Library of Congress Adds Western Music Collection

Laura Gottesman, Reference Specialist for the Digital Reference Team of the Library of Congress, has announced a new addition to the library's Music Division: The Rosaleen Moldenhauer Memorial: Music History from Primary Sources: A Guide to the Moldenhauer Archive.

Ms. Gottesman writes:

The Library of Congress's Music Division is pleased to announce the release of a new online presentation in American Memory:

The Rosaleen Moldenhauer Memorial: Music History from Primary Sources: A Guide to the Moldenhauer Archives.

The Moldenhauer Archives at the Library of Congress contain approximately 3,500 items documenting the history of Western music from the medieval period through the modern era and are the richest composite gift of musical documents ever received by the Library. Before his death, Hans Moldenhauer (1906-1987) established a directive and provided funds for the Library of Congress to publish The Rosaleen Moldenhauer Memorial: Music History from Primary Sources: A Guide to the Moldenhauer Archives (2000). This online presentation features the full text of this guide, which contains a series of essays by musicologists discussing individual items from the Moldenhauer Archives, as well as an inventory of items held in the Library's collection and in nine other institutions worldwide. The online presentation also includes digitized versions of more than 130 primary-source documents from the collection.

Born in Mainz, Germany, in 1906, Hans Moldenhauer immigrated to the United States in 1938 to elude the rising tide of Nazi oppression. He eventually settled in Spokane, Washington, where he founded that city's Conservatory of Music in 1942. An accomplished pianist, teacher, scholar, and mountain climber, he began amassing his archives of primary sources shortly after World War II.

Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa in about 1950, Moldenhauer progressed into blindness for more than 20 years. As his eyesight deteriorated, he increasingly relied upon the assistance of his wife, Rosaleen, a former student and a musicologist in her own right, in assembling his collection.

Hans Moldenhauer procured manuscripts by composers such as Alban Berg, Johannes Brahms, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt, and Witold Lutoslawski, and obtained numerous items from the archives of Gustav Mahler, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, and Arnold Schoenberg. Moldenhauer acquired the Webern Archive in the 1960s and with his wife Rosaleen wrote the seminal biography Anton Webern, A Chronicle of His Life and Work (New York: Knopf, 1978).

Before his death, Moldenhauer sent parts of his archives to the Library of Congress and to other institutions in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the United States. In 1987, at his bequest, the balance of his archives came to the Music Division of the Library of Congress, where they remain one of the greatest collections of primary-source music materials ever assembled.

American Memory: is a gateway to rich primary-source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. The site offers more than 10 million digital items from more than 125 historical collections.

Please use the American Memory Ask A Librarian web form: or the Music Division's Ask A Librarian Web form: for any inquiries about this collection.

Laura Gottesman
Reference Specialist
Digital Reference Team
The Library of Congress