowell-
score and parts of H.C.'s Reel, from me, as agent for Henry Cowell. He gives me free hand
in all actions about his works. I am including one of the formal letters he has to write to me
whenever he sends manuscripts out... I know, that Henry Cowell is more interested in
having his works performed, than in getting royalties for these performances, he has
expressed that in his letters to me again and again. Of course, if both can be had, so much
Even as Beyer's appeal found favor with the Library, Cowell managed a letter from the
confines of prison and granted permission for the June 16th performance on the BBC. Further, he
politely explained his predicament and expressed his appreciation along with provisions for
addressing further requests for his works:
Since, owing to my present situation, it is somewhat difficult for me to send my personal
permission to you at times when an emergency loan is needed from the scores and parts of
mine which you have on hand in the Library, I authorize Miss J. M. Beyer ... or Mrs.
Olive Cowell ... to give permission for me, for you to make such loans.
Before closing, please permit me to say that I appreciate very much indeed the splendid
work of the Library in having obtained so fine a collection of American manuscripts and
particularly in its interest in my own scores, a large number of which were copied by the
request of Mr. Arthur Cohn.8
On 11 September 1940, little more than two months after his early release from San
Quentin Prison,9 Cowell dated and signed completed questionnaires on 14 of his compositions
now possessed by the Collection and returned the forms to the Library (See Table 4-1). To call
the questionnaires complete, however, exaggerates Cowell's contribution. Indeed, the front page
of questionnaires for Exultationfor String Orchestra L328a and Four Continuations L486 bear
the penciled commentary, "No information obtained." While some omissions reflect
convenience, for example Cowell provides biographical data regarding his birth on only one
7 Johanna Beyer to Arthur Cohn, 23 May 1939, Fleisher Collection Archives (Cowell Files: 1939 05_23 Beyer-
Cohn. Beyer, a composer herself, had been invited to submit works to the Fleisher as of 21 October 1937.
8 Henry Cowell to Franklin H. Price, 24 March 1939, Fleisher Collection Archives (Cowell Files:
1939 05 24 Cowell-Price).
9 Cowell served nearly four years of a 15-year sentence before being paroled.
Table 4-1. Summary of information provided by Cowell on 11 September 1940.10
Composition and date
American Melting Pot L594 (1940)
Concertofor Piano and Orchestra L440 (1927)
Exultationfor String Orchestra L328a (1930)
Four Continuations L486 (1932)
Horn Pipe L493 (1933)
Old American Country Set L567 (1939)
Polyphonica L458 (1930)
Reel No 1 L463-la (1932)
Suitefor Small Orchestra L499 (1934)
Symphonic Opus 17L547a (1938)
Symphony No. 2 (Anthropos) L541 (1938)
Two Appositions L484a (1932)
Vestiges L305a (1922)
Vox Humana L576 (1939)
1 April 194018
1 Feb. 193220
questionnaire to avoid redundancy,21 others suggest a faulty memory. Three works -American
MeltingPot L594, Vestiges L305a and Vox Humana L576 had not yet been given a premiere
performance, but Cowell scrawled "don't know" for the premiere dates of five others. For the
10 Conflicting information is italicized.
1 "Edition Senart, Paris (American agency, Elkan Vogal Co., Philadelphia)"
12 Premiered in Havana, Cuba by the Havana Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Pedro Sanjuan.
3 No date is given. "Edition Adler, Berlin."
14 Premiered in Indianapolis, IN by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra conducted by Fabien Sevitzky.
15 See text for clarification on conflicting information.
16 1 ic.' Music Edition, American Music Center, 17 E. 42 St. N.Y. City"
17 "Arrow Press 17, E. 42nd St. New York, N.Y."
18 Premiered in Chicago, IL by the Illinois Symphony Orchestra conducted by Izler Solomon.
19 "Fourth movement only (Liberation)" premiered in New York City by Radio W.O.R. Symphonietta conducted by
Alfred Wallenstein and broadcasted "over station WOR and the Mutual Broadcasting System." Cowell himself
would conduct the first performance of Symphony No. 2 Anthropos L541 in its entirety at the Brooklyn Museum
with the New York Civic WPA Orchestra on 9 March 1941.
20 Premiered in Paris, France by L'Orchestre Symphonique de Paris conducted by Nicolas Slonimsky. HC indicates,
"This work was written for performance with the concert dance, for Doris Humphrey and her group.
21 For biographical clarity, Cowell indicates his desire to leave out his middle name, Dixon, by crossing it out on two
forms (American Melting Pot L594 and Exultationfor Strings L328a) and circling it and specifying "out" on two
others (Concerto for Piano and Orchestra L440 and Old American Country Set L567).
remaining six compositional premieres, Cowell provides specific dates in only two cases. For
three he specifies only the month and year, and for one he indicates only the year "1933, no
other date available."
Cowell's uncertainty forced Price to seek clarity and clear up ambiguities regarding
premieres with conductors. Copies of only a few of these letters exist in the Cowell Files, but a
cluster of four letters written in January 1940 provide a glimpse into the challenges. These
documents comprise inquiries to Fritz Mahler on the premiere of ReelNo. 1 L463-la, ("Our
records indicate that you conducted this first performance at a Radio broadcast in Denmark in
1933")22, Fabien Sevitzky on the premiere of Old American Country Set L567 ("which,
according to our records, was performed for the first time in March 1940 ... by the Indianapolis
Orchestra, conducted by yourself, over the Columbia Broadcast System")23, Christos Vrionides
on the premiere of Suite for Small Orchestra L499 ("Our records have it that this work was first
performed in New York City in 1934 by your Sinfonietta with yourself conducting")24, and
Horace Johnson on the premiere of Four Continuationsfor String Orchestra L486 ("According
to our records, it was performed for the first time in Brooklyn by the Knickerbocker Orchestra in
1933. The conductor was J. Edward Powers").25 Further exchanges over the next few years
provided the essential details for the 1945 supplement to the original Fleisher catalogue.
Ultimately, the supplementary catalogue captured Cowell's contribution to the Collection over
22 Franklin H. Price to Fritz Mahler, 10 January 1941, Fleisher Collection Archives (Cowell Files:
19411 010 Price-Mahler).
23 Franklin H. Price to Fabien Sevitzky, 10 January 1941, Fleisher Collection Archives (Cowell Files:
1941 01 10 Price-Sevitzky).
24 Franklin H. Price to Christos Vrionides, 10 January 1941, Fleisher Collection Archives (Cowell Files:
1941 01 10 Price-Vrionides).
25 Franklin H. Price to Horace Johnson, 14 January 1941, Fleisher Collection Archives (Cowell Files:
1941 01 14 Price-Johnson).
the preceding decade and under the WPA Music Copying Project. The Collection now housed
scores and complete sets of parts for twenty-four symphonic works by Cowell. An additional
seven works lacked parts, but had been preserved for posterity in the Library (See Table 4-2).
Table 4-2. Cowell's compositions listed in the 1945 supplementary Fleisher catalogue.
Complete performance materials
American Melting Pot L594 (1940)
American Pipers L645 (1943)
Ancient Desert Drone L597 (1940)
Concertofor Piano and Orchestra L440 (1928)
Exultationfor String Orchestra L328a (1930)
Four Continuations L486 (1932)
Four Irish Tales L605 (1940)
Horn Pipe L493 (1933)
OldAmerican Country Set L567 (1939)
Ostinato Pianissimo L505 (1934)
Pastoral and Fiddler's Delight L587 (1940)
Polyphonica L458 (1930)
Pulse L565 (1939)
ReelNo. 1 L463-la (1932)
Return L566 (1939)
Some Music L221a (1934)
Suitefor Small Orchestra L499 (1934)
Symphonic Opus 17 L547a (1938)
Symphony No. 2 Ah
Synchrony L464 (1931)
Two Appositions L484a (1932)
Vestiges L305a (1922)
Vox Humana L576 (1939)
a.k.a. Tales of Our Countryside
Listed as Al l 1in p,\
Listed as Gaelic
Works lacking sets of parts
Cat. No. Composition
U144 Atlantis L423 (1926)
U145-147 Irish Suite for String Piano and Small Orchestra L452 (1928)
U148 Jig in Four L527 (1936)
U149-152 Rhythmicanafor Rhythmicon and Orchestra L481 (1931)
U153 Slow Jig L415a (1933)
U154 Suite for Piano and String Orchestra L620 (1941)
U155-157 Symphony No. 1 L245 (1921-22) Listed as Symphony in B Minor
Cowell's connection to the Collection was not limited to self-promotion. He provided the
Library a valuable source for further acquisitions through his New Music Editions, and as a
representative for New Music granted permissions for the performance of works in the
Collection such as William Russell's Percussion Studies in Cuban Rhythms and Oscar Lorenzo
Fernandez's Batuque. As Manager for the Music Distribution Project of the New School for
Social Research, he would provide contact information for other composers such as Henry Brant,
Harold G. Davidson, Ray Green and William Russell for the Library. In 1942, as the head of the
Office of War Information's (OWI) Editorial Project for Latin American Music, and "at the
request of Mr. [Charles] Seeger of the Pan American Union,"26 Cowell sought to examine the
Central and South American scores collected by Slonimsky for performances and short wave
broadcasts. In his various roles, Cowell coordinated copying of Camargo Guanieri's prize-
winning Violin Concerto and acquisition of works such as Juan Carlos Paz's Overturefor Twelve
Solo Instruments. In addition, he personally arranged Charles Ives' Calcium Light Night for
chamber orchestra. Ultimately, he would manifest as "Ives' alter ego"27 to guide Collection
Curator Theodore A. Seder's through the knotty preparation of the final movement of Ives'
Fourth Symphony for its world premiere under the baton of Leopold Stowkowski. Seder reported
to Ralph Backlund of the Contemporary Music Society that "Mr. Cowell's knowledge and close
acquaintanceship with Mr. Ives has certainly proved of great value to us."28 Indeed, Seder
expressed to Cowell himself that "Many of the solutions you made could have been only from
26 Henry Cowell to Arthur Cohn, 10 April 1942, Fleisher Collection Archives (Cowell Files: 1942 04_10_Cowell-
27 Kurt Stone to Theodore A. Seder, 3 December 1959, Cowell Files, 1959 12 03_Stone-Seder.pdf. Twenty letters
from the Charles Ives folder and focused on the Fourth Symphony specifically mention Cowell by name and his role
as editorial consultant for the problematic fourth movement. The aforementioned document simply mentions "Ives's
alter ego," but its reference to Cowell becomes apparent in context.
28 Theodore A. Seder to Ralph Backlund, 6 February 1959, Fleisher Collection Archives (Cowell Files:
1959 02 06 Seder-Backlund).
you, out of your wealth of experience and close friendship with Mr. Ives ... Thank you so much
for your valuable help." Clearly, Henry Cowell recognized the unique opportunities the Fleisher
Collection offered composers throughout the Americas.
Cowell continued to submit his symphonic works to the Collection over the last two
decades of his life. Between 1945 and 1955 he would only add three works to the Collection,
Celtic Set L543, Ensemblefor String Quartet L380 and Shipshape Overture L617 each from a
different period of his work but in the final decade of his life, Cowell would contribute an
additional seventeen orchestral works, including nine symphonies (See table 4-3). He also
continued to draw from the Fleisher fount to advocate music from his contemporaries. In early
1949, for instance, he requested such works as When the Willow Nods and Soundpiece No. 1 by
John J. Becker to be examined for inclusion in the Festival of American Music at Columbia
University.29 As late as 1960, Helen Thompson from the American Symphony Orchestra League
would request that the scores for Unto the Hills and Three Miniatures by Antonio Modarelli be
sent to Cowell for inspection. Exchanges of materials and information continued through March
1965 when Cowell would write his final letter to the Collection.
Within a week of Henry's last letter to the Library, his wife Sidney Robertson Cowell,
herself an accomplished ethnomusicologist and Henry's co-author for the pioneering text
Charles Ives andHis Music, took up Cowell's cause and began communicating with the Fleisher
Collection on her husband's behalf. Her first letter to Collection Curator Ted Seder announced
she was "engaged in straightening out, or trying to, a batch of suites of various kinds composed
29 Henry Cowell to the Fleisher Collection, 24 January 1949, Fleisher Collection Archives (Cowell Files:
1949 01 24 C.( i .l-i 1 ).
Table 4-3. Cowell's compositions added to the Fleisher Collection between 1945 and 1966.
Cat. No. Composition
4864 Celtic Set L543 (1938) Added before 1955
264m Duo Concertante L894 (1961)
1936s Ensemblefor String Quintet L380 (1924) Added before 1955
4271 Fanfare for the Forces of Our Latin American Allies L634 (1942)
2206s Hymn and Fuguing Tune No. 5 L673a (1946)
2281s Hymn, Chorale andFuguing Tune No. 8 L713 (1947)
299m Hymn andFuguing Tune No. 10 L813 (1955)
758p Little Concerto L620a (1943) a.k.a. Concert Piccolo
5877 Ongaku L846 (1957)
6477 Rondo for Orchestra L774 (1952)
4865 Shipshape Overture L617 (1941) Added before 1955
6396 Symphony No. 4 -.\/h t Symphony L697 (1946)
6410 Symphony No. 5 L L722 (1948)
6323 Symphony No. 7 L776 (1952)
6411 Symphony No. 9 L787 (1953)
6324 Symphony No. 10 L788 (1953)
5356 Symphony No. 11 Seven Rituals of Music L790 (1953)
6654 Symphony No. 12 L830 (1955-56)
6655 Symphony No. 14 L874 (1959-60)
6657 Symphony No. 15 -Thesis L887 (1960)
by Mr. Cowell."30 Even as "Mr. Cowell's difficult convalescence takes all my time and
strength,"31 Sidney worked diligently to preserve her husband's compositional legacy and attain
some sort of grasp on his sizeable body of work. Shortly before Henry's death in December
1965, Seder sought copies of and clarity regarding several scores not yet in the Fleisher
Collection; however, Sidney's housecleaning efforts defeated Seder's attempt to acquire Big Sing
L679, Persian Set L838, Symphony No. 6 L770, Symphony No. 8 L778 and Improvisation on a
Persian Mode L652. While Sidney supplied valuable performance details, she apologized, "I am
afraid I cannot be much help to you. Thin sheets of all Mr. Cowell's scores go to the Library of
Congress, and most of the scores you request are there ... As I aim to keep nothing of the sort
30 Sidney Robertson Cowell to Theodore A. Seder, 19 March 1965, Fleisher Collection Archives (Cowell Files:
1965 03 19 SRCowell).
31 Sidney Robertson Cowell to Theodore A. Seder, 1 October 1965, Fleisher Collection Archives (Cowell Files:
1965_10 01 SRCowell-Seder).
here."32 As a living archive, however, the Fleisher Collection held distinct advantages over
repositories such as the Library of Congress and NYPL, and Sidney agreed to send compositions
to the Fleisher Collection for copying prior to submission to the Library of Congress. She would
come to appreciate the role the Collection could play in promoting Henry's works and declare,
"It is extremely valuable for a composer to have these unpublished works so easily and
Sidney remained strongly devoted to her husband's works over the last thirty years of her
life and worked tirelessly with the Fleisher Collection to preserve and promote his orchestral
music. In 1975, she encouraged the Collection to focus on "a few orchestra and chamber works
by Mr. Cowell that are unpublished but which have scores but no parts scores either in the
[New York Public Library or Library of Congress]. If you could borrow those for copying," she
surmised, "you would, I think, increase the number of pieces in good order and available for
performance or study."34 That same year, recognizing the Fleisher Collection's enduring
benefits, she granted a blanket permission for the performance and study of Cowell's extensive
oeuvre in the Library:
This will authorize the Curator of the Fleisher Collection at the Philadelphia Free Library
to allow performance or study of any compositions by Henry Cowell in their hands, at his
discretion, without fee. This permission does not, however, cover works in copyists'
manuscript which have subsequently been published ... [and] This permission applies
only in my lifetime. Under my will all rights in Henry Cowell's music are devised to the
National Institute of Arts and Letters.
32 Sidney Robertson Cowell to Theodore A. Seder, 14 October 1965, Fleisher Collection Archives (Cowell Files:
33 Sidney Robertson Cowell to Theodore A. Seder, 12 August 1969, Fleisher Collection Archives (Cowell Files:
34 Sidney Robertson Cowell to Sam Dennison, 12 May 1975, Fleisher Collection Archives (Cowell Files:
1975_05 12 SRCowell-Dennison).
Cowell remains one of the most prolific composers in American history. With nearly 1000
compositions to his credit, any assessment of his works presents considerable challenges. First,
one should reasonably expect uneven quality. Unlike his friend, Carl Ruggles, who weeded out
the weaklings to hone a handful of works, Cowell appears to have saved everything. Cowell
often recycled material in completely new compositions. For example, the first movement of the
1935 String Quartet No. 3 Mosaic L518, originally intended as the first of Four .\l/i, t Ostinati
which never materialized, would reappear as the opening movement of Symphony No. 15 -
Thesis L887 in 1960. Second, his compositional career spans nearly six decades and incorporates
several styles. Together, these factors weave a complicated web of interconnectedness in his
mass of manuscripts. Finally, as publishing companies have gone out of business and recordings
have gone out of print, certain works have disappeared from a repertory they once ruled. Thus,
formidable challenges hamper identification and assessment of his core works. The Fleisher
Collection provides the perfect launch pad for exploration and discovery of Cowell's
While his compositional reputation rests largely upon his early and comparatively brief
career as a maverick pianist/composer indeed, even Cohn had referred to Cowell as a member
of the "ultra-modern school" of composers3 Cowell's self-perception as a master of larger
forms becomes crystal clear with the publication of American Composers on American Music in
1933. The biographical entry for Cowell, who incidentally edited the text, lists twelve
representative compositions (see Table 4-4). Nine works on that list count among his first
contributions to the Fleisher Collection. In the final tally, the two orchestral works not initially
35 Arthur Cohn,"Report of Music Copying Project, Philadelphia, PA.: Work Project # 14564," Fleisher Collection
WPA Files, 30 March 1938.
sent to the Library, Sinfonietta L443 and Ensemblefor String Quintet L380, would also find a
place on the Collection's shelves. Although brief, the list provides a rational starting point for
defining Cowell's early symphonic style, a fact further confirmed by the presence of Symphonic
Opus 17 L547a. Despite having obviously penned well over 500 works, Cowell explained, "I
decided to make a special set of numbers for my orchestral works."36 The imposed opus number,
only one of two ever assigned, confirms Cowell valued a limited list of orchestral works over
others. Programs contained in the assembled electronic Cowell Files expose his early efforts to
establish an international reputation as a symphonic composer with performances ofPolyphonica
L458, Synchrony L464 and Two Appositions L484 at Pan American Association of Composers
concerts under the baton of his fellow modern music advocate and close friend Nicolas
Slonimsky. Each of these works counts among those in Cowell's list of works in American
Composers on American Music.
Table 4-4. Cowell's representational compositions in American Composers on American Music
Concertofor Piano and Orchestra L440 (1928) Edition Maurice Senart
Ensemblefor String Quintet L380 (1924) Associated Music Publishers
Exultationfor String Orchestra L328a (1930) Edition Adler
Four Continuations L486 (1932) Edition Adler
Irish Suite for String Piano and Small Orchestra L452 (1928) manuscript
Polyphonica L458 (1930) manuscript
Rhythmicana for Rhythmicon and Orchestra L481 (1931) manuscript
Sinfonietta L443 (1928) Editions Adler
Some Music L221a (1922) manuscript
Synchrony L464 (1931) Edition Adler
Tiger L463-2 (1929) for solo piano Russia State Edition
Two Appositions L484 (1932) manuscript
Only one composition on the 1933 list of representational works is for solo piano.
Remarkably, it is not his renowned Banshee L405 or even Aeolian Harp L370 today among his
most frequently recorded and better known works but a tone-cluster solo, Tiger L463-2,
36 Quoted in Lichtenwanger, 160.
published by Russian State Edition in 1929. This should not suggest Cowell completely
abandoned his maverick piano works. Indeed, he preserved several bombastic piano techniques
in his Concertofor Piano and Orchestra L440 and even orchestrated Banshee L405, Leprechaun
L448a and Fairy Bells 447a to create his three-movement Irish Suite for String Piano and
Chamber Orchestra L452. Both orchestral works, included in the 1933 list, effectively capture
Cowell's characteristic piano clubbing and count among the first Fleisher Collection acquisitions
under the Federal Music Copying Project.
Two other traits become evident in works from the list. Synchrony L464 and Polyphonica
L458, for example, bear sonic similarities to passages in contemporaneous dissonant works such
as Schoenberg's Five Pieces for Orchestra and foreshadow compositions such as George
Antheil's 1948 Serenade and Elliott Carter's 1953 Variations for Orchestra. More important is
the uncanny foreshadowing in Cowell's Rhythmicanafor Rhythmicon and Orchestra L481 from
1931. Cowell's extensive experimentation with complicated cross-rhythms led to the composer's
collaboration with the pioneering Russian scientist Leon Theremin to invent the rhythmicon, an
instrument capable of playing from one to 16 notes from an overtone series in rhythmic
proportion to their fundamental.37 For example, if the fundamental C2 sounded once every
second with depression of the first key on the rhythmicon, the fifth partial, E4, would sound five
times per second with depression of the fifth key on the rhythmicon.38 Simultaneously, one could
push the twelfth key to sound G4 twelve times per second and create an otherwise difficult to
perform 1:5:12 polyrhythm accurately and persistently. In Cowell's composition, the
polyrhythms evolve gradually and change slowly over a steady beat with little dynamic variation
7 San Francisco Symphony cosponsors an online applet at http://musicmavericks.publicradio.org/rhythmicon/
38 Specific pitches have been identified consistent with the International Acoustic Society's system.
and within the confines of a single overtone series. Cowell effectively anticipated minimalism 30
years before its appearance in the works of composers such as Philip Glass.
Unfortunately, two of Cowell's most important early orchestral works, Irish Suite for
String Piano and Chamber Orchestra L452 and Rhythmicana for Rhythmicon and Orchestra
L481, have remained mostly silent over the decades, and the Cowell Files reveal the tale of their
unwarranted neglect. Termination of the WPA Copying Project and federal reallocations of
money to the war effort left the Irish Suite for String Piano and Chamber Orchestra L452
without parts on a Fleisher Collection shelf in the early 1940s.39 Short-sighted personnel and
funding cuts imposed by Library administrators kept the work without parts and effectively mute
for years as the Fleisher Collection staff was forced to face increasing circulation demands with
diminishing resources. The challenges ultimately thwarted attempts by John Cage, David Tudor,
and Sorrel Hays to return this work to concert halls starting in the 1950s. Complications persisted
well into the 1990s as the score lacked a set of instructions for the string piano notations. Shortly
after Sidney Robertson Cowell's death in 1995, Philadelphia Music Librarian Sidney Grolnic
would declare, "It appears that the directions are irretrievably lost."40
The lack of the featured instrument itself would prevent a premiere of Rhythmicanafor
Rhythmicon and Orchestra L481 during Cowell's lifetime. The rhythmicon proved an unreliably
delicate instrument which overheated, and Theremin had manufactured only two one for
Cowell and one for Slonimsky. In 1959, Cowell acknowledged a performance was unlikely,
39 Franklin H. Price to Henry Cowell, 31 March 1944, Fleisher Collection Archives (Cowell Files:
1944 03 31 Price-C. cIl I Price states, "due to prevailing war conditions, it has been impossible to extract the
orchestral parts. We hope that sometime in the near future it might be possible to do so, and at that time add the
complete [Irish Suite] officially to our Fleisher Collection."
40 Sidney Grolnic to Chris Bur, 8 March 1995, Fleisher Collection Archives (Cowell Files: 1995 03 08 Grolnic-
Burn). In 2005, the New York performance ensemble Continuum, directed by Joel Sachs and Cheryl Seltzer,
released a recording of Irish Suite on Henry Cowell: Instrumental, Chamber and Vocal Music (Naxos 8.559192).
since the work "requires a rhythmicon and none is presently in order."41 In 1970, Stanford
Professor Leland Smith, with Sidney Cowell's blessings, realized the rhythmicon part on tape
with the use of an early computer.42 With a score and set of parts from the Fleisher Collection,
Sandor Salgo conducted the premiere with the Stanford Symphony Orchestra on March 12,
During Cowell's imprisonment, the composer's works took a turn for the tonal and set the
course for the remainder of his career. His continued use of folk elements and gift for brevity
produced attainable and appealing works such as OldAmerican Country Set L567 and Ancient
Desert Drone L597 from behind prison bars. Upon release from San Quentin, Cowell could once
again delve into the world of influences for use in his works. During his employment as editor of
Latin American Music with the OWI, for instance, Cowell absorbed the tools necessary to
answer Eugene Goossens's call for fanfares with Fanfarefor the Forces of Our Latin American
Allies L634. Signs of Cowell's success as a culturally chameleon-like composer appear in the
Fleisher Collection holdings in works such as Symphony No. 3 -Gaelic L636, Ongaku L846,
Teheran Movement L839, and Hymn and Fuguing Tune No. 10 L813. Broadcast Music Press
releases from the late 1950s focus on Cowell's dedication to the whole stylist world of music.
41 Henry Cowell to Theodore A. Seder, 19 November 1959, Fleisher Collection Archives (Cowell Files:
195_11 19 Cowell-Seder). Currently, the Smithsonian Institute owns one rhythmicon which does not work. The
fate of the other remains unknown. Some rumors report it was inadvertently discarded at Stanford while others claim
music producer Joe Meek discovered it in a New York pawn shop and whisked it away to a London recording
42 Leland Smith used a Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) Programmed Data Processor model 10 (PDP-10).
About the size of an over-under washer and dryer, the PDP-10 had less memory than a standard 3.5" floppy and cost
over $10,000. G. Schirmer maintains cassette recordings of the rhythmicon part for potential performances.
43 A recording of this performance is housed at the New York Public Library Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of
Recorded Sound. While Maestro Salgo has granted permission for the author to obtain a recording and fund transfer
of this work from tape to compact disc, repeated requests to Leland Smith have gone unanswered. The second, and
only other, performance of this work came on August 8, 1974 at Tanglewood, where Gunther Schuller conducted
the Berkshire Music Center Orchestra.
Exoticism manifests itself through the use of traditional instruments such as Persian drums and
tar (or gui), tablas, jalatarang, gongs and bowls versus quotations of actual folk tunes. As his
wife would explain, Henry endeavored to compose, for example, "in Iran what an American
would compose, not... to imitate what an Iranian would compose."44
The Fleisher Collection, in general, and the Cowell Files, in particular, provide an
unparalleled look at this key composer's efforts to establish his symphonic identity and promote
American music. The Collection archives provide valuable clues for further research into his
unexplored roles in the OWI and as sage counselor for Ted Seder's preparation of Ives's Fourth
Symphony for the stage. Digital preservation of these unique documents in a virtual collection
universalizes access to these valuable perspectives and safeguards those visions for the
musicological community in a new and revolutionary way.
44 Lichtenwanger, p. 273.
I J J
gure 4-1. Fleisher Collection study desk.
lotograph by G. Galvan.
THE HENRY COWELL FILES IN THE FLEISHER COLLECTION
Table A-1. Correspondence
1935 06 12 Price-Cowell
Franklin H. Price invites Cowell to submit orchestral works to the Fleisher Collection as
part of the CWA-LWD Music Copying Project.
"As one of the leading contemporary American Composers, The Free Library of
Philadelphia is very anxious to have your works represented in its Collection of orchestral
"I am sending to you, under separate cover, a copy of The Edwin A. Fleisher Music
Collection, from which you will see that the world's outstanding collection of orchestral
music is now owned by this Library. Inspection of the volume will indicate that while the
Collection is exhaustive as regards the classic and much of the old world music,
unfortunately it is lacking in many of the works of prominent American Composers,
because, as you know, most of the American compositions are still in manuscript and
copies are not available except on a rental basis.
"The Free Library has been able to interest the Government and the State authorities in the
desirability of preserving the works of American Composers, and has secured the services
of eighteen trained music copyists, as well as a suitable supervisory force, who have been
at work during the past seven or eight weeks copying manuscript scores and making parts
of unpublished works by contemporary American Composers.
"In view of the above, I am writing to ask if you would be willing to lend to this Library
the scores of your works which are noted at the end of this letter, with the understanding
that the Library will pay the express transportation charges both ways, and cover this
music by insurance, in whatever amount you desire, for the time that it is in our custody.
The Edwin A. Fleisher Music Collection is unique in that it contains for every work not
only the score but a complete set of parts sufficient in number for the largest symphony
orchestra to be able to perform it. The music copyists will start to work on copying your
scores immediately upon their receipt. The scores will then be returned to you and the
parts will be made from the Library's copies.
"You will note that the Fleisher Collection contains a large per-centage of works which
under ordinary circumstances can be secured only by rental. When Mr. Fleisher gave his
Collection to the Free Library of Philadelphia he imposed the condition that none of the
music was to be lent to any orchestra or organization giving performances for a paid
admission. It is for this reason that Mr. Fleisher has been able to secure from the
publishers the compositions which they ordinarily only permit to be used on a rental basis.
Mr. Fleisher's restriction insures you from loss of income should you permit the copying
of your works for this Collection.
"Naturally the Library's first interest is to secure the best works of contemporary
American Composers with an established reputation. As one of this group, the Library
would appreciate it if you would cooperate by sending your scores; and in granting the
request three results will be accomplished, as follows:
Your work will be available for reference and study by any musician or music lover who
visits this Library, including many of the world's leading conductors who use the
Collection from time to time.
If your work is on file this Collection it will insure its permanent preservation, and in case
of any accident to your original score, the Library's copy will be available here in case
you desire to consult it, have it copied or photostated.
Your music will become a part of the largest and most representative Collection of
orchestral music in the world, and will be properly catalogued and entered in the
supplementary list which Mr. Fleisher will publish at a later date. It will also be
catalogued in its proper place should Mr. Fleisher decide to reprint The Edwin A. Fleisher
"When sending the scores, will you be kind enough to supply the following information
for each work:
Date when the work was composed
Date and place of first performance
Name of the orchestra and conductor at first performance
Playing time in minutes"
Date and place of your birth
"In view of the magnitude of this Project, and the necessary planning which is involved, I
would greatly appreciate your cooperation by sending these works at your earliest
convenience in order that the actual copying may be carried on during the summer
"Yours very sincerely, F. H. Price, Librarian"
Four of the works mentioned:
Four Continuations L486 (1932)
Vestiges L305a (1922)
Polyphonica L458 (1930)
Suite for Small Orchestra L499 (1934)
Price also includes a mysterious Three Irish Dances for Small Orchestra. No listing for
this title exists in the Lichtenwanger catalogue. The closest title appears to be Irish Suite
for String Piano and Small Orchestra L452 (1928), however Price invokes the name
again in 1935 12 02 Price-Cowell and identifies the movements as 1. Reel, 2. Hornpipe
and 3. Jig. Given the dates, these are most likely Reel No. 1 L463-la (1932), Horn Pipe
L493 (1933), and Slow Jig L415a (1933).
1935 06 26 Cowell-Price Cowell responds to the invitation: "Thank you for your request that I send you certain of
my manuscript works for copying. I shall do so, as I obtain the scores from conductors
who now have them. Some of these scores are here, and I will send them at once. I thank
you also, for sending me the catalog of works now in the Fleisher collection. I was struck
with the fact that the New Music Edition ... is not included in the publishing houses
whose works [a]re in the collection. I therefore enclose a catalog, in which is to be found
many well known American scores."
1935 07 11 Price-Cowell The Library returns Reel No. 1 L463-la (1932)
1935 07 15 Vrionides-Price Handwritten letter from Christos Vrionides on letterhead for the Byzantine Vocal
"Henry Cowell has written me to send you the [Suite for Small Orchestra L499 (1934)]
which he wrote for me ... Mr. Cowell tells me you will return my copy when you are
through with it."
1935 07 17 Price-Vrionides Price acknowledges receipt of Suite for Small Orchestra L499 (1934).
1935 11 08 Price-Vrionides The Suite for Small Orchestra L499 (1934) has been "completely copied" and the score
is returned to Christos Vrionides.
1935 11 19 Price-Cowell Price returns Four Continuations L486 (1932) to Cowell at the New School of Social
Research, 66 W. 12th St., NY per the composer's request.
1935 12 02 Price-Cowell Price returns Vestiges L305a (1922) to Cowell at the New School and requests works
"We are very anxious to copy":
Polyphonica L458 (1930)
Six Casual Developments L491 (1933)
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra L440 (1927)
Price also requests "Hornpipe and Jig, Numbers 2 and 3, of Three Irish Dances for Small
Orchestra (No. 1, Reel, is already copied.)" As ReelNo. 1 L463-la (1932) has already
been copied by the Library, Horn Pipe L493 (1933), and Slow Jig L415a (1933) are
likely the two specified works.
1935 12 07 Cowell-Price Cowell acknowledges receipt of Vestiges L305a (1922) and sends Horn Pipe L493
(1933) with the qualification that, "All the other scores you mention are tied up, and I can
send them later." Cowell also requests a photostat of the Library's finished product of
Horn Pipe L493 (1933).
1935 12 11 Price-Cowell The Library acknowledges the safe receipt of Horn Pipe L493 (1933).
1936 02 24 Price-Cowell Negative Photostats of Horn Pipe L493 (1933) made. Should the Library return the score
to NY or Menlo Park?
1936 03 03 Cowell-Price On a postcard, Cowell indicates Horn Pipe L493 (1933) should be returned to his
1936 03 14 Price-Cowell The Library will return the original manuscript of Horn Pipe L493 (1933) along with
photostat copies for Cowell.
1936 03 16 Price-Cowell Price indicates Horn Pipe L493 (1933) has been sent under separate cover today.
1937 09 23 Price-Cowell Cowell still owes $11 for the photostatic copy of Horn Pipe L493 (1933).
1937 10 06 Erskine-Cowell The Library acknowledges receipt of $11 for the Horn Pipe L493 (1933) copy.
1939_05_03_Cowell-Beyer From San Quentin Prison, Cowell writes to Johanna Beyer and sends "Blarneying Lilt,"
the first movement of Old American Country Set L567 (1939), "Two Ritournelles for
Piano," the third movement of Incidental Music to Jean Cocteaus's Les Marids de la
Tour Eiffel L563 (1939) for Piano and Percussion, and "A Blarneying Bit," the eventual
second movement of Two-Bits L611 (1941) for flute and piano.
"The Ritoumellas and Bit are specially for Mr. Richard [Franco] Goldman, as he has
requested them; so would you please send him the manuscripts] ... for his consideration?
The Orchestra work was specially requested by Engel, of the Arrow Music Press.
1939 05 05 Price-Beyer The Library acknowledges receipt of Beyer's Symphonic Opus No. 3, along with Cowell's
Symphonic Opus 17 L547a (1938) and Symphony No. 2 Anthropos L541 (1938)
1939 05 17 Kearney-Cohn M. M. Kearney of New Music Edition, having been referred by Johanna Beyer, seeks
Reel No. 1 L463-la (1932) for performance on the BBC in London.
1939 05 18 Price-Kearney Price describes conditions of loan of Reel No. 1 L463-la (1932).
1939 0522 Kearney-Price Boosey & Hawkes reportedly requested Reel No. 1 L463-la (1932) for the BBC. Beyer
has contacted Cowell regarding permission.
1939 05 22 New Music-Boosey
1939 05 23 Beyer-Cohn
1939 05 24 Cowell-Price
An unsigned letter from New Music addressed to Boosey & Hawkes incates Johanna
Beyer will contact Cowell regarding permission for Reel No. 1 L463-la (1932).
Johanna Beyer announces to Arthur Cohn that, "We have just heard from London that the
performance of Henry Cowell's [Reel No. 1 L463-la (1932)] is scheduled for June 16.
"Although I air-mailed H.C. immediately, the response is always delayed, as you know,
by all sorts of rules" imposed by San Quentin Prison.
Beyer asks that the Library make an "exception in this unique case and accept permission
... from me, as agent for Henry Cowell. He gives me free hand in all actions about his
works. I am including one of the formal letters he has to write to me whenever he sends
"I know that Henry Cowell is more interested in having his works performed, than in
getting royalties for these performances, he has expressed that in his letters to me again
and again. Of course, if both can be had, so much the better!"
Cowell grants permission for BBC to perform Reel No. 1 L463-la (1932) from San
"Since, owing to my present position, it is somewhat difficult for me to send my personal
permission to you at times when am [sic] emergency loan is needed from the scores and
parts of mine which you have on hand in the Library, I authorize Miss J. M. Beyer ... or
Mrs. Olive Cowell ...to give permission for me."
"Before closing, please permit me to say that I appreciate very much indeed the splendid
work of the Library in having obtained so fine a collection of American manuscripts and
particularly in its interest in my own scores, a large number of which were copied by the
request of Mr. Arthur Cohn."
1939 05 25 Price-BBC At the request of Johanna Beyer, Cowell's agent, the Library is sending Reel No. 1 L463-
la (1932) to the BBC for performance on June 16, Price mentions New Music Edition and
Boosey & Hawkes.
1939 05 25 Price-Beyer The Library returns Beyer's Symphonic Opus No. 3, as well as Cowell's Symphony No. 2
Anthropos L541 (1938) and Symphonic Opus 17 L547a (1938).
1939 05 25 Price-Beyer 2 Price indicates the Library has sent Reel No. 1 L463-la (1932) to the BBC.
1939 06 19 Keamey-FC M. M. Kearney of the New Music Press writes regarding ReelNo. 1 L463-la (1932),
"which you were kind enough to send direct to B.B.C. in London."
Enclosures mention Johanna Beyer and Roland Farley in connection with New Music
Edition as well as Claire Reis' book, Composers in America.
1939 06 21 Beyer-Cohn Johanna Beyer requests masters of the parts for Reel No. 1 L463-la (1932) on this
1939 06 22 Price-Beyer Price reports the score and parts for Reel No. 1 L463-la (1932) were created on rag paper
for the most part. The copies were sent to the British Broadcasting Corporation and will
be reproduced upon return.
1939 07 10 Price-Becker "The Library has received today the score of [Polyphonica L458 (1930)], by Henry
Cowell, which is in very poor condition."
1939 07 18 Price-Beyer The Library acknowledges receipt of the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra L440 (1927)
and Old American Country Set L567 (1939).
1939 07 25 Price-Beyer The Library returns Old American Country Set L567 (1939).
1939 08 10 Price-Beyer The Library returns Polyphonica L458 (1930). "The score was originally received by the
Free Library from John J. Becker, of St. Paul, Minnesota."
1939 11 04 Price-Beyer Price returns Concerto for Piano and Orchestra L440 (1927), acknowledges receipt of
Vox Humana L576 (1930), Synchrony L464 (1930) and three percussion works by
1939 12 04 Price-Beyer Price acknowledges receipt of Cowell's Two Appositions L484a (1932).
1940_03_12_Cage-Cohn Cage sends 18 items related to 15 percussion works which he describes. These include
Return L566 (1939), Pulse L565 (1939), and Ostinato Pianissimo L505 (1934), as well
as works by Ardevol, Beyer, Cage, Harrison, Roldan and Russell.
1940 03 18 Price-Cage Price acknowledges receipt of 15 works including three titles by Cowell. The three works
are Return L566 (1939), Pulse L565 (1939), and Ostinato Pianissimo L505 (1934).
1940 05 23 Price-Cage Price returns 18 items to John Cage. These include three works by Cowell Return L566
(1939), Pulse L565 (1939), and Ostinato Pianissimo L505 (1934).
1940 05 27 Price-Beyer Price acknowledges receipt of American Melting Pot L594 (1940).
1940 09 16 Beyer-Price Johanna Beyer requests the return of American Melting Pot L594 (1940).
1940 09 19 Price-Beyer Price returns American Melting Pot L594 (1940).
1940 09 27 Price-Cowell Price acknowledges receipt of six works:
Irish Suite for String Piano and Small Orchestra L452 (1928)
Jig in Four L527 (1936)
Slow Jig L415a (1933)
Some Music L221a (1922)
Atlantis L423 (1926)
Symphony No. 2 Anthropos L541 (1938)
1940 10 01 Price-Beyer
Price returns Vox Humana L576 (1930) and Two Appositions L484a (1932) to Johanna
John Cage indicates to Arthur Cohn, "I recently sent the scores I had prepared for you to
Henry Cowell for consideration for publication in the New Music Editions."
"I am very busy trying to establish a center of experimental music ... This means the
immediate use of my large collection of percussion instruments (now over 150) plus the
use of Cowell's Rhythmicon, Theremin instruments, and the amplification of sounds
otherwise not loud enough for orchestral purposes."
The scores included Second Constructionfor Percussion Orchestra by John Cage, Fifth
Simfony by Lou Harrison, Canticle by Lou Harrison and Percussion Studies in Cuban
Rhythms by William Russell
1940 10 28 Price-Cowell Price acknowledges receipt of four works:
Second Constructionfor Percussion Orchestra by John Cage with directions, Fifth
Simfony by Lou Harrison with directions, Canticle by Lou Harrison and Percussion
Studies in Cuban Rhythms by William Russell
1940 10 28 Price-IMP Price acknowledges receipt of Pastoral and Fiddler's Delight L587 (1940) from
Independent Music Publishers.
1940 10 30 Price-IMP Price returns Two Appositions L484a (1932) to Independent Music Publishers.
1940 12 04 Price-Beyer Price acknowledges receipt of American Melting Pot L594 (1940) from Johanna Beyer.
1941 01 04 Beyer-Cohn Beyer's postcard indicates, "Hans Kindler is planning to perform Henry's Vox Humana
L576 (1930) and my Symphonic Movement" with the National Symphony Orchestra.
1941 01 06 Price-Beyer The Library requires a request from Hans Kindler for Vox Humana L576 (1930) and
Beyer' s Symphonic Movement.
1941 01 08 Cowell-Price Cowell provides Henry Brant's address and grants permission for Hans Kindler to
perform Vox Humana L576 (1930) with the National Symphony Orchestra.
1941 01 08 Fisk-Price Mildred Fisk requests Vox Humana L576 (1930) and Beyer's Symphonic Movement on
behalf of Hans Kindler and the National Symphony Orchestra.
1941 01 09 Price-Fisk The Library sends Vox Humana L576 (1930) and Beyer's Symphonic Movement to Hans
Kindler and the National Symphony Orchestra.
1941 01 10 Price-Mahler In preparation for the FC supplement to the catalog, Fleisher curator Franklin H. Price
solicits information from Fritz Mahler on the premiere of Reel No. 1 L463-la (1932).
"Our records indicate that you conducted this first performance at a Radio broadcast in
Denmark in 1933."