Scope and arrangement
The Jack Diether papers, dating from 1941 to 2006, document Diether's career through correspondence, research files, and writings.
The General Correspondence is with researchers and musicologists; conductors and orchestras; magazine and journal editors; music critics; record companies; experts in Mahler and Bruckner; and figures associated with Mahler. Some of the files contain lists of correspondents, compiled by Doris Diether.
The best-represented correspondent is the British musicologist Joseph Wheeler, with whom Diether communicated for many years regarding Wheeler's production of a complete score for Mahler's Tenth Symphony. Other correspondents include Alma Mahler, Dmitri Mitropoulos, Deryck Cooke, Eugene Ormandy/The Philadelphia Orchestra, John Kirkpatrick, Mrs. Frederick Block, Gabriel Engel, and members of the Bruckner Society of America. Correspondence with editors usually concerns writing assignments, but Diether often wrote to criticize the writing or coverage of other publications. Correspondence with conductors and orchestras is usually to advocate for the programming of Bruckner and Mahler works.
Portions of the General Correspondence were photocopied by Doris Diether before their donation to the Music Division. She later donated originals of the correspondence. There is some duplication between the copies and originals, but some letters appear only as copies.
Doris Diether's correspondence, dating from after her husband's death, is also held in the General Correspondence. It documents Jack Diether's memorial service; Doris Diether's involvement with Mahler Festivals, including the contribution of her husband's unpublished notes; and her career as a zoning expert and urban planner.
The Research Files are mainly devoted to Mahler, but also contain files on Bruckner and the conductor Jascha Horenstein. They contain correspondence with scholars and conductors; Diether's research notes; bibliographies; clippings, program notes, and annotated articles; scores; and papers pertaining to the New York Mahlerites. They also hold a 1984 interview with Diether in which he discusses his life and career. The correspondence includes letters from Deryck Cooke, Dmitri Shostakovich, Anna Mahler, and Eugene Ormandy. Though Diether generally separated his Bruckner and Mahler research files, there is some overlap between the two, and other topics occasionally enter into the correspondence.
Published and annotated scores by Bruckner and Mahler comprise the bulk of the scores, which also include Diether's own manuscript of musical quotes used by Mahler; fragments of a copy of Deryck Cooke's realization of Mahler's Tenth Symphony, with a copy of the original manuscript in Mahler's hand; and a copy of the manuscript of an orchestration of Mahler's Seven Early Songs by Colin and David Matthews.
The Writings are composed of published articles, reviews, recording liner notes, and radio program scripts. They are present as typescripts and clippings. Clippings and/or typescripts for two publications, the American Record Guide and Chord and Discord, are arranged separately, as are typescripts of recording liner notes. The rest of the article clippings and typescripts are arranged chronologically. Other publications with Diether's writings include Musical America, the Chicago Daily News, The New York Times, The Villager, The Westsider, Chelsea Clinton News, and the East Side Express. The reviews are mostly of music performances, but also include dance and theater events.
The liner notes are mainly for Mahler and Bruckner recordings; they also include notes for albums of music by Dvorak, Borodin, Janacek, Walton, Vaughn Williams, Bach, Corelli, Handel, Vivaldi, and Purcell. The files contain a list of recordings for which Diether wrote the notes.
The radio programs include The Life of Beethoven, produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; several programs on Mahler produced by KOWL in Santa Monica, California; a program on Bruckner's Ninth Symphony produced by WBAI in New York; and Diether's revision of the script for the 1933 film Mystery of the Wax Museum.
The papers are in three divisions: General Correspondence, Research Files, and Writings. The latter two contain alphabetically-arranged subdivisions, but most of the content is arranged chronologically.