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John Tasker Howard Collection of 20th Century American Music

Identifier: MG 5


The collection consists of notes, newspaper clippings, programs, letters, biographies, obituaries, and catalogs compiled and gathered by the music historian John Tasker Howard, who also mailed a questionnaire to hundreds of musicians while preparing his publication, Our American Music. If completed, the responses contain important biographical information about influential musicians in the United States.


  • Majority of material found in ca. 1920-1940


Conditions Governing Access

Available by appointment only.

Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied or photographed without permission from library staff.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission.

Biographical / Historical

John Tasker Howard was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1890 and later graduated from Montclair High School. Howard earned an honorary master of arts degree in 1937 from Williams College. He was a music historian (he was believed to be a leading authority on Stephen Foster), pianist, lecturer, composer, author, and also provided some radio commentary. He lived primarily in Glen Ridge, N.J. He served as the curator of the New York Public Library American Music Collection from 1940 until his retirement in 1957. He is best known for the publication Our American Music, which focused on the history of music in the United States. He was actively involved in many musical organizations and was the Director of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers in 1945. Howard composed ballads and orchestral works and authored several books. John Tasker Howard died in West Orange, NJ in 1964 at the age of 73 after an illness.


2 Linear Feet (2 filing cabinet drawers)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by John Tasker Howard to the Music Room of the Newark Public Library in 1959.

Related Materials

John Tasker Howard Papers, 1869-1995, New York Public Library, Library for the Performing Arts, Music Division.

Processing Information

In May-June 2016, conservation work entailed removal of metal paper clips and rehousing the collection into archival folders. Processed by Nadine Sergejeff; June 2016.

Nadine Sergejeff
June 2016
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections, Newark Public Library Repository

5 Washington Street
PO Box 630
Newark NJ 07102 USA