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Walter Spencer Huffman music manuscripts and recordings

Identifier: PIMS-0082

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Scope and Contents

The Walter Spencer Huffman music manuscripts and recordings, 1941-2007, contain manuscript scores and noncommercial recordings of compositions by Huffman.

Series 1 contains approximately 150 holograph scores from approximately 1947 to 1990. Huffman's compositions are for a variety of performers, including solo instrument and piano, solo piano, chamber ensemble, concert band, string orchestra, and chorus. A significant number of works are sonatas for an instrument and piano. Many folders include individual parts and an additional copy of the manuscript score. A few folders contain contextual material such as a concert program or review.

Series 2 contains 195 recordings of musical works by Huffman. Series 3 contains clippings, programs, and other contextual documentation about Huffman's career as a composer.


  • Creation: 1941-1990, 1997, 2007


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for use at the Arthur Friedheim Library Archives of the Peabody Institute. Contact for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

All musical works in this collection are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License: Users may share and adapt the works but must provide attribution to the Walter Spencer Huffman music manuscripts collection, Arthur Friedheim Library, Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. Please contact for more information or to use this work in a way not covered by the license.

Biographical / Historical

Walter Spencer Huffman was born in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas, and moved to Baltimore at the age of six. He was self-taught in piano and composition until the age of 18. In 1940, he won the Boise composition scholarship at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. The summer of 1941 was spent at Boston Symphony's Tanglewood Music Festival, studying with Aaron Copland. In the same year, he was awarded a private scholarship with Nadia Boulanger. From 1942 until his discharge in 1945, Huffman served in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Following his service, he returned to complete his scholarship at Peabody, graduating in 1947. Huffman joined the Peabody composition faculty in 1949.

Huffman left Peabody in 1955 to compose music full time. He continued to compose and teach music composition privately in Bethesda and Silver Spring, Maryland, until his death in December 2005. (Adapted from, accessed 2 March 2018)


12.75 Cubic Feet (30 containers, 1 LP, and 60 reel-to-reel tapes)

Language of Materials



Walter Spencer Huffman was a composer and music teacher who studied and served on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in the 1940s and 1950s. From 1955 until his death in 2005, Huffman taught music privately in Maryland and continued to compose. The collection consists of holograph scores of approximately 150 works, including chamber music, symphonies, and choral music.


The collection is arranged in 3 series.

Series 1: Scores, approximately 1947-1990 Subseries 1.1: Songs, approximately 1984-1990 Subseries 1.2: Piano music, approximately 1947-1989 Subseries 1.3: Chamber music, approximately 1947-1990 Subseries 1.4: Band music, approximately 1950-1983 Subseries 1.5: Orchestral music, 1949-1981 Subseries 1.6: Choral music and opera, approximately 1950-1986

Series 2: Recordings, approximately 1955-1990

Series 3: Clippings and programs, 1941-1989, 1997, 2007

Custodial History

Several scores in the collection were given by the composer to E.S. Nisula, a brass musician in the United States Army Band who performed some of Huffman's works. Nisula gave his collection to the composer's widow, Priscilla Huffman, who integrated them with her extant collection of Spencer Huffman's manuscripts.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Priscilla Hoffman in 2018.

Existence and Location of Copies

Many digital scores and documents in the Huffman papers are available at

Digitized recordings available at

Processing Information

Processed by Matt Testa in 2018-2020, with assistance in physical processing by Tim Witbeck, Andrea Copland, and Isaiah Chapman.


Guide to the Walter Spencer Huffman music manuscripts and recordings
Matt Testa
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Repository Details

Part of the Peabody Archives Repository

Peabody Institute
1 E. Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore MD 21202 USA