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Television Music: A Guide to Resources at the Library of Congress

Special Collections

Sylvia Fine, composer. T.V. #1. [192-]. Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine collection. Library of Congress Music Division.

Many composers of television music also composed for film, the stage, or classical music. Researchers looking for television music or other materials related to television broadcasts will find resources littered throughout many special collections accessed through the Performing Arts Reading Room.

Knowing the television production or program title is by far the easiest way to locate relevant materials, as they are often arranged or grouped by project name.

In addition to music manuscripts, collections in the Music Division can include scrapbooks that document performers' careers on the television screen, scripts and screenplays, comedic writings from television variety appearances and programming, correspondence, photographs, and business papers detailing the financial aspects of television production.

The Music Division holds over five hundred named special collections in music, theater, and dance. Collections vary in size from fewer than a dozen items to more than half a million. Many of these collections are processed and have finding aids online. Others are in varying stages of processing and may have guides, inventories, or print finding aids available on-site.

Find special collections through two primary gateways:

Finding aids and catalog records for special collections may indicate transfers of audio-visual materials to the Motion Picture, Broadcasting, & Recorded Sound Division. To find this information:

  • Finding aids: select the tab "Using This Collection." Under the heading "Administrative Information" the subheading "Transfers" will contain any relevant information.
  • Catalog records: transfer information appears next to the heading "Notes."

Access Note: Some collections are housed off-site and require advance notice to retrieve. Contact us using our Ask a Librarian service if you have questions about researching a specific collection.

Highlighted Special Collections in the Music Division

The following collections include materials relevant to research in television music. Provided links are for finding aids (descriptive documents of collection contents) or collection-level catalog records if finding aids are not yet completed. Both finding aids and catalog records contain collection content summaries.