IN 1987, A BEQUEST OF HANS MOLDENHAUER (1906-1987) brought to the Library of Congress the greatest composite gift of musical documents this institution has ever received. Established as the Moldenhauer Archives at the Library of Congress, it consisted of about 3,500 autograph music manuscripts, letters, and other materials spanning the range of musical genres from medieval chant to modern serialism, with neumes inscribed with quill on vellum to innovative notations for aleatoric orchestral effects written with colored ball-point pen.
The donor also provided a generous fund to support his directive that the Library publish a book about his fabulous Archives as a memorial to his wife of nearly forty years, Rosaleen, who had worked with him on his collection and had been his coauthor in researching and writing a monumental biography of Anton Webern. In October 1986, he wrote to Jon Newsom of the Library’s Music Division saying that "a preliminary telephone conversation would serve the end of a distinct opportunity for direct and close collaboration." That letter initiated a working friendship through which, among other things, the outlines of this volume were developed during the last year of Dr. Moldenhauer’s life. The relationship has since been carried on by his wife, Mary, who has nobly supported the project in the spirit of both Hans and Rosaleen Moldenhauer.
The original plan grew in scope from a choice collection of illustrated essays dealing with a selection of the Moldenhauers’ most prized manuscripts to a book that would include, besides the essays, a comprehensive inventory of all holdings of the Moldenhauer Archives at all nine institutions, including the Library of Congress, to which over the years portions of the Archives had been sent the Paul Sacher Foundation (Paul Sacher Stiftung), Basel; the Bavarian State Library (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek), Munich; the Houghton Library of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, the Viennese Municipal and National Library (Wiener Stadt- und Landesbibliothek); the Central Library of Zürich (Zentralbibliothek Zürcher), the Washington State University, Pullman; and Whitworth College, Spokane. This undertaking, proposed at first by Dr. Moldenhauer when he hoped the completion of his memorial work to Rosaleen might fall within his lifetime, was initially abandoned as impractical but, after his death, was once again taken up as a way of fulfilling his dream that through the Library of Congress the fruits of his collecting could be described and gathered together in one volume.
James H. Billington
The Librarian of Congress