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Repositories of documents of historical interest, usually in written, sound-recorded, or pictorial form.


Repositories of documents of historical interest, usually in written, sound-recorded, or pictorial form. A distinction must be made between archival institutions such as the National Archives of Canada in Ottawa and the several provincial archives, and archival collections, which may be found in libraries, musical organizations, monasteries, museums, and elsewhere. In Canada, as in many other countries, archival institutions have been preoccupied with the preservation of official records and have paid more attention to political than to cultural history, although items of musical interest may be found in some of their non-musical collections. Several such institutions have become interested in the creative arts in recent years, but in 1991 a major share of archival holdings in music belonged to university and public libraries and the National Library of Canada. Professional training remained largely a matter of workshops at conferences. The first to become a specialized full-time music archivist was Stephen Willis of the NL of C.

In Canada the safeguarding of musical documents began very late. In folk and aboriginal music archival deposits date back to the late 19th century, but at least three quarters of the collections listed at the end of this article passed into public hands after 1969. In that year the NL of C purchased the papers of Healey Willan, thus affirming the concept of public responsibility for preserving the documents of Canada's musical history. It has been possible in these years to trace the papers of a number of Canadian musicians long since deceased, but many important documents, such as the bulk of the manuscripts of Calixa Lavallée, may be considered lost forever. Undoubtedly other papers survive scattered among descendants and friends, many of whom are unaware of their value or have no contacts with archival circles. When papers have been given to public institutions in the past, they often have received nothing but storage space since specialist care has been unavailable and regular work has had higher priority. The growth of musical archives during the 1970s was stimulated by (and in return encouraged the introduction of) Canadian music courses at many universities and by the research activities engendered by the preparation of the first edition of EMC.

In contrast to published materials, which exist in many copies and which libraries classify by subject, archival materials are unique and are kept together in units, each named after the person or organization that produced or collected them.

The produced collections (in technical language called fonds) encompass the papers and memorabilia accumulated by individual musicians as products or by-products of their careers and by associations as records of their activities. They may include composers' manuscript scores, whether sketches or fair copies; performers' programs and reviews (often placed in scrapbooks); musicians' personal and business correspondence, diaries, lecture notes, speeches, diplomas, batons, medals, photos, and other souvenirs; musical societies' business correspondence, minute books and financial records; privately made recordings; and other types of material.

The collected collections are results of deliberate effort by researchers in special subject areas. They include the archival holdings of folk music and of 'oral history' obtained through recorded and transcribed interviews. Such collections form the backbone of ethnomusicology studies. They represent the oldest type of archival activity in music carried out under governmental auspices. (See also Marius Barbeau; Canadian Museum of Civilization; Archives de folklore.)

To supplement these 'residual' and 'assembled' collections, archivists will acquire single items or small groups of items from a variety of sources, such as autograph dealers, auctions, and rummage sales, or through the copying of relevant documents preserved in other institutions.

Archival collections are of supreme importance to historians, biographers, broadcasters, filmmakers, exhibition planners, and other researchers because they provide the first-hand evidence of primary source material. Their usefulness depends on the archivist's skill in preparing inventories, indexes, and other finding aids. Musical societies who cannot afford to hire a professional archivist may obtain advice regarding the maintenance of their papers from some of the larger institutions.

The Union List of Manuscripts in Canadian Repositories/Catalogue collectif des manuscrits des archives canadiennes published by the PAC (Ottawa, rev edn 1975; 1st supplement 1976; 2nd supplement 1979) lists many holdings of musical interest but is not organized by subject. Devoted entirely to music is the 'Catalogue collectif des archives musicales au Québec' edited by Anicette Bolduc, published in Les cahiers de l'ARMuQ, no 9, May 1988, surveying the holdings of 61 repositories in the province of Quebec. The following list should be regarded as a sampling only. It is arranged by province and city, and the items listed in each case are not necessarily the most significant ones. Excluded are 1/active organizations maintaining their own archives, 2/musical items incidental to non-musical collections, 3/so-called archival holdings in libraries such as old recordings or sheet music in dead storage, and 4/library materials organized according to archival principles, as are some of the printed music holdings at the BN du Q. Names entered do not necessarily correspond to the name of the collection or fonds they are housed in: eg, the Achille Fortier manuscripts at the BN du Q are part of the Claude Champagne Collection.


Banff Centre Archives - music theatre (manuscripts, photos, recordings)

University of Calgary - Violet Archer; Norma Beecroft, Keith Bissell, Wolfgang Bottenberg, Howard Cable, Calgary Philharmonic Society; CFMS (CSMT), George Fiala, Edith Fowke, Srul Irving Glick, Richard Johnston, Leonard Leacock, Bruce Mather, William McCauley, Morris Surdin; Gerhard Wuensch; jazz recordings

Glenbow-Alberta Institute (Glenbow Museum) - miscellaneous items

City of Edmonton Archives - Alberta Music Festival Association; Moses Asch Folkways collection; Calgary Women's Musical Club (records for 1936-66)

Provincial Museum and Archives of Alberta - ARMTA, Alberta Music Festival Association, Edmonton Chamber Music Society, Edmonton Symphony Society

University of Alberta Archives and Collections - Hugh Bancroft; Banff CA

British Columbia

Simon Fraser University - George and Ida Halpern family papers

City of Vancouver Archives - Friends of Chamber Music; Vancouver Woman's Musical Club; files on 'Music in Vancouver,' 'British Columbia Philharmonic Orchestra' (1950), 'Men's Musical Club (Vancouver)' (1917-29), 'Vancouver Symphony Society', 'J.D.A. Tripp,' 'The Philharmonic Music Club,' etc

British Columbia Archives and Records Services - Ida Halpern professional papers, including ethnomusicology material and tapes; Philip Thomas collection of ca 500 songs recorded in BC; files on music and musicians in British Columbia and in particular Victoria, including 19th-century compositions in manuscript

University of Victoria - Bernard Naylor


Brandon University - 500 recordings of Northern Plains Native music

Provincial Archives of Manitoba - S.C. Eckhardt-Gramatté, Leonard Isaacs, Junior Musical Club, Margaret Arnett MacLeod, MRMTA, Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir, Peter Zvankin

Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre - Oleksander Koshetz

New Brunswick

Christ Church Cathedral - church music manuscripts (19th century)

University of Moncton, Centre d'études acadiennes - folksong and folklore

Mount Allison University - Trevor Morgan Jones

Saint John
New Brunswick Museum - Ladies' Morning Musical Club (Saint John, 1926-59); Saint John Opera House; manuscript books of Jonathan Odell and Jeremiah Regan

University of New Brunswick, Saint John campus, Ward Chipman Library - Ernest Manning


St John's
Memorial University, Folklore and Language Archives - folk music

Nova Scotia

Celtic folklore

Dalhousie University - John Daniel Logan collection of 15 autograph letters, including one each from Offenbach, Verdi and Wagner, as well as photos, autographed programs, and other materials; Ellen Ballon (includes manuscript of Liadov and Villa Lobos, letters from famous musicians)

Provincial Archives of Nova Scotia - Helen Creighton (folksongs); Don Messer; NSRMTA; Halifax, Lunenburg and other NS musical societies


Woodland Indian Cultural Education Centre - Native music materials

University of Guelph - Guelph Spring Festival, Bell Organ and Piano Company

McMaster University - Havergal Brian; Sir Robert Mayer; Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (79 letters); Klaus Pringsheim (much of the material is related to Mahler); Dame Ethel Smythe; Eric Walter White (history of English opera); letters by Franz Liszt, Clara Schumann, Tchaikovsky, and others

Hamilton Public Library - Robert S. and Paul Ambrose, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra

Jordan Historical Museum of the Twenty - manuscript books, early 19th century

Queen's University - H. William Hawke

University of Western Ontario - Alfred Rosé (much of the material is related to Mahler, including 474 letters from Mahler); 18th-century manuscript copies of operatic and other compositions; autographs of Cimarosa, Grétry, Jommelli, Lully, Méhul, Paisiello, Piccinni, and others

National Archives of Canada (until 1987 Public Archives of Canada)

- Large collections: Mario Bernardi, Louis-Honoré Bourdon; Sarah Fischer; Edward Johnson; CBC sound and videotapes

- Smaller collections: Emma Albani; Violet Archer; J. Edgar Birch; Augustus Bridle; CFMTA; Éviola Gauthier; Juliette Gaultier de la Vérendrye; H.H. Godfrey; C.A.E. Harriss; Oskar Morawetz; Morning Music Club of Ottawa; Ottawa Amateur Orchestral Society; Toronto Musicians' Association (minute book 1874-7)

- Other: manuscript compilation of liturgical chant by François-X. Borel (1767); manuscript book of Étienne Claude Lagueux (ca 1805-18); letters by Joseph Quesnel to John Neilson; letters by Elgar, de Pachmann, and others

National Library of Canada

- Large collections: Murray Adaskin; Lucio Agostini; W.H. Anderson; István Anhalt; George M. Brewer; CAML; CBC; CLComp; Canadian Music Centre; Canadian Music Council; Claude Champagne; Alexis Contant; Jimmy 'Trump' Davidson; Maurice Dela; Pauline Donalda; S.C. Eckhardt-Gramatté; Robert Fleming; W.O. Forsyth; Herman Geiger-Torel; Graham George; Glenn Gould; Hector Gratton; C.A.E. Harriss; 1985 International Bach Piano Competition; Frances James; Luigi von Kunits; Emery Lavigne; Hugh Le Caine; Quentin Maclean; Sir Ernest MacMillan; Rodolphe and André Mathieu; Alan Mills; Edward B. Moogk; Oskar Morawetz; Ottawa Philharmonic Orchestra; Barbara Pentland; Oscar Peterson; Percival Price; Pro Musica Society of Ottawa; Eldon Rathburn; RCCO; R. Murray Schafer; Leo Smith; Gordon V. Thompson Ltd; Heinz Unger; Paul Voigt (sound recording history); Arnold Walter; John Weinzweig; Alfred Whitehead; Healey Willan

- Smaller collections: Marcus Adeney; Emma Albani; J.H. Anger; Thomas Archer; Joseph Berljawsky; Wallace Berry; Lorne Betts; Gena Branscombe; Edward Broome; Canadian Music Journal; John Carter; A.T. Cringan; Ernest Dainty; Paul de Marky; Juliette Gaultier de la Vérendrye; Joseph Gould; Hambourg family; Richard Hayward; Emmy Heim; Samuel Hersenhoren; Lou Hooper; Percival Illsley; Frantz Jehin-Prume; Henri K. Jordan; Joy Denton Kennedy; Mart Kenney; Calixa Lavallée; Frederic Lord; Clarence Lucas; Ettore Mazzoleni; Paul McIntyre; Sir William McKie; Dorothy Jenkins McCurry (includes Annie Lampman Jenkins and Frank M.S. Jenkins); Albertine Morin-Labrecque; Thomas Bedford Richardson; Godfrey Ridout; Welford Russell; C.W. Sabatier; Herbert Sanders; Gustave Smith; Court Stone; G. W. Strathy; Toronto Choral Society (1884-92); and others

- Non-Canadian holdings: Tadeusz Baird (autograph score); Beethoven (see T.F. Molt); Rosy Geiger-Kullmann (Geiger-Torel collection); Joseph Joachim and family (correspondence, photos); Nikolai Medtner (Gratton collection); Arnold Schoenberg (Wallace Berry papers); Percy Scholes; Harold D. Smith (RCA Victor and sound-recording history); Edgar Varèse; letters or postcards from Britten, Casals, Elgar, Furtwängler, Hindemith, Liszt, Mahler, Milhaud, Orff, Ravel, Satie, Clara Schumann, Stockhausen, Richard Strauss, Stravinsky, Vaughan Williams, Bruno Walter and many other famous musicians

Canadian Museum of Civilization - Collections of Native North American music at Canadian Ethnology Service/Service canadien d'ethnologie; collections of folk music at Canadian Centre for Folk Culture Studies/Centre canadien sur la culture traditionelle; see also Ethnomusicology

Laurentian University, Centre franco-ontarien de folklore (see Germain Lemieux)

Archives of Ontario - Alexander Muir, Eaton Auditorium

CBC, Program Archives - recordings and videotapes of CBC programs

Joan Baillie Archives.-.COC

Metropolitan Toronto Library - scrapbooks on Canadian musicians and musical life, 1860s-1950s

Royal Ontario Museum - R.S. Williams collection of musical instruments also includes autographs of Auber, Beethoven (doubtful), Bellini, Czerny, Berlioz, Donizetti, Liszt, Meyerbeer, Rossini, and others; Italian and French liturgical manuscript, 13th-15th centuries

TS Archives - TS

University of Toronto - John Beckwith, Beniamino Gigli (recordings, programs, reviews, etc), Hart House String Quartet, Edward Johnson, Udo Kasemets, Kathleen Parlow, Frank S. Welsman

York University - Louis Applebaum, Mavor Moore

Wilfrid Laurier University - RCCO

Windsor Public Library - Windsor Symphony Orchestra


City of Chambly - Emma Albani

Archives de la Société historique du Saguenay - local music history

Les Clercs de St-Viateur - Roméo-Clément Larivière; Calixa Lavallée

Bibliothèque nationale du Québec

- Large collections: Lionel Daunais; Jean Deslauriers; Jules Dubois; Achille Fortier; Jean-Josaphat Gagnier; JMC (YMC); Pierre Mercure; Isabelle and Jean Papineau-Couture; Wilfrid Pelletier; SMCQ

- Smaller collections: Émilien Allard; Dantès Belleau; Eugène Caron; Claude Champagne; Gabriel Cusson; José Delaquerrière; Omer Dumas; Howard Fogg; Joseph-I. Pâquet; Alphonse Lavallée-Smith; Amédée Tremblay; André Vaillancourt (Canadian recorded sound 1910-60, ca 6400 recordings); various manuscript of church music

CBC Program Archives - Recordings and videotapes of CBC programs

Centre de recherche Lionel-Groulx

Concordia University - Alex Robertson sound recording documentation, John Gilmore jazz history collection

Conservatoire de musique de Montréal - Autograph scores by Italian composers from A. Scarlatti to Ponchielli; autographs by Alban Berg and Francis Poulenc

Grand séminaire de Montréal - church music

Montreal City Library - Alfred De Sève; Joseph-Thomas Leblanc and E.-Z. Massicotte transcriptions of folksong texts; etc

McGill University - Pauline Donalda letters; Kelsey Jones; Julius Schloss (includes Alban Berg items)

UQAM - CBC radio broadcasts, ca 6000 recordings beginning 1938

University of Montreal - Guillaume Couture; Serge Garant

Séminaire de Nicolet - L.J. Oscar Fontaine

Quebec City
Archives de l'Hôtel-Dieu -17th and 18th century liturgical music manuscript.

Archives nationales du Québec, Centre régional de Québec - AMQ; Marius Cayouette; Club musical des dames de Québec 1926-56; Concerts Couperin; Alain Gagnon; Raoul Jobin; Quebec Symphony Orchestra; letters by Joseph Quesnel; Edmond Trudel

Conservatoire de musique de Québec - Joseph Vézina

Petit Séminaire de Québec - Joseph Quesnel (Colas et Colinette, Lucas et Cécile)

Laval University - François Brassard; Henri Gagnon; Léo Roy; Robert Talbot; Georges-Émile Tanguay

Laval University, Archives de folklore - Folk music and folklore

Ursulines de Québec - 17th and 18th century liturgical music manuscript.

Séminaire de St-Hyacinthe - Charles-Émile Gadbois

Archives nationales du Québec, Centre d'archives de l'Estrie - Sylvio Lacharité

Archives nationales du Québec, Centre d'archives de la Mauricie et des Bois-Francs - Anaïs Allard-Rousseau

U du Québec à Trois-Rivières - Raymond Daveluy


Provincial Archives Board of Saskatchewan - SRMTA

Regina Public Library - local history

Provincial Archives Board of Saskatchewan - local musical societies; Lyell Gustin; Marjorie Wilson

Saskatoon Public Library - George C. Palmer; Marguerita Spencer

University of Saskatchewan - Russell Green

United States of America

Delaware, O
Organ Historical Society - S.P. Warren

New York
Columbia U - Laura Boulton collection of aboriginal and folk music of Canada

New York Public Library - Gena Branscombe; Éviola Gauthier

Curtis Institute - Lynnwood Farnam

Provo, Ut
Brigham Young U - Percy Faith; Kathleen Parlow

Rochester, NY
Eastman School of Music - R. Nathaniel Dett

Library of Congress - Canadian folk music, S.P. Warren

Laramie, Wyo
U of Wyoming - Rosario Bourdon

Further Reading

External Links