Skip to Main Content

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

American Music

A guide to help you begin your research and find books, articles, and special collections materials on American Music topics.

Introduction to Special Collections Materials

Special collections with rare or historical documents, sheet music, recordings, and ephemera can be excellent sources for your research. We are highlighting several collections on this page that you can browse here in person (in the case of the UIUC special collections materials) or online (in the case of digital collections at the bottom of the page).

Special Collections at UIUC

The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music (SACAM) acquires and preserves significant archival records and historical artifacts documenting America's local and national music history and its diverse cultures.

The principle archival collections of the Center are the papers of John Philip Sousa (1854-1932), Herbert L. Clarke (1867-1945), former directors of the band at the University of Illinois A. Austin Harding (1880-1958), Mark Hindsley (1905-1999), Harry Begian (b. 1921), and University of Illinois alumnus and Sousa Band member Richard E. Kent (1899-1996).

In addition the Center is responsible for unique collections of twentieth-century electronic and avant-garde music, and select ethnomusicological research papers from the faculty and staff of the University's School of Music. To learn more about current initiatives, browse the current exhibits and upcoming lectures and concerts.


University of Illinois Sheet Music Collection

The U.S. Sheet Music Collection in the Music & Performing Arts Library at the University of Illinois contains about 100,000 pieces of popular music (as well as some classical) from the early 19th century through the 1980s.

This collection is separate from the modern printed music editions found in our online library catalog, so you have to search for these materials separately. To search the collection, start from our page on the University of Illinois's Historic US Sheet Music Collection.

Note that the music is located in the Special Collections Unit on the second floor of MPAL and is designated for building-use only.

American Music Collections Beyond UIUC

There are many other institutions with digitized special collections materials that you can browse online that might be helpful in your research! We are linking a few below to get you started.