Recording and Music Collection

The Watkinson Library Recording and Music collection is composed of early recordings, hand-cranked phonographs, and sheet music.

The Watkinson Record Collection contains both cylinder and flat disk recordings.  There are 68 cylinders and two players as well as over 10,000 flat disk recordings in both shellac (early) and vinyl formats.  The shellac collection is divided into two main parts: the Encyclopedic Record Collection and the Rubenstein Collection.  Both single disks and multiple disk sets in bound albums are included in each collection.  Together with the collection are hand cranked phonographs to play the recordings.

The Encyclopedic Record Collection just that—a myriad of genres of music and labels, from Actuelle to Zonophone and date from 1901 to about 1960. Many of the earliest recordings are rather scarce.  In this collection are also a few small scale shellac recordings; the labels included in the small scale shellac are Bingola, Emerson Universal Cut, and Little Wonder.  This segment of the collection is fully processed.

The Rubenstein Collection covers several formats and genres including classical and early jazz.  It numbers nearly 4,000 shellac disks, mostly Big Band / Swing recordings by such artists as Benny Goodman, Guy Lombardo, Glenn Miller, and Artie Shaw.  Mr. Rubenstein’s collection also included several hundred vinyl recordings and 45s.  Not all of the Rubenstein Collection is processed to date.

The Watkinson Library also oversees a listening station with several hundred vinyl disks, a turntable, amplifier and speakers for use at any time.  Most of this collection is classical and easy listening with many recordings by artists such as Benny Goodman, Guy Lombardo and Frank Sinatra available.

Complementing the music collection is a collection of sheet music from the 19th through the mid-20th centuries.