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The New York Philharmonic Shelby White & Leon Levy Digital Archives was launched in February 2011, and currently comprises more than four million pages, including printed programs, marked conducting scores, business documents, and photographs. Growing continually, the scope of the online collection is every document in the New York Philharmonic Archives from 1842 through 1970 and public facing materials, such as programs and press releases, until today. This includes correspondence, marked scores and parts, contracts, annual reports, marketing materials, and minutes from meetings of the Board of Directors.

For details on holdings outside the scope of the Digital Archives, see Archival Collections below.

Archives Collection

The New York Philharmonic Archives, which serves as a repository for more than 180 years of Philharmonic history, is one of the oldest and most important orchestral research collections in the world and is an important record of cultural history in New York City.

Researchers, students, musicians, and the general public are all welcome to come and explore this valuable collection at Lincoln Center. The archives also welcomes enquiries via email at history@nyphil.org.


A complete set of the New York Philharmonic programs (1842 to the present) are maintained in the Philharmonic Archives. Also included are most of the programs of the New York Symphony Society (1877–1928) and the summer Lewisohn Stadium Concerts (1922–1964). The Philharmonic programs, which include program annotation and articles, cover not only the subscription concerts but also special concerts, summer series, American and foreign tours, chamber series, and private concerts produced by the Philharmonic. Symphony Society Programs include copies of the programs themselves as well as the Symphony Society Bulletin (1907–1928), a weekly publication that contained the program notes for the concerts.

Scores and Parts

The New York Philharmonic has one of the largest music score collections in the world, created principally from the orchestra library that began acquiring scores in 1842. Numbering nearly 15,000 items, the collection contains rare first editions as well as the material used and marked by the Orchestra’s Music Directors and guest conductors, including Gustav Mahler, Leonard Bernstein, Erich Leinsdorf, Bruno Walter, and Andre Kostelanetz.


Press Clippings

The Archives maintains 84,000 pages of press clippings about the Philharmonic. Scrapbooks of clippings date as far back as 1904 and continue with some gaps until 1978, after which the clippings are preserved chronologically in folders. Included are concert reviews, society announcements about Board members, features on the Orchestra or conductors, and obituaries. This collection captures a wide range of publications that no longer exist; in several cases, there are examples of publications that are rare. In addition, there are a large number of foreign press clippings about Philharmonic tours that date as far back as 1930.


Visual Collections

The Archives has more than 120,000 images (photographs, drawings, posters, lantern slides, and transparencies). These collections include images relating to conductors, composers, soloists, Orchestra members, and administrative personnel of the Philharmonic, as well as collections that document specific concerts and other events, such as galas, festivals, concert halls, and tours around the world. The Lineback digital collection chiefly consists of portraits of important 19th-century artists and composers, and the Schelling hand-colored lantern slide collection comprises nearly 5,000 items that were used to illustrate the Young Peoples’ Concerts between the 1930 and the mid-1950s.


Live Performance Recordings

In 1922 the Philharmonic was one of the first symphony orchestras to broadcast a concert over the radio, and in 1930 became the first American orchestra to broadcast regularly coast-to-coast. Many of these radio broadcasts still exist in the Archives today and are available to visitors. Beginning in the 1990s, the Orchestra began to record nearly all of its performances for the Archives. The Archives is actively working to digitally preserve and restore these recordings.


Business Records

The Archives has more than 6.5 million pages of memoranda, correspondence, contracts, reports, and meeting minutes that are organized according to department responsibility, such as Board of Directors, Music Director, and the executive, artistic, finance, operations, education, volunteers, development, marketing, and public relations departments. These files are searchable through an in-house database and document all functions and the internal decision-making processes of the symphony orchestra. The collections from 1842 to 1970 are open for research.