Picture a timeline spanning the earth’s geologic history. Now envision a scientist amassing a formidable collection of the stones, fossils, and sediment that document the big and small geologic upheavals along the way. Such an image is akin to the forty-year accomplishment of ardent music collector and mountain climber Hans Moldenhauer. Born in Mainz, Germany, in 1906, pianist Moldenhauer established the Moldenhauer Archives, a matchless resource of musical documents that encompasses representative examples of European music history from the Middle Ages through the twentieth century. As Moldenhauer himself said, “the Archives includes not only bricks, but the mortar”: not only works of the great musicians but those of critical but lesser-known figures to hold it together.
Hans Moldenhauer emigrated to the United States in 1938, settled in mountainous Spokane, Washington, in 1939, and served in the U.S. Mountain Troops during World War II. In 1942, as he embarked upon a musical career in collecting, performance, and writing, he founded the Spokane Conservatory. In 1943 he married his piano pupil, Rosaleen Jackman, to whose memory he would later dedicate his Archives. When Moldenhauer was diagnosed with the incurable eye disease known as retinitis pigmentosa and told he soon would be blind, he dedicated much of his remaining energy to acquiring the monuments of “Music History from Primary Sources,” as he called the growing Moldenhauer Archives.
Hans Moldenhauer procured manuscripts from composers such as Alban Berg, Johannes Brahms, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt, and Witold Lutoslawski, and obtained numerous items from the archives of Gustav Mahler, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, and Arnold Schoenberg. Moldenhauer acquired the Webern Archive in the 1960s and with his wife Rosaleen wrote the seminal biography Anton Webern, A Chronicle of His Life and Work (New York: Knopf, 1978), along with other publications on Anton Webern.
At the time of the collector’s death in 1987, the Moldenhauer Archives included many thousands of items that are now housed in nine institutions around the world: in the United States, at the Library of Congress, Harvard University, Northwestern University, Washington State University, and Whitworth College; in Basel, Switzerland, at the Paul Sacher Foundation; in Zürich, Switzerland, at the Zentralbibliothek; in Munich, Germany, at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek; and in Vienna, Austria, at the Stadtarchiv und Oesterreichische Nationalbibliothek. The Moldenhauer bequest to the Library of Congress in 1987 consisted of more than 3,500 music manuscripts, letters, and other materials and was the greatest composite gift of musical documents the Library has yet received. The Library also received the funds to produce the volume that appeared under the title The Rosaleen Moldenhauer Memorial: Music History from Primary Sources: A Guide to the Moldenhauer Archives, edited by Jon Newsom and Alfred Mann (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 2000 [ISBN 0-8444-0987-1; Library of Congress call number ML93 .R67 2000]).
The Moldenhauer guide is in three sections. The first, written by co-editor Alfred Mann, is an illustrated four-part essay that weaves together primary sources and music history. The second consists of fifty-three illustrated essays written by various music scholars on selected items from composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig von Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Giacomo Puccini, Charles Ives, Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg. The final section, an inventory, lists the entire Moldenhauer Archives. Arranged alphabetically by musician, it offers a description of items and provides a location guide.
This online presentation includes representative examples of more than 130 items from the Moldenhauer Archives, a full-text searchable electronic version of The Rosaleen Moldenhauer Memorial, and a comprehensive finding aid to Moldenhauer Archives holdings across all ten repositories worldwide. As a reference source, the book and Web site unite the complete Moldenhauer Archives in a single resource available for the first time to music researchers throughout the world.