University of Rochester Library Bulletin: The History of the University of Rochester Libraries--120 Years, Chp. 8

Volume XXV · Spring 1970 · Number 3
The History of the University of Rochester Libraries--120 Years

Chapter: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 |

The Sibley Music Library

At the beginning of the twentieth century Hiram W. Sibley, son of the University's early benefactor, started a collection of music for the benefit of music lovers of the city as well as for the college. The wisdom of such a collection was first suggested to Sibley by Elbert Newton, a prominent Rochester musician and bibliophile. Newton had a keen interest in "modern" music, literature, and art, and thus, when Sibley provided him with the money, he went to New York and bought widely of the works of then little known composers such as Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff, Sibelius, Wolf, Reger, Malipiero, and Respighi. He also purchased the works of the better-known Classical and Romantic writers. Later, in 1918, Sibley provided more funds and Newton added another 6,000 volumes of books and music to the collection. All of these were deposited in the Sibley library on the Prince Street Campus. This extensive buying increased the collection to some 9,000 volumes by the time George Eastman established a music school in the early 1920's. 

The first plans for a music school did not include provisions for a library, but before school construction was completed Eastman and Sibley agreed to cooperate in their two ventures and space was allotted in the new building for the library collection. In 1922 Sibley's collection was moved from the University campus to the Eastman School of Music. 

This new arrangement was an incentive to Sibley to accelerate his purchases, and from the early 1920's until his death in 1932 he contributed approximately $75,000 for these purchases. In the first few years of the twenties he purchased a number of important collections en bloc. The first was the library of Otto Sonneck, for two decades the leading musicologist in the United States. This contained many of the definitive scholarly editions of the great composers, and considerable bibliographical and critical material. There was the Kreiner collection of Russian folk and liturgical music, with many historical and critical works, largely European, relating to them. Then came the Fleming collection of rare and costly books on the history of musical instruments. A major acquisition was the library of Arthur Pougin, French musical critic, biographer, and collector, of more than 3,000 volumes. Then came the folklore collection of Henry E. Krehbiel, and the original manuscript score of Sir Henry Bishop's "Clari; or the Maid of Milan" which first gave "Home, Sweet Home" to the world. 

The music library was provided with its own building on Swan Street in 1937, having by that time about 37,500 volumes of books and music. By the 1960's the Sibley Music Library had 120,000 volumes; and some 25,000 uncatalogued songs, sheet music, and pamphlets, and a significant collection of recordings, microfilms, microcards, and manuscripts. It now contains a quarter-million items. 

The library, which is undoubtedly one of the finest in the country, has developed in line with the growth of the music school's curriculum. The development may be seen in the acquisition of books in related fields, in general philosophy, as well as in aesthetics, in poetry, and in the fine arts. It is particularly strong in works of musical theory, in the complete and authoritative editions of the great composers, in historical anthologies and incunabula. Among the anthologies are the Denkmaler der Tonkunst in Osterreich, the Denkmider Deutscher Tonkimst, the Paleographie Musicale, the Lira Sacro-Hispana, the Mornonenta Musicale Byzantinae. Its incunabula in the field of theory include works by Gafurius, Keinspeck, and Le Fevre. Other rare treatises are works by Hermann Finck, Adrian Coclicus, Cerone, Pietro Aaron, Vicenzo Galilei, G. B. Doni, Boethius, Praetorius, Prasberg, Ramos de Pareja, Salinas, Wollick, Zarlino, Agricola, Cochlaeus, Fogliani, Glareanus, Thomas Morley, Thomas Mace, Christopher Simpson, John Playford Rameau, and Charles Butler. 

In 1929 the library acquired, from the famous library of Dr. Werner Wolffheim, the eleventh century Reichenau Codex, which contains musical treatises by Hermannus Contractus, William of Hirsau, Bernon, and Frutolf of Michelsberg, as well as treatises on other arts of the Middle Ages. It also possesses what is now known as the Rochester-Adinont Codex, a twelfth century codex from the monastery of Admont in Austria, which consists of the works by Guido, Aribo the Scholar, William of Bernon, and Hermannus Contractus. 

The library also is rich in its manuscript collection, some of it beautifully illuminated. It includes leaves from the medieval collection of Oskar Fleischer with his descriptive notes. Among its holograph scores are works by Purcell, Beethoven, Mozart, Liszt, Brahms, Rubinstein, Schumann, Faure, Krenek, as well as the Americans Chadwick, Foote, Hill, MacDowell, Mason, Copland, Harris, Rogers, Thompson, Antheil, Bacon, White, Porter, and Hanson. There also are comprehensive collections of orchestral scores, chamber music, instrumental music, dramatic music, and the history and theory of music. 

Edward G. Miner Medical Library

The second new library to be created by the University under Gilchrist's direction was the medical library, established between 1922 and 1925, to serve the new School of Medicine and Dentistry. 

There were no basic collections upon which to build the new library. The only material which the University had for possible use in a medical library were a few periodical sets for chemistry, biology, and physics. The medical library, as did the new school of medicine and dentistry, had to start from scratch. The Rockefeller Foundation suggested that the University employ James F. Ballard of the Boston Medical Library, as its purchasing agent and advisor for the medical library. Ballard had planned a library and purchased most of the books for the Peiping Medical College in China, and had served as advisor for the Harvard Medical Library. In the process he had acquired an intimate knowledge of current European markets, and, therefore, was able to prepare a model list of periodical sets for research and clinical needs. His suggestions were approved by Gilchrist and the heads of the medical departments. 

Beginning with Ballard's purchases and supported by a continuing program of acquisition, the medical library accumulated almost 40,000 volumes in twelve years, spending a total of $168,635. Many important gifts also were received during this period. Notable gifts came from the Boston Medical Library, the Grosvenor Library of Buffalo, the New York Academy of Medicine, and Princeton University. An outstanding gift was that of 4,000 volumes from the Reynolds Library of Rochester, a transfer which was made possible with the approval of the Rochester Academy of Medicine, successor to a group of physicians which had originally collected the books. A dozen other medical libraries offered anything and everything from their duplicates, and many local and alumni physicians gave books and funds. In 1927, the University purchased a part of the library of Dr. Philip Turner of England, which formed the basis of the library's collections in obstetrics and gynecology. 

During the first year of the buying program, the cases of medical books were stored in basements on the Prince Street Campus, but in 1923 part of the second floor of the animal house on Crittenden Boulevard was set up as temporary library quarters. Permanent quarters were ready in 1925, and by that time the medical library was supplied with some 19,000 volumes for the use of the first classes. 

The medical library today has a number of important collections which were donated during the years. In 1927 Edward G. Miner presented to the medical library forty-one volumes on yellow fever. Miner's interest in the disease was stimulated by a trip to certain tropical countries which had suffered under the scourge of the disease, resulting in his desire to learn more about it. The material which he acquired became the nucleus of the present collection of more than 600 volumes, which includes books on yellow fever and cholera. It consists of original treatises on the origin, treatment, prevention, and cure of fevers; government reports; statistical tables; contemporary newspaper clippings; and correspondence describing or mentioning fevers. It dates from the eighteenth century to the present time, with emphasis on epidemics in America. 

The Edward Wright Mulligan History of Medicine Collection was the gift of the late Dr. Mulligan, former lecturer in surgery and consulting surgeon at the School of Medicine and Dentistry and at Strong Memorial Hospital. Not a collector himself, but interested in books illustrating the history of medicine, Dr. Mulligan made it possible for the medical library to purchase such volumes by contributing $5,000 a year for a period of three years, beginning in 1926. The selection of books was entrusted to the library committee of which Dr. George W. Corner was the chairman. Interest in this section waned, but in 1965 was revived and a History of Medicine section was created and a curator appointed. It brought together the library's rare books, archives, reference volumes, general history collections, and Miner's fever collection. Moneys were then forthcoming. A grant was received from the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation for 1967-1970 and provided for the creation of a professorship of the history of medicine, an oral history program, exhibits, and reactivation of the George W. Corner Society. A $100,000 endowed fund also was willed to the library by Thomas S. Lamont, son-in-law of Edward G. Miner. Its income was to be used for the improvement of the History of Medicine Section. Benefactions of Dr. George H. Whipple, first dean of the medical school, were used for the improvement of the section. Half of a living trust income which was to benefit Dr. Whipple and his wife during their lifetime was allocated for the use of the history of medicine section. The Whipples also specified that upon their death the medical library was to receive the benefit of the income from the entire trust of $750,000. Another significant gift was a collection of more than 270 valuable books on the history of medicine from the Rochester Academy of Medicine. These books were formerly in the rare book collection of the Academy's library. 

In 1952 the library was named the Edward G. Miner Medical Library in honor of one of the persons who was most interested in the development of the medical library. Miner, a Rochester industrialist, was a one time chairman of the University's Board of Trustees, and also served as chairman of the University library committee, aiding in the formulation of library policies, and paying special attention to acquisition of scholarly books. 

The physical quarters of the medical library were greatly expanded in 1962, and by 1969, there were 102,000 volumes on the shelves. In 1969 plans were again underway for renovation and another addition to the library.

Library History continued >>