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Smith, Carleton

Collection Information


Carleton Smith estate: music materials


Dispersed within circulating holdings and Music and Performing Arts Library Special Collections


Estate of Carleton Smith (d. 1984; not to be confused with Carleton Sprague Smith, music scholar), via Bement Public Library and Norman Brown of the University Library’s Collection Development division. Non-music materials from Smith’s estate may have been incorporated into holdings of other Library units.

When acquired

March 1985


Carleton Smith of Bement, Illinois, a University of Illinois alumnus, was a colorful figure who traveled extensively in Eastern Europe and elsewhere during the years immediately following the close of World War II. He founded the National Arts Foundation (of New York) in 1947 or 1948, and numbered world figures such as President Harry Truman, the composer Jean Sibelius, and pianist Ignaz Paderewski among his personal friends. After World War II he expended considerable time and energy seeking lost manuscripts of Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, and other major composers, all of which had disappeared from German libraries during the war years. Music materials received in 1985 included 23 books, 822 pieces of music, and 774 sound recordings. Some materials which duplicated existing holdings (e.g., 51 volumes from monument or complete works collections) were not retained by the Music Library. Smith’s collection was noteworthy for ethnic vocal music, particularly song collections from non-Russian Soviet republics, music of Sibelius and Richard Strauss, and published scores by contemporary Soviet composers (including R. Gliere and D. Shostakovich). A number of published scores, including those of Gliere, Shostakovich, and Sibelius, have autograph signatures of their composers. Six 78 rpm records of speeches by Lenin and Stalin were copied on cassette for the Undergraduate Library. The donation also included several privately produced discs recording a telephone conversation between Smith and Sibelius on the occasion of the composer’s birthday (these discs were copied by the Library of Congress for their own collection).


Dispersed among cataloged holdings and in Special Collections. Photos, clippings, memos, and ephemeral materials have been moved to Sousa Archives (see below).

Access/Finding Aids/Bibliography

The Collections File folder includes a summary prepared by Music Librarian William McClellan, copies of order cards for materials added to Music Library holdings, and copies of memos and correspondence. Clippings from local newspapers provide substantial biographical and anecdotal information on Carleton Smith; the folder also includes a copy of an article Smith contributed to Smithsonian magazine.

For clippings and photograph see Series 1, Box 3, Folder 6 of the Music and Performing Arts Library Small Special Collections, 1911-1981 Finding Aid at the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music.

Index terms

Russian music; Smith, Carleton; Sibelius, Jean; Lenin, V. I. (speeches); Shostakovich, Dmitrii; Stalin, Joseph (speeches); Gliere, Reinhold

See also

N. Lewis, Paperchase , 1981 (780.94 L587P) documents efforts made to recover the missing manuscripts from the German State Library. According to Information in the Collections File folder. Smith’s personal papers were acquired by the Lilly Library at Indiana University.