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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
The collection is arranged in one series. Howard Shanet organized these records according to activity. Box 1, folders 3-9 are arranged in their original order. The remaining folders were compiled during processing from a larger group of material that was otherwise discarded in accordance with University records management policy. The archivist has maintained the original order of documents within these groupings but has organized these groupings into folders according to activity.
Scope and Contents
This collection comprises administrative documents, correspondence, and notes, much of which dates from Howard Shanet's period as department chair (1972-1976). Topics covered include: the music department curriculum, bequests made to the department, budgetary and space issues, the Music Humanities course, course planning, implementation of university policy, and the relationship between the music departments at Barnard and Columbia.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
One folder of Executive Committee minutes in Box 2 contains personnel and student records and is restricted until 2051.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Department of Music Records; Box and Folder (if known); University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Eda Rothstein Rapoport Papers: Howard Shanet oversaw and managed a significant bequest from the Rapoport family while chair of the department.
Many other Music faculty members during the 1970s also have papers at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library: Jack Beeson (MS#0094), Vladimir Ussachevsky (MS#1492), Paul Henry Lang (MS#0378), and Patricia Carpenter (MS#2053).
Columbia University Orchestra Records (UA#0190): Records relating to Howard Shanet's work with the Columbia University Orchestra (which were accessioned alongside the material in this collection) can be found in Series I.
Additions to this collection are possible.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated to the Rare Book and Manuscript Library in February 2010 by Bernice Grafstein, Howard Shanet's wife, in a group of materials previously called the Howard Shanet Papers (Acc. 2009-2010-M103).
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
This collection was processed by Callum Blackmore (GSAS). Finding aid written by Callum Blackmore in July 2023.
The processing of this collection was made possible by a Graduate Internship in Primary Sources from Columbia Libraries.
This material was originally accessioned as the Howard Shanet Papers (MS#1876). Upon surveying, the collection was determined to contain records of the Columbia University Department of Music (UA#0324) and Columbia University Orchestra (UA#0190), respectively, which had been created and used by Shanet.
This material was removed from this collection (which was originally housed and foldered in three banker's boxes) and rehoused and refoldered into metal-edged boxes and acid-free folders. All paper clips and rubber bands have been removed from the material; however material that was originally clipped or banded together has been housed together. Some material has been unfolded and removed from envelopes: these envelopes have been discarded unless they contained salient historical information (annotations, etc.).
Approximately 80-90% of the material originally housed in this collection has been destroyed. As per University Records policies, documents containing information with privacy and confidentiality concerns were shredded in their entirety. These include documents covered by HIPAA and FERPA (medical records, student records), HR documents, and financial records. Duplicate documents and library records were similarly discarded.
Box 1, folders 3-9 represent Shanet's original foldering of these materials. When folders contained only one or two items that were not earmarked for destruction, these items were rehoused in new folders; however, the archivist has maintained the original ordering and/or grouping of these items wherever possible. These newly created folders (compiled from material separated from larger folders otherwise earmarked for shredding) include: Box 1, folders 1-2, Box 1, folder 10, and Box 2, folders 1-3.
Documents containing information with privacy and confidentiality concerns were removed and shredded according to University Records policies.
History / Biographical Note
The Columbia University Department of Music is one of the oldest university music departments in the United States. Founded in 1896 by composer and conductor Edward MacDowell, the department offers graduate and undergraduate instruction in composition, historical musicology, music theory, ethnomusicology, and music performance. From 1972 to 1976, the department was chaired by the conductor, composer, author, and pedagogue Howard Shanet. Shanet had been a professor in the Music Department since 1953, hired to conduct the Columbia University Orchestra and, from 1972, he served as the university's first Director of Music Performance. These materials primarily relate to Shanet's service as department chair.
Shanet chaired the Music Department during a period of immense upheaval for the university. A university-wide budgetary crisis greatly restricted the department's financial means, while spatial limitations in the department's long-standing home, Dodge Hall (caused largely by the establishment of the new School of the Arts) prompted significant logistical difficulties. However, during this period, Shanet succeeded in shepherding a number of private donations to help fund the department's operations, including the burgeoning Music Performance Program. At the same time, he implemented sizable reforms in the graduate and undergraduate curriculum (including the core class, Music Humanities) and oversaw a faculty of prominent composers and academics.