Music Collection Contents

Sheet Music

Lick Observatory Schottische
Sheet music for the “Lick Observatory Schottische” by F. M. Lee, 1888 (History San Jose)
The HSJ General Sheet Music Collection includes over 3000 pieces comprising popular songs from the 1840s through 1940s (salon, music hall, minstrel, vaudeville, musical comedy, radio, film, big band tunes); song albums; school song books; hymnals; instrumental music; and music journals.

In addition, special collections within the sheet music collection contain another 1000 items:

Erna Bobritz Collection: Songs from 1890s-1920 reflecting current popular concerns

Emma Buck Collection: Pop songs from the 1920s to 1940s

Crist Collection: Sheet music of the late 19th to early 20th century, including songbooks, operatic training books, piano pieces, journals, wind instrument instruction books, and dance orchestral music. A small number of items are related to Leo Sullivan.

John Cochran Collection: Pop songs from the 1920s to 1950s

Harriet Huntley Dean Collection: Sheet music from 1900-1940s, including pop and sacred songs, piano instruction, dance music, and song folios

De Saisset Collection: Piano/violin, violin, flute/piano music; and original, Paris-printed compositions.

Downey Best Collection: Turn of the century songs

Edna McCormic Johnson Collection: Pop and salon music from 1920s to 1940s

Mc Neilly Collection: Sheet music from early to mid-20th century, including songs, piano pieces and albums, and banjo instruction book

Robert Watson Collection: Pop songs from 1920s to 1950s

Harold Wehner Collection: World War I and II patriotic songs, assorted pop songs, and piano pieces

Memorabilia and Ephemera

  • Florence Saylor — King Conservatory scrapbooks, yearbook, and concert programs from the 1920s
  • Ledgers of local music businesses
  • Carrie Foster McLellan’s scrapbooks that provide exhaustive documentation of San Jose’s music world and her career (1880-1900).
  • San Francisco Examiner inserts from 1890s-1920, reflecting current concerns
  • Music obituary files (1992-present)

Oral Histories

Small collection of interviews with musician “old-timers” recorded between 1990-1992. (Not transcribed).

Sound Recordings

  • Small collection of early 78RPM albums, including local artists such as Shorty Joe Quartuccio
  • LP albums of Arthur Godfrey/McGuires and Ethel Smith on organ
  • 16 inch transcriptions of radio presentations by the Chamber of Commerce in the 1940s
  • Small number of 1/2-inch thick one-sided records, and wax cylinders
  • Piano rolls, mostly notable for a series of composers playing their own works in early 20th century