Library and Archives
New in the Library
These are the latest titles added to the collection.
- Bon vent : for solo violin (2018) / Kaija Saariaho.
- Danse profane : no. 2 des "Cinq danses profanes et sacrées" pour cor en fa et piano ou orchestre de chambre / par Henri Tomasi.
- Rachmaninoff and his world / edited by Philip Ross Bullock.
- Minna Wagner : a life, with Richard Wagner / Eva Rieger ; translated by Chris Walton.
- Embodied philosophy in dance : Gaga and Ohad Naharin's movement research / Einav Katan.
- Reading Franz Liszt : revealing the poetry behind the piano music / Paul Roberts.
- Vaughan Williams / Eric Saylor.
- Mémoires d'Hector Berlioz de 1803 à 1865 : et ses voyages en Italie, en Allemagne, en Russie et en Angleterre / écrits par lui-même ; texte établi, présenté et annoté par Peter Bloom.
- The northern silence : journeys in Nordic music and culture / Andrew Mellor.
- Archives, access and artificial intelligence : working with born-digital and digitized archival collections / Lise Jaillant (ed.).
- Saturday, 12/3/2022
- Monday, 12/5/2022
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Tuesday, 12/6/2022
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Wednesday, 12/7/2022
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Thursday, 12/8/2022
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Friday, 12/9/2022
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Saturday, 12/10/2022
About the Library
In addition, the Rock Resource Center collects manuscripts, gifts of music, and memorabilia of Curtis and people associated with it.
Comprising the John de Lancie Library and the Curtis Archives, the Rock Resource Center’s mission is to:
- provide Curtis students, faculty, and staff with the best possible collection of printed music, books, periodicals, recordings, and electronic resources needed to fulfill the school’s mission;
- promote the Rock Resource Center’s holdings through forward thinking and open patron service; and
- preserve and make Curtis’s past accessible to the greater Curtis community.
The Curtis Archives comprises largely unpublished materials whose value derives from its collection by, ownership of, or relation to, a Curtis-affiliated individual. Non-Curtis collections of published and unpublished materials, as well as published materials by anyone (Curtis-related or not), can be found in Special Collections. Official Curtis recordings are a part of the library collection. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis.
Emily Waters, Associate Dean of the John de Lancie Library
Emily works collaboratively with all Curtis Institute of Music departments as an active participant in new initiatives, as an expert on information organization, institutional history, and music library resources including print, media, and digital. She provides direction for strategic growth of all aspects of the Rock Resource Center. Emily joined the library staff in 2009.
Emily earned her M.M. is Trumpet Performance from Florida State University and a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from Drexel University. In her free time, she enjoys running, baking, and spending time with her husband and sons.
P: (215) 717-3123
Pete Williams, Director of the Rock Resource Center
Pete oversees the day-to-day functions of the library and archives, management of library and archives staff, and accessibility and security of the library collections. He collaborates with Associate Dean of the John de Lancie Library Emily Waters on long-term planning, budgeting, staffing, and service on Curtis administrative committees. Pete also manages the library’s collection of recital recordings and the book collection, and serves as liaison to the Liberal Arts department.
Pete earned a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Kansas and a Master of Information with a concentration in Library and Information Sciences from Rutgers University. He enjoys researching family history, cooking, and walking in the woods with his dog. He has called Philadelphia home since 2016.
P: (215) 717-3147
Barbara Benedett, Digital Archivist
Barbara is a member of the Academy of Certified Archivists and a certified Digital Archives Specialist through the Society of American Archivists. She holds undergraduate degrees in art history, psychology, and music education and a M.M. in clarinet performance. At Curtis, she manages the Rock Resource Center’s digital repository, electronic institutional records, web archives, RRC Blog, as well as the archives’ online collections and public catalog.
Barb spends her free time with her 2 rescued “pibbles” Kensey and Sausage. She also freelances for area orchestras, theaters, and the occasional rock band.
P: (215) 717-3139
Aliyah Shanti, Circulation Manager
Aliyah (pronouns: she/her) manages the front desk at the library and circulation procedures such as checkouts, holds, and keeping shelves in order. Aliyah holds a PhD in musicology from Princeton University, specializing in Baroque opera. She has a BA in composition and Italian. She joined the library staff in September of 2021. Aliyah enjoys playing classical and klezmer violin.
P: (215) 717-3156
The Rock Resource Center, including both the library and archives of the Curtis Institute of Music, collects, preserves, and provides access to historical materials for performance, research and other educational purposes. These materials represent the values and opinions of their creators and may contain language or images that are offensive or objectionable. Providing access to these materials allows us to hold the creators accountable and learn from the past.
The Rock Resource Center staff supports the values voiced by the greater Curtis community, including openness, compassion, empathy, respect, and transparency.
The library considers gifts of materials in the following areas:
- Sheet music
- CDs and DVDs
- Rare books and manuscripts
- Non-commercial recordings related to Curtis history
- Archival materials (please see Archives’ material donation policy for further details)
The following materials cannot be accepted due to space and format limitations:
- LPs, VHS tapes, Laserdiscs, audio cassettes, and other obsolete media
- Magazines and newspapers
- Discarded materials from other libraries
Materials are accepted subject to consultation with and approval of the Curtis library and archives staff. Donated materials may or may not be added to the library’s collections. Materials not added will be made available to Curtis students and faculty. The library cannot determine the value of gifts and recommends donors contact an appraiser if they intend to take a tax deduction.
Archives & Special Collections
The Curtis Archives document the history and legacy of the Curtis Institute of Music by preserving records of permanent historical value. Welcoming both the Curtis community and the general public, the Archives offer diverse collections that encompass the entirety of the Curtis experience.
The scope of the Curtis Archives collection policy, in keeping with its mission to document the history and legacy of the Curtis Institute of Music, encompasses all materials that chronicle the school’s functions, activities, culture, and values.*
Administrative records of permanent historical value are identified in conjunction with Curtis departments and staff.
Papers and recollections from faculty, alumni, and other members of the Curtis community are actively sought in an ongoing effort to capture a complete representation of the Curtis experience.
*Note: the Curtis Archives is primarily comprised of unpublished material whose value derives from its collection by, ownership of, or relation to, a Curtis-affiliated individual. Non-Curtis collections of published and unpublished materials, as well as published materials by anyone (Curtis-related or not), can be found in Curtis’s Special Collections. Official Curtis recordings are a part of the library collection.
The collections in the Curtis Archives are open by appointment to all members of the Curtis community, visiting researchers, and the general public. Please note that use of some materials may be restricted by law, donor stipulations, or preservation concerns. Any restrictions are noted in published finding aids.
General access notes:
- The archivist reserves the right to close portions of any collection if it contains sensitive information or violates the privacy of living individuals. In instances in which an individual’s death is uncertain, a restriction period of 80 years from the creation date applies.
- Student records and others containing private information are restricted for 80 years after the creation date unless written permission is provided by the student or next-of-kin. For deceased students a list of basic factual information will be provided.
- Faculty and staff records are restricted for 70 years after their creation date unless written permission is provided by the respective individual or next-of-kin. For information on individuals within the restriction period, please consult the vice president of communications and public affairs.
- Minutes of the board of trustees, board of overseers, and board of the Mary Louise Curtis Bok Foundation are restricted for 50 years after their creation date.
- Other administrative records are restricted for 50 years after their creation date unless otherwise stipulated by the transferring department.
- Unprocessed collections are not open for research.
Administrative records of the Curtis Institute of Music
Founder’s papers and records of the director, dean, registrar, and board of trustees. These records are restricted. Please contact the archivist with any questions.
Materials used or kept at the Curtis Institute of Music, as well as items donated by faculty and alumni. (view the finding aid)
Audiovisual (AV) recordings
Non-commercial, non-performance, and AV recordings relating to the Curtis Institute of Music. Most materials are for internal use only and not accessible to the public. For student recitals and commercial recordings featuring alumni and faculty, see the FAQs.
Personal papers (MSS)
Papers, photographs, AV materials, and memorabilia relating to Curtis faculty, staff, and alumni. Finding aids for these materials are posted upon completion.
Images covering various aspects of life at Curtis, including students, alumni and faculty, graduating classes, and publicity, c. 1880 to the present. For more information on the collection, including digital copies and copyright, please contact the archivist.
Programs, publicity, and promotional materials
Curtis programs, publications, and promotional materials from 1924 to the present (view the finding aid). The following programs and newsletters are digitized and online: performance programs 1924-2014; Catalogue 1924-2010, Overtones 1929-1940.
Scrapbooks and related clippings kept by the Curtis administration to document various aspects of the school’s history and achievements. (view the finding aid).
Vertical files collection
Press clippings, publicity materials, and other documents relating to Curtis, its faculty, and alumni. Early clippings include copies from annual scrapbooks that were kept during the first decades after Curtis’s founding. (view the finding aid).
Visual materials collection
Illustrations and other non-photographic art work related to Curtis (view the finding aid).
The Curtis Archives are open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the school year and Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m in the summer. Visits are by appointment only. The Archives are located in the Rock Resource Center at 1720 Locust Street, Philadelphia. Researchers must bring current photo identification and sign a registration form in which they agree to observe the use and reproduction policy and rules for using the collections.
We encourage all patrons visiting the Archives to consult our collections in person. For those unable to do so, please direct any questions to the archivist. We endeavor to answer all inquiries in the order of receipt within two weeks. For more on Curtis please consult our FAQs.
Researchers may order photocopies or scans of most materials for a fee (see rates below). Orders are fulfilled upon receipt of a check payment, signed registration form, and a completed use and reproduction policy order form. Use of a digital camera within the Archives is allowed only under the terms of the reproduction policy. Photocopies and digital photographs may be used for personal reference and research only. Permission to publish or share materials in any other way must be requested separately through a completed permission form.
- Publishing houses (textbooks/reference books)
- $ 100 for the first photograph
- $ 45 for each additional photograph
- Publishing houses (scholarly monographs/university presses)
- $35 per photograph
- Other commercial users
- $125 for the first photograph
- $50 for each additional photograph
- Non commercial use fees determined on a case-by-case basis
- Publishing houses (textbooks/reference books)
- Digital scans
- reproduction at 300 dpi: $5
- reproduction at higher resolution: $6
- Standard 8.5″ x 11″ photocopy: $3 per sheet
- Standard 11″ x 17″ photocopy: $4 per sheet
Minimum order for remote users is $15.
Remote researchers may order photocopies to be emailed in PDF format, in which case applicable shipping fees will be waived. The maximum number of photocopies per patron is 200 per year.
The Archives uses Dropbox to transfer images that are too large to send by e-mail.
What alumni materials does the Archives collect?
The Archives is interested in documentation of the Curtis student experience exclusive of Curtis publicity or promotional campaigns. Examples include:
- informal photographs and drawings
- video recordings
- journals and diaries
- Curtis related personal correspondence
- student created materials
- course notes, syllabi, and assignments
- memorabilia and small objects related to the school
What faculty materials does the Archives collect?
The Archives seek personal collections from faculty with an established relationship with Curtis. Of particular interest are materials that document their lives and achievements, teaching methods, and interactions with students.
How do I find out if my materials are of interest to the Archives?
Please contact the archivist to discuss materials you wish to donate. Note that the acceptance of some materials may not be possible due to size, access restrictions, and/or conservation issues.
Will there be any legal arrangements? What about copyright?
Donors of personal archives and other unpublished historical materials are required to sign a deed of gift transferring the ownership and legal rights of the donated materials to the Curtis Institute of Music. In addition, the Archives strongly encourages donors to transfer copyright in self-created materials as this will enable their use for exhibits, Curtis publications, and research. If, however, donors wish to retain all or a part of the intellectual property rights to self-created materials, a provision will be included in the deed of gift.
Who will see my materials? Can access be restricted to part or all of it due to privacy or confidentiality issues?
The collections in the Curtis Archives, open to the Curtis community, researchers, and the public, are available both on site and online. In addition, a wide range of visitors utilize the Archives including biographers, scholars, filmmakers, journalists, and genealogists. Although access to the collections is generally unrestricted, it is possible to prohibit access to part of a collection for a specified amount of time.
Can I provide copies and keep the originals?
High-resolution scans of photographs are gladly accepted, though the Archives can also scan and return originals. For all other archival materials we prefer to retain the originals. Should that not be possible, high-resolution copies of significant materials are acceptable.
What will happen to my materials after they are transferred to the archives?
Donated archival materials will be preserved and processed according to recognized archival standards. Also, unless restrictions prevent otherwise, the materials will be made available for research and/or use in exhibits.
Is my donation tax deductible?
In certain instances donations may qualify as tax-deductible, allowing donors to claim a gift as a charitable donation. For further information, please consult a tax accountant or attorney. To claim a deduction for non-cash gifts in excess of $500 within a calendar year, a donor must file IRS Form 8283
Can I tell my Curtis story or contribute my Curtis knowledge to the Archives?
Absolutely! We always welcome personal reminiscences of your time at Curtis. Please contact the archivist to discuss sharing your information and/or experiences.
Are you interested in printed music or recordings?
Scores and recordings of Curtis performances are kept in the Curtis library which welcomes any commercially available alumni and faculty recordings not already in its holdings (see the ROC catalog). If you would like to discuss the donation of music manuscripts and scores, please contact the associate dean of the library and archives.
Where can I read about the history of the Curtis Institute of Music?
Histories of the institute can be found in the following publications:
- Catalogue (1924-1971)
- Overtones (1929-1940)
- Overtones 50th-anniversary issue
- Seventy-Five Years of the Curtis Institute of Music, 1924-1999: A Narrative Portrait
- Curtis’s history site.
How can I consult finding aids to your collections?
Finding aids are published as collections are processed. View available finding aids here.
What information is available about Curtis alumni, faculty, and staff?
The Curtis Institute of Music maintains all student files dating from its founding in 1924. For restrictions please consult our access policy.
Student and faculty recital programs through 2014 can be browsed online. Additionally, students and faculty may appear in the school’s newsletter Overtones, published from 1929 to 1940. For lists of students, faculty, and staff through 1974 please consult the Overtones 50th anniversary edition.
The vertical files collection contains newspaper clippings and miscellaneous public information about faculty and alumni. For photographs and other available information, please contact the Archives.
Why does my relative not appear in Curtis’s online alumni database?
To be considered alumni, students must attend Curtis for at least one year and leave in good standing (view the alumni database). To inquire about a student file, contact the archivist. For restrictions please consult our access policy.
Another way to verify attendance is to browse the school’s student recital programs. If a person does not appear in the programs, and no student file is available, this indicates (s)he was not a Curtis student.
It is possible that someone who is thought to have been a Curtis student studied privately with a Curtis faculty member or a Curtis student. These records are not in the Curtis Archives.
Do you have historical recordings of alumni and faculty in your collection?
Student recitals (1937-present) and commercial recordings featuring alumni and faculty are held by the Curtis Institute of Music library and searchable through its online catalog. All private, non-commercial recordings are available to students, faculty, alumni, and approved researchers only (contact the associate librarian).
Do you have records of people who auditioned at Curtis but were rejected?
Applications of rejected students are not kept by Curtis administration. Please contact the archivist with any further questions.
Finding aids for all non-restricted materials are updated as collections are processed. Please contact the archivist with any questions about unlisted collections or Curtis administrative records. All public finding aids, for the archives and library’s special collections, are available at https://curtisarchives.libraryhost.com.
The library welcomes requests from current students, staff, and faculty. NOTE: If the item falls outside the scope of our collections or budget, we may use Interlibrary Loan instead.
- Course Reserves
We offer course reserve for books, articles, and A/V materials. Articles and A/V material can either be put on hard-copy reserve or posted on your course’s Canvas site. To put items on library reserve please contact Aliyah Shanti. To put items on electronic reserve please contact Rebecca Topper.
- Course Reserves
Policies and Procedures
Academic materials (such as solfege materials) are borrowed for the entire school year and are due on the Monday of exam week in the second semester.
All other circulating printed materials (such as scores, books, etc.) may be borrowed for an entire semester. The due dates for the 2022-2023 school year are:
- Fall Semester—December 15, 2022
- Spring Semester—May 12, 2023
- Summer— TBA
**Circulating A/V materials may be borrowed for up to 7 calendar days and you can have up to 10 A/V items in your account at any given time. (Note that most box sets of CDs or DVDs count as a single item, no matter how many discs are inside.)
Daily Overdue Fines: none
Yearly Overdue Fines: On June 1 of any year, any student with one or more overdue items in their accounts will be assessed a $50 fine.
Faculty may borrow circulating items for an entire calendar year. The due date will always be February 14 of any given year. Items checked out within three months of a due date will be due the following February 14.
(Example: Items borrowed on January 10, 2023 will be due on February 14, 2024.)
Because of the long borrowing period, sight-unseen renewals are not permitted. Once-a-year inspection ensures that the items are still in good condition or not lost.
Circulating A/V materials may be borrowed for up to 7 calendar days and you can have up to 10 A/V items in your account at any given time. (Note that most box sets of CDs or DVDs count as a single item, no matter how many discs are inside.)
Daily Overdue Fines: none
All circulating printed materials (such as scores, books, etc.) are borrowed for an entire semester. The due dates for the 2021-22 school year are the following:
- Fall Semester—December 15, 2021
- Spring Semester—May 10, 2022
- Summer—September 16, 2022
Circulating A/V materials may be borrowed for up to 7 calendar days and you may have up to 10 A/V items in your account at any given time. (Note that most box sets of CDs or DVDs count as a single item, no matter how many discs are inside.)
Recalled items which are being borrowed for school projects can still be renewed, and should be returned when the current project is finished. Recalled items that were borrowed for personal use must be returned as quickly as possible.
Daily Overdue Fines: none
Alumni living in the greater Philadelphia area (approximately a 50-mile radius) may borrow library items on a limited basis. Alumni living outside the greater Philadelphia area may use the library resources in-house, but may not borrow.
Alumni may borrow circulating printed materials for a total of 4 weeks (28 calendar days) and audio materials for a total of 7 calendar days. Items may be renewed once sight-unseen, but must be brought in complete with all parts for a second renewal.
A $100 deposit is required to open a library account and become a borrower. You can end your borrowing privileges and get your deposit back at any time, as long as your account is in good standing with no items checked out or moneys owed.
Any item recalled for use by a current student, faculty member, or staff member, or for general institutional use, must be brought back as quickly as possible.
Daily Overdue Fines: 25 cents per item per business day (i.e. no fines are assessed for days on which the library is closed).
The library is open during the summer months, and users may borrow library items while school is out of session. However, the library does not circulate chamber music sets of three parts or more during the summer months except for use in reading sessions and local gigs. **These items have a circulating period of 7 calendar days with only one renewal possible.
All other items can be borrowed as usual.
If an item you’d like to borrow is currently not a part of the library collection, please fill out the on-line request form or talk to one of the librarians. Every effort will be made to add it to the collection as quickly as possible, and you will get first use of the item when it’s ready to be circulated.
The library’s general collections are not open to the public. However, the Curtis Institute of Music does circulate materials on Interlibrary Loan. For access to items held in our Special Collections, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment. The Archives are available to outside researchers as well (please see Visiting the Archives for further information).
We do not require you to bring your item into the library for a first-time renewal. If you want a second renewal, you must bring your item to the library, complete with all parts, for inspection.
Your library materials may be renewed in the following ways:
- On-line in your library account*
- By email or over the phone*
- In person
(*first renewal only)
When an item is overdue you will receive overdue notices, sent to the e-mail account in your file. You will still be able to borrow until the fourth notice is sent. Once the fourth notice has been sent, the overdue item will appear as “billed” in your record and your library account will be frozen until you either pay to replace it (if lost or damaged beyond usability) or else return it complete. Once the item has been returned, complete and in good condition, your bill will be reduced to zero and your borrowing privileges will be restored.
Bills are calculated according to the following formulas:
- Printed materials: Current replacement value + $15
- A/V materials: Current replacement value + $5
If an item you wish to borrow is currently being used by another person, a hold can be put in your account for that item. When the item is returned, it will be put aside for you at the circulation desk and you will receive a message telling you it’s available.
If an item you currently have checked out is requested by another person, that item will be placed on hold and will no longer be available for renewal. If you are a current student, or are on faculty or staff, you may keep it until the end of your current borrowing period if you wish. Alumni must return any recalled item as quickly as possible.
There are dedicated quiet study and listening areas in the library where you can do your work without distraction.
- The A/V-Archives area on the second floor
- The study room on the fourth floor (at the front of the building on your left as you walk towards it)
If people are making noise in these areas, feel free to direct them to an area where conversation and noise are permitted.
The first floor of the library is a public commons where conversation is allowed and encouraged. The other open conversation areas are:
- the conference room on the second floor
- the elevator lobbies in the basement and on the first, second, and third floors
Conversation is also allowed in the stacks of the general collection, but should be kept to a minimum out of respect for those who are using the areas for study.
**The dedicated study areas are for quiet study. If you need to talk in these areas, please whisper or take your conversation or phone call to one of the areas where conversation is permitted.
Cell phone use is allowed in the lounge in the rear of the first floor and in all of the elevator lobby areas except the fourth floor. You may not use cell phones in any of the designated quiet areas. In all other areas, please keep your calls brief and relatively quiet.
Personal bags and your instrument cases may remain with you in the library, with the exception of large cases such as those for cellos, double basses, tubas, etc. These larger cases must be left at the circulation desk.
You may also choose to leave your bag or instrument downstairs at the circulation desk if you wish. Your belongings will be put in the closet and you’ll be given a claim check tag which you will use to retrieve it. The bags will be under the care of the guard or a library staff member at all times.
All bags and cases brought into the library will be inspected by a library staff member before you leave the building.
**Coats and jackets may be worn in the library. However, during very inclement weather please leave wet outerwear on the coat hooks at the first-floor entrance, so that water and snow is not tracked through the building.
Food and drinks are allowed in all areas of the library except the A/V-Archives area on the second floor. If you are eating lunch, remain in the first-floor lounge or the second-floor conference room. Your food should be snack-sized and portable (sandwiches, fruit, chips, energy bars, etc.) rather than full meals.
Please keep your food in its containers or wrappers as much as possible and use the the garbage cans to dispose of waste. Drinks must be kept in closed containers such as plastic bottles, closed coffee mugs, etc. Canned drinks without a lid and to-go cups like paper coffee cups are not permitted and should be left at the circulation desk while you’re in the library.
Please respect others by not bringing in pungent-smelling food, since strong odors will spread throughout the floor and building.
The library staff reserves the right to determine whether food brought in is acceptable, and may ask you to eat it elsewhere before returning to the library.
The library, housed in the Rock Resource Center at 1720 Locust Street, contains over 100,000 volumes of music scores and books, including scholarly sets of composers’ complete works, authoritative editions of the standard repertoire, and recordings.
The Rock Resource Center has an elevator and accessible restrooms for patron use. For patrons with mobility issues, please contact us at email@example.com or 215-893-5265 and we will gladly arrange to make our collections accessible to you.
Visit the Audio-Visual Desk, located on the second floor of the Rock Resource Center, to access the collection of audio and video recordings of Field Concert Hall recitals, ensemble and opera performances, and other Curtis-sponsored special events. Commercial CDs, DVDs, and some LPs are also available for listening and viewing.
Patrons can view or listen to A/V materials using the media room on the third floor, listening stations scattered throughout the library, or using a personal laptop. Students may also make copies of their own performance CDs in the library.
The second floor seminar room is appropriate for library instruction and small classes. Please contact the library if you’d like to reserve the room for one-time or semester-long use.
Rooms suitable for group study are located on the second and fourth floors of the library.
The library has desktop computers located throughout the building which are available for searching the catalog, listening to media, etc. For non-library related work, computers are available on the fourth floor.
The library has two circulating external DVD drives, should you need one for your netbook or laptop. Please see a librarian at the circulation desk if you’d like to check one out.
Located on the first floor, the lounge is an area for library visitors to socialize and relax. The lounge features long tables for working, soft seating, and free coffee or tea along with a public scanning/printing station.
The media room contains a large screen TV, component stereo system, video players, and speakers. Patrons can use the media room to view/listen to CDs, LPs, DVDs, video tapes, DVDs, and cassettes.
The first-floor lounge offers free scanning and printing. The printer is networked to both the scanning station and the lounge computer. The scanning station, featuring a flat-bed scanner, is large enough for most music scores and books. Options are available for scan-to-email, scan-to-USB drive, scan-to-print (photocopying), and scan-to-network drive. Please ask a librarian if you have any questions about using the equipment.