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Lester Levy Sheet Music Collection Vertical File

Identifier: MS-MUS-0070

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Contains materials collected by Lester Levy in support of his sheet music collection. Includes printed material and manuscript notes divided into the following categories: bands/groups that perform music; composers; materials about music; music collections; exhibition catalogs; material about illustrated covers; music publishers, musicians, musicologists, individual songs, auction catalogs, and newsletters/periodicals. A previously compiled and now out of date container list can be found in box 1. The collection also contains Lester Levy's complete card catalogs for the collection.


  • Creation: 1920 - 1990

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical / Historical

Lester S. Levy, music historian and sheet music collector, was born in Philadelphia October 22, 1896. The family later moved to Baltimore where Levy was educated at Friends School and The Johns Hopkins University. After service in the Army during World War I, he began his business career with the M.S. Levy Co., a firm begun by his grandfather. He retired in 1958 as president of Men's Hats Inc, successor to his grandfather's firm.

Mr. Levy began collecting sheet music in 1930, and his love of the music and its history resulted in a renowned collection that numbers over 30,000 pieces.

Mr. Levy wrote three books on American music of the 19th and early 20th centuries: Give Me Yesterday (1975), Flashes of Merriment (1971), and Grace Notes in American History (1967). He was very active in civic and religious affairs in Baltimore.

Mr. Levy died in Baltimore, MD, Sept. 19, 1989.


7.7 Cubic Feet (41 containers)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The materials were collected by Lester Levy in support of his sheet music collection. Materials were collected by Levy between 1920 and 1980, with additional contributions by Levy's family members and curators of the collection.

Related Materials

A collection of research, speeches, business papers, and correspondence related to the Lester Levy Sheet Music Collection can be found in MS-0193 (Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Papers).


Guide to the Lester Levy Sheet Music Collection Vertical File
Sam Bessen
2023 October
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA