MILWAUKEE — Marquette University has established the Stephen Sondheim Research Collection after acquiring a vast collection of materials relating to the works of the Broadway composer and lyricist.
The collection, donated to the Raynor Memorial Libraries’ Department of Special Collections and University Archives, was the gift of Marquette alumnus Paul Salsini, a Sondheim enthusiast. Salsini was the co-founder of The Sondheim Review in 1994 and was its editor for 10 years.
Amassed in the last 40 years, the collection includes books, magazines, scripts, scores, articles, reviews, programs, compact discs, long-playing records, audiotapes, videotapes, posters, window cards and other memorabilia relating to Sondheim shows. Sondheim’s work includes Gypsy, West Side Story and Sweeney Todd. He has won a Pulitzer Prize, an Academy Award, eight Grammy Awards and eight Tony Awards.
“This collection is a valuable resource for future Sondheim scholars, theatre artists and the Marquette University community,” said Stephen Hudson-Mairet, chair of performing and media arts in the J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication. “The depth of information in this collection is fascinating and enjoyable to examine, and it will be invaluable to future Sondheim researchers.”
Included are hundreds of articles, reviews and features about each of Sondheim’s two dozen musicals, revues and films. There are more than 600 programs and Playbills from productions on Broadway and elsewhere, more than 400 audiotapes, 200 videotapes, and 100 compact discs of Sondheim shows. There are even more than four dozen personal letters written from Sondheim to Salsini during the time he was editing the Sondheim Review. The letters most often comment on articles that appeared in the publication.
Salsini, a former Milwaukee Journal editorwho is now a Marquette instructor, said, “I’m delighted that what has been my hobby, even my passion, for many years will be available for those who want to study the works of a man universally recognized as the greatest living Broadway composer and lyricist.”
Archivists think it is the largest research collection of Sondheim material outside of Sondheim’s papers that have been committed to the Library of Congress. Over the years, Salsini made his collection available to Sondheim biographers. It will also be of use to those studying Broadway and American musical history in the past half-century, said Matt Blessing, head of Special Collections and University Archives.
Archivists have prepared preliminary inventories, and all parts of the collection are now accessible to researchers. To access the collection, please call (414) 288-7256. An exhibit highlighting the collection will be on display in the lobby of the Raynor Library between Oct. 10—Nov. 28, 2011.