SCOPE AND CONTENT
Richard Stoelzer's personal papers, concert programs, newspaper reviews, instruments and music scores were in the possession of his son, Walter H. Stoelzer, who did extensive research on the family genealogy and on the instruments. The notebooks of Walter Stoelzer and his biography of his father were helpful in determining the order and chronology of many undocumented items. Richard Stoelzer's daughter, Flora Stoelzer Specht, inherited the collection when her brother died, and it was she who gave it to Adelphi University in 1981.
The collection is divided into five major series or groups of materials as follows:
SERIES 1 Personal papers and documents of Richard Stoelzer , chiefly performance contracts from both Germany and the United States . These give a hint of the life and income of a musician in the last fifteen years of the nineteenth century.
SERIES 2 Papers of the Boston Symphony Orchestral Club and the Mozart Symphony Club . Of these, the papers of the latter are central to the collection, since they extend over a 14-year period. The papers of Series 2 are mostly in the form of personal scrapbooks of concert reviews, programs and publicity flyers from the many cities and towns on the tours. Productions of pencil drawings of the performers appear at the end of "The Mozart Symphony Club" scrapbook and in "The Mozart Index" scrapbook. The artwork on the programs and flyers was done by Otto and Herman Toaspern, brothers of Richard Stoelzer's wife Emma.
As in many scrapbooks, the material included is in only rough chronological order. The concert reviews were faithfully collected from thousands of newspapers, but perhaps, as the pages filled up, were simply pasted in where there was space. There are also reviews and photos of concerts and artists of other groups, which broaden the record of the music and performers of the time. Since the pages are badly crumbling, it was necessary to leave the scrapbooks intact and photograph them mostly in the order in which they arrived.
A personal name file precedes the Series Inventory.
SERIES 3 Loose photographs of Stoelzer, his colleagues and places and events of direct interest to the collection. These are in good condition and serve to bring the period alive. Most have been identified, but many are undated.
Series 1 to 3 are on microfilm for the use of researchers. The originals are being preserved in acid-free folders and boxes in the Special Collections at Adelphi University .
SERIES 4 Musical Instruments . The twelve string instruments, some of which were purchased by Stoelzer from the collector and publisher Paul de Wit in Leipzig, are housed separately at Adelphi University (some will be exhibited in special display cases in the Library) and used from time to time in special recitals and concerts in accordance with the wishes of the donor.
Descriptions of the instruments by William L. Monical, violin maker of Staten Island , New York , who appraised and restored the instruments for Adelphi University , along with their photographs, follow Series 1 to 3 on microfilm.
SERIES 5 Music Scores . The music scores in the collection consist of (I) chamber music (three of more instrumental parts, for one performer per part), (II) solo or duo pieces with and without accompaniment, and (III) teaching pieces and instruction books. The scores are both printed and manuscript, often of both types within a set of parts. As in most performing groups, the instrumentalists in the symphony clubs changed frequently, and the music was arranged for the available instruments. Stoelzer copied, transcribed and arranged many parts, and often entire compositions.
The symphony clubs performed arrangements of "serious" music of well-known eighteenth and nineteenth-century composers as well as contemporary musical comedy and popular pieces. Some especially interesting compositions are those written or arranged for the viola d'amore, viola alta and viola da gamba. The quantity of dance music of the times (waltzes, polkas, two-steps, lancers), not listed on the programs, might have been used as encores or perhaps by a dance band of which the collection has no record. Speculation aside, the variety of the music is an interesting reflection of turn-of-the-century tastes.
With the exception of Stoelzer's teaching pieces and the standard repertory classics, still in print and readily available, Series 5 is on microfilm. Photocopies of the originals, which remain in Swirbul Library, are available to musicologists, students and performers.