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Upon Thomas's death in 1905, the entire collection was donated to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with the exception of a small number of scores given to the Newberry Library. A 1906 newspaper article commented, "In scope and completeness, there are few such collections of musical literature even among the great reference libraries of Europe . . . for every score and part contain interpretive markings, which he has added, the phrasing, the dynamics, the ornamentations, and are an enduring record of Thomas's art." As Thomas was the first conductor to introduce uniform bowing, the marked scores and parts are particularly valuable documents for the study of performance practice. Over 200 manuscripts have been found in the collection. Particularly notable items include: a manuscript of William Henry Fry's orchestral poem A Day in the Country (cited in reference works as lost); a manuscript score of Richard Strauss's Symphony in F minor, Op. 12, with the holograph revisions sent by Strauss to Thomas pasted in; many of Thomas's own arrangements; and first edition scores to works given their American premiere by Thomas.

Though Thomas's library comprises the majority of the music holdings in the Archives, there are several other significant collections. Frederick Stock, the Orchestra's second music director and a very prolific composer and arranger, left nearly his entire body of work to the CSO, including 130 original compositions and arrangements. Many of these scores and parts are in manuscript, and since most were performed or even premiered by the CSO, the majority bear Stock's own interpretive markings. Over 90 scores marked by another of the Orchestra's famed conductors, Fritz Reiner, have been set aside strictly for study purposes, as have hundreds of scores marked by Margaret Hillis, founder and longtime director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus. In addition, there is a collection of music by Chicago-area composers including Leo Sowerby, John Alden Carpenter, Felix Borowski, Eric DeLamarter, Wilhelm Middelschulte, George Colburn, A. Albert Noelte, Rudolph Ganz, David Van Vactor, Thorwald Otterstrom, and Adolf Weidig.

Date Range: 1840- [ongoing]

Size of Collection: ca. 3500 titles

Series Description: A. Theodore Thomas Music Library; over 3000 titles dating from ca. 1840-1905, both printed and manuscript; scores and/or parts

  • B.

    Fritz Reiner Marked Scores; 133 titles dating from ca. 1870-1940

  • C.

    Frederick Stock Compositions and Arrangements; 38 original compositions and 95 arrangements

dating from 1898-1942; scores and/or parts D. Felix Borowski Compositions; 17 original compositions; numerous arrangements dating from ca. 1910-1950; scores and/or parts E. Orchestral Scores and Parts (primarily music from the Stock era, 1905-1942).

Access: Collection does not circulate; restricted to onsite access. Finding aids for these collections are available in the Rosenthal Archives.

Quick Search Tips: To search the online catalog for a specific series within this record group, enter under Keywords the record group code MUS followed by a hyphen and the series letter. Examples: to retrieve a list of holdings within the Fritz Reiner Marked Scores series, use Keywords: MUS-B.

At present, the online catalog includes the following: music manuscripts from the Theodore Thomas Music Library; all Fritz Reiner Marked Scores; all Frederick Stock Compositions and Arrangements;


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