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Collection Information

CollectionSketch of King

Lawrence S. King collection of opera and other music materials


Music and Performing Arts Library circulating and Special Collections (compact discs, opera video recordings, pictorial materials, memorabilia, some of the books and scores)–some additional items such as posters, artifacts, and memorabilia are located in Music Library’s cabinet number 7 on West wall of 2nd floor; circulating collections (some books and scores); University Press Building Library storage area (LP and tape recordings)


Personal collection of Lawrence Stanford King (1946-1994), University of Illinois alumnus (1968; law school 1973) and corporate lawyer, New York City. Donated by King’s parents, Stanford and Evelyn King, after Lawrence King’s death

When acquired



It was estimated that over 50,000 items were received in 327 cartons, including non-music books forwarded to other units for selection and processing. The Music and Performing Arts Library’s portion of the collection consists of about 15,000 LP recordings, over 4,000 compact discs, approximately 200 video recordings, about 170 tape recordings, over 1,000 scores, over 75 photographs (mainly opera singers, some signed and framed), opera libretti, numerous books about music (including many biographies of singers), and various opera memorabilia including marble commemorative plates on opera topics as well as busts of composers. The collection “…is one of the best opera collections anywhere” (Herbert Glass, Friendscript, vol.20 no.4, p.5), and was described by Music Librarian William McClellan as “…quite comprehensive in terms of opera recordings available in the United States from the 1950s through the 1980s…and the symphonic portion, comprised primarily of classical and romantic works, provides a wide range of not only different works, but also different interpretations of the same works.” (Friendscript, vol.20 no.4, p.4).


Some compact discs, video recordings, books, and scores have been fully cataloged and are interfiled by call number in circulating or Special Collections.  Where possible, each item has had a special bookplate affixed identifying it as having been part of the King donation. LP recordings not having been added to  the MPALSC are arranged by manufacturer/serial number and are housed in the University Press Building storage area apart from other LP holdings. King collection cassette and open-reel tapes are located at the end of the King LP sequence. Audio materials formerly stored at the Press Building as of 2019 have been transferred to the Internet Archive for digitization. Most pictorial materials are housed in a storage cabinet on the upper level of the Music Library.

Access/Finding Aids/Bibliography

Fully-cataloged items may be accessed via the online catalog. The Collections File folder contains inventories of tapes and visual materials (see list of scores below), as well as copies of cataloging entries and/or statistical summaries for items which have received full cataloging (mostly all VHS tapes). The Collections File folder also includes correspondence of Stanford and Evelyn King with Library or Music School personnel; clippings and photographs from the King family; information as to processing and the establishment of the Lawrence Stanford King Graduate Assistantship; as well as publicity and other miscellaneous memos. “Music Library receives major opera collection and new endowment”, in Friendscript (newsletter, University of Illinois Library Friends at Urbana-Champaign), vol.20 no.4, Winter 1998-1999, pp.4-5.

King Scores Donation List (PDF)

Index terms

King, Lawrence; Opera; Opera singers; Photographs