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American Women: Resources from the Performing Arts Collections

Music Scores

Gena Branscombe, composer. I bring you heartsease [holograph score]. 1916. A.P. Schmidt Collection, Library of Congress Music Division.

Music scores are an obvious primary source for researchers interested in women composers. That they may also be of use to those whose main focus is not music is less evident. Women appear frequently as the subject of popular song and song lyrics, and sheet music cover art can be an instructive tool for the historian. Both music by women and music about women can be found in abundance in the collections of the Music Division.

As described on the Collection Overview section of this guide, the Library of Congress Online Catalog allows you to search and browse holdings in the music collections, including scores. Digital Collections, however, provide full access to a selection of printed and manuscript scores. These scores are available for download and study without ever setting foot in the Library. Explore the Music Division's digital collections, and especially those highlighted below, to discover scores composed by women, as well as music written about women and women's suffrage.

Featured Digital Collections

Scores by Women Composers - Bibliographies

When trying to find music by women composers, bibliographies prove excellent resources to researchers. Search the Library's online catalog to discover bibliographies of music; the subject heading "Women Composers--Bibliography" can provide a good starting point for browsing the catalog. See the Music Literature section of this guide for more information.

In addition to browsing the online catalog, see a selection of bibliographies of music by women composers below. The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.