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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Mus 281

Randall Thompson papers and family papers


Personal and family papers of American composer, Randall Thompson.


  • 1903-1980

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

This collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.


29 linear feet (55 boxes)

Biographical / Historical

Randall Thompson was an American composer of three symphonies and numerous vocal works, noted for his choral work. He was a 1920 graduate of Harvard University. He became assistant professor of music and choir director at Wellesley College, received a doctorate in music from the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music, and taught at the Curtis Institute of Music (serving as its director, 1941-1942), the University of Virginia, and Harvard University.


Collection is minimally processed. Arrangement is original, and file headings are original for the mixed content of boxes 1-17.

All boxes are Hollingers unless otherwise noted; type of box is included with box number as an aid for repository staff.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

85M-62 (boxes 50-51), 85M-69 (boxes 46-49), 85M-70 (boxes 1-38, 43-45, 52-53). Gift of Randall Thompson estate, received: 1985.

90M-25 (box 54, part). Gift of C. E. Butterworth, Jr., M.D., received: 1991.

98M-29 (boxes 39-42). Gift of Randall Thompson estate, received: 1998.

2019M-95 (box 54, part). Gift of Marianne Woods, received: 2019 April 8.

Related Materials

Musical compositions by Thompson held by the Houghton Library and cataloged as MS Mus 173 are listed in a separate finding aid. Additional holdings of Thompson manuscript material may be found by searching HOLLIS.
Related Materials For additional material on Randall Thompson at Houghton Library, see: William Wyman collection on Randall Thompson, circa 1976-1978 (MS Am 3350) and Randall Thompson Papers, 1917-1978 (MS Mus 173).

Folder-level detail for most of the material listed here is provided in the following work (a copy of which is available in the Houghton Reading Room):
Schmidt, Carl B. and Elizabeth K. Schmidt. The music of Randall Thompson (1899-1984): a documented catalogue. E.C. Schirmer Music Company, Inc., 2014 (see in HOLLIS).

Processing Information

Accessioned by: Melanie Wisner
Link to catalog
Thompson, Randall, 1899-1984. Randall Thompson papers and family papers, circa 1903-1980: Guide
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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