I'm glad that Marshall Jose posted the information that Stanford
University has acquired the Richard J. Howe archives. I know
from conversations with Dick Howe, when I was collaborating with
him in preparing Charles Davis Smith's Welte Mignon magnum opus
for publication after Smith's suicide, that he was taking great care
in deciding where to donate his archives, wanting to choose an
institution that would appreciate the value of the material, carefully
house and index it, and make it freely available to researchers.
Dick considered donating it to the Library of Congress, but decided
against that because of the likelihood that the material would be
lost in the sheer size of the Library's collections and its lack of
focus on mechanical music. He eventually chose the University of
Maryland's College Park Libraries, partly, I think, because it already
housed IPAM, the International Piano Archives at Maryland.
But it wasn't too long before Dick realized he had made a mistake,
as the situation at that library changed and a new administration
took a rather dog-in-the-manger attitude toward its Howe Collection.
So I am both surprised and gratified that Stanford was by some means
able to take ownership of the Howe collection, and that it promises
to improve access.
The Howe collection consists of some 25,000 items, running to a
half-million pages. Dick had prepared a 922-page catalog of his
collection for his own use, and it has been scanned to a CD, but it
was never released because of not knowing to what degree the College
Park Library system was prepared to make the collection accessible.
Irondequoit, New York