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Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, 1103 S. Sixth Street, Champaign
Sousa Archives and Center for American Music
Victor August Herbert (1859-1924) was an American composer, cellist, and conductor who is most frequently remembered for his popular Broadway operettas Babes in Toyland (1903) and Naughty Marietta (1910) and the founder of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) in 1914. ASCAP protected the copyrights of compositions of its members which initially included Irving Berlin, Otto Harbach, James Weldon Johnson, Jerome Kern, and John Philip Sousa. When Herbert died in 1924 his extensive library of original and published music, which included works by Herbert and many other famous composers, was auctioned off for a fraction of its value. Sousa remarked in the article, “Sousa Will Leave His Immense Music Collection to Public Libraries” that appeared in Nashville’s Tennessean on July 26, 1924, “It was announced that… a bundle of scores of comic operas by Herbert went for $32. I can’t believe those were autographs of Herbert’s own compositions. The autograph original of the score of one of Victor Herbert’s operas ought to command a figure of at least $1,000.” This exhibit investigates how Sousa’s extensive library of original and published music came to the University of Illinois in 1932 and its continuing impact on today’s research and performance of early American wind band music.