August 2011—Marquette University Libraries' Department of Special Collections and Archives 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 includes books, magazines, scripts, scores, articles, reviews, programs, compact discs, long-playing records, audiotapes, videotapes, posters, window cards and other memorabilia relating to such musicals as West Side Story, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods and others.
The collection was amassed over more than forty years by Paul Salsini, a Marquette alumnus who has taught journalism courses at Marquette for many years and now also teaches "History of the Musical in America." An unabashed Sondheim enthusiast, Salsini became interested in the composer’s works after seeing Follies in 1971. In 1994 he co-founded The Sondheim Review, a quarterly magazine devoted to Sondheim’s works, and was its editor for ten years.
"This collection is a valuable resource for future Sondheim scholars, theater 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. This is a wonderful gift from Paul Salsini to the university."
Included in the Stephen Sondheim Research Collection (SSRC) 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.
Salsini, who lives in Milwaukee, 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 have prepared preliminary inventories for the SSRC and all parts of the collection are now accessible to researchers, according to Matt Blessing, Marquette’s head archivist. For more information about accessing the SSRA please call (414) 288-7256.
An exhibit highlighting the collection will be on display in the lobby of Raynor Library October 10 to November 28, 2011.