Marian Anderson (1897-1993) was world-renowned as a contralto. She also challenged racial barriers in the United States. Her dramatic open-air concert at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, after she was banned from singing in Constitution Hall, was delivered to 75,000 listeners. She was the first African American to sing at the Metropolitan Opera in 1955.
Philadelphia has long been a vibrant center for the arts and for diverse and vital communities. Penn Libraries seeks to help preserve and provide access to the rich heritage of its home city. With a particular strength in music, for example, the papers of pioneering contralto Marian Anderson, the recently acquired Philadelphia Orchestra Archive and papers of its legendary conductors Leopold Stokowski and Eugene Ormandy, we are also building collections in the performing and visual arts. With the recent addition of staff positions dedicated to civic engagement, we are dedicated to connecting the city’s communities to Penn Libraries, and to working with those communities to help preserve their histories in novel ways, such as a newly launched oral history project focused on mentoring relationships among jazz musicians.
The Institute of Contemporary Arts is a University of Pennsylvania museum displaying contemporary art. This portion of the collection documents the exhibition files of the Institute of Contemporary Arts from 1963 to 2000.
Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977) was the innovative and charismatic conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1912 to 1941 and was an influential figure in music-making through much of the twentieth century. The Leopold Stokowski Collection includes papers and correspondence; orchestral scores and transcriptions; research materials; and recordings documenting Stokowski's musical career and related activities.
This collection documents the extraordinary 64-year music career of Eugene Ormandy (1899-1985), best known for his long tenure with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Materials are available to researchers through the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.
The Zagadinow Collection embodies the Libraries’ strategic priorities to collect and preserve global voices, and to make accessible materials related to Philadelphia’s culture and community and to transnational communities and identities.