Scope and arrangement
The Hugo Weisgall Papers document his professional life from his student days at the Curtis Institute in the 1930s to 1997. It contains scores, libretti, correspondence, subject files, biographical material, writings, financial records, concert posters and photographs. Though devoted almost exclusively to Weisgall’s professional activities, a self-contained group of personal letters between family members is located within the papers’ correspondence series and individual personal letters occasionally appear in the chronological correspondence and subject files. Nearly half of the papers consists of scores and libretti. Correspondence and subject files, in roughly equal amounts, comprise the bulk of the remainder.
The Hugo Weisgall Papers are arranged in ten series:
- 1939 - 1996,4.5 linear feet
The Scores series is subdivided into three sub-series. In addition to the works composed by Weisgall, there are sub-series for works arranged or edited by Weisgall and works by other composers. The works by other composers are three published scores inscribed to him by their composers, Dominick Argento and George Rochberg, and two scores by Roger Sessions used by Weisgall to conduct from. Since Weisgall’s manuscripts have been given to the Library of Congress (see folder 774 for a complete list), nearly all of the scores are reproductions, copies or published material but many of these have been corrected and annotated by the composer. Reflecting Weisgall’s reputation as a composer of opera, nine of his twelve completed works in the genre are represented by full or vocal scores. Two musical projects contained in this series give insight into his compositional process and have substantial holograph material. The first of these, composed for a television documentary, Of heaven and earth, which later served as source material for his series of vocal and chamber works called Graven images. The other, with a working title of Synagogue service, occupied Weisgall during the last decade of his life, some sections of which were incorporated into his Evening liturgies. Dates appearing in brackets are drawn from the list of Weisgall’s works appearing in Bruce Saylor and James Cassaro: 'Weisgall, Hugo', The New Grove Dictionary of Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed 13 June 2003), <http://www.grovemusic.com> when available and from information provided in published editions of works not specifically listed in Grove. These are included to give composition dates of the work and not the actual dates of the materials in the folder.The scores are arranged alphabetically by title.
- 1981 - 1996,.5 linear feet
The Libretti series consists primarily of drafts of libretti, but also includes scripts by various playwrights considered for use by Weisgall and his librettists. Some correspondence and other materials are also included.The files are arranged alphabetically by librettist.
- 1922 - 1995, [bulk bulk 1929 - 1995),]4.75 linear feet
The Correspondence series is divided into two sub-series, Family and Chronological. The first of these largely consists of letters to Weisgall’s mother Aranka Weisgal from her relatives in Europe and letters to Weisgall from his parents and brother. These letters are grouped by recipient and then arranged alphabetically by sender and finally chronologically. The second sub-series comes from Weisgall’s chronological files and is included in this series since the bulk of the material in these files is correspondence, mostly professional, though a few personal letters are included. Weisgall’s criteria for what he put in his chronological files appears to have varied over the years with some time periods heavily represented and some (1972 through 1984 in particular) missing entirely. In addition to a sizeable amount of formal business documents, the chronological correspondence files contain letters exchanged between Weisgall and a broad spectrum of colleagues and students. Notably, the composers Dominick Argento, Henry Cowell, Richard Franko Goldman, Leo Kraft, George Rochberg, Bruce Saylor and Yehudi Wyner as well as the writers and critics Harold Blumenfeld, Joseph Machlis, John Olon Scrymgeour, Karl Shapiro, and Meyer Weisgal are represented in this series. A large amount of Weisgall’s correspondence can also be found in Series IV: Subject files.Letters are arranged chronologically. In cases where Weisgall grouped his reply with the original letter, both are generally filed under the date of the response. Material in these files that is not correspondence has been left in place, with the exception of photographs that have been separated to the iconography series
- 1936 - 1997,2 linear feet
The Subject files series documents Weisgall’s professional activities as a composer, educator and administrator. Some files are devoted to a particular associate of Weisgall’s, such as his agent Hank Kaufman or the writer Samuel Lipman or institutions and organizations that he was associated with. Particularly well documented are the American Composers Alliance, the Baltimore Institute of Musical Arts, the Chamber Music Society of Baltimore (containing extensive correspondence with its president, Randolph S. Rothschild), the Jewish Theological Seminary, his work with the educational division of Lincoln Center and the educational television series he presented on WNDT in New York. There are also a number of individual files devoted to less easily classified activities, such as the Collector of the Year Award presented to Weisgall and his wife Nathalie by the Virginia Museum in 1978. Aside from the subjects named at the folder level in the container list there is significant correspondence and other documents present. The Jewish Theological Seminary files which contain material on the composer Gershon Ephros and the writer Hilda Pinson and the Lincoln Center Student Program that have correspondence with Joseph Fennimore, Jose Limón, Mark Schubart and William Schuman are examples of this.The series is arranged alphabetically and individual files within a subject are arranged chronologically.
- 1928 - 1997 [bulk bulk 1932 - 1995].5 linear feet
The Biographical series is divided into several sub-groupings and includes programs, clippings, bulletins, announcements, proceedings, publisher’s brochures, press releases and miscellaneous materials that contain information about Weisgall’s life and works. Also included is a file of items associated with Weisgall’s father, Adolph J. Weisgal.These files are arranged chronologically within genre groupings (programs, clippings, etc.).
- ca. 1955 - 1995,.5 linear feet
The Writings, public addresses and teaching material series represents Weisgall’s output aside from his musical compositions. It contains published material along with holograph and typescript drafts and notes.Articles and public addresses have been arranged chronologically and the remaining undated material alphabetically.
- 1939 - 1993.5 linear feet
The Financial series is grouped into employment and publisher’s contracts, bank records and miscellaneous receipts, with the bulk devoted to contracts for individual musical works.The contract files are arranged alphabetically by work title and the bank records and receipts are in chronological order.
- 1952 - 1983,.25 linear feet
The Posters series consist of ten posters for concerts that Weisgall was associated with either as composer, conductor or in both capacities.The posters are arranged chronologically.
- 1937 - 1991,.25 linear feet
The Iconography series contains 24 individual photographs plus duplicate copies of some of them. These photos are all black and white, except for a pair of snapshots of Weisgall with his student Bright Sheng. Most are professional publicity shots of Weisgall.The photos are grouped by genre (portraits, publicity stills, etc.)
- 1927 - 1929,.25 linear feet
The Ephemera series consists of three small published volumes apparently dating from Weisgall’s student days, an etching, a leaf of music, two pamphlets and an invitation that have no clear connection to any file in another series.