Finding Aids

  • The following collections are open for research use by appointment: Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with evening hours (5 p.m. to 9 p.m.) available upon request. These materials are non-circulating, but may be browsed via finding aids, which provide an inventory of contents and valuable contextual information.
  • To schedule an appointment or request further information on a particular collection, please email (sbecerralicha@berklee.edu) or call (617-747-8001) Sofia Becerra-Licha. For more details on planning your visit, please see "Visiting the Archives."

The personal papers of American saxophonist, clarinetist, and educator John D. LaPorta (1920-2004), who taught at Berklee College of Music from 1959-1985. LaPorta's papers include published and unpublished compositions and arrangements, teaching materials, correspondence, clippings, programs, assorted writings, photographs, awards, and performance recordings collected by LaPorta over the course of his career as a performer and teacher.

The Donald Bacon papers represent the work of a journalist and photographer who documented the jazz scene in New England over an approximately twenty-five year period; 1970-1997. The collection includes a significant collection of incoming correspondence (he received) and outgoing correspondence (he sent) to jazz musicians, agents and other individuals. Photographs of jazz musicians make up another important component of the collection. A third category of records (Series II: Sound Recordings), are recorded interviews with musicians and live recordings of jazz concerts on audio cassette tapes.

This collection is comprised of photographs compiled into 76 albums by Alma Berk during her tenure as Berklee’s first publicity officer, from the college’s founding through the mid 1980’s. The photographs range in date from the early 1940’s through the mid 1980’s, with the bulk around 1968 through 1984. While Mrs. Berk likely took some of the photos herself, it is believed that many of the photos were actually taken by her personal photographer, Dino. These images serve as a visual snapshot of Berklee's early history and are the only known comprehensive photographic collection of Berklee during this time. A small selection of photos have been digitized and are available online

Memorabilia created by Franklin McGinley for and by Duke Ellington, including a scrapbook, additional clippings, and various commemorative materials. The scrapbook, presumably put together by McGinley, documents the rise of swing music and Duke Ellington and includes autographs by Ellington and other musicians of the period. The remaining loose materials document Ellington's posthumous legacy, with the majority of the clippings consisting of obituaries or coverage of Duke Ellington’s passing in 1974. Selected materials have also been scanned and are available online here.

Scores, audio recordings, and other related materials created and collected by vibraphonist and Latin jazz composer Bobby Vince Paunetto ‘73. Scores include original compositions, arrangements, and sketches. Other papers include publicity-related correspondence, lists of compositions, and some class assignments. Audiovisual materials include both published and unpublished recordings in reel, cassette, and compact disc formats.

This collection is comprised of materials documenting correspondence, coursework, and memorabilia produced and collected by Bert Henry and Dr. Jerome Gross, as students and proponents of the Schillinger System of Musical Composition (SSOMC). The Schillinger System of Musical Composition was invented by Russian composer and theorist Joseph Schillinger. The system is modeled on mathematical processes and includes theories of rhythm, harmony, melody, counterpoint, form, and semantics. A digitized version of this collection is available online and additional archival materials on the Schillinger System may also be found in the Lawrence Berk papers on the Schillinger System (BCA-007)

This collection consists of 11 binders comprised of notes, formulas and other figures compiled and created by Lawrence Berk, founder of Berklee College of Music. Although materials are undated, it is assumed that these materials were produced in the 1930s as a result of Berk’s private study with Joseph Schillinger, creator of the Schillinger System of Musical Composition (SSOMC). Therefore, these papers presumably contain the foundation of Berklee’s early curriculum. A digitized version of this collection is available online and additional archival materials on the Schillinger System may also be found in the Jerome Gross and Bert Henry papers on the Schillinger System (BCA-006)

Approximately 100 Compact Disc recordings (1997-2013) collected by Berklee College of Music's Office of Alumni Affairs and featuring Berklee alumni. The vast majority of these recordings are commercial releases from circa 1997-2013, but there are also several undated items. Berklee College of Music's Office of Alumni Affairs provides programming, publications, and other resources aimed at supporting Berklee alumni's lifelong professional and personal pursuits. This includes documenting and highlighting notable alumni accomplishments, as with this collection of compact disc recordings.

This collection consists of concert programs generated by Berklee College of Music’s Concert Operations department, known colloquially as the Concert Office. Events include student, faculty, visiting artist, and professional performances in the following five campus venues: Lawrence and Alma Berk Hall, Oliver Colvin Hall, David Friend Hall, The Red Room @ Café 939, and the Berklee Performance Center.

Dean Earl papers (BCA-010)

Pedagogical arrangements created and/or compiled by distinguished pianist, faculty member, and alumnus Dean Earl as teaching aids for Berklee Piano Department courses in harmony and piano performance. The arrangements themselves consist mainly of popular music and jazz standards, as well as musical exercises. These papers have also been scanned and are available online here.

In 1998, the Stan Getz Library at Berklee College of Music established an oral history program devoted to documenting the lives of musicians who have made significant contributions to the music world as well as the Berklee College of Music community. The oral history project aims to chronicle the rich and diverse history of Berklee and Boston music from those who have lived, shaped and defined it. The interviewees discuss their time spent at Berklee College of Music; their performances in and around Boston; and their experiences learning and playing music. Topics include jazz history, the Boston Jazz community, musical education, the early development of the Berklee College of Music. The collection includes born-digital audio visual recordings of interviews conducted by the Berklee Oral History Project. Also included are transcripts of all of the interviews and biographical sketches of the interviewees. Selected interviews are available online

Materials created and/or compiled by author James Goss over the course of writing two books: Vinyl Lives I and Vinyl Lives II. These monographs document the perspectives of various independent record store owners and collectors regarding the rise, decline, and resurgence of record sales. Unpublished materials in this manuscript collection include the author's research files: interview outlines and questions, handwritten chapter outlines, handwritten interview transcripts, project notes, biographical information, correspondence, and interview recordings (30-60 minutes each). Published materials include copies of both books and an article written by Goss.

Alma Berk (1912-1995) established Berklee's Office of Public Information in 1959 and served as Chief Public Affairs Officer until her retirement in 1994. This collection is comprised of 53 boxes containing materials collected and organized by Mrs. Berk, including including press clippings & releases, institutional reports, files on faculty and students, promotional materials, college publications, and more. Mrs. Berk's husband, Lawrence Berk, founded Berklee in 1945 and their son Lee Berk served as the college's second president from 1979-2004. As publicity officer, Mrs. Berk's tenure encompassed the college's beginnings as the Schillinger House, its rebranding as the Berklee School of Music, and the transition to Berklee College of Music, as it is known today. The files, photographs, and other ephemera she collected remain the most comprehensive documentation on the college's early history.

This collection consists primarily of artifacts presented to Lee Eliot Berk (1942 - ) in recognition of his service and accomplishments as the second president of Berklee College of Music (1979-2004). Items include numerous award plaques, honorary degrees, a guitar signed by alumni in Nashville, TN, and the academic robe accompanying the honorary doctorate bestowed upon him by Berklee College of Music on the occasion of his retirement.

Photographs, negatives, slides, and other promotional materials from the late 1990’s to early 2000’s, produced by or for Berklee's Communications office. Images document buildings, student life, selected individuals, and campus events. Berklee College of Music’s Digital Strategy and Communications team promotes Berklee's mission and institutional identity through innovative strategies, content and services that enhance Berklee's brand essence in support of the annual goals of the college, External Affairs team, and in support of recruitment and advancement.

This collection is comprised of over 700 audio reels containing recordings of faculty and student projects, visiting artist clinics, master classes, lectures, annual commencement concerts and ceremonies, and student performances of note. Some of the major figures represented include: Herb Pomeroy, Arif Mardin, Delfeayo Marsalis, Chick Corea, Gary Burton, and Phil Wilson. These recordings were created and/or collected by the music production and engineering (MP&E) department at Berklee College of Music, which has as its mission to educate and train students in the art and craft of music production and engineering.

This ongoing collection is comprised of audio and video recordings of Berklee College of Music events from campus venues including the: Berklee Performance Center, Lawrence and Alma Berk Recital Hall, Steve Heck Room, David Friend Recital Hall, Red Room, and Stan Getz Library & Media Center, from 1995 - to the present. The sources of these recordings include Berklee’s Concert Office, Video Services, and the Stan Getz Library and Media Center. The Library’s Media Development Office collects and prepares these materials for inclusion in the library and college archives collections, as appropriate.

Approximately 3,900 video recordings of clinics, concerts, and other special events on campus spanning from 1985-2004. These recordings are primarily housed on VHS tapes; other formats include Beta and Umatic tapes. Sample event types include: Singer Showcase concerts, commencement concerts, and the dedication and grand opening of the Genko Uchida Building. Berklee College of Music’s Video Services department records concert and other event performances throughout the college campus. Reggie Lofton, director of video services, oversaw the production of the videos in this collection.

Wayne Wadhams (1946-2008) was a founding member of the Music Production & Engineering Department at Berklee College of Music, where he taught from 1982-2007. This collection includes both teaching materials as well as records from Wadhams’ Boston Skyline label. Formats include paper files, floppy discs, compact discs, LPs, 45s, VHS tapes, Beta tapes, and Digital Audio Tapes. Curricular materials include a copy of the original proposal to establish the music production & engineering department at Berklee.

Guitarist Jeff Friedman '79 served as Professor of Jazz Composition at Berklee College of Music for more than twenty years, specializing in the music of Duke Ellington. This collection is comprised of 3 boxes containing his notes, papers, and teaching materials. The bulk of the materials are scores (including some transparencies), but also include articles, a few recordings, articles, and other ephemera by or about Duke Ellington. It is believed these materials were primarily used to support Friedman’s class on Duke Ellington, and it is likely that some of the items were passed down to him by his predecessor, Herb Pomeroy.

Husband and wife Ed and Ruth Williams documented the Boston jazz scene for over 15 years. Ed Williams was a sound engineer and recorded on location countless hours of live performances in the New England area. Ruth Williams was a photographer and published two books capturing these musicians in action. This collection is comprised of multi-track audio recordings (both masters and production copies) and the multi-track recorders modified by Ed Williams to produce them (required for playback). These recordings are complemented by copies of both of Ruth Williams’ books of photographs documenting decades of the New England jazz scene as well as bound indices for the recordings.

Hanging files, bound and loose documents collected by Berklee College of Music Assistant Vice President for External Affairs Rob Hayes, spanning from approximately 1995 - 2013. Materials include institutional reports, press clippings, college handbooks and publications, and a few alumni recordings. Rob Hayes joined Berklee in 1992 and currently serves as Assistant Vice President for External Affairs at Berklee College of Music, where he oversees Berklee Presents, the college’s student touring and broadcasting program; the Media Relations office; and The BIRN, Berklee’s student-run Internet radio station.

Composer and arranger Barrie Nettles was a foundational member of the harmony department at Berklee College of Music, serving as chair and authoring many of its core curricular texts. This collection consists of teaching materials created and compiled by former Berklee faculty member (and chair of the harmony department) Barrie Nettles. Materials include reels, tapes, papers, and textbook drafts.

This collection is primarily comprised of musical manuscripts, photographs, a draft of Sweet Man: The Real Duke Ellington, and other personal effects belonging to lyricist Don George (1909-1987). George is perhaps best known for his collaboration with Duke Ellington, particularly the standard “I’m Beginning to See the Light” (1944).

Guitarist Richard Lieberson was well-versed in country, early jazz, and country blues musical styles. Lieberson authored Old-Time Fiddle Tunes for Guitar and also had work published in Jazz Guitars, Guitar Player, and Country Musicians. He recorded on Flying Fish and played with Vince Giordano's big band Nighthawks, which specialized in 20's and 30's arrangements. This collection consists of guitarist Richard Lieberson's personal library of VHS tapes (including bootleg recordings) and methods books for guitar, with an emphasis on jazz and various country styles.

Jazz historian Eric Nisenson’s (1946-2003) works include biographies of Miles Davis (Round About Midnight: A Portrait of Miles Davis), John Coltrane (Ascension: John Coltrane and his Quest), and Sonny Rollins (Open Sky: Sonny Rollins and His World of Improvisation), as well as Blue: The Murder of Jazz. Materials in this collection come from his large personal music library of compact discs as well as his manuscripts.

This collection consists of 11 boxes of quarter inch, quarter track analog audio tapes of events held on the Berklee College of Music campus dating from approximately 1969-1995. Campus events recorded include clinics, master classes, concerts, opening convocation, and commencement ceremonies. The exact provenance of the recordings in this collection is unknown, but they are believed to have been generated by Berklee College of Music’s Concert Operations department, known colloquially as the Concert Office, and possibly previously referred to as the BPC (Berklee Performance Center) office.

This collection consists of recordings of various performances within the Berklee College of Music woodwind department collected by Bill Pierce during his tenure as an instructor at the college. The majority of items are audio cassettes (106 total), but other formats include 46 compact discs, 3 VHS tapes, and 14 quarter inch audio reels. Jazz saxophonist Bill Pierce is the current chair of the woodwind department of Berklee College of Music.

For 52 years, Norm Nathan (1926-1996) was a disc jockey and talk show host on various Boston-area radio stations with a penchant for jazz. From 1957 - 1968 Nathan hosted “Sounds in the Night” on WHDH-AM and beginning in 1984 he hosted all-night talk show weekends on WBZ-AM. Programming included jazz performances as well as insightful interviews with musical legends such as Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sarah Vaughan. This collection consists of selected audio interviews with notable jazz performers, collected from "Sounds in the night" hosted by Norm Nathan and broadcast on WHDH radio in Boston from the late 1950s into the 1970s.

This collection is comprised of digital copies of the Music Business Journal, dating from the origins of the publication in 2005 - 2013. The Music Business Journal, published at Berklee College of Music, is a student publication overseen by the Music Business/Management department that serves as a forum for intellectual discussion and research into the various aspects of the music business.

The Berklee Alumni Composers Collective was founded by Frank E. Warren ‘76. This collection consists of hard-copy scores for works performed at recitals put on by the Berklee Alumni Composers Collective.

This collection consists of rare popular music periodicals compiled by Berklee's Stan Getz Library under the guidance of former Dean of Learning Resources Gary Haggerty. The extent of the collection is approximately 511 issues spanning the years 1929 - 1971 and featuring the following titles: The Broadside, Broadside (Boston), Broadside (NY), Jazz, Jazz and Pop, Jazz Quarterly, and Metronome.

The encoding of these finding aids and the processing of the majority of these collections were funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Click here to view EAD representation of Finding Aids.