The Arts collections encompass theater, photography and prints, cartoon art, sheet music, and Roman-era Lebanese antiquities. The music collections provide an opportunity to explore over 10,000 pieces of African American, Floridian, and 19th and 20th century sheet music, early songsters and hymnals, and the collected works of Bela Bartok and USF pianist/composer Robert Helps. The Dion Boucicault Theatre Collection is one of the largest Boucicault collections in the world and includes both manuscripts and printed plays, as well as play scripts, sides, letters, and musical scores. Visual arts collections include albumen prints, animation cels, glass plate negatives, and chromolithographic prints.

Music Research Collections

Ben Brown Bluegrass Collection imageSpecial Collections holds a small number of music research collections that focus on specific composers or musical movements. Holdings include: the Robert Helps collection, the Suchoff-Antokoletz collection of Bartokiana, the Ben T. Brown Bluegrass collection, the Drapkin collection, and the Olive Campbell papers.


Sheet Music Collections

photoFive distinct sheet music collection are held by Special Collections. Four collections comprise American music from the 19th and 20th centuries; a fifth collection features contemporary Japanese sheet music. The Florida Sheet Music Collection includes nearly 300 titles from the late 19th and the early 20th century that highlight Florida themes, composers, and publishers.  Each piece of music has been cataloged and can be accessed by searching by composer, title, the first line of text, or the first line of the chorus. The Bank of America Black American Music Collection consists of nearly 3,000 pieces of published sheet music reflecting the influences of African Americans on popular music in the United States. The collection includes music created, performed, or published by African Americans or that portrays African American themes in the United States. The collection was acquired in 1988 from a Michigan music store and made possible by a generous donation on behalf of Bank of America (then Nationsbank). The Joan and Gerald Weingarten American Sheet Music Collection was donated in honor of Adam Weingarten, USF class of 1989. This collection consists of popular American music from the 19th and 20th centuries. Of particular interest are the significant number of show tunes and big band pieces. Click here for a video of Gerald Weingarten discussing the collection » 19th and 20th Century Sheet Music consists of a wide range of musical styles and genres covering approximately 200 years of American music. The Theodore Hoffman Collection of Modern Japanese Music includes music scores, CDs, and related materials issued by the Japan Federation of Composers.

Boucicault Theater Collection

Photograph of Dion Boucicault Dion Boucicault (1820-1890) was a prolific and innovative playwright, actor, producer, manager, and director of the nineteenth-century, English-speaking stage. By his own account, Boucicault wrote, directed and acted in 250 plays, many of which were wildly popular in Ireland, England, Australia, and the United States. A virtuoso at pleasing audiences, Boucicault developed many of the conventions of melodrama that shaped American drama for generations. He not only influenced the practices and conventions of his contemporaries but also brought important social and cultural issues of historical significance—such as race, political and economic issues—to the stage. The Dion Boucicault Theatre Collection primarily contains manuscript and printed plays. The collection consists of approximately 781 items, including printed and manuscript play scripts, sides, stage directions, letters, and musical scores. The collection also includes set design sketches, prompt books, photographs and select musical segments. Click here for more information about the Boucicault collection and to access portions of the collection online » Click here to access the collection’s finding aid »

Visual Arts Collections

Chromolithographic printResearchers interested in visual history, the history of photography, cartoon art, and examples of chromolithographic techniques will provide excellent examples among the visual arts collections in Special Collections. The Sally Bird Howry Collection of Albumen Prints consists of 143 photographs depicting architectural wonders of the early 20th century. The Mahan Collection of American Humor and Cartoon Art is an extensive collection of animation cels, drawings, comic strips, cartoon panels, caricatures, illustrations, model sheets, posters, books, auction catalogs, DVDs, ephemera, and realia. The collection also includes over 100 years of American editorial cartoons. Photographic Lantern Slides depicting world travel sites and historical subjects document a visual history that has either disappeared or changed significantly over the past century. The Archibald Slaymaker Glass Plate Negatives Collection includes 19 carte de visite photographs,  31 black and white prints, and 39 glass plate negatives. Forty-six of the original glass plate negatives have been digitized and are available online. The Noel Wisdom Collection of Chromolithographic Prints includes greeting cards, trade cards, postcards, specialty cards, die-cut scraps, advertisements, and a few reproductions of fine art. It provides excellent examples of chromolithographic techniques such as stripling, innovations, and the use of bronze powders. Illustrated letters and envelopes chronicling the weekly—and sometimes daily—correspondence between Alvin P. Yorkunas and his wife Mary Anne comprise a significant portion of the Yorkunas Collection. Also included are personal journals, military documents, postcards, and printed ephemera that relate to Alvin’s military service during World War II.