Scope and arrangement
The Susan T. Sommer papers, dating from 1965 to 1996, document Sommer’s career as a librarian, educator, and scholar. They primarily contain evidence of her activities in the Music Library Association (MLA) and her career at the Columbia University School of Library Services. Smaller portions of the collection pertain to her work with the International Association of Music Libraries (IAML), the Metropolitan Opera Guild, High Fidelity magazine, and the Music Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
The MLA files (1964-1996) contain correspondence regarding the association’s journal, Notes, meetings of the association, the board, and the various committees on which Sommer sat. These included the Standards Committee, the Education Committee, the Executive Officer Search Committee, and committees regarding the Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM) and Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals (RIPM) projects. Also present are files of general correspondence.
The Columbia School of Library Services files (1969-1991) hold syllabi and notes for the courses Sommer taught on Music Librarianship and Literature of the Performing Arts, as well as files on the Columbia Rare Book School, for which she also taught. Also present are her notes on topics in music librarianship and performing arts bibliography, lists of students, and student papers Sommer kept for her own reference. Student papers can be found among the student list files as well as in the division titled student papers. The collection also contains small files on music bibliography courses taught at the City University of New York.
Files on IAML (1975-1996) mainly consist of correspondence regarding the association’s journal, Fontes Artis Musicae, and association meetings. Correspondence pertaining to the United States branch of IAML is also present.
The Metropolitan Opera Guild files contain notes and texts for public lectures Sommer delivered in the mid- to late-1970s. The New York Public Library files (1968-1997) are composed of inter-office memoranda discussing cataloging procedures for rare materials, and a file on the Library’s legislative relations. Typescripts of Sommer’s reviews for High Fidelity and her recording liner notes are contained in the writings files.
The collection holds general correspondence with colleagues or friends, and correspondence with the publishers R.R. Bowker, Garland Publishing, Broude Brothers Limited, and H.W. Wilson; the editors of the Grove and New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (regarding Sommer’s contributions); the Wicker Family Foundation; the Harvard Music Library; the American Musicological Society; the International Musicological Society; and the Dessoff Choirs.
Other topics in the collection are the Music Librarianship in America conference of 1989; copyright (in a mock play titled Ariadne Auf Xerox); job qualifications for music librarians; Sommer’s involvement in the RIPM, RISM and RILM (Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale) projects; appraisals of special collections; and letters of reference or recommendation for former employees or interns.
The collection is arranged by subject, person, or organization.