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Guide to the Brooklyn sheet music collection ARC.226

128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Nicholas Pavlik

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on May 01, 2012
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator - Compiler: Vanderveer, Catharine
Title: Brooklyn sheet music collection
Dates [inclusive]: circa 1830 to 1930
Quantity: 5.25 Linear feet in two standard manuscript boxes, seven oversize manuscript boxes, and one custom-size box.
Language of Materials: Materials in English, French, German, Hebrew, and Italian.
Text [Box]: ARC.226 5 of 10
Text [Box]: ARC.226 10 of 10
Text [Box]: ARC.226 4 of 10
Text [Box]: ARC.226 9 of 10
Text [Box]: ARC.226 3 of 10
Text [Box]: ARC.226 8 of 10
Text [Box]: ARC.226 2 of 10
Text [Box]: ARC.226 7 of 10
Text [Box]: ARC.226 1 of 10
Text [Box]: ARC.226 7 of 10
Text [Box]: ARC.226 6 of 10
Call Phrase: ARC.226
Sponsor: This collection was processed and described as part of the project, "Uncovering the Secrets of Brooklyn's 19th Century Past: Creation to Consolidation," funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources, with additional support from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

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Historical Note

Prior to the late 19th century, music publishing in America was dispersed throughout various urban centers, particularly Boston and Philadelphia. In the 1890s, when Charles K. Harris's song "After the Ball" sold nearly five million copies, the music publishing industry began to develop and centralize in the New York City area, especially in Tin Pan Alley, a district in Manhattan heavily populated by composers and music publishers. Originally located at Broadway and 14th Street, Tin Pan Alley underwent several relocations, ultimately centering near Broadway and 49th Street, though the actual music district stretched from 42nd to 56th Streets.


  1. Jasen, David A., and Nicholas E. Tawa. "Tin Pan Alley," in The Encyclopedia of New York City, ed. Kenneth T. Jackson (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press; New York: New York Historical Society, c1995), 1187-1188.

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Scope and Contents

The Brooklyn sheet music collection contains several pieces of sheet music published in Brooklyn and, to a lesser extent, New York City, by various composers, arrangers, and lyricists during the period circa 1830 to 1930. The majority of the sheet music is comprised of individual publications, though a smaller portion is compiled in two bound volumes that were formerly the property of Brooklyn resident Catharine Vanderveer. A wide range of musical forms are represented in the collection, including waltzes, polkas, military marches, parade marches, religious hymns, popular songs, and other forms based upon or inspired by various musical traditions around the world. Though the majority of the song titles and lyrics are in English, some are written in French, German, Hebrew, and Italian. An inventory of the contents of Boxes 1 through 5 is contained in Box 1, while a printed card index of the contents of the collection's remaining boxes is contained in Box 10.

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Access Points

Document Type

  • Sheet music
  • Volumes (documents by form)

Subject Topics

  • Music publishing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Music publishing -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Music -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Music -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Popular music -x Writing and publishing -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Popular music -x Writing and publishing -- New York (State) -- New York

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Intellectual life
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Social life and customs
  • New York (N.Y.) |x Intellectual life
  • New York (N.Y.) |x Social life and customs

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use note

Copyright restrictions may apply. Please consult library staff for more information.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Brooklyn sheet music collection, ARC.226, Box and Folder number; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Volumes belonging to Catharine Vanderveer in accession 1985.007 were the gift of Edward V. Ditmars, date unknown. Sources and dates of acquisition for the remaining items in accessions 1985.007 and 1988.015 are unknown.

Processing Information note

Minimally processed to the collection level.

The collection combines the accessions 1985.007 and 1988.015.

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