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Slightly more than a decade after the founding of the American Musicological Society in 1934, a resolution adopted at the AMS annual meeting of 1945 called for the Committee on Publications to produce "a proposal for the founding of a journal to constitute the official organ of the Society." The scholarly journal envisioned would replace the Society's Papers, which from 1936 to 1940 printed the papers read at annual meetings, and the Bulletin of the American Musicological Society, which from 1944 to 1948 made available abstracts of papers read at meetings of chapters of the Society. The AMS Newsletter, first published in 1944 to disseminate news and officers' reports, would continue to be published twice yearly.
The Committee on Publications prepared the "Proposal to the Executive Board of the American Musicological Society for the Founding of a Journal" in June of 1946. The proposal called for an editorial board of four, an editor-in-chief and three (soon after raised to five) assistant editors, joined by the business manager, who would be a non-voting, consulting member. The editorial board was to consist of scholars representing three aspects of musicology—historical musicology, comparative musicology, and "Related fields, including Bibliography"—and was to seek a balance among these elements. Content of the journal might include papers and articles, editorials, reviews, ne ws, correspondence, information about chapter activities, proceedings of meetings, annual listings of membership and officers, and a cumulative index. The proposal was adopted by the AMS Executive Board on 8 March 1947. At that meeting a unanimous vote was cast for Otto Kinkeldey to serve as the first editor-in-chief, but Oliver Strunk was elected to serve should Kinkeldey decline, as did in fact happen. Secretary Edward Waters noted that "the majority of those present evinced optimism regarding the journal's future." Carl Parrish was at a later date selected as the new journal's first business manager; the other members of the first editorial board were Nathan Broder, J. M. Coopersmith, Alfred Einstein, Donald J. Grout, Otto Kinkeldey, M. D. Herter Norton, and Curt Sachs.
The first issue of the Journal opened with an editorial which proudly declared what the new periodical represented to the AMS:
The appearance of this first issue of the Journal marks a turning point in the history of the American Musicological Society. It gives concrete expression to the Society's confidence in its own stability and unity of purpose. It is an outward sign of the really considerable progress that musicology has made in this country since the foundation of the Society in 1934--of the heightened and wider interest in historical and scientific studies among American musicians that is reflected in the Society's present membership--of the economic independence that such a membership assures. . . . Without the active co-operation of the membership as a whole, no Editorial Board can hope to succeed; supported as it should be, the Journal will grow and flourish.
Despite the Society's optimism, the first decade of the new journal's existence was tumultuous. After the first year William Byrd Press of Richmond, Virginia, replaced Thomas Todd Printers of Boston, the Journal's more expensive original printer. Although current events almost never intrude into Journal correspondence, in 1950 the editor noted that Byrd Press would be late with the Fall issue because some of their best employees had been drafted. By 1959 the Journal had had five different business managers, and each time one resigned, there was a period of chaos.
Most disruptive of all, it proved to be extremely difficult for the musicologists who accepted the position of editor to balance the work of this volunteer position with their teaching, research, and publication obligations. The first three issues were all late, and president Dickinson noted, "the financial aspect of the Journal has proved to be of as trying a nature as the editorial." Throughout the 1950s, issues were coming out late, sometimes more than a year behind schedule. In 1952 AMS secretary William Mitchell wrote to editor Charles Warren Fox, "I have been receiving many inquiries, some rather impolitely worded, about the delay, and as a result fear that a continual delay in the Issues to come may result in a sharp drop in Membership."
In 1957, 1958, and 1959, the AMS Executive Board, despairing of catching up by the established procedures, arranged for multiple editors to work on several issues in parallel, two of them double issues. A single publication representing all three issues of 1960--a Festschrift honoring Otto Kinkeldey--marked the end of this chaotic period. In 1961 the AMS executive board adopted a resolution proposed by former, recent editors "expressing the Society's gratitude for the cooperation that the William Byrd press has given us during the last 2 years." At the same time, the business side of the Journal also became more stable when a proposal in 1959 to create a permanent business office led to Otto Albrecht combining the positions of AMS treasurer and Journal business manager at a permanent address at the University of Pennsylvania. This stability was very much located in the person and institutional memory of Albrecht: he served as treasurer through 1970 and as business or advertising manager until 1984. Alvin Johnson, his colleague at the University of Pennsylvania and successor as AMS treasurer in 1971, would also follow him in overseeing the business operations of the Journal beginning in 1984.
After some decline in the 1950s, the Journal began to grow again. In 1961, Otto Albrecht's letter inviting companies to place advertisements in the Summer 1961 issue, a special issue coinciding with the eighth IMS International Congress, hosted by the AMS, proudly stated, "The Journal reaches individuals and libraries in 48 states and 24 foreign countries." The year 1969 marked the first time that there were more than one thousand subscribers to the Journal.
Although the original proposal for the Journal called on the editorial board to maintain a balance between historical, comparative, and "other" aspects of musicology in the pages of the periodical, that balance, in addition to balance within each of those general categories, was difficult to attain. In 1972 the AMS Bicentennial Committee called for a special issue of the Journal to be devoted to American music in 1976. President Charles Hamm, in a letter to editor Don Randel, wrote anxiously, "You and I both know that there will be many problems in carrying out this program. I have no idea when JAMS last published an article on American Music." Randel, in his report to the 1973 AMS Annual Meeting, expressed some frustration at the expectations placed on him:
In its moments of introspection, American musicology has sometimes heard calls for new subjects of study and for new or at least alternative methods of approach to some of its traditional subjects. It can only be said that if some of these subjects or methods remain largely absent from the JOURNAL, it is because the work representing or embodying them has not been forthcoming.
The special issue devoted to American music never materialized.
In 1978, new editor Nicholas Temperley placed an editorial at the beginning of the Spring issue, trying to indicate openness to less well-represented subject areas.
The editor-in-chief . . . has only a limited control over the subject matter of the articles he prints, being entirely dependent on the contributors . . . . He cannot bring about a sudden change in coverage . . . . We must also recognize the excellence of American achievement in these traditional areas of historical musicology . . . . The Journal has both reflected and fostered this excellence. It is reasonable to hope that it may do the same in areas that have been more recently opened up for scholarly investigation.
The pages of the Journal also bear witness to the increasing activity of women musicologists over the decades of its existence. Their growing presence in the content and production of the Journal often mirrored a similarly increasing presence in the AMS as a whole. M. D. Herter Norton and Kathi Meyer-Baer wrote reviews for the Journal's inaugural issue. Louise Cuyler of the University of Michigan also wrote a review, for Vol. 2, No. 3 (Fall 1949), and was the first woman to have an article published in the Journal, which appeared in Vol. 3, No. 1 (Spring 1950). Cuyler also took an early leadership role in the AMS, serving first as a member-at-large in 1953 and then as secretary (the first woman to serve as an AMS officer) from 1955 to 1971. Helen Hewitt of North Texas State College was the first woman to serve on the executive board of the AMS, as a member-at-large in 1950 and 1952. She was the first of two compilers of the supplements to Doctoral Dissertations in Musicology, which appeared in the Journal from 1954 to 1974.
Mary Dows Herter Norton served on the Journal's editorial board from Vol. 1, No. 1 through Vol. 11, No. 1 (Spring 1948-Spring 1958). Beginning with Vol. 11, No. 1 (Spring 1958), Hewitt was the next woman to serve on the Journal's editorial board, which had changed very little in its first decade.
In 1970 AMS President William Newman, considering the difficulties of the editor's position, reflected, "once again, I look to the distaff side and wonder if we don't have some highly capable young lady who would like to take this over in the absence of other contributions that she might be able to make to the field at this time." It would be a decade, however, before a woman held the editor's office. In 1980 Ellen Rosand of Rutgers University became the first woman editor of the Journal.
Several editors made efforts over the years to update or revise the appearance, content, and mechanics of producing the Journal. Its size grew slowly but inexorably: in 1971 the Board of Directors passed a resolution limiting the total numbered pages per volume to 500, increasing this amount slightly again in 1978. In an attempt to cut pages and discard an always-cumbersome task, Vol. 22, No. 2 (Summer 1969) carried the last list of members and subscribers, an almost-yearly feature since the Journal's founding. Most announcements were referred to the Newsletter rather than appearing in the Journal.
The position of review editor first appeared at the head of the Journal in Volume 22, Number 1 (Spring 1969), when William Holmes assumed this post. A member of the editorial board had been serving in this capacity, however, since 1959 at the latest.
Nicholas Temperley, Journal editor from 1978 to 1980, began listing reviews individually in the table of contents (as they had been originally) and moved the list of publications received to follow the reviews. Under John Hill, editor in 1984 and 1985, the Journal, including the music examples, was first prepared on a computer. Until this time the music examples had been copied by hand by Christa Eisenbraun, who had begun working for the Journal in 1963 when she lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, although soon afterward she moved to West Germany. Anthony Newcomb, editor from 1986 to 1988, introduced a list of works cited (removed again in 1993 by editor Richard Kramer) and an abstract at the end of each article.
In 1990 the editorial board proposed to the AMS board of directors that the Journal become a quarterly. William Prizer, editor at the time and author of the proposal, gave as the main reasons for adding an extra issue to each volume that the extra pages "would allow us to broaden our coverage and thus have a better representation in our pages of our large and diverse constituency" and "to support its members' quest for tenure and advancement." The board of directors contacted many past editors, including Lawrence Bernstein, James Haar, John Hill, David Hughes, Lewis Lockwood, Anthony Newcomb, Martin Picker, Ellen Rosand, and Nicholas Temperley, to ask for their opinions about the proposal. Past editors were divided about whether these were valid reasons for expanding the Journal. Of those opposed to the idea, some were concerned that there would be a loss of quality, and many were concerned that adding another issue would make the heavy burden of the volunteer editorship impossible. The directors in the end rejected the proposal.
Beginning in 1993, the position of assistant editor, held by Catherine Gjerdingen, appeared on the table of contents page. The "assistant editors" called for in the proposal for the Journal had never really functioned as such, except during the 1950s when members of the editorial board stepped in to edit issues in parallel. Instead they served as a group with which the editor-in-chief could consult about editorial policy and to whom the editor-in-chief could turn for a supply of readers for articles under consideration. The editors-in-chief had always had secretarial help and often assistance from graduate students, sometimes paid for by the AMS and sometimes by the editors' home institutions. Over the years, because of the expanding size of the Journal and use of computers in publication, proofreading and copy-editing responsibilities became increasingly heavy. In anticipation of the end of his term, editor Richard Kramer explained that he had named Gjerdingen assistant editor because of "Her excellence, and the extent to which I saw myself depending on her to act as a liaison with Byrd Press in virtually every mechanical aspect of publication." He also warned AMS president Philip Gossett that the Journal could not function without this support staff (an assistant editor and also a graduate research assistant), suggesting that a different editorial structure might be necessary in the future.
 Report of the Committee on Publication, 28 December 1946.
 Proposal to the Executive Board of the American Musicological Society for the Founding of a Journal, 11 June 1946.
 Minutes, AMS Executive Board Meeting, 8 March 1947.
 "An Editorial," JAMS 1 (Spring 1948), 3.
 Letter from Donald Grout to Frani Muser, 16 August 1950.
 George Dickinson, President's Report on the Journal, 15 September 1948.
 Letter from William Mitchell to Charles Warren Fox, 28 July 1952
 Letter from Oliver Strunk to David Wilson, William Byrd Press, 10 January 1961.
 Letter from Otto Albrecht to Baton Music Co., March 28, 1961.
 Letter from Charles Hamm to Don Randel, October 1, 1973.
 Don Randel, Report of the Editor-in-Chief, November 10, 1973.
 Nicholas Temperley, "Editorial," JAMS 31 (Spring 1978), 1.
 Letter from William Newman to Martin Picker, November 12, 1970.
 Memorandum from William Prizer to the Board of Directors, February 15, 1990.
 Memorandum from Richard Kramer to Philip Gossett, February 13, 1995.
Most of the material in this collection consists of correspondence with authors, editorial staff, employees of the William Byrd Press, and officers of the AMS; copies of many issues of the Journal at various stages in the publication process; and business records. The most prominent figures in this collection are the editors of the Journal: musicologists Oliver Strunk, Donald Grout, Lewis Lockwood, James Haar, Martin Picker, Don Randel, Lawrence Bernstein, Nicholas Temperley, Ellen Rosand, and Richard Kramer are all well represented. The editorial correspondence comes from varied sources. Correspondence with AMS officers, especially AMS presidents, is mainly from files kept by those presidents. Later editors, from the 1970s onward, also have their own files in the collection. Correspondence with authors and drafts of articles are sparingly available in the 1950s and 1960s, but beginning with the 1970s, there is much more correspondence from authors included. At this time editors also began saving galleys and proofs of the issues they edited. The intervals which are an exception to this trend are 1975-1980, including part of the tenure of Lawrence Bernstein and all of that of Nicholas Temperley, and 1984-1992, when John Hill, Anthony Newcomb, and William Prizer served as editors. Letters of the business managers prior to Otto Albrecht are mostly copies from AMS officer files, but extensive records from Otto Albrecht make up the majority of the business records.
These papers predate the Journal. A Publication Committee report and several copies of the proposal made to the AMS Executive Board for the establishment of a journal refer to the original goals of the AMS for this publication and the original editorial and business structures of the Journal.
General: Because the Journal had very little staff, the editor's office served as the arrival point for almost all Journal-related correspondence. Particularly in the early years, the editors seem to respond to all mail, whether from hopeful authors, disgruntled members who had not received the most recent issue, colleagues working for other musicology journals, or organizers of conferences wishing to place an announcement. Editor Don Randel's extensive correspondence files shows that twenty years later similar mail was still arriving. There are a few letters from authors and future or past AMS officers writing on more general topics, sometimes making suggestions about improving the Journal. Gloria Rose, whose work would appear in the Journal, wrote in 1972 to suggest that the "Studies and Abstracts" section be eliminated and reviews be limited in length. Jan LaRue, a former AMS president wrote the same year urging Randel to look into sending authors reply envelopes with revisions or proofs in order to speed the return of these materials. There is little general correspondence after Randel.
Editorial Board Correspondence: These letters between individuals who were working on the Journal provide insight into the processes and struggles involved in producing the publication. Letters from one editor to the next are sometimes introspective and frequently convey advice and practical information that has been taken for granted, for example, in the day-to-day correspondence with the press.
Correspondence between editors and business managers covers the entire life of the Journal but particularly up until 1964. These letters trace the cycle of preparing issues for publication and deal with financial and advertising matters. Furthermore, once Otto Albrecht settled into the role of business manager, new editors would direct questions to him as well as to their predecessors.
A review editor was responsible for soliciting the reviews which appeared in each issue of the Journal. Letters between the review editor and editor-in-chief discuss scheduling--as reviews often arrived long after they were promised by their authors--and editing. The first review editor whose correspondence is represented in this collection is Claude Palisca. His letters date from 1962, when the review editor for publication still appeared on the title page simply as a member of the editorial board. Correspondence with the editorial board as a whole shows its members sometimes functioning as readers for articles under consideration, sometimes acting as policy consultants. Most often the latter happened at annual meetings, and letters and papers related to these meetings are found here.
AMS Executive Board Correspondence: Editors' correspondence with AMS presidents reveals expectations that the parent organization had for its official publication. The presidents of the late 1940s and the 1950s were heavily involved in the magazine's first issues and in the struggles to keep to a schedule. Presidents also sometimes received complaints about the Journal, whether about its policies, a particular editor's work, or its tardiness, and communicated these complaints to the editors. Oliver Strunk, Donald Grout, William Newman, and Claude Palisca were all presidents who either took an active interest in the Journal or took an active role, when necessary. This no doubt was attributable, at least in part, to past experience: the first three had all served as editors and Palisca had been a review editor prior to their presidencies..
Correspondence with AMS secretaries and treasurers is more concerned with daily business. Editor Donald Grout and secretaries Edward Waters and William Mitchell corresponded frequently in the first few years of the Journal's existence, primarily about membership matters.
Rejections and Journal Production Correspondence: Don Randel, editor for 1972 and 1973, preserved all of the worksheets he filled out for articles that he rejected, together with his correspondence with authors concerning the rejections. There are relatively few rejection letters written by other editors.
Editors corresponded regularly with representatives of William Byrd Press. Letters also accompanied the materials making up an issue at every stage of publication. They received from the press estimated publishing schedules for most years. There is also correspondence between editors and Christa Eisenbraun, the copyist who produced music examples that accompanied articles.
Editor's Reports and Editorial Policy
The editor traditionally reported on the Journal at the Annual Meeting of the AMS. Frequent topics of the reports include scheduling, status of the issue in production at the time of the report, number of pages, and balance of article content. Some editors tackled more complex questions, such as the function of the editorial board or trends in submissions. Another group of documents is concerned with questions of style for authors. Editors also attempted to codify the processes by which they brought an article from submission to publication, often in an attempt to help their successors.
Review Editor Correspondence
Review editors were responsible for dealing with the publishers who sent books to the Journal to be reviewed and the scholars who reviewed them. Authors also wrote, asking the review editor to find a reviewer. Sometimes an individual would write requesting to review a particular work. More often, the review editor would write a series of letters seeking a reviewer. Reviews were sent to the review editor, who did some preliminary editing before sending them to the editor-in-chief. Correspondence for published reviews is filed with the issue in which they appeared. Correspondence with the editor-in-chief is filed with the editor records.
Business Manager Records
Correspondence: Primarily these are the papers of Otto Albrecht. There are letters from one business manager to the next in 1949 and 1950, which give some sense of the lack of continuity at the Journal at that time. Correspondence with AMS officials discuss budget and advertising issues. Correspondence with William Byrd Press comprises most of the business managers' correspondence. Here the business manager is mostly concerned with the schedule and the budget, or sending advertisements to be included in an upcoming issue. The business manager's correspondence with the editor-in-chief is filed with the editor records.
Subscription and Advertising Records: The business manager was in charge of the membership (individual) and subscription (institutional) records. These records include inquiries about membership and requests for sample Journal copies; inquiries and complaints from members during the period when the Journal was consistently behind schedule; and subscription orders and invoices. There is also correspondence with other organizations and publishers, frequently international ones, about exchange subscriptions. In 1948 and 1949 the AMS and the Journal made efforts to arrange exchanges, both for publicity for the new publication and as a form of outreach to colleagues outside the United States.
Advertising was another large part of the business manager's job. The advertisements in the Journal were primarily for publishers of music and musicological works, but there were also some for booksellers and sellers of musical instruments. Albrecht saved correspondence and galleys of the advertisements themselves. The Journal also maintained arrangements for exchange advertisements with a few other musicological organizations and publications.
Business Manager's Reports
Like the editor, the business manager compiled an annual report on the state of the Journal. Most often these addressed membership and subscription numbers, mailing concerns, the press, and finances.
AMS Executive Board Correspondence
The AMS president and secretary occasionally participated in Journal activities apart from communicating with the editor and business manager. Presidents Oliver Strunk and Jan LaRue contacted William Byrd Press directly to express their concern about running behind schedule. There is an exchange between President William Newman and former editor James Haar about an early attempt at a cumulative index. The secretary's general correspondence primarily consists of member complaints from 1952.
Most of the material found in this series centers around a particular issue, if not a particular article, of the magazine. There is an almost complete run of the Journal from 1948 through 1995, lacking only Volume 23, Number 1 (Spring 1970), and Volume 27, Number 1 (Spring 1974). For most issues, there exists some correspondence with authors; for many, the correspondence is quite extensive. There are often also editorial notes, which include notes and letters between members of the editorial staff; correspondence with preliminary readers of articles; and correspondence with Christa Eisenbraun and William Byrd Press. Beginning in the late 1960s, there are drafts of some articles. In 1972 first sets of galleys and preliminary versions of music examples appear. From Volume 27, Number 3 through Volume 33, Number 3 (Fall 1974 - Fall 1980), there are only published copies of issues, with occasional correspondence. Beginning with Volume 34, Number 1 (Spring 1981), materials for issues return to having a full complement of correspondence, editorial notes, article drafts, a final draft of the issue, galleys, proofs, and musical examples and figures, until Volume 37, Number 1 (Spring 1984), which starts another period of only published issues and occasional correspondence. This situation continues through Volume 45, Number 3 (Fall 1992). Volumes 46 through 48 are extensively documented.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Amey A. Hutchins
- Finding Aid Date
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