Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Mendel, Arthur, 1905-1979
Arthur Mendel Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1937-1981 1950-1979 (mostly 1950-1979)
24 boxes and 11 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1-24


Arthur Mendel was a prominent music scholar in the twentieth century and a professor at Princeton University. The collection contains correspondence with professional colleagues, course notes, musical notes, scrapbooks, and clippings. There is also additional unprocessed material from Mendel's time at Princeton.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of articles, correspondence, course notes, scrapbooks (1937-1952), memorabilia, and printed matter of Mendel, a professor of music at Princeton (1952-1973). The collection contains correspondence between Mendel, professional colleagues, and organizations such as the American Musicological Society, the Josquin Committee, and the International Josquin Festival Conference (June 1971) in New York, N.Y. There are also Mendel's records on the status of dissertations, course notes for a senior seminar in music history, material on pitches of various instruments and standard tuning frequencies, and scrapbooks containing letters, public relations announcements, and newspaper reviews of the Cantata Singers of All Souls Church in New York City, of which he was the conductor. In addition, there are liability insurance policies and cancelled personal checks of Mendel's wife, Elsa.

Additional material, also unprocessed was added to the collection in May 2007. This material includes sixteen binders and folders of Mendel while he was at Princeton University. The binders contain sheet music, original manuscript material, class curriculum and notes, and writings and criticism of Bach. Also included is correspondence; a binder labeled "Arthur's Honors"; photographs from an exhibition about Mendel; personal photographs; a photo album of his wife Elsa Wissell and her family, and documents about her death and her estate; photographs and letters about the "Cantata Singers"; printed material; and newspaper clippings.


This is an unprocessed collection and remains in its original arrangement.

Collection Creator Biography:

Mendel, Arthur, 1905-1979

After graduation from Harvard University (B.A. 1925), Mendel went to Paris, where he studied with Nadia Boulanger (1925-1927). He was music critic of The Nation (1930-1933), literary editor for G. Schirmer (1930-1938), editor of the American Musicological Society's journal (1940-1943), and editor for Associated Music Publishers (1941-1947). He was also an active translator. From 1936 to 1953 he conducted the Cantata Singers, one of the first groups in the USA to give authentic performances of Baroque music. He taught at the Dalcroze School of Music and the Diller - Quaile School in New York (1938-1950), serving as president of the former (1947-1950).

In the late 1940s Mendel gained recognition as a musicologist. He was appointed professor of music at Princeton University (1952), where he was departmental chairman (1952-1967), and held the Henry Putnam University Professorship from 1969 until his retirement in 1973. He was a member of the editorial boards of the Neue Bach - Ausgabe and the new Josquin edition. Mendel published studies on the history of musical pitch and the rhythmic structure of Renaissance and Baroque music. His editions and studies of Bach's life and works, most notably the documentary biography The Bach Reader (1945, with Hans T. David), and his practical and critical editions of the St. John Passion (1951, 1974), brought him recognition as the foremost American Bach scholar of his generation.

In his later years he investigated the music of Josquin and possible applications of computer technology to musicological problems. A Festschrift in his honor, Studies in Renaissance and Baroque Music, was published in 1974 (edited by Robert L. Marshall).

Collection History


Gift of the author. Additional material : transfer from Princeton University's Woolworth Music Center, May 1, 2007. AM 2007-100.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This is an unprocessed collection. The contents list provided is a preliminary inventory.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Arthur Mendel Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1-24