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Collection Musical Instruments at the Library of Congress

Dayton C. Miller Collection of Wind Instruments

Johann Joachim Quantz / Flute in C

The Miller collections contain nearly 1,700 flutes and other wind instruments, statuary, iconography, books, music, trade catalogs, tutors, patents, and other materials mostly related to the flute. The collections include both Western and non-Western examples of wind instruments with at least 460 European and American instrument makers represented. The collections are especially strong in 19th-century keywork, acoustical innovations, and experimental designs. Donated to the Library by collector Dayton C. Miller, the collection was received in 1941. Many of these items can be viewed online in the Miller Flute Collection, including images of the flutes, 90 detailed views, and a sampling of associated items from Dr. Miller’s iconography and photography collections.

Highlights of the collection include 40 flutes from the Munich workshops of Theobald Boehm, Rudolph Greve, and Carl Mendler; a flute (DCM 0916) that once belonged to King Frederick II of Prussia, designed by his teacher, Joachim Quantz; numerous flutes from the respected house of Rudall Carte, in London; 17 crystal flutes by Claude Laurent of Paris, 1 flute (DCM 0378) made in 1813 and presented to President James Madison; more than130 native North and South American flutes; 17th- to 18th-century jade examples from China; and an elegantly decorated early 18th-century oboe (DCM 0158) by Hendrik Richters of Amsterdam.

The iconography collection is made up of works of art, with a total of approximately 2,000 photographs in at least seven separate collections. The approximately 850 works on paper are dated from the late 15th to the early 20th centuries. A selection of these works on paper appears in the Dayton C. Miller Collection. These images consist mostly of woodcuts, engravings, etchings, lithographs, pen-and-ink-wash drawings, watercolors, and Japanese wood-block prints.