Article Felix Mendelssohn Manuscripts and Resources for Research at the Library of Congress

Image: Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn (Prang and Co., 1897). Performing Arts Reading Room, Library of Congress.

The largest part of the Library of Congress's resources for performing research related to Felix Mendelssohn is, predictably, housed in the collections of the Library's Music Division. While published scores of the composer's works, biographies and journal articles are held in the Division's general collections, the majority of primary source material such as holograph (autograph) manuscripts and correspondence, as well as iconography and concert programs, is held within a small number of the Division's archival collections.

Foremost among these archival collections is the Gertrude Clarke Whittall Foundation Collection-Mendelssohn Collection (or simply the Whittall-Mendelssohn Collection), which comprises the Division's most significant corpus of primary source material related to the composer. A complete finding aid, or inventory, of this collection may be examined online. This finding aid contains a detailed list of the Collection's contents, which includes material in a wide variety of formats. The Whittall-Mendelssohn Collection, acquired through funds provided by Gertrude Clarke Whittall, also includes biographical material compiled by an early Mendelssohn scholar, W.T. Freemantle, as well as perhaps the earliest extant thematic catalog of Mendelssohn's works, in Freemantle's hand.

The Music Division's Hans Moldenhauer Archive also contains a significant amount of primary source material related to Mendelssohn: five (5) holograph manuscript scores, ten (10) pieces of the composer's autograph correspondence, one printed concert program, one ink drawing, and one engraving of Mendelssohn. In addition to this material, the Moldenhauer Archive also contains autograph letters of the composer's wife, Cécile (two letters), his brother Paul (one letter), and his cousin Alexander Mendelssohn (one letter). A dedicated Web site for the Moldenhauer Archive within the "American Memory" digital library site includes links to the collection's finding aid as well as to accompanying images of, and essays about several representative items held within it, may be accessed directly. A guide to the contents of the Moldenhauer Archive is also available.

Other archival collections located in the Library's Music Division which hold material related to Mendelssohn are the Music Division-Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection, the Bradbury Collection, and the Heineman Foundation Collection.

Additional primary source material related to Mendelssohn which is held within the Music Division's general collections is represented by two scores in the "ML96" class (reserved for holograph manuscripts) and several letters of the composer in the "ML94" and "ML95" classes (reserved for correspondence).

Searching for Mendelssohn's name in the online "Performing Arts Encyclopedia," accessed through the website of the Library's Performing Arts Reading Room and which highlights selected digital resources held by the Library, will provide links to manuscript and early published musical scores of the composer, as well as to related material such as concert programs. Similarly, performing a search of the composer's name by means of the Library's "American Memory" site (go to and browse the "Performing Arts, Music" topic before searching) will provide links to material related to Mendelssohn held within the Library's collections, including complete digital images of musical scores of this composer which were published in the United States during the nineteenth century and submitted to the United States Copyright Office for copyright registration.

Mendelssohn Holograph Manuscripts in the Library of Congress's Music Division

The Gertrude Clarke Whittall Foundation Collection

  1. ML30.8j. op. 11 Case
    Symphony, no. 1 in C Minor, op. 11 (1829), arranged for piano 4 hands with parts for violin and violoncello, ad lib. 8 p. Note: Microfilm Music 1189
    Autograph letter from Mendelssohn dated 1829 Nov. 26, London, to Johann Baptist Cramer mounted on the fly-leaf to the manuscript.
  2. ML30.8j. op. 20 Case
    Octet in E-flat Major, op. 20 (1825), for 4 violins, 2 violas & 2 violoncellos. 77 p. Note: Microfilm Music 1053
  3. ML30.8j. op. 47 Case
    Lied, op. 47, no. 5. "Der Blumenstrauss" (1832) for voice and piano. Composed on a text by Karl Klingemann and dedicated to painter Felix Moscheles.
  4. ML30.8j.B334 Case
    Bach, Johann Sebastian. Cantata, Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit, BWV 106. Manuscript parts for clarinets and bassoons in Mendelssohn's hand. 2 leaves.
    Mendelssohn copied, arranged and published music by J.S. Bach; examples include manuscript copies of the Partita no. 3 in E major for unaccompanied violin, BWV 1006, the orchestral Suite no. 3, in D major, BWV 1068 (wind parts only), and the Music Division's manuscript clarinet and bassoon parts copied from selections from Bach's Cantata, BWV 106.
  5. ML30.8j.C62 op. 40 Case
    Concerto no. 2, op. 40, in D minor, for piano and orchestra: correction sheets.
    Note: available as Microfilm 1187.
  6. ML30.8j.M36 1820z Case
    Manuscript von Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, aus seinem Nachlass. Early sketches by Felix with 42 measures in E-flat Major possibly for orchestra or string quartet; part of a fugue in the hand of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel. 1 leaf.
  7. ML30.8j. M46 1900z Case
    Canone a 2 in B Minor, Birmingham, 25 September 1840.
    Part of the Mendelssohn Family Album.
  8. ML30.8j .P7 1839 Case
    Psalm XXXI [31] for chorus: Defend me, Lord, from shame. 1 leaf.
    Includes note to Mr. Coventry with best compliments and wishes, Leipzig, 1st March 1839.
  9. ML30.8j.P8 Case
    Psalm XCV [95], op. 46 for solo voices, chorus and orchestra. Fragment from an early version of the second movement: Kommet herzu: Lasst uns mit Danken. (1838). 4 p. Note: Microfilm: 1188
  10. ML30.8j.P8 1838b Case
    Psalm XCV [95], op. 46. Fragment from the second movement: Kommet herzu: Lasst uns mit Danken. (1838). 4 p.
  11. ML30.8j.T9 Case
    Tutto è silenzio for voice and chamber orchestra (incomplete) (1829). 4 p. Note: Microfilm 1190
  12. ML30.8j Case (box 4/ folder 7)
    Caprice, op. 33 no. 2. Fragment dated April 17, 1841.
  13. ML30. 8j Case (box 4/ folder 12)
    Canon, Pater peccavi, for 3 voices. Located in a letter to F[riedrich] Kistner dated 1841 August 7, Berlin.
  14. ML30.8b.M46 op. 85 no. 3 1836 Case
    Lieder ohne Worte in E-flat Major, published posthumously as op. 85 no. 3, for piano solo. Part of the 'Grabau Album.' Text significantly different from the published edition.
  15. ML30.8b.M46 op. 85 no. 2 1836 Case
    Lieder ohne Worte in C Minor, op. 38 no. 2, for piano solo. Dedicated to Henriette Grabau and included in the Grabau Album.

William Batchelder Bradbury Collection

  1. ML31.B7 Case
    Frülingslied, op. 34 no. 3, measures 1 through 9. Located in the Bradbury Album.

Herman Lowin Collection

  1. Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt (Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage), Op. 27. (1828)
    Fragment of the Overture. 2 p.

Hans Moldenhauer Archives

  1. Moldenhauer Archives, Box 98
    Elijah, op. 70. Introduction and Overture, arranged for piano duet (incomplete). (1847) 6 p.
  2. Moldenhauer Archives, Box 98
    Herbstlied der Zugvögel, op. 63, No. 2 for vocal duet with piano accompaniment. Poem by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben.To Livia Frege, May 20, 1844.
  3. Moldenhauer Archives, Box 98
    Rätselkanon in B Minor, Leipzig, 19 February 1846.
  4. Moldenhauer Archives (bound, shelved).
    Three English Church Pieces, for solo voices and chorus and organ accompaniment, op. 69, (Jubilate Deo, Magnificat, Nunc dimittis.) (1847)
    Manuscript from London with many corrections and a passage omitted from the published version.
  5. Moldenhauer Archives, Box 98
    Vier Männerchöre: Jagdlied, published posthumously as op. 120, No. 1, (1847). 42 bars of music and three strophes of the text by Sir Walter Scott. On verso, "Im Süden," published posthumously as op. 120, No. 3, second tenor part of chorus "Auf dem Meere," 13 measures with 3 strophes of text.

Rare Classed Collections

  1. ML94.A5 Case
    Eight measures of untitled music for piano, signed and dated - London, July 1844. Located in the Album Choisi.
  2. ML94.W4 Case
    Unidentified fragment of a sketch. Located in the Wheat Autograph Album.
  3. ML96.M45 Case
    Die Schlacht bei Prag, published posthumously as the Concert Piece in F Minor for clarinet, basset horn, and piano, opus 113 (1832), unpaged.
  4. ML96.M45 Case
    Symphony no. 3 ("Scottish"). Published proof copy of the score with autograph corrections.
  5. ML96.M45 Case
    Zwei Lieder für Tenorstimme for Heinrich Conrad Schleinitz, dated October 1, 1835: Abendlied (Auf Flügeln des Gesanges), op. 34, no. 2 in A-flat Major, on a poem by Josef von Eichendorf; and Der Zitherspieler [Pagenlied] (Wenn die Sonne lieblich schiene), on a poem Heinrich Heine. 4 p.

About this Item

Felix Mendelssohn Manuscripts and Resources for Research at the Library of Congress
Subject Headings
-  Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix -- 1809-1847 -- -- composer
-  Articles
-  Songs and Music
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