University of South Dakota reports opening of Mahoney Music Collection

University of South Dakota reports opening of Mahoney Music Collection
The University of South Dakota is pleased to announce that it is the permanent home of a collection of rare books and unique materials which detail the history of the violin family of stringed instruments.

Gifted to the Archives and Special Collections, I.D. Weeks Library by John P. and Barbara Mahoney of Tallahassee, FL, the Mahoney Music Collection is now open and available for research.

A public reception honoring the Mahoneys was held Friday, April 20 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the I.D. Weeks Library, second floor. Several exhibits showcasing materials from the collection were on display. A special Brown Bag Lunch program, "The Mahoney Music Collection of Violin-family Books, Periodicals and Ephemera," featuring violin music was held at noon on the same day at the National Music Museum.

Comprised of more than 4,800 books, periodicals, pamphlets and ephemera, the Mahoney Music Collection is one of the most complete collections pertaining to the violin and violin family instruments in existence. Its creation is the result of extraordinary expertise and years of effort, and is unparalleled at any other public institution, making it a priceless addition to The U.

When combined with the presence of the Witten-Rawlins Collection of Early Italian Stringed Instruments at the National Music Museum, as well as other archival and book collections at the National Music Museum and the I.D. Weeks Library, the Mahoney Music Collection establishes USD as the preeminent place to study the history of the violin.

The collection not only provides a wealth of research and teaching opportunities for faculty and students, but also offers a chance for outside researchers to access a large range of rare materials in one location.

Arian Sheets, curator of stringed instruments at the National Music Museum, said that the Mahoney Music Collection presents researchers and visitors with an experience they are unlikely to find anywhere else. "The completeness and quality of the Mahoney Music Collection�means that researchers at USD will not be limited by lack of access to necessary resources, whether they are studying�stringed instruments, music performance issues or social history," he said.

Assembling such a remarkable collection takes considerable expertise, dedication, time and financial resources. John P. Mahoney has chosen to give what he has built, a great treasure, to a place where it will benefit others who share his interest in musical instruments and their history. USD's careful stewardship and commitment to the collection ensures that his generosity will�continue to impact future generations.

"Preserved in its entirety, the Mahoney Music Collection has a value and significance�that far exceeds the sum of its parts, as rare and special as they are," said Sheets. �

Among the many highlights of the Mahoney Music Collection are rare 19th-century scholarly works about violins, the baroque master Francesco Geminiani's The Art of Playing on the Violin of 1751, contemporary biographical accounts of Paganini, the first edition of Leopold Mozart's 1756 treatise, a map of Cremona dated 1616 and a complete set of The Strad. Other attractions include the collection's coverage of unexpected categories such as musical instruments in art, humorous musical subjects and adult fiction and poems concerning stringed instruments.

Repair and restoration of stringed instruments, construction of stringed instruments, wood finishing, varnish dictionaries and encyclopedias, bows, dealer catalogs and luthier schools are subject headings that illustrate the collection's completeness.

When choosing a permanent home for his collection, John P. Mahoney and his wife Barbara sought a growing and dynamic institution which would benefit from their gift. Although the Mahoneys held no previous ties to USD, the partnership between The U and the National Music Museum, combined with the unique presence of the Master of Music degree with a concentration in the history of musical instruments, contributed to their choice of USD as the recipient from a field of candidates that included major European and American universities and academic institutions.

"USD is really a special place when it comes to the study of stringed instruments. If you are�researching Antonio Stradivari, you can go directly from the library,�where you will find the complete published literature about his workshop and surviving instruments," said Sheets, "to the National Music Museum, where there are�five exceptional examples of his work.

"Likewise, should a visit to the Rawlins Gallery inspire you to look more closely at the way 18th-century violins were played in the past, the Mahoney Music Collection contains the most important treatises about violin performance, in their original 18th- and 19th-century editions."

For more information about the Mahoney Music Collection, visit www.usd.ed u/library/Mahoney or contact Archives and Special Collections at (605) 677-5450,, and the National Music Museum at (605) 677-5306,

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