Scope and arrangement
The Gustave Reese Collection represents the professional activities and interests of their namesake. The collection accumulated naturally as Reese pursued his career as a scholar, educator, and editor, and is augmented by documents related to the organizations that he served as a board member or officer. The bulk of the collection falls between the 1930s and 1977, the period from early in Reese's teaching career to his death.
The Reese Collection has been organized according to Reese's original plan. Series 1 consists of general correspondence arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Series 2 contains Reese's notes and other research materials, as well as facsimiles of the music examples that appear in Willi Apel's The Notation of Polyphonic Music, 900-1600. Chapter drafts, proofs, and correspondence related to Reese's two most influential books, Music in the Middle Ages and Music in the Renaissance, make up Series 3. Series 4 contains correspondence related to Reese's teaching appointments at New York University, the City University of New York, the University of California at Los Angeles, and other institutions, as well as student projects, papers, and a few dissertations.
Over the course of his lifetime, Gustave Reese was closely associated with organizations devoted to scholarship, musical and otherwise, such as the American Musicological Society (of which he was a co-founder), the American Council of Learned Societies, the International Musicological Society, the Renaissance Society of America, New York Pro Musica, and the National Music Council. As a result, he accumulated correspondence and other papers documenting the workings of these groups. Material related to these professional organizations and conferences constitutes Series 5 of the collection, which is grouped into subseries by organization.
Series 6 of the Reese Collection consists of offprints of musicological articles, most of which have been signed by their authors. Series 7 contains concert, opera, ballet, and theater programs, while Series 8 contains material related to Reese's trips to France, Scandinavia, Greece, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, and the Soviet Union. Finally, Series 9 consists of miscellaneous personal papers, including Reese's license to practice law in New York State.
The Gustave Reese Collection documents the life's work of one of the founding fathers of American musicology. For this reason, the collection should appeal not merely to early music devotees, but to anyone interested in 20th-century musical scholarship.
The Gustave Reese papers are arranged in nine series: