This image of Ritter is taken from A Hundred Years of Music in America... A Full and Reliable Summary of American Musical Effort as Displayed in the Personal History of Artists, Composers and Educators.  By W.S.B. Matthews.  (Chicago: G.L. Howe, 1889)


About the Ritter Collection (Tufts University’s Special Collection in Music)

Albert Metcalf (1824-1912), had been a trustee of Tufts College since 1895, when he proposed and funded the founding of a Department of Music, a personal response to his seeing a need for the elements of culture, especially music, in collegiate education. (Metcalf’s son had graduated from Tufts in 1887, and Metcalf himself was closely associated with the Universalists who founded Tufts College in 1852).

Metcalf had acquired Ritter’s music library sometime shortly after Ritter’s death in 1891– and added its remarkable holdings to his own significant collection of scores. Over the next 10 years, Metcalf subsequently made several donations of books and scores to the Tufts Music Library, in order to support the activities and teaching in the Department he helped create. By November 1901, Metcalf’s entire collection, including not only all the books, scores, and periodicals, but also Metcalf’s two pianos and a portable music cabinet, had been formally presented to Tufts.

To facilitate their study by students of music, Metcalf in his deed of gift stipulated that “it is my desire that all the foresaid books and pamphlets shall not be mingled with the volumes comprising the general College Library but shall in some way be kept apart and be designated as the Albert Metcalf Musical Library.” For many years, the numerous volumes that had so richly informed Frédéric Louis Ritter’s education and teaching were housed and maintained by the Department of Music. In recognition of their rarity, value, and fragile condition, this Special Collection is now housed in the Tufts University Digital Collections and Archives; although reference and research assistance for the collection can still be obtained from the Music Librarian, as well as from Archives staff.

Collection Scope

The collection contains books, scores, and periodicals on all areas of musical interest, from the 16th to the 19th centuries.

Important histories of music include first or early editions from the 17th and 18th centuries, 19th-century views of earlier music (which also includes editions and anthologies of that music, see Scores, below), and works on aesthetics and criticism.

  • Ritter’s own publications, as well as other authors on English and American music (two of Ritter’s areas of scholarship)
  • the works of numerous English authors, from Thomas Morley to Dr. Charles Burney and Sir John Hawkins
  • Wolfgang Caspar Printz, Historische Beschreibung der edelen Sing-und Kling-kunst (1690)
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg, Historische-kritische Beyträge zur Aufnahme der Musik (1754-1778)
  • Padre Martini, Storia della Musica (1757?)
  • Mme. F. de Bawr, Histoire de la Musique (1823)
  • August W. Ambros, Geschichte der Musik (1862)
  • the writings of Thomas Hastings, A.B. Marx, Franz Brendel
  • as well as important early reference works, including those of J.G. Walther (Musicalisches Lexicon, 1732), Brossard, Fetis, Forkel, Reimann, Mendel, Grove
The collection is extraordinarily strong in historically important books on music theory, counterpoint, and composition.
  • Gioseffo Zarlino, Dimostrationi Harmoniche (1571) and Le Istitutione Harmoniche (1558)
  • Athanasius Kircher, Musurgia Universalis (1650)
  • Wolfgang Caspar Printz, Phrynis Mitilenaeus oder satyrischer Componist (1696)
  • William Holder, A Treatise of the Natural Grounds and Principals of Harmony (1701)
  • Andreas Werckmeister, Harmonologia Musica (1702)
  • Rameau, Generation Harmonique ou Traite de Musique (1737, and an English trans. from 1752)
  • D'Alembert, Elements de Musique (1772)
  • the works of Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg
  • many other important authors such as Mattheson, Kirnberger, A.B. Marx, François-Auguste Gevaert, etc.
Periodical runs compose a significant part of the collection.
  • Journal of Music -- ed. by John Sullivan Dwight, Boston, 1852-1881
  • Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung und Register, Leipzig, 1798-1848
  • Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik (orig. ed. by R. Schumann), 1835-1889
  • Cecilia, Zeitschrift fur dem Musikalische Welt, 1824
  • and many other German titles, incl. some regional, such as Berliner Musik Zeitung (1824-30) and the Neue Berliner Musik Zeitung (1854-60), Bayreuther Blatter (1878-1882)
  • English titles of the 19th century such as the Musical Herald (Boston), Musical Record, Musical Review, Musical Standard, New York Music Review (1858) and New York Musical Pioneer (1855)
  • other 19th-century periodicals of smaller run or less well-known (which could prove to be particularly important to the scholarly community because of their rarity
Scores represent Ritter's well-developed musical background and catholic taste – sacred and secular, vocal and instrumental, concert and dramatic, he collected across all periods, genres, and styles.
  • Alessandro Scarlatti, mss. copy of castrati arias from La Rosmene (ca. 1686)
  • Rameau, Hippolite et Arcadie (1733, with mss. additions from a contemporaneous performance)
  • Lassus, Selectissimae Cantiones (1568)
  • Lully, Thesee (1720, 2nd ed.)
  • Early editions of 18th-century composers, such as Handel, Haydn, Bach
  • First and Early editions of 19th-century composers, Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Cherubini, Berlioz
  • First English editions of Corelli sonatas
  • Early collected editions of works of Carissimi, Corelli, Couperin, Palestrina
  • French opera (Le Moyne, Monsigny, Grétry, Méhul, Boieldieu)
The Ritter Collection has never been fully cataloged, but an index has been kept over the years, and is available here.
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