Acquisitions Policy

About the collection:

Founded in 1945 on the revolutionary premise that America’s contemporary music was worthy of rigorous study for practical application, Berklee is the world’s leading college for studying contemporary music and has as its mission to educate, train, and develop students to excel in music as a career. The College’s pragmatic approach to music pedagogy stems from its early days based on the Schillinger System of Musical Composition, a mathematical approach to composition invented by Joseph Schillinger. As such, the Berklee College Archives contributes to the fulfillment of Berklee’s institutional mission to provide accessible music education.

The Archives was formally established in 2012 with funding from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. Collection holdings include: founder Lawrence Berk’s collection of 11 notebooks detailing his studies with Joseph Schillinger; photographs and clippings collected by Alma Berk between the 1960’s and 1980’s during her tenure as chief public affairs officer; Berklee concert programs; instructional materials produced by Berklee faculty for the classroom; a wealth of unique audio and video recorded performances; and the papers of various illustrious Berklee faculty members, including original scores, manuscripts, unpublished recordings, teaching materials, and more.

Collecting areas:

Berklee College Archives welcomes donations from faculty, alumni, and other individuals of unique and valuable materials that support its mission to document the considerable contributions and activities of the College, its faculty, and alumni. The Archives also actively collects materials pertaining to Joseph Schillinger and the Schillinger System of Musical Composition, the history of jazz in Boston, and oral histories chronicling the rich and diverse history of Berklee and Boston music from those who have lived, shaped and defined it.

Acquisitions criteria:

In general, the Berklee College Archives seeks information and records created by, for, and about Berklee College of Music, including the following personal materials from faculty and alumni:

  • Manuscripts
  • Scores (published and unpublished)
  • Biographical material
  • Course materials
  • Unique recordings (published and unpublished)
  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Programs
  • Realia

Appraisal criteria include uniqueness and research value, physical condition, legal ownership rights, relevance to the repository’s mission, and capability of the archives to provide proper care for materials in its custody. Materials should be as free as possible from legal restrictions that might diminish research potential.