Harry Robin Music in America photographs, 1680-1975

Finding aid prepared by UCLA Library Special Collections staff. Collection reprocessed in 2015 by Lori Dedeyan, machine- readable finding aid created by Caroline Cubé.
UCLA Library Special Collections
Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
Box 951575
Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1575
(310) 825-4988
©2002 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Title: Harry Robin Music in America photographs
Collection number: PASC-M 49
Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 1.6 linear ft. (4 document boxes)
Date (inclusive): 1970-1981
Abstract: This collection consists of the notes, correspondence, and research materials created and gathered by Harry Robin while working on a project about the development of American music, on the occasion of the U.S. Bicentennial. Research materials primarily consist of reproductions of print material, illustrations, sheet music covers, programs, and publicity photos, gathered from various archives and historical societies, and ranging in date from the 17th to 20th centuries, with an emphasis on the period between the Revolutionary War and turn of the 20th century.
Language of Materials: Materials are in English.
Physical Location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

Restrictions on Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Harry Robin Music in America photographs (Collection PASC 49-M). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.


Harry Robin (born January 5, 1915) was a motion picture sound engineer and creator of instructional films. Born in New York City, he received his B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1936. In addition, he attended the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (1939) and Stevens Institute of Technology (1940), and received his certification from RCA Institutes in 1942. He was director of the acoustics department at Juilliard School from 1947-1953 and also worked as a motion picture sound engineer in New York and later Hollywood. Robin worked as a writer, producer, and director of educational films in Hollywood from 1968-1980, writing some 60 scripts for scientific and management training films and receiving a gold medal from the Atlanta Film Festival for his film, Forces Make Forms (1975). He was also a contributor to periodicals; publications include The scientific Image and I, Morggin (1995).

Scope and Content

The collection consists of photographic reproductions of historical objects, scenes and people relating to the development of American music, created and organized by Harry Robin in the early 1970s for a U.S. bicentennial film project (the film was to be produced by the Midland Center for the Arts, Michigan, but was not completed). Contents of the reproductions include illustrations (both drawings and prints, such as woodcuts and lithographs), sketches, paintings, sheet music covers, concert announcements, advertisements, and promotional photos issued by recording companies, and range from the Revolutionary War era to the time of Robin's research. Also included are Robin's notes and correspondence, as well as various catalogs and articles created by others.

UCLA Catalog Record ID

UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4233675 

Organization and Arrangement

The collection is arranged in the following series:
  • Series 1: Research Material
  • Series 2: Reproductions

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Robin, Harry--Archives.
Music--United States--History and criticism--Photographs.
Slides (photographs).

Container List


Series 1. Research Material. 1973-1981.

Scope and Content

This series contains Harry Robin's notes, correspondence, lists, and articles and catalogs compiled by others.
Box 1, Folder 1

Guide to abbreviations used. circa 1981.

Box 1, Folder 2

Notes and correspondence. 1973-1976.

Box 1, Folder 3

Joseph Byrd's Bicentennial catalog of American music. circa 1975.

Box 1, Folder 4

"Proposal for an Early American Music Repertory Ensemble" (The Yankee Doodle Society). circa 1975.

Box 1, Folder 5

"Technology: The Lightning Rod, Ben Franklin, and the American Revolution" booklet (Gould, Inc.). 1974.


Series 2. Reproductions. 1970s.

Scope and Content

This series represents the source material used by Harry Robin for his research. All the materials are photographic reproductions of illustrations (both drawings and prints, such as woodcuts and lithographs), sketches, paintings, sheet music covers, concert announcements, advertisements, and promotional photos issued by recording companies.
Though the reproductions were made around the time of Robin's research, in the early 1970s, the contents themselves span from the Revolutionary period to Robin's day. The bulk of the material originates from and depicts life around the time of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
These reproductions were likely made via photoduplication services at various archives and historical societies. Most of the reproductions have the initials of their source institution written on the back. For a complete list of sources and abbreviations, see the first folder of Box 1, in the previous series (Research Material).

Organization and Arrangement

Folders are arranged alphabetically but otherwise reflect Robin's titles and content. Clarifications are added in parentheses.
Box 1, Folders 6-7

America at war (1770s-1890s).

Box 1, Folder 8

Bands (1830s-1920s).

Box 1, Folder 9

Civil War (1860s-1890s).

Box 1, Folder 10

Folk and country (1790s-1950s).

Box 1, Folder 11

Hymns (psalms and choral music: 1610-1950s).

Box 2, Folders 1-2

Musical theater (1780s-1970s).

Box 2, Folders 3-5

Popular songs (1770s-1970s).

Box 3, Folder 1

Phonograph (1870s-1910s).

Box 3, Folder 2

Shakers (1830s-1870s).

Box 3, Folder 3

Symphonic music (1780s-1960s).

Box 3, Folder 4

The Finale (images of indigenous people: 1700s-1800s).

Box 3, Folder 5

Virtuoso (1800s-1970s).

Box 3, Folder 6

Slides: mainly Civil War bands (1860s).

Box 3, Folder 7

Slides: miscellaneous (1780s-1860s).

Box 4

Two carousel slide trays (empty).