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MS Mus 193

Satie, Erik, 1866-1925. Erik Satie papers, 1866-1966: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b
Call No.: MS Mus 193
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Satie, Erik, 1866-1925.
Title: Erik Satie papers,
Date(s): 1866-1966.
Quantity: 1 linear feet (3 boxes)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in French and English.
Abstract: Papers of the French composer Erik Satie.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

89M-27. Manuscripts transferred from the Garden Library, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington D.C.; received: 1973 and 24 July 1989.

Provenance and former processing:

This collection of Erik Satie papers is composed of two different collections. In 1938 a small acquisition was made by Mildred Bliss, Dumbarton Oaks, from Sybil Harris, who had been a friend and patron of young Parisian artists in the 1920s. The manuscripts [nos. (12),(70),(95),(100),(102),(105)], and a printed piano score of Piege de Meduse [*FC9.Sa832.921p] were deposited at the Library of Congress, and some still carry the library's bookplate.
The main part of the present collection was owned by Darius Milhaud, who found these manuscripts in Satie's apartment after the composer's death in 1925 and took them to the US in 1940. He mounted an exhibition of the entire collection at Mills College, Oakland, California. The typescript catalogue was numbered in Arabic, 1-105. In about 1960 almost the entire collection was acquired by Mildred Bliss. At Dumbarton Oaks, a new list was compiled in 1963 of the Harris and Milhaud materials using Roman numbering I-LXXVII.
After Mildred Bliss's death and the taking over of her estate by Harvard University, some items were transferred to the Houghton Library. The Satie collection came in 1973 and 1989. Before it could be fully catalogued, scholars used and published the material using the old numbers from the Mills College list, and even provided them with a "Ho" siglum. To enable users to identify manuscripts in the present numbering system, two concordances are added at the end of this finding aid.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Barbara M. Wolff

Conditions Governing Access:

The originals of this collection are restricted from use.

Existence and Location of Copies:

Readers must use positive microfilm available in the Houghton Reading Room.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Erik Satie Papers, 1866-1966 (MS Mus 193). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

Erik Satie was a French composer.


For uniform spelling of titles, for dates, and for identifications, the following publications were consulted: Robert Orledge. Satie the Composer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990) Ornella Volta. Erik Satie. Ecrits (Paris, Editions Champ Libre, 1981)Stephen Moore Whiting. Erik Satie and Parisian Musical Entertainment 1888 to 1909 (Urbana, University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign, Photographic Services, 1988)


Arranged into four series:

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the collection consists of autograph notes, drafts, and fragments of musical compositions such as piano works, ballets, incidental music, entr'actes, songs, and a mass. They are notated in 29 small composition books as well as on loose sheets. Stage works are written for productions by Réné Clair and Jean Cocteau; vocal works are based on texts by René Chalypt, J.P. Contamine de Latour, Léon Paul Fargue, Catulle Mendës, Henry Pacory, and others; music sometimes written in collaboration with Robert Caby and Vincent Hyspa.
Also included are letters, essays, and drawings by Erik Satie, as well as biographical materials, programs, photographs, clippings, and printed materials.

Concordance 1 = numbers of the Mills College catalogue (1940), the Dumbarton Oaks list [D.O.](1963), and the Houghton Library accessions record (1992).

Mills = D.O. = Houghton

Concordance 2 = numbers of the Houghton Library accessions record (1992), the Mills College catalogue (1940), and the Dumbarton Oaks [D.O.] list (1963).

Houghton = Mills = D.O.

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