Dig in and learn plenty from Penn Libraries’ wide range of music collections

Music Library

Top: Eugene Ormandy Bottom: Marian Anderson

Photo Credit: Top: Adrian Siegel/Penn Libraries Bottom: Penn Libraries

If you are doing serious research, or if you simply want to learn more about Philadelphia's connection to great music, check out Penn Libraries' extensive music collections.

The collected works provide a vast compilation of research material from nationally and internationally renowned artists, such as conductors Eugene Ormandy and Leopold Stokowski, and famed Philadelphia contralto Marian Anderson.

The Eugene Ormandy Collection in the Rare Books & Manuscript Library contains correspondence, photos, memorabilia, sound recordings, conducting scores and oral histories related to Ormandy’s 42 years as music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. His family donated the collection to Penn in 1987. The Libraries’ virtual exhibition, “Eugene Ormandy: A Centennial Celebration,” offers more interesting insights into the legendary maestro.

Before Ormandy came to Philadelphia, he served as conductor of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. "The Midwestern Experience," a retrospective about his time in Minneapolis, is on display at the Eugene Ormandy Gallery, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, 4th Floor (west), through the fall.

Library patrons looking for information about Leopold Stokowski, Ormandy’s predecessor at the Philadelphia Orchestra, can find a treasure trove of objects in the Leopold Stokowski Collection, which houses his recordings, marked conducting scores, manuscript orchestral transcriptions and arrangements.

The Libraries’ virtual exhibition, “Leopold Stokowski: Making Music Matter,” features information about Stokowski’s music and life. The Music Library is also home to the research files of Stokowski’s principal biographer, Oliver Daniel.

More than 4,000 photos of Marian Anderson are housed in the Marian Anderson Collection, along with her music and papers. The compilation chronicles her life from her birth in Philadelphia in 1897, to her early voice lessons and her training and performing in Europe, as well as her triumphant return to the United States.

The collection also includes details about her controversial singing engagement at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. in 1939—an incident that made history. The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), owners of the hall, refused to allow Anderson to perform because she was African American. Outraged, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR and invited Anderson to hold an outdoor performance at the Lincoln Memorial, which drew 75,000 people to the National Mall. Anderson’s voice was broadcast over the radio to millions of people across the nation.

The Libraries’ Marian Anderson online exhibition is available at

For more information about Music Library exhibits, visit www.library.upenn.edu/exhibits/music.


Originally published on January 27, 2011