Newsletter of the MIT Lewis Music Library

Spring 1997

Lewis Music Library, 14E-109
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
Forrest Larson, Circulation and Reserves Assistant,
        617-253-5689, 253-0982
Christina Moore, Processing Assistant, 
Peter Munstedt, Music Librarian,

Lewis Music Library Home Page:

New Acquisitions


The Rosalind Denny Lewis Music Library opened its doors in October, 1996 after a five-month renovation that transformed the old music library into a dynamic new facility. The official dedication, held on December 4th, was attended by approximately 200 supporters.

In May 1996, the entire contents of the library were packed and stored so that the old library space could be demolished. Construction lasted from July until October when the library was essentially completed. The Lewis Library has elegance and beauty as well as the practical functionality necessary in an academic library.

Designed by MIT Architect Melanie Brothers, the Lewis Library features a highly efficient use of the existing space which expands the old library by 2,500 square feet. The collection of approximately 10,000 books, 25,000 music scores, and 20,000 recordings is housed in compact shelving (on movable tracks) which will allow the collection to expand well into the 21st century. A curved mezzanine contains 22 custom-built listening carrels, a listening lounge, group listening/viewing room, conference room, librarian's office, and audio preservation room. Along the outside of the mezzanine are 19 glass panels etched with a composition written specifically for the library by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and MIT Professor of Music John Harbison. The first floor includes a custom-built circulation desk, staff offices, shelving, reading areas, display case, and a special collections room with climate control. Artist and MIT alumnus John Powell designed the library's front door, light fixtures, and mezzanine glass panels. The beautiful woodwork seen throughout the library consists of sycamore with a mahogany trim.

Fund raising efforts for the new library were spearheaded by Ellen Harris, Professor of Music and then Associate Provost for the Arts, and completed by Alan Brody, current Associate Provost for the Arts. Cherry ('41) and Mary Emerson, who have been strong supporters of the arts at MIT, offered to support the much desired and necessary renovation in the spring of 1995. The Library is named in memory of Mary's mother, Rosalind Denny Lewis, wife of the late MIT professor Warren K. "Doc" Lewis and grandmother of the Dean for Undergraduate Education, Rosalind Williams. Professor "Doc" Lewis was Cherry Emerson's advisor at MIT.

Many other donors have made very generous contributions to the project. These include Sandra and David ('51) Bakalar, whose gift names the Bakalar Listening Center; Lawrence C. Erdmann ('63), whose gift names the Erdmann Special Collections Room; Cynthia du Pont Tobias ('72) and Professor Emeritus Warren Rohsenow, whose gifts name the Roy Lamson Conference Room; and Dr. W. Gerald Austen ('51); Norton Belknap ('50); Anne and Bruce ('59) Blomstrom; Dorothea and Bradford ('49) Endicott; Frances Fahnestock; Gordon P. Getty; Marilyn B. Hoffman; Robert B. Millard ('73); Carlos Prieto ('58); Raymond S. Stata ('57); Ruth and Daniel ('45) Vershbow; and Peter J. Wender ('71).

As might be expected, the new library has been enthusiastically received. Comments from students include: "In general, very cool. Almost makes me wish I weren't a senior." "I love it here!!" "My house will look like this!!" "This place rocks!!"

MIT now has a music library as compelling and attractive as its collection. Thanks to the generosity of donors and the hard work of library staff, architect Melanie Brothers, and Associate Provosts Harris and Brody, this project has become a reality. The Lewis Library will provide valuable music resources in a comfortable setting for generations to come.


Q: How many altos does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Ten. One to climb the ladder to change the bulb, and nine to complain about how high it is.

Q: How do you keep a violin from being stolen?
A: Put it in a viola case.

Q: What's the difference between a musician and a savings bond?
A: The savings bond eventually matures and earns money.



The library will add several important large new editions of music thanks to the generosity of Lawrence Erdmann ('63). This significant gift includes the following publications: J.C. Bach (48 volumes), The Sixteenth-century madrigal (30 volumes), The Sixteenth-century motet (30 volumes), and The Nineteenth-century American musical theater (16 volumes). Nearly all of these compositions are new to the library collection. Students and faculty will have the opportunity to study and enjoy this music for years to come. These editions have been ordered and they will be received this semester.


Dr. Susan L. Kannenberg contributed funding that will provide printed music and recordings of compositions written by women before the year 1900. Among the composers represented through this gift will be Kassia (c.810-c.867), Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), Francesca Caccini (1587-c.1640), Jacquet de la Guerre (c.1664-1729), Sirmen M. Lombardini (1745-1818), Ann Valentine (1762-1842), Maria Margarethe Danzi (1768-1800), Louise Farrenc (1804-1875), Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (1805- 1847), Clara Schumann (1819-1896), and others. Anyone else interested in helping to strengthen this part of the collection is encouraged to contact the Music Librarian.


Nancy Cavanagh, former Administrative Officer for Music and Theater Arts, donated a fine collection of fifteen 19th-century American tune books dating from 1817 to 1862. This music represents an important part of American music publishing history. These books are housed in the library's new Erdmann Special Collections Room.

Albemarle Ensemble David Epstein MIT Media Lab
Kathleen J. Allen John Harbison Original Music Inc.
Arhoolie Productions Inc. Ellen Harris George Ruckert
Nicholas Altenbernd Hartwick College Elena Ruehr
Anonymous Branko Hutterer and
Milica Snajder-Hutterer
Tej-Preet Singh '96
Biograph Records Inc. David Josefowitz '41 Daniel H. Smith
Karen Buranskas Douglass S. Kalika '84 Smithsonian/Folkways Recordings
E.P. DiGiannantonio Christopher Y. Kim '86 Paul Vermouth
Paul Earls Carla P. Lane Tawney A. Wray
Cherry Emerson Lowell Lindgren Evan Ziporyn
Martin Marks