Yale Bulletin
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May 31-June 21, 1999Volume 27, Number 33

Harold Samuel dies; brought musicians' archives to Yale

A memorial service was held on campus May 27 for Harold E. Samuel, a former music librarian and professor emeritus (adjunct) of music at Yale, who died April 20 at his home in Hamden at the age of 75.

Professor Samuel, who came to Yale in 1971, established the University's program of collecting manuscript and archival materials in four areas of music research: American composers; German music between the two World Wars; composers associated with Yale; and musicians, composers and arrangers in jazz and American musical theater.

During his tenure, he acquired many historically significant collections, including materials owned by Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya, Red Norvo, Virgil Thomson, Stanley and Helen Oakley Dance, John Hammond, Vladimir and Wanda Toscanini Horowitz, and Benny Goodman. The Goodman collection alone includes over 1,500 musical arrangements performed by the clarinetist's band and 5,000 photographs and other papers, as well as Goodman's personal collection of unreleased master tapes.

Professor Samuel also played a key role in Yale's acquisition of the Frederick R. Koch collection of autograph scores, correspondence and other materials pertaining to some of the foremost composers of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Professor Samuel campaigned tirelessly for 23 years for the creation of a new music library building to house the University's outstanding music collections. This initiative continued after his retirement and resulted in the construction of the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, dedicated in October.

As a member of the School of Music faculty, Professor Samuel taught classes in research methods and bibliography, and he played a key role in the evolution and administration of the Doctor of Musical Arts degree. He is remembered among his colleagues for his sense of humor, generosity, optimism and cheerfulness.

Professor Samuel authored numerous articles and edited both written and musical works. His most recent research concerned the career of Johann Sigismund Kusser (1660-1727), a German-Hungarian orchestra director and composer in the French baroque style. Professor Samuel was associate editor of Music At Yale, a publication for School of Music alumni, 1973-81, and served as editor-in-chief of Notes, the journal of the Music Library Association, 1966-71. He also chaired the U.S. branch of the International Association of Music Libraries 1978-81, and was affiliated with several other professional organizations.

Harold E. Samuel was born in Hudson, Wisconson, on April 12, 1924. After receiving his bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota in 1949, he studied at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, the Zurich Conservatory and the University of Erlangen, Germany. He received a master's degree from the University of Minnesota in 1955 and in 1963 earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University. His dissertation, "The Cantata in Nuremberg during the Seventeenth Century" was later, in 1982, published in book form by UMI Research Press.

Mr. Samuel received the Bronze Star for his service in the United States Army Infantry, 1943-46. Following the war he formed a dance band -- in which he played trombone -- and toured France entertaining Allied troops.

In 1957, Mr. Samuel was named the first music librarian at Cornell University. There, he also served as both associate professor and chair of the department of music. He left Cornell in 1971 to come to Yale.

Professor Samuel is survived by his wife, Hella Deffner Samuel of Hamden; a daughter, Hester Weigand of Austin,Texas; two sons, Hector Samuel of Hamden and Mark Samuel of Greenwich; his mother, Vitula Whiteside Samuel of Marina Del Rey, California; a brother, Arthur Samuel of San Antonio, Texas; a sister, Virginia Hill of Marina Del Rey; and five grandchildren.

An exhibit in Professor Samuel's honor will be on display at the Gilmore Library throughout the summer. Among the selected items are symphonic études by Robert Schumann, Fletcher Henderson's arrangement of "King Porter Stomp" from the Goodman Collection, and autographed musical sketches by Duke Ellington.

Donations in Professor Samuel's memory may be made to the Yale Cardiovascular Research Fund, c/o Dr. Barry Zaret, Yale Cardiology, 135 College St., Suite 301, New Haven, CT 06510.


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Harold E. Samuel