AfriClassical: University of Michigan Library to digitize one-third of 19th-century Edison Sheet Music Collection, including music about race and slavery
"In the early 20th century, the Edison Phonograph Company amassed a large collection of 19th-century American sheet music to select from it works to record for the American public. The recording company closed in 1929, but the Edison Sheet Music Collection remained, making its way to the Henry Ford family and into various other hands before the University of Michigan Library acquired it in 1989. Thanks to a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources, over the next two years the U-M Library will catalog and digitize one-third of this collection, or more than 30,000 of its some 100,000 titles. The grant is part of CLIR's Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives program, which is funded by the Mellon Foundation. According to Kristen Castellana, music librarian at the U-M Library, the Edison Sheet Music Collection is one of the world's largest collections of its type, and is noteworthy both for its size and its unique holdings—as much as 75 percent represents previously unknown editions. The digitization project will result in the largest online collection of pre-1870 sheet music and will bring to light a substantial portion of a repertory that is currently unknown from an era that saw the birth of a distinctly American genre of music ..."