About Mendel Library

Mendel Music Library

Sheet music and violin as background for Mendel Music Library branch site header

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About Mendel Library

Woolworth Center for Musical Studies


In 1997 the music collections of Princeton University were brought together for the first time with the opening of the Scheide Music Library in the Woolworth Center for Musical Studies. At the request of the funder, William Scheide, the music library was renamed to honor former Princeton faculty member and Scheide’s teacher Arthur Mendel (1905–1979) for his outstanding contributions as Bach scholar, performer, editor, critic, and teacher to the discipline of music. Books, printed music, sound & video recordings, periodicals, and microform are housed on the three floors of the library. Also included are audio-visual facilities, computer work stations, equipment for viewing and scanning microform, scanning equipment, photocopy equipment, a periodicals reading room, seminar room, and student study carrels. The library also subscribes to a wide variety of electronic resources that include databases, electronic books and journals, streaming audio and video services, and primary resources. The Mendel Music Library collections include over 85,000 monographs, 60,000 scores, 83,000 sound recordings (49,000+ are CDs), 5,100 video recordings, 18,000 microfilm titles, and 1000 periodical titles.

In total, the Mendel Music Library collections support the complex and varied research and performance needs of Princeton’s preeminent music faculty, some fifty graduate students in musicology, music theory, and composition, undergraduate music majors and non-majors participating in the various performance ensembles, and Princeton students, faculty, and staff from all subject areas who include music as part of their interdisciplinary study or personal interest. Since we are open to the public, our collections are also widely used by researchers from all over the Northeast and beyond. The Mendel Music Library also houses collections supporting the dance program and music theater.

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Firestone Library complements the Mendel Music Library by holding the rarest parts of Princeton’s music collection. Foremost among these resources is the Hall Handel Collection, an extensive compilation of manuscripts as well as first and early editions of the works of George Frideric Handel, which is the largest collection of its kind in the United States. There is also a continually growing collection of early music imprints from the 16th-18th centuries augmented by occasional special purchases of music manuscripts—all of which are starting to appear online in digital form as Music Treasures at Princeton. Also in Rare Books and Special Collections, visitors will find William Scheide's private library. Although it is not primarily a music collection, this library includes some extraordinary musical treasures, such as the fair copy of Wagner's Das Rheingold, a Beethoven sketchbook, and autograph manuscripts of works by Mozart and Bach.

Arthur Mendel in 1970