Collection inventory

Finding Aids
printer friendly version

Clark Music Company Records

An inventory of its records at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Clark Music Company (Syracuse, N.Y.)
Title: Clark Music Company Records
Inclusive Dates: 1889-1960
Quantity: 24.5 linear ft.
Abstract: Records of the musical instrument retail business in Syracuse, New York; founded in 1889. Correspondence (1889-1960); memoranda (1921-1960); and merchandising and financial records (1894-1960), including bank statements, inventories, ledgers, price lists and catalogs, repairs records, and marketing information.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010
http://scrc.syr.edu

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The papers of the Clark Music Company are the records of the retail trade in musical instruments and materials which was carried on from 1889 to 1960 by a family-owned firm in Syracuse, N.Y. Melville Clark (1883-1953) managed the company for many years, lending to the business his considerable fame as a harpist and musical inventor and collector. This collection contains material on the changing musical tastes of America over a span of seventy-one years, as well as information on the development of modern techniques of advertising and selling. The papers date from 1889 to 1960, with the bulk falling in the years after 1900. They have been organized in four sections: Correspondence, Memoranda, Merchandising and Financial Records, and Miscellany.

Correspondence (boxes 1-24), which dates from 1889 to 1960, has been arranged chronologically by year and month. One important correspondent was Thomas Mott Osborne, noted prison reformer from Auburn, N.Y. His letters date from 1910 to 1915. Osborne's interests as an amateur musician led to his acquaintance with Melville Clark, and various members of the Osborne family purchased a considerable amount of stock in the firm. The correspondence generally provides a wide-ranging description of the business contacts and methods of operation of Clark Music.

The Memoranda (boxes 24-25) date from the last years of the 1950's. These have also been arranged chronologically. They relate primarily to problems of internal company organization and management.

The Merchandising and Financial Records section (boxes 25-30), dating from 1894 to 1960, contains all manner of material on musical instruments and their sale, as well as financial records of company operations. This section contains colorful detail on player pianos, harps and talking-machines, as well as the first radio and television. Of special interest are the subsections on advertising and sales promotions, which provide information on the development of modern marketing methods. Also included are: bank statements, records, dealership agreements, guarantees, inventories, ledgers, personnel records, price lists and catalogs, repairs records, shipping and receiving registers and time purchasing contracts. The materials are arranged chronologically within each subsection.

Miscellany (boxes 30-31), 1893-1958, contains various types of ephemera which are related largely to musicians, concerts, and social events. There is also some biographical material on the Clark family, as well as assorted newspapers, magazines, clippings and separates.

Return to top

Restrictions

Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Return to top

Subject Headings

Corporate Bodies

Clark Music Company (Syracuse, N.Y.) -- Archives.
Clark Music Company (Syracuse, N.Y.) -- Records and correspondence.

Subjects

Music -- 20th century.
Music trade -- New York (State) -- Syracuse.
Musical instruments -- Manufacturers' catalogs.
Musical instruments -- Marketing.

Genres and Forms

Bank statements.
Correspondence.
Inventories.
Ledgers (account books)
Memoranda.
Price lists.
Sales catalogs.

Return to top

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Clark Music Company Records,
Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Library

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mrs. Dorothy Clark, July 1965

Finding Aid Information

Created by: FED
Date: Mar 1971
Revision history: 20 Sep 2006 - converted to EAD (AMCon); 10 Sep 2015 - packages rehoused, inventory updated (MRC)

Return to top

Inventory

Correspondence
Box 1 Undated
Box 1 1893-1900 (14 folders)
Box 2 1901-1906 (9 folders)
Box 2 1907 General [undated], Jan-May (6 folders)
Box 3 1907, Jun-Dec (7 folders)
Box 3 1908 General [undated], Jan-Feb (3 folders)
Box 4 1908, Mar-Dec (10 folders)
Box 4 1909 General [undated], Jan-Mar (4 folders)
Box 5 1909, Apr-Dec (9 folders)
Box 5 1910 General [undated], Jan-Mar (4 folders)
Box 6 1910, Apr-Sep (6 folders)
Box 7 1910, Oct-Dec (3 folders)
Box 7 1911 General [undated], Jan-Apr (5 folders)
Box 8 1911, May-Nov (7 folders)
Box 9 1911, Dec
Box 9 1912 General [undated], Jan-Nov (2 folders)
Box 10 1912, Dec
Box 10 1913 General [undated], Jan-Oct (1 folder)
Box 11 1913, Nov-Dec (2 folders)
Box 11 1914, General [undated], Jan-Sep (10 folders)
Box 12 1914, Oct-Dec (3 folders)
Box 12 1915 General [undated], Jan-Jul (8 folders)
Box 13 1915, Aug-Dec (5 folders)
Box 13 1916 General [undated], Jan-Apr (5 folders)
Box 14 1916, May-Dec (8 folders)
Box 14 1917 General [undated], Jan-Apr (5 folders)
Box 15 1917, May-Dec (8 folders)
Box 15 1918-1920 (5 folders)
Box 16 1921-1924 (4 folders)
Box 16 1925 General [undated], Jan-Sep (10 folders)
Box 17 1925, Oct-Dec (3 folders)
Box 17 1926-1930 (6 folders)
Box 17 1935
Box 17 1939
Box 17 1941
Box 17 1942 General [undated], Jan-Jun (7 folders)
Box 18 1942, Jul-Dec (6 folders)
Box 18 1943-1946 (5 folders)
Box 18 1947 General [undated], Jan-Jun (7 folders)
Box 19 1947, Jul-Dec (6 folders)
Box 19 1948-1950, General [undated] (5 folders)
Box 20 1950, Jan-Dec (2 folders)
Box 20 1951-1955 (6 folders)
Box 20 1956, Jan-Jun
Box 21 1956, Jul-Dec
Box 21 1957 General [undated], Jan-Jul (8 folders)
Box 22 1957, Aug-Dec (5 folders)
Box 22 1958 General [undated], Jan-Apr (5 folders)
Box 23 1958, May-Dec (8 folders)
Box 23 1959 General [undated], Jan-Jun (7 folders)
Box 24 1959, Jul-Dec (6 folders)
Box 24 1960
Memoranda
Box 24 [General] Undated
Box 24 [General] 1921-1955 (6 folders)
Box 25 [General] 1956-1960 (5 folders)
Merchandising and financial records
Advertising
Box 25 Budgets and costs 1906-1959
Box 25 Contracts and agreements 1906-1959
Box 25 Copy undated
Box 25 Cuts and flyers undated (3 folders)
Box 26 Cuts and flyers Undated
Box 26 Cuts and flyers 1895-1956
Box 26 Bank statements 1906-1959
Box 26 Bids and proposals 1924-1959
Cash books, unbound
Oversize 1 General 1947-1949
Oversize 1 Sundry charges 1947-1948
Box 26 Credit and collections 1907-1960 (2 folders)
Box 26 Dealership agreements 1897-1957
Box 26 Guarantees 1894-1916
Box 26 Inventories 1959
Ledgers, unbound
Oversize 2 General 1928-1937
Oversize 3 General 1948, Jan-May
Oversize 4 General 1948, Jun-Oct
Oversize 5 General 1949
Oversize 6 Accounts payable 1946-1947
Oversize 7 Accounts payable 1947-1948
Oversize 8 Accounts payable 1948
Oversize 9 Accounts payable 1949
Oversize 9 Accounts payable 1950-1951
Oversize 10 Profit and loss 1928-1937
Personnel
Box 27 Miscellaneous 1953-1959
Box 27 Applications 1905-1959
Box 27 Appointments and duties 1913-1950
Box 27 Expense accounts 1958-1960
Box 27 Reports 1916-1929
Price lists and catalogs
Box 27 undated
Box 27 1893-1960 (4 folders)
Repairs
Box 28 Miscellaneous
Box 28 Shop reports 1957-1958 (6 folders)
Sales promotions
Box 28 Miscellaneous 1911-1959
Box 29 Developmental plans 1910-1918
Box 29 Form letters undated
Box 29 List of prospects 1916, undated (3 folders)
Box 29 Securities 1907
Shipping and receiving
Oversize 11 Goods in and out books 1941-1945
Oversize 12 Goods in and out books 1945-1947
Oversize 10 Goods in and out books 1953
Box 29 Receiving book (vol. 1) 1957-1959
Box 29 Receiving book, records and sheet music (vol. 2) 1951-1952
Box 29 Shipping book (vol. 3) 1957-1959
Box 30 Statistics 1911-1959
Box 30 Time purchasing contracts 1897-1959 (5 folders)
Miscellany
Box 30 American Guild of Banjoists, Mandolinists and Guitarists 1915-1916
Box 30 Biographical material, Clark family 1922-1949
Ephemera
Box 31 Miscellaneous 1904-1946
Box 31 Concerts and social events 1898-1958
Box 31 Musicians 1906-1950
Box 31 Magazine separates 1908-1922
Box 31 Newspaper clippings 1893-1929
Box 31 Newspapers and magazines 1901-1907

Return to top