University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Aaron Copland:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Copland, Aaron, 1900-1990
Title: Aaron Copland Collection
Dates: 1918-1958, undated
Abstract: Includes manuscripts by the American composer, writer on music, pianist, and conductor Aaron Copland, most notably three preliminary sketches and an orchestral score for his Lincoln Portrait (1942).
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-0923
Extent: 1 document box, 1 oversize box (1.88 linear feet)
Language: English and Italian
Repository: The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center



Open for research

Administrative Information


All Lincoln Portrait items were purchased in 1964 (R 2282).

Processed by:

Joan Sibley and Jeannie Binder, 2011

Note: With the exception of the Lincoln Portrait items, which were not described in the card catalog, this finding aid replicates and replaces information previously available only in a card catalog. Please see the explanatory note at the end of this finding aid for information regarding the arrangement of the manuscripts as well as the abbreviations commonly used in descriptions.

Container List


1.1 Creativity in America, signed typescript / copy speech, 9 pages, undated. Given for the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, 1952 Blashfield address.
Lincoln Portrait:
2.1 Rough preliminary or discarded sketches, handwritten music, pencil on printed staves, 25 pages, February-March 1942.
Rough pencil sketch – complete, handwritten music and text, pencil on printed staves, 37 pages, March 1942.
2.2 Rough pencil sketch of orchestration (in part), handwritten music, pencil on printed staves, 17 pages, April 1942.
2.3 Score for speaker and orchestra, signed handwritten music with text, ink on printed staves, 72 pages, February-April 1942. Dedicated to Andre Kostelanetz. Verso of dedication leaf displays musical and libretto excerpts in pencil in the hand of the composer. Score includes explanatory directions in Italian and English.
1.2 Text for speaker, carbon typescript with handwritten revisions, 2 pages, 1942.
2.4 Songs, signed handwritten scores for voice and piano, 12 pages, 1918. Words by Aaron Schaffer. Dedicated to Aaron and Dorothy Schaffer. Songs include: My Heart is in the East; Night; and A Summer Vacation. (Gift of Aaron Schaffer; transferred to Ransom Center from UT Music Library in 1986; not described in card catalog.)


1.3 Neff, Jerome. Program notes for Lincoln Portrait. In printed program for World Frontiers Convocation III: A Concert of American Music by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at The University of Buffalo under the direction of Aaron Copland (Visiting Slee Professor of Music), 5 January 1958. Program also includes notes for: Copland, Aaron. Suite from the Ballet Billy the Kid; Haieff, Alexei. Concerto for Piano and Orchestra; Harris, Roy. Symphony No. 3 (In One Movement); Ives, Charles. The Unanswered Question.

Explanatory Note Concerning Manuscript Collections Cataloged in the Card Catalog

Prior to 1990 when archival cataloging procedures were adopted at the Ransom Center, all manuscript collections were described in a card catalog.

Organization of Collections:

Manuscripts for each author collection were organized into four categories:

  • Works: manuscripts by the author, arranged alphabetically by title;
  • Letters: the author’s outgoing correspondence, arranged alphabetically by recipient name;
  • Recipient: the author’s incoming correspondence, arranged alphabetically by the author of the letter; and
  • Miscellaneous: all other manuscripts and correspondence, arranged alphabetically by creator.

Materials that did not fit into these categories, such as art, photographs, books, and near-print materials such as newspaper clippings, were dispersed to other Ransom Center collections for cataloging and storage.

Abbreviations Used in Descriptions:

The symbols below were used in combinations. For example ALS means autograph letter signed; Tccms means typed carbon copy manuscript, etc.

  • A = autograph (i.e., handwritten)
  • T = typed
  • S = signed
  • I = initialed
  • Ms = manuscript
  • Mss = manuscripts
  • L = letter
  • FL = form letter
  • N = note
  • D = document
  • C = card
  • PC = post card
  • cc = carbon copy
  • p = page
  • pp = pages
  • l = leaf
  • ll = leaves
  • nd = no date
  • inc d = incomplete date