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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Mus 261

The Moldenhauer Archives at Harvard University: Correspondence, literary manuscripts, sound recordings, and other material


This collection is a portion of the Archives relating to 20th-century music, collected by the German-American musicologist, Hans Moldenhauer.


  • Creation: 1873-2002

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to the majority of this material.

There is an 80 year restriction on access to the Aurelio de la Vega Class rosters containing student grades for music courses at California State University, Northridge, item (1678). [Shelved in vault]

The majority of 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.


50 linear feet (72 boxes)
0.7 Gigabytes (1 CD)

Manuscript, printed materials, and sound recordings of 20th-century composers of North and Latin America, including immigrant musicians.

Includes: correspondence between Hans and Mary Moldenhauer and musicians; correspondence between musicians and others; photographs of musicians, musicians' families, friends and colleagues; manuscript and printed compositions (not manuscript music) relating to musicians (literary texts, librettos, rhythm schemes, course materials, documents, reprints, and others); biographical miscellany such as clippings, musical programs, ticket stubs, biographical sketches; and recorded audio materials including phonograph records, cassette tapes, and CDs. There are Christmas cards, drawings, and Adolph Weiss's extensive postcard collection and some of his materials concerning the playing of the game of Contract Bridge.

This collection includes materials especially from Paul Amadeus Pisk, Roman Ryterband, Nicholas Van Slyck, Aurelio de la Vega, and Adolph Weiss, but also includes a variety of others such as: Leonard Bernstein, Radie Britain, Gloria Coates, Aaron Copland, Irene Hanna, Ernest Krenek, Eugene Ormandy, Boaz Piller, George Rochberg, Alexander Zemlinsky, and many others.

Sound recordings include audiotapes, audiocassettes, phonograph records, and compact discs. Also includes one VHS (TM) videocassette.

Biographical / Historical

Hans Moldenhauer (1906-1987) was an American musicologist of German birth, and a music collector. He graduated from the Musikhochschule in Mainz, where he was a pupil of Hans Rosbaud. In 1938 he emigrated to America and earned a B.A. (1945) at Whitworth College, Spokane, Washington and in 1951 received a D.F.A. in musicology at the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University. In 1942 he founded the Spokane Conservatory and was president from 1946. He taught at the University of Washington from 1961 to 1964. Moldenhauer gathered primary source materials relating to music, which became known as the "Moldenhauer Archives." He was the founder and director and the collection was originally located in Spokane. The Archives is now dispersed to various repositories around the world.

Moldenhauer collected material on many musicians, but this collection derives especially from the following persons:

  1. Paul Amadeus Pisk (1893-1990). American composer and musicologist of Austrian birth.
  2. Roman Ryterband (1914-1979). American pianist, composer, conductor, and educator of Polish birth.
  3. Nicholas Van Slyck (1922-1983). American composer, performer, educator, and founder of the New School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  4. Aurelio de la Vega (1925- ). American composer, writer on music, and teacher of Cuban birth.
  5. Adolph Weiss (1891-1971). American composer, educator, and bassoonist. Weiss is especially known as the first American to study with Schoenberg (1926 in Berlin) and to use the 12-tone serial techniques in his own compositions.

All information taken from various articles in Grove Music Online. Oxford University Press, 2008. Roman Ryterband information taken from


Arranged into the following series:

  1. I. Correspondence with Hans Moldenhauer
  2. II. Other correspondence
  3. III. Images
  4. IV. Compositions
  5. V. Biographical miscellany
  6. VI. Sound recordings
  7. ___A. Audiotapes and audiocassettes
  8. ___B. Long-playing records, 45 rpm records, and compact discs
  9. ___C. Adolph Weiss collection of record albums

Special Equipment Required for Access:

Arrangement to use audio equipment is needed to access series "VI. Sound recordings." Contact Houghton Public Services for details.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository, b, pf, vault

Immediate Source of Acquisition

86M-105, 86M-105a, 87M-116, 88M-80, 91M-77, 2000M-28, 2001M-80. In part given by and purchased from Hans Moldenhauer and Mary Moldenhauer with funds raised by the Committee for Music Collections at the Houghton Library; received: 1986 August 28 - 2002 June 13.

87M-114, 88M-77, 88M-78, 88M-79, 89M-65. Hans Moldenhauer via Trudi Van Slyck, 195 Lexington Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138; received: 1987-1989.

2015M-79. Gift of Clarissa Ryterband, 2015 November 9 (items 2124a, 2125a).

This collection was formerly under the temporary number of AM-18.

Related Materials

There are also Moldenhauer Archives at Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich; Library of Congress, Washington D.C.; Moldenhauer Archives, Spokane, Wash.; Northwestern University, Chicago, Ill.; Paul Sacher Stiftung, Basel; Washington State University, Pullman, Wash.; Whitworth College, Spokane, Wash.; Wiener Stadt- u. Landesbibliothek, Vienna; and Zentralbibliothek Zürich.

Summaries of holdings appear in J. Newsom and A. Mann, eds., Music history from primary sources. A guide to the Moldenhauer Archives (Washington, D.C., 2000), p. 483ff. and in an on-line presentation that electronically replicates the book The Rosaleen Moldenhauer Memorial. Music History from Primary Sources: A Guide to the Moldenhauer Archives. It should be noted that this Memorial volume does not always accurately reflect the material held by Harvard.

Separated Materials

For additional Houghton Library Hans Moldenhauer Archives collections, see Manuscript Music Compositions (bMS Mus 230) and Printed Music Compositions (bMS Mus 230.1).

Some printed and audio materials have been transferred to the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library at Harvard.

Separated Materials

Born-digital material has been separated: Mus261BD

General note

Collection materials are primarily in English and German, but also include some in French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Portugese, and other languages.

General note

The majority of this collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for additional information.

Processing Information

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt and Barbara M. Wolff, with the assistance of Peter M. Steinberg

This material was sorted in the 1990s but was not fully cataloged until 2011. The bulk of this material came to Moldenhauer from a few donors mentioned below. The archives of each of these donors were broken up into various series in the 1990s sorting, and this order was retained in the final cataloging.

Processing Information

This finding aid was revised in February 2024 to address outdated and harmful descriptive language. During that revision, contextualizing processing notes were added to the description of one item. For more information on reparative archival description at Harvard, see Harvard Library’s Statement on Harmful Language in Archival Description.

Moldenhauer, Hans, collector. The Moldenhauer Archives at Harvard University: Correspondence, literary manuscripts, sound recordings, and other material, 1873-2001: Guide.
Description rules
Language of description
Cataloging partially funded by the Francis P. Scully and Robert G. Scully Class of 1951 Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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