Series 1: Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Best Collection of Autographs and Stamps:
This series, consisting autograph letters from various musicians along with postage stamps from various countries commemorating musical people and events, was given to Oberlin College in 1948. Cyrus W. Best (April 22, 1865-June 14, 1948) was an 1890 graduate of Oberlin Conservatory. After additional studies with Martin Krause in Leipzig, Germany, Mr. Best returned to the US to direct conservatories in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Alabama.
Among the musicians represented in this series are C. P. E. Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Amy Beach, Johannes Brahms, Frederic Chopin, Franz Liszt, Clara and Robert Schumann, and Richard Wagner. In 1967, the staff of the Conservatory Library translated each letter in the collection and published a guide, containing the translations along with select facsimiles (cataloged as ML94.B53).
Series 2: Frederick G. Marks Collection:
This series consists of signed portraits and letters. Marks (July 20, 1919-June 20, 2005) graduated from Oberlin College in 1940, after which he served in the Army in World War II and then worked as an agent for New York Life Insurance Company. He had a specific interest in the music of Richard Wagner, which is reflected in the focus of these materials. Along with the signed portraits and letters, Marks donated 67 volumes of music and books, related primarily to Wagner.
Series 3: Charles W. Morrison Collection of Photographs:
This series consists of 25 signed photographs and portraits of musicians. Morrison was Director of the Conservatory from 1902-1924.
Series 4: Frank H. Shaw Collection of Photographs:
This series consists of signed photographs and portraits of musicians. Shaw was Director of the Conservatory from 1924-1949.
Series 5: Miscellaneous Autographs and Photographs:
This series was compiled by Library staff from a variety of purchases and donations. Information on provenance is included, when known.