The Frédéric Louis Ritter Collection Website provides access to documents and information about them from Tufts University’s special collection in music.
The Ritter Collection consists of approximately 2500 items and was bestowed upon Tufts College in 1901 by trustee Albert Metcalf to support the development of the Department of Music.
The Frédéric Louis Ritter Collection is not only the single largest named special collection at Tufts, but a sweeping overview of music history, containing works from the 16th to the 19th centuries on all areas of musical interest - history, biography, theory, composition, and performance. Ritter collected contemporary and important historical scores, books, and periodicals throughout his entire life as a professional musician, composer, and author, but they became his most important resource when he was appointed Professor of Music and subsequently the Director of the School of Music at Vassar College in 1867, where he served until his death in 1891. Metcalf acquired Ritter’s library shortly thereafter, and continued to add to the collection, particularly with scores of standard repertory, increasing its size from around 1800 titles to about 2500.
In 2002, The Berger Family Technology Transfer Endowment funded a grant, entitled “A Paradigm for Special Collections Access and Use” – intended to demonstrate how rare and unique materials can be made available for teaching and research via digital technology. Furthermore, web access can provide unprecedented opportunities for the creation of and correlation with contextual information important for deeper understanding of the original material. Over time, thanks to the important beginning made possible by the Berger Award, more and more of Ritter’s library will become an online collection, available to all for the study and understanding of the history of Western Art Music.