Almost any library around the world contains at least some guitar music, but this list was compiled to bring together all the information I could find regarding libraries which house large amounts music which is no longer in print. Of particular interest are the major guitar-only collections. The Rischel & Birket-Smith collection going online was a major influence on me to get this list started.
It has always been difficult to find music in libraries which have old collections because most information is still kept only in card catalogs. The internet has changed library access dramatically, but most libraries still have not put their card catalogs into searchable databases. This list will have all the information I can find regarding access to the the collections.
Any additional information you may have regarding these libraries, or libraries not in the list, is welcome.
- New York
- North Carolina
- Washington, DC
California State University at Northridge, Los Angeles
International Guitar Research Archive
In 1980, Vahdah Olcott-Bickford-Revere nee Ethyl Lucretia Olcott (1885-1980) passed away leaving a legacy of American and foreign guitar music prints, guitar journals and correspondence reflecting the history of guitar in the United States from 1880 to the present. This unique guitar music collection is now being catalogued and contains over 10,000 titles of 19th and 20th century editions. The collection first appeared under the name VOB (Vahdah Olcott-Bickford). Within a decade, many donors sent music prints, journals and correspondence to add to the collection. The name was changed to reflect this growing collection to IGRA (International Guitar Research Archive). A special topic appeared in The Cadenza under the series “The Guitarist” Vol. XXVIII, No. 4 (April 1921), entitled “The Gentle Art of Collecting.” In this article Vahdah speaks of her favorite hobby, “collecting a fine library of guitar literature,” and goes on to say “This is a delightful kind of collecting, not only for the soloist, the teacher and the ‘guitar fan’, but for the students of the instrument as well.” The article discusses the merits of collecting “modern writers,” obtaining those editions soon to go “out of print” and the “old masters.” She concludes by saying the collector “will find it interesting, practical, very economical and altogether fascinating.” Her own collection reflects this attitude and demonstrates a keen eye for variety and rarity. This is true of the total collection.
- Vahdah Olcott-Bickford Collection
- Andres Ségovia Collection
- Randy Rhoads Collection
- Laurindo Almeida Collection
- Augustine Foundation Collection
- Vicente Gomez Collection
St. Mary’s College, Moraga
Easley Collection (now at IGRA)
University of California, Los Angeles
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Collection
University of Southern California
Bickford Collection: Vahdah and Zarh Bickford, both noted guitar soloist in Southern California during the mid-twentieth century, left a substantial collection of approximately five thousand solo guitar works. Most of these pieces were published in Argentina during the 1950s.
University of Colorado at Boulder
Collection contains approximately 300 original and published manuscript guitar music arrangements by Krick, Foden and many other noted guitarists; manuscripts of 19th and early 20th century guitar music, mandolin music; and guitar method books.
Johns Hopkins University
Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music
The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music is part of Special Collections at the Milton S. Eisenhower Library of The Johns Hopkins University. It contains over 29,000 pieces of music and focuses on popular American music spanning the period 1780 to 1960. All pieces of the collection are indexed on this site and a search will retrieve a catalog description of the pieces. An image of the cover and each page of music will also be retrieved if the music was published before 1923 and is in the public domain.
Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis
Washington University, St. Louis
George C. Krick, 1872-April 2, 1962, concert guitarist and teacher of classical guitar. He was born in Germany and came to St. Louis at the age of 16 where he studied with William Foden. Later, he joined Foden on the New York concert stage as well as concertized independantly and directed the George C. Krick Music Studios in Germantown, Philadelphia before he returned here at age 70. After his death the 21 volumes of solo guitar music that he had had bound were given to this university by his family in 1963. They include works by Albeniz, Coste, Foden, Giuliani, Legnani, Mertz, Regondi, Sors, Tarrega, Terzi and Zani de Ferranti. The collection was indexed in 1974 by Alan Rosenkoetter, Guitar Instructor in the Music Department.
The University of Akron
The Guitar Foundation of America Archive
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Andrew Salama Papers, 1903-1968 (contains many items for 7-string Russian guitar: arrangements, transcriptions, published sheet music)
George Mason University
Sophocles Papas Collection
Research materials in the Papas Music Collection include:
• Printed sheet music
• Manuscripts for classical guitar
• Lessons, exercises, and etudes for guitar students
• Periodicals such as Guitar Review and Soundboard
• Publications of Columbia Music Company
• Publications of the Washington Guitar Society
• Personal date and address books belonging to Sophocles Papas
• Books from Sophocles Papas’ personal library
• Biographical materials
• Newspaper and magazine clippings about Papas
Library of Congress
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Collection
The large archives of 20th century composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968) have been given to the Library of Congress by the composer’s son, Lorenzo Castelnuovo-Tedesco, and Lisbeth Castelnuovo-Tedesco, widow of the composer’s son, Pietro. Together with an extensive collection of music manuscripts that the composer and his family gave to the Library in the past, and a number of manuscripts by Castelnuovo-Tedesco in the Library’s Moldenhauer Archives, this collection is now the preeminent archives for the study of this important composer.
Konvent d’Minoriten, Wien
Bibliothèque du Conservatoire Royal de Musique, Liège
Det Kongelige Bibliothek, Copenhagen
Rischel & Birket-Smith Collection
“The heart of the collection was collected by the Danish engineer and guitar player Thorvald Rischel (1861-1939)… Another part of Rischel’s collection derived from the Danish guitar player J.G. Holm, who had also been a friend of Coste, and from P. Schulte, a Swede who had owned most of the handwritten works by Coste in copies revised by Coste himself. Rischel also acquired all the available compositions for guitar by Fernando Sor, many of them in rare first editions, and a great deal of unpublished music by J.K. Mertz.
After Rischel’s death in 1939, his collection of music was dispersed. Most of it came to the librarian and guitar player Frederik Birket-Smith (1880-1952). The rest of the collection was delivered to the Royal Library in Copenhagen. After Birket-Smith’s death the Royal Library received the joint collections of Rischel and Birket-Smith.”
(From Larson/Danner Catalogue. History of the Collection.)
Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London
Appleby Guitar Collection
Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham
Early Printed Music Collection
Miscellaneous collection of scores and parts published ca. 1700-1850 by composers such as Handel, Haydn and Hummell. Albums of songs, piano and guitar music by minor composers of the period.
Royal Academy of Music, London
Robert Spencer (1932-1997) was connected with the lute as a performer, scholar, teacher and collector of instruments and of manuscripts. He was well known as a soloist and as an ensemble performer and first achieved an international reputation accompanying Alfred Deller, an artistic relationship which extended over many years. He was the much-loved professor of early English song at the Royal Academy of Music, and taught here for nearly a quarter of a century. Robert Spencer’s important collection of books, manuscripts and instruments was built up over many years. He used it as a working library to enable him to carry out the detailed scholarly research which underpinned his performances and teaching activities. The collection was acquired by the Academy in 1998 with the help of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Mrs Jill Spencer, the Britten-Pears Foundation and contributors to a public appeal. As well as an invaluable collection of 16th and 17th century music for lute and guitar, now in the Academy’s Library, the Spencer Collection also contains a fine collection of 17th century engravings of performers and venues. Items on display include a Renaissance-style lute by Venere, Padua 1584 (with original back and modern reconstruction neck and table), the Margaret Board lute book of c.1610 and the Mynshall lute book of 1597.
Freie Vereinigung Zur Förderung Guter Guitaremusik
Launch the Online-Katalog, enter “ga hb” and select Signatur from the pop-up menu and you will get over 700 results.
A private collection of music for solo guitar and guitar with voice and/or ensemble. This comprises the works of 19th century guitar composers, mainly first editions. It includes some guitar tutors, as well as tutors for other instruments. There are also arrangements by Hudleston in manuscript form.
“The size of this collection is rather astonishing: there are 1018 prints (the catalogue contains over 1500 entries once the individual works in anthologies are included), and there are at least 800 works in manuscript. More astonishing than this is that the entire collection was that of one man, Josiah Andrew Hudleston. This makes the Hudleston Collection of Guitar Music in the Royal Irish Academy of Music one of the largest intact collections in the world. It is larger than the Rischel & Birket-Smith collection in the Royal Library in Copenhagen, and it is at least as large as the Krick collection in Washington University. Although it is only one fifth of the size of the Olcott-Bickford collection in California State University, there is another aspect of the Hudleston collection which makes it just as significant. Whereas all of these other collections were assembled by people well after the music they were collecting was composed and published, Hudleston was a contemporary of all of the composers represented in his collection.”
Michael McCartney, cataloger
Biblioteca Civica de Cento
A.K. Bell Library, Perth
A collection of mainly 18th and 19th century Scottish music. It was assembled by Lady Dorothea Stewart Murray, daughter of the 7th Duke of Atholl. It was left to the Sandeman Library (now the A K Bell Library) on condition that it be known as the Atholl Collection, and to be kept intact. It contains all the great songs and music collections of the 18th and 19th centuries, together with poetry manuscript material and some ephemera. The collection is mostly of Scottish music and includes all the famous song collections such as those of Herd, Ramsay, Burns, Scott, Lady Nairne, Hoff, Motherwell, Maidment, Kirkpartrick, Sharp, Ritchie Kinloch, Christie, Ritson and Ford, and tune collections such as those of Bremner, Gow, Glen and Marshall. Distinguished compilations such as the Gesto and Killin collections are also represented.The collection also includes original manuscripts such as William Dixon’s Tune Book of 1734.
Museo de la Música, Barcelona
Museo de la Ciudad “Casa de Polo”, Vila-Real
Sala Francisco Tarrega
1. Sérénade, op.84,(4) by Leonhard von Call
SÉRÉNADE / Pour Guitare et Violoncelle / ou Flûte / COMPOSÉE PAR / Léonard de Call / Oeuv. 84. Prix 4.f 50.c / N.ta La Partie de Violoncelle et Celle de Flûte, sont gravées séparement / A PARIS / Chez RICHAULT (Simon) Editeur de Musique, Rue Grange Batelière, Nº 7 / Mr. J. J. DE MOMIGNY Boulevard Poissonniere Nº 20 / 50
2. Trois duos de Filippo Gragnani
Trois / DUOS / pour Violon et Guitarre / Composés et Dédiés / À SON ÉLÉVE / MR. J. FILIPPI / PAR / F. Gragnani / Prix 7 ff. 10 s. / A PARIS / Chez CARLI et Cie. Mds. de Musiques, Livres Italiens et Cordes de Naples, Péristyle du / Théâtre Favart, à la Typographie de la Sirène, côté de la rue de Mariveaux. / 473
3. Grand duo concertant by Luigi Moretti
GRAND DUO Concertant / Pour Guitare et Violon / Composé et dédié / à Son ami Meissonnier / Par / LUIGI MORETTI / Prix 3f. 75c. / à Paris au Bureau du Journal de Guitare / Chez MEISSONNIER, rue Montmartre Nº 182 au coin du Boulevard / et à Toulouse / Chez Meissonnier Ainè et Compagnie, Md. de Musique, rue St. Rome Nº 49
4. Musique de punto by Charles Doisy
DUO, / Musique de Punto, Arrangé / pour Guitare et Cor, / Par / DOISY, / Professeur / Na. Ce Duo est arrangé en Ut et en Ré pour la / comodité des Exécutants; et peut, comme toute la / musique de Doisy, s’exécuter sur la Guitare à 6 / comme à 5 Cordes. / Prix 3 fs. 50 cs. / A PARIS, / Chez DOISY, Md. de Musique et d’Instrumens, / Rue Feydeau, Nº 244. / Gravé par Doisy. 31.
5. Duo, op.19, by Ferdinando Carulli
DUO / Pour / Violon & Guitare / COMPOSÉ PAR / Ferdinando Carulli / Nº. [blank] Prix 3f. / OP. 19 / A Paris / A LA TYPOGRAPHIE DE LA SYRENE, Chez CARLI et C.IE. M.ds de Musique, Livres Italiens / et Cordes de Naples, Péristyle du Théâtre Favart, côté de la Rue Mariveaux / Propriété de l’Auteur Déposée à la Bibliothèque Imp.le / Choizeau Scrip. / 145
6. Duo, op.17 [b], by Ferdinando Carulli
DUO / Pour / Violon et Guitare / COMPOSÉ PAR / Ferdinando Carulli / Op.17. Prix: 3.f / N.B. Cet Ouvrage devrait porter le N.º 80. par ce qu’il à / été Composé après l’Opera 79. mais l’Editeur pour remplir / la Lacune de la Collection il y à mis l’Op.17. / A PARIS / Chez CARLI, Éditeur et Marchand de Musique, Place et Péristyle des Italiens / côté de la Rue Mariveaux. / (378.)
7. Fantaisie, op.102, by Ferdinando Carulli
FANTAISIE / Pour Violon et Guitare / sur un Air National Anglais / Composée / PAR / FERDINANDO CARULLI / Op.102. Prix: 3f. 50c. / Propriété de l’Auteur / à Paris / Chez CARLI, Editeur et Marchand de Musique, Place et Péristyle des Italiens / 529.
8. Airs du Mariage de Figaro, op.66, by Ferdinando Carulli
AIRS / du Mariage de Figaro / Musique de Mozart / Arrangés en Duo / Pour Violon et Guitare ou Lyre / PAR / FERDINANDO CARULLI. / OPERA 66. Prix 6f. LIVRE / A PARIS / Chez CARLI, Md. de Musique, Cordes de Naples et Livres Italiens, Péristyle du / Théâtre Favart, côté de la Rue de Mariveaux, à la Typographie de la Syrène. / Déposé à la Direction G.le de l’Imprimerie et de la Librarie. / 147
9. Duo, handwritten, by Ferdinando Carulli
DUO / Pour Guitarre & Violon / par Carulli / Guitarre
10. Trois Sonatines, op.59, by Ferdinando Carulli
Trois / SONATINES / Pour Guitare Seule / Avec Accompagnement d’un Violon Ad Libitum / Composées par / FERDINAND CARULLI / Op. 59. Prix 5.fcs / Propriété de l’Editeur Enregistré á la Bib.e Imp.le / à Paris / Chez CARLI, Md. de Musique, Livres Italiens, Cordes de Naples / Péristyle du Théâtre Favart, côté de la Rue de Mariveaux, à la Typographie de la Cyréne [sic] / 384
11. Air de La Molinara de Paisiello, by Ferdinando Carulli
Without separate title-page. At the first page, guitar part, there is a heading that says:
AIR DE LA MOLINARA / de PAISIELLO / Varié pour Violon et Guitare / Par F. CARULLI.
12. Duo, by Wenceslas Cerruti
Without separate title-page. At first page, guitar part, a heading says:
DUO / de Violon ou Flûte et Guitare / Par W. CERRUTI
13. Sérénade nº3, by P. J. Plouvier
Nº [handwritten] “3” / TROIS / Sérénades / Composées / de Thêmes, Rondeaux, Siciliennes, / Polonaises, Valses et Variations, &a. / A.es Pour / Guitare et Flûte / OU VIOLON / Par / P. J. PLOUVIER / [blank] Livraison. Prix 4 fr. 10s. / A PÁRIS. Chez l’Auteur, Rue Mandar, Nº5. / BRUXELLES. Chez D. Plouvier, au Magasin de Musique / et d’Instrumens, Rue de l’Impératrice, Nº 1258. / NOTA Les mêmes Sérénades, se vendent aussi pour deux flûtes / Propriété de P. J. Plouvier. Deposé á la Direction / (39, 41, 42, 43, [blank] )
14. Sérénade nº1, by P. J. Plouvier
Nº [handwritten] “1” / TROIS / Sérénades / Composées / de Thêmes, Rondeaux, Siciliennes, / Polonaises, Valses et Variations, &a. / A.es Pour / Guitare et Flûte / OU VIOLON / Par / P. J. PLOUVIER / [blank] Livraison. Prix 4 fr. 10s. / A PÁRIS. Chez l’Auteur, Rue Mandar, Nº5. / BRUXELLES. Chez D. Plouvier, au Magasin de Musique / et d’Instrumens, Rue de l’Impératrice, Nº 1258. / NOTA Les mêmes Sérénades, se vendent aussi pour deux flûtes / Propriété de P. J. Plouvier. Deposé á la Direction / (39, 41, 42, 43, [blank] )
15. Trois nocturnes, the author is not mentioned.
Without separate title-page. At the first page, guitar part, there is a heading that says:
JOURNAL de LYRE ou GUITARE / Redigé par MEISSONNIER / TROIS NOCTURNES pour GUITARE et FLUTE ou VIOLON / A PARIS, AU BUREAU DU JOURNAL DE GUITARE / Chez MEISSONNIER, rue Montmartre Nº 182 au coin du Boulevard / ET A TOULOUSE / Chez Meissonnier Ainé et Compagnie, Md. de Musique, rue St. Rome Nº. 49
16. Trois Duos, by Alexandre Rolla
Trois / DUO [sic] / Pour Guitare et Violon / Composés / par Alexandre Rolla / Premier Violon du grand Théâtre de la Scala à Milan. / Prix : 4f. 50. cent. / á Paris / Chez MEISSONNIER, Rue Bergére, Nº.5. / La musique gravé par Joannès
17. Trois Duos Faciles, op.3, by Francesco Molino
Trois / DUOS / faciles / Pour Violon et Guitare / DÉDIÉS / à M.lle Caroline Heath / PAR / FRANÇOIS MOLINO. / Op.3. Prix : 4f. 50c. / Propriété de l’Editeur. Dépose a la B.que Royale. / à Paris / Chez GAMBARO, Au Magasin de Musique et d’Instrumens, Rue Croix des Petits Champs, Nº42. / 101
18. Troisième Divertissement, by Jean-Antoine Meissonnier
Troisième / Divertissement / ou Choix de différents Morceaux / Faciles / Pour Guitare et Flûte (ou Violon) / Dédié à Son Ami / Farrenc / Artiste de l’Opera Buffa, / PAR MEISSONNIER. / Prix 6f. / A PARIS / Au Bureau de l’Abt. du Journal de Guitare, chez MEISSONNIER, Rue Montmartre, Nº. 182. / Et A TOULOUSE, Chez MEISSONNIER Ainé et Comp.ie Mds. de Musique, Rue St. Rome, Nº49. / (98.)
19. Ouverture du Barbier de Séville de Rossini, by Jean-Antoine Meissonnier
OUVERTURE / du Barbier de Séville / Musique de Rossini / ARRANGÉE / Pour Guitare et Violon / Par / MEISSONNIER. / Prix 3f. / A PARIS / Au Bureau du Journal de Guitare, Chez Meissonnier, Rue Montmartre, Nº. 182. / et à Toulouse, chez Meissonnier Ainé et Comp.ie, Mds. de Musique, Rue St. Rome, Nº. 49. (145.)
The Music Library of Sweden, Stockholm
The Fryklund Collection, bequest in 1965
The large collection of Daniel Fryklund is split between the Library and the Stockholm Music Museum(part of the same organization). The Library owns his somewhat eclectic collection of music: from 16th-century prints, album leaves in the hands of numerous composers, and an extensive collection of printed guitar music from the early 19th century.
The Boije Collection, donated in 1924
Guitar music in printed editions from the early 19th century and mss. (e.g., autographs by Johann Kaspar Mertz). Together with the Fryklund collection it forms a substantial body of such music, nicely complemented by the Rischel och Birket-Smith collections in the Royal Library in Copenhagen.
Music for the Guitar in the Collection of Kenneth Sparr
“This part of the collection consists of works for the guitar published or written before c. 1900. There are also a few works with other instrumentation and the reason for including them is that their composer also composed for the guitar or have some other connection with the guitar. The collection has been built during the last 20 years and the works have been acquired from many different sources: antiquarian book sellers from all over the world, junk shops, private persons, through Internet etc. An important acquisition was the collection of music from the Skottorp castle in Halland, Sweden, which contained more than 50 early prints for the guitar.”