The New York Philharmonic Digital Archives: Fair Use online and New Sources for Digital Humanities
Monday, October 28, 1-2:30pm
203 Butler Library, Columbia University
(example: 1st violin part from Mahler’s Symphony no. 4; score marked up by Leonard Bernstein)
Since 1842, the New York Philharmonic has preserved nearly every document or scrap of paper relevant to its concert
and business activities creating one of the world’s largest collections of a single, continuously operating
performing arts institution. The material includes conductor and artist correspondence, marked scores and parts,
meeting minutes, contracts, subscriber lists, musician attendance sheets, press clippings, personnel and donor
records, printed programs, etc. In 2009, with a generous grant from the Leon Levy Foundation, the Archives began
digitizing all paper (1.3 million pages) between 1943 and 1970 making it freely available on the internet.
Two goals of the digitization were that new connections would be made within the collections and new forms of
research would result. Legal obligations and ways to meet these requirements which had not been relevant to a
reading-room research had to be worked out. Subscriber records, a record type that had never been used by scholars,
became the focus for a new study on New York elites.
Barbara Haws is the Philharmonic’s Archivist and Historian leading the digital project. Jane Ginsburg, the Morton
L. Janklow Professor of Literary and Artistic Property Law at the Columbia Law School advises the Philharmonic
Digital Archives on intellectual property issues including fair use. Shamus Khan, Associate Professor of Sociology
at Columbia leads a team of sociologists in a digital humanities project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
to study New York elites using the New York Philharmonic’s subscriber and concert hall seating records.
Directions to Butler Library are here: