Special Collections is home to many manuscript collections pertaining to musicians, composers, and musical history in Arkansas. Correspondence, sheet music, and memorabilia concerning well-known composers who lived in the state, such as Florence Price and William Grant Stills, are among the most frequently requested materials within the collection.
Additional sources within the manuscript collections include recordings of Arkansas bands and musicians, music collections belonging to Arkansas alumni, such as former UARK music director Henry Tovey, and records from various musical organizations. Featured in the Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony Records, for instance, are photographs of performances held at the small, Eureka Springs music retreat and correspondence related to students and programs within Inspiration Point.
This collection provides historical data about both musicians who have lived in Arkansas and the history of musical education in Arkansas as a whole. Although not an exhaustive list, this guide seeks to provide a starting point for researchers interested in Arkansas music history.
Image Citaiton: Charlotte Barrier performing Brahms: Variations On a Theme of Handel at Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony. Charlotte B. Hegyi Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony Materials (MC 2147), box 1, folder 4, group 15, row a, number 1. Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville.
The Music in Special Collections Research Guide was created by Kath Rees, Summer 2023.
This regularly updated digital catalog contains information about the compositions of Florence B. Price and scholarship surrounding the composer’s works.
Digitized University of Arkansas concert recordings from 2012-present can be found by clicking the link above. For information regarding concert recordings prior to 2012, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Florence Price was an influential, 20th century composer and pianist. Born in Little Rock Arkansas, Price would become the first African-American woman whose work was performed by a symphony Orchestra. This collection features sheet music, photographs, and course notes belonging to Price.
For other manuscript collections relating to Price, see:
Some materials regarding Price can be found within digital collections at the link below: https://digitalcollections.uark.edu/digital/collection/p17212coll3
Vance Randolph and his wife, Mary Celestia Parler, worked within the Arkansas Folklore Society. This collection includes transcriptions of local folksongs and folklore that Randolph collected between 1926 and 1950.
For more information regarding Arkansas folksongs and folklore, visit our Folkore research guide at the link below: https://uark.libguides.com/folklorecollections
This collection contains sheet music, VHS recordings, papers, photographs, and other materials that belonged to John Stubblefield. Stubblefield was a jazz composer and musician who was raised in Little Rock, Arkansas.
William Grant Still was a prolific African American composer who grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. This collection includes correspondence, toys, magazines, scrapbooks, and sheet music related to Stills. An audiocassette tape of recordings of Still’s music can also be found in MC 1797.
For other collections relating to Stills:
Note: Copyright restrictions apply: Publication and performance rights are retained by the Estate of William Grant Still and Verna Arvey. Permission to reproduce any materials and photographs in the collection must be obtained from the Estate of William Grant Still and Verna Arvey. All permissions must be in writing. The Estate can be contacted at:
William Grant Still Music
809 W. Riordan Road, Suite 100, Box 109
Flagstaff, AZ 86001-0810
Phone: (928) 526-9355
Fax: (928) 526-0321
Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).
The Warren quartet performed from the 1940s through the mid-1990s and originated in Arkansas. The group performed weekly on FWRF (AM), a local radio station in Warren, Arkansas, and gave concerts throughout the state. Recordings of many of the quartet’s performances, a newspaper article that mentions a member of the band, and a history of the band compiled by relatives of the quartet members are included in this manuscript collection.
Barbara Rondelli is an award-winning soprano who performed at Opera in the Ozarks at Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony in 1957. This collection contains photograph’s of Perry’s performance of Carmen at Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony, correspondence, and copies of a program from an event that recognized Perry’s career and contributions to music.
Cora Anne Stroud Jenkins was born on February 10, 1902 in Moody, Indian Territory and later moved to Northwest Arkansas. Jenkins was a poet, writer, and lyricist who was awarded membership in the National Songwriters Guild in 1971. This collection consists of various writings by Jenkins, such as short stories, poetry, song lyrics, an autobiography, and an unpublished manuscript entitled Our American Vernacular.
Born and raised in Hot Springs, Mary Dengler Hudgins was a librarian, free-lance writer, and compiler of Arkansas History. Hudgins attended the University of Arkansas where she would eventually create an endowment for the UARK library system and the Department of Music, which encourages the study of Arkansas music. This collection consists of materials concerning Hudgins’s research of gospel music in Arkansas, including correspondence, sheet music, and paperback hymnals.
“Orfeo” is a translation of the Italian Opera “Orpheus” by D. Von Gluck, translated by Blanche Thebom. In 1974 Thebom directed a performance of “Orfeo” at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock where she would later become a professor of music and opera director. Included in this manuscript collection are production photographs, audio tapes, and correspondence related to the production of “Orfeo.”
Divided into four series, this manuscript collection contains scores, photographs, recordings, notes, and other materials that are either linked to Arkansas composers, musicians, and lyricists, or that thematically pertain to Arkansas.
T.H. Ferguson regularly attended bluegrass festivals in Mountain View, Arkansas. This collection contains 30 audio cassette tape recordings of bluegrass music performed at Arkansas bluegrass festivals in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Henry Tovey was the founder of the UARK music department. Included in this manuscript collection are programs from UARK concerts and performances by Tovey.
For Tovey’s personal music collection and personal memorabilia describing the collection, see:
This collection consists of letters and other materials concerning former UARK music department faculty members Henry Tovey and Laurence Powell
Laurence Powell was a musician and composer who served as an assistant professor of music theory at the University of Arkansas. This collection includes a partial manuscript of a memoir by Powell as well as sheet music and copyright registration for “Whispering Spiders: A Song for Medium Voice,” a piece composed by Powell and his grandson.
For music composed by Powell, see:
Dr. Eddie W. Jones, Sr. was a musician and composer who worked as an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Arkansas. Dr. Jones is known for his research concerning Black Gospel Music, which he compiled in an educational presentation called “The Gospel Feast.” His research was later published as a book entitled Gospel Music: The Sound of Hope. This collection includes research pertaining to Dr. Jones’s study of Black Gospel Music as well as correspondence and documents related to Dr. Jones’s work as a music educator.
Barbara G. Jackson worked as a member of the music faculty at the University of Arkansas. This collection consists of research materials related to Dr. Jackson’s work on African American composers like Florence Price, Scott Joplin, and William Grant Still.
For manuscript scores pertaining to Dr. Jackson's research on European composers, see:
The Arkansas State Music Teachers Association was founded in 1915 in order to support music educators in Arkansas, to develop musical curriculum, and to standardize methods of musical education. This collection includes records of membership and certification, minutes and reports of board and district meetings, and other educational materials.
The University of Arkansas Band was founded in 1874. This manuscript collection is comprised of materials related to the marching band and some University of Arkansas Concert bands, such as newspaper clippings, press guides, marching charts, and performance programs. Photographs and audio reels of selected marching band performances are also featured in this collection.
Opera in the Ozarks, otherwise known as Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony, is a music and opera education camp located near Eureka Springs Arkansas. The organization was founded in 1950 by Dr. Henry Hobart and continues to host musicians and vocalists from around the nation. This collection includes financial and organizational records pertaining to the maintenance of the camp from 1950 to 2016. Also included in the collection are materials concerning performances at Opera in the Ozarks, such as audition recordings, posters, advertisements, and recital programs.
For records and memorabilia collected by faculty during the early years of the Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony, see:
The North Arkansas Symphony Society, now called The Symphony of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA), is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1954. SoNa partners with arts organizations in the Northwest Arkansas region to organize symphonic performances. This collection consists of planning documents, correspondence, musical programs, minutes of meetings, and fundraising materials from SoNA during the years 1984-2004.
The Warren Musical Coterie was a music education club created in 1932 in Warren, Arkansas. This collection includes records, such as programs, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, and yearbooks pertaining to the Warren Musical Coterie.