H. Owen Reed papers
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
H. (Herbert) Owen Reed was born June 17, 1910 in Odessa, Missouri, where he grew up influenced by his parents' musical talents: his father played the fiddle, and his mother the piano. He began formal music studies at the University of Missouri School of Music in 1929, but transferred to Louisiana State University in 1933, earning his Bachelor and Master of Music in 1934 and 1936, respectively. He then received a Ph.D. in music composition at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in 1939. That same year he began his tenure as a professor of music theory and composition at the Michigan State University College of Music, where he remained until his retirement in 1976. During this time, he served as a mentor to numerous future composers and musicians. After retirement, he continued to compose music, guest conduct, teach and perform, maintaining a strong connection to Michigan State University and founding and performing with the faculty jazz ensemble "The Geriatric Six."
Throughout his life, Reed composed and published works for orchestra, band, voices, opera and chamber music, and wrote eight books on music theory and composition. His best-known work, "La Fiesta Mexicana" (1949) resulted from his study of folk music in Mexico for a period of six months from 1948 to 1949. He also undertook extensive study of Native American music in New Mexico and Arizona, composing a series of chamber operas based on Native American legends: "Earth Trapped" (1960), "Living Solid Face" (1974), and "Butterfly Girl and Mirage Boy" (1979-80). His interest in American fiddle music, inspired by his father's skills as a fiddler, led him to collect and transpose various American fiddle tunes. In addition to his work as a composer, Reed studied and played piano and trumpet. He died January 6, 2014. Prior to his death, he began to deposit his published works and papers at Michigan State University, which is the primary repository for his papers (see Related Archival Materials).
The H. Owen Reed papers consists of biographical materials, correspondence and music compositions created or collected by Reed and primarily provide insight into his work as a composer, conductor, and music educator. Materials in this collection document Reed's professional life, accomplishments, professional and personal relationships, and extensive output as a composer.
This collection is organized into two series: I. Biographical materials and correspondence and II. Music compositions, which is further divided into subseries A. Works by Reed (comprising the majority of the collection) and B. Works by others. This collection also includes digital materials including images, textual documents, music compositions and audio recordings, which are included as folders in each series. Please see "Conditions governing Access" for more information regarding accessing digital files.
Series I. Biographical materials and correspondence contains promotional materials such as ads and announcements, clippings and copies of articles, press releases, programs, and webpage printouts. Other biographical items include biographical statements and resumes/curricula vitae; lists of music compositions, publications, and professional accomplishments; transcripts of interviews Reed gave; and didactic materials from his work as a music educator. Correspondence folders include letters, cards, emails and bills. Folders in this series mainly follow the original grouping of materials, but have been renamed for accuracy and clarity. An exception to this is the "Correspondence" folder, which was gathered together from various files and loose papers and organized chronologically. Materials in this series are arranged chronologically by earliest creation date.
In Series II. Music compositions, researchers will primarily find printed music or photo reproductions of manuscripts, although several folders do contain original manuscripts, which is noted in folder titles. Textual or musical annotations are likewise noted in folder titles. The bulk of the series consists of full scores, reduced scores, piano-vocal scores and vocal and instrumental parts. A significant amount of the material is published music, oftentimes with performance instructions or other textual notes. Subseries A. Works by Reed contains all music compositions for which Reed had a role as a creator, including composer, arranger or contributor to a music compilation. All other creators are listed in folder titles after the name of the composition. Of note in this subseries is the digital folder "Music compositions and audio recordings," which contains a large number of scanned manuscripts, published music and audio files relating to 36 music compositions by Reed. Some match compositions found in other folders, and others are unique to the digital folder. This subseries is organized alphabetically by composition title. Subseries B. Works by others is organized alphabetically by composer last name. Of note, some materials in this subseries are inscribed with messages written to Reed by the composers
Gift of Brent Wetters (grandson of Reed), 2017 April.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Anna Juliar
- Finding Aid Date
- 2022 August
- Access Restrictions
The bulk of this collection is open for research use, however, use of the physical DVD in Box 1, Folder 12 is restricted. The computer files originally stored on this DVD have been processed and are available for research use (see items described as "Digital Content (Reading Room Access Only)" along the right-hand side in the Collection Inventory). These computer files are reading-room access only on a dedicated computer in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.