About the Exhibition
Since 1907, The MacDowell Colony has offered a creative sanctuary to artists, writers, and composers. Founded by American composer Edward MacDowell and his wife Marian, the Colony's underlying philosophy is that artists working in different disciplines can benefit from contact with one another. This exhibition, drawn from collections across the Library, provides an opportunity to appreciate the MacDowell experience, from its most recent fellows to its earliest colonists.
Many American classics can trace their origins to The MacDowell Colony. Thornton Wilder's Our Town, Aaron Copland's ballet Billy the Kid, and Dorothy and DuBose Heyward's play Porgy number among them.
The MacDowell Colony exhibition draws from the Edward and Marian MacDowell Collection in the Music Division and the records of The MacDowell Colony in the Manuscript Division, as well as from the Library's unparalleled holdings of fine prints, first editions and autograph music manuscripts.
The Library's relationship with The MacDowell Colony grew out of Edward MacDowell's friendship with former Music Division Chief Oscar Sonneck. In 1903, MacDowell gave the Library the manuscript of his “Zweite (indianische) Suite, Op. 48,” a gift that inspired the Music Division to begin collecting original music manuscripts and first editions of preeminent American composers.