Mendel Music Library - Oliver Strunk Collection

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Oliver Strunk Collection


W. Oliver Strunk (1901-1980) served as a professor of music at Princeton University from 1928-1937. During his tenure he was enormously influential for both his students at the university and for American musicology at large.

Professor Strunk always saw the world of musicology as inseparable from literature, history, religion, and philosophy. As such, he initiated the placement of the Graduate Seminar Room directly in the middle of the Library, a model quickly followed by other disciplines as well as other institutions. His graduate students adored him and lauded him for his generosity and abundance of knowledge.

Although a scholar of great stature, Strunk published relatively little. The majority of his research collections and personal papers were left to The American Academy in Rome. Princeton's holdings include copies of all his published materials, some letters and a limited number of papers relating to his academic duties at the University, as well as the autograph manuscript score an unpublished sonata for viola solo by Paul Hindemith, dated "New-York -- Chicago, April [19]37," together with a manuscript letter from Hindemith to Professor Oliver Strunk, dated April 22, 1937, with a drawing by Hindemith. This was from his personal library, and resides in the Department of Special Collections in Firestone Library.


1928 - Begins service in the Music Division of the Library of Congress

1934 - Appointed chief of the Music Division of the Library of Congress

1935 - Appointed the president of the Music Library Association

1937 - Becomes professor of music at Princeton University

1950 - Publishes Source Readings in Music History from Classical Antiquity through the Romantic Era

1961 - Awarded the American Council of Learned Societies' Award for Distinguished Scholarship in the Humanities; Becomes director of the Monumenta Musicae Byzantinae (a series of facsimiles of Byzantine music Manuscripts)

1966 - Retires from Princeton University and moves to Grottaferrata, Italy to continue his studies of the Greek liturgical manuscripts of the Abbazia Greca; Publishes Specimina Notationum Antiquiorum

1974 - Publishes Essays on Music in the Western World

1977 - Publishes Essays on Music in the Byzantine World


Available through the Rare Book and Special Collections Department

General Manuscripts [Misc.] (C0140)
Box: HI
Folder: Hindemith, Paul, 1895-1963
Description: 1 folder 1937-1948
Includes correspondence between Strunk and Paul Hindemith.
Record Id: 68862

Folder: Strunk, Oliver, 1901-1980
Subfolder: 1
Description: 35 letter(s) by 1968-1979
TLsS to Rosamond McGuinness.
Record Id: 113722

Subfolder: 2
Description: 1 document(s) [ca.1953]
photograph of Strunk with Louis S. Bagger (Princeton Graduate School, 1954)
Record Id: 115429

General Manuscripts [Bound] (C0199)
Series : H (Oversize)
Box : Hindsmith, Paul, 1895-1963
Folder : Sonata fur Bratsche...
Description: 1 letter(s) by n.d.
ALS (in German) with drawing to Professor Strunk
Description: 1 manuscript(s) 1937
music, "Sonata fur Bratsche solo," AMsS, 15 leaves
Record Id: 50726

Richard Korn Papers (C0275)
Series: I. Orchestra of America
Subseries: A. Correspondence
Box: 1
Folder: 7
Description: 1 letter(s) by 1959
TLS to Richard Korn
Record Id: 69595

Nathaniel Burt Papers (C0287)
Series: II. Correspondence
Subseries: A. General
Box: 25
Folder: 7
Description: 1 letter(s) by 1968
TLS to Nathaniel Burt
Record Id: 107978

Box: 26
Folder: 8
Description: 1 letter(s) by 1957
TLS to Nathaniel Burt
Record Id: 108033

Christian Gauss Papers (C0310)
Series: V. Miscellaneous Material
Subseries: A. Princeton University
Box: 83: A - G
Folder: 7
Description: 1 letter(s) by 1945
TLS to Christian Gauss
Record Id: 77337 

General Theatre Manuscripts [Misc.] (TC097)
Box: 14
Folder: Thackeray - Thorne
Description: 1 letter(s) to 1936
TLS by Irving G. Thalberg
Record Id: 119991

Published Material

Essays on music in the Byzantine world / Oliver Strunk ; foreword by Kenneth Levy. New York : W. W. Norton, c1977.
Location: Mendel Music Library (MUS)
Call Number: ML188 .S87

Essays on music in the Western World / [by] Oliver Strunk. Foreword by Lewis Lockwood. New York : W. W. Norton, 1974.
Location: Mendel Music Library (MUS)
Call Number: ML60.S862 E8

Music from the days of George Washington / Collected and provided with an introd. by Carl Engel. The music edited by W. Oliver Strunk. With a pref. by Sol Bloom. Washington, D.C., United States George Washington Bicentennial Commission [1931]
Location: Mendel Music Library (MUS)
Call Number: Oversize M1659.W2E5q

Source readings in music history from classical antiquity through the romantic era / Oliver Strunk, ed. New York, Norton [1950]
Location: Mendel Music Library (MUS)
Call Number: ML160 .S92

Source readings in music history / Selected and annotated by Oliver Strunk. New York, W.W. Norton [c1965]-
Location: Mendel Music Library (MUS)
Call Number: ML160 .S92 1965

Specimina notationum antiquiorum : folia selecta ex variis codicibus saec. x, xi, & xii phototypice depicta / edenda curavit Oliver Strunk. (Monumenta musicae Byzantinae ; 7) Hauniae : E. Munksgaards forlag, 1966.
Mendel Music Library (SV): Reference
(text) c.1 Shelved At Mendel Music Library (SV): Locked
Call Number: M2 .M753q vol. 7

Studies in music history; essays for Oliver Strunk / edited by Harold Powers. Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press, 1968.
Location: Mendel Music Library (MUS)
Call Number: ML55 .S95