Juilliard Receives Leon Levy Foundation Grant of $233,000 for the Digitization of Its Historic Archival Materials

Mike Lawson • News • May 26, 2021

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This page of photos of alumna Pina Bausch with Juilliard Dance Division students is one of the many scrapbook pages that would be digitized through the Leon Levy Foundation grant to Juilliard.

NEW YORK – Juilliard has received a grant of $233,000 from the Leon Levy Foundation for digitization of its historic archival materials, including scrapbooks, production photos, and concert programs to make them more accessible for educational and research purposes.

More details from Juilliard (www.juilliard.edu):

Juilliard’s collection of 60 scrapbooks documenting the school’s history from 1905 onward is currently preserved on microfilm and will be transferred to a more accessible medium, as will more than 70,000 historic photos, including many from its history of dance, drama, and opera productions, and accompanying programs that can currently only be viewed by visiting the Juilliard campus. Digitizing these materials will allow students, faculty, and visiting scholars to be able to access this rich content and Juilliard to share it broadly through its website and in its public spaces. The project is expected to be completed within two years.

On receiving the grant, Jane Gottlieb, vice president of library and information resources and director of the C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellows Program, said: “We are deeply grateful to the Leon Levy Foundation for its generous grant. This will enable us to digitize and preserve this part of Juilliard’s history, which is indelibly intertwined with that of the global performing arts field and the cultural landscape of New York City.”

Shelby White, founding trustee of the Leon Levy Foundation, said, “For more than a century, Juilliard has set the standard for performing arts education. Its students and graduates are a ‘who’s who’ of celebrated professional artists. We are delighted that the Leon Levy Foundation can help conserve, preserve, and make available this historic institution’s extraordinary collection of programs, productions, and other priceless archival material.”

Since the school’s opening in 1905, some of the most influential artists have walked its halls as students, teachers, and administrators. Notable alumni include musicians Van Cliburn, Renée Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis, Audra McDonald, Itzhak Perlman, and Leontyne Price; dancers and choreographers Pina Bausch, Robert Battle, Pearl Lang, Andrea Miller, and Paul Taylor; and actors Christine Baranski, Danielle Brooks, Oscar Isaac, Kevin Kline, Laura Linney, Patti LuPone, and Wendell Pierce.

Accessing and understanding Juilliard’s history and place in the continuum is integral to the school’s educational model. The Juilliard Archives is the official repository for materials pertaining to this legacy. It contains the documents of the school’s predecessor institutions, the Institute of Musical Art and the Juilliard Graduate School; documents of performances throughout the school’s history, including audio and video recordings, photos, and programs as well as significant collections of personal papers relating to former school administrators, faculty members, and distinguished alumni.

The Juilliard Lila Acheson Wallace Library’s holdings also include the Juilliard Manuscript Collection, which contains priceless autograph manuscripts, sketches, engravers’ proofs, and first editions; and the Peter J. Sharp Special Collections, a repository of numerous rare, printed editions, manuscripts, manuscript facsimiles, and archival collections given to the school throughout its history.

Juilliard’s holdings play an important role in the daily lives of its students and faculty, offering crucial context for curriculum, repertoire, and pedagogy. From the Dance Division’s annual performances of historical works by former faculty members José Limón, Martha Graham, Antony Tudor, Paul Taylor, and others to the Drama Division’s embrace of the world of its distinguished history in performance projects, Juilliard’s history as documented by its archives is very much alive within the school.

Though portions of Juilliard’s archives and special collections have been digitized and made available to both the scholarly community and the general public through the school’s online portals, JMedia (for audio and video recordings) and ResourceSpace (for selected programs and photographs), the majority of these materials are accessible only by visiting the on-campus library. These limitations became apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the digitizing of these collections, Juilliard’s archives will become more accessible to our students, faculty, staff, and scholars.

Pre-eminent photographer Ardon Bar-Hama, who digitized the Juilliard Manuscript Collection, will digitize all materials for this project. Bar-Hama is known for photographing some of the world’s most treasured objects in libraries, museums, private collections, and institutions. His clients range from private collectors to the Vatican. Objects include archaeological artifacts, sculptures, and manuscripts that are of inestimable religious and cultural value.

Juilliard’s archives staff, led by Archives Director Jeni Dahmus, will oversee digitization and metadata.

About the Leon Levy Foundation

The Leon Levy Foundation, founded in 2004, is a private, not-for-profit foundation created from Leon Levy’s Estate by his wife and the founding trustee, Shelby White. The foundation continues Leon Levy’s philanthropic legacy and builds on his vision, supporting the preservation, understanding and expansion of knowledge about the ancient world, arts and humanities, nature and gardens, neuroscience, human rights and Jewish culture. To learn more visit: leonlevyfoundation.org

About Juilliard’s Lila Acheson Wallace Library and Archives

The Lila Acheson Wallace Library at Juilliard is a comprehensive resource for the school’s performance and research needs. The collection includes more than 87,000 music performance and study scores, including scholarly editions of composers’ collected works and other historical editions; 27,000 books (print and e-books) on music, dance, drama, and general academic subjects; 26,000 sound recordings (LPs, compact discs, reel-to-reel, cassette, and DAT tapes), and 3,000 videos. Juilliard’s library is the proud home of the Juilliard Manuscript Collection—one of the world’s greatest collections of autograph manuscripts, composer sketches, engraver proofs, and first editions. Complementing this extraordinary resource are the Peter Jay Sharp Special Collections, which include numerous rare, printed editions, manuscripts, manuscript facsimiles, and archival collections.


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