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Elizabeth Cowling Musical Score and Personal Papers Collection

Identifier: CC 0002

Scope and Contents

The sheet music collection consists of more than 1000 publications and copies of manuscript music, including significant holdings of "teaching composers" such as Bazelaire, Breval, Dotzauer, Goltermann, Klengel, Marcello, Piatti, Popper, Squire and Stutschewsky. The collection also features a large number of copies of manuscripts of 17th to 19th century Italian composers, collected in preparation for Dr. Cowling's 1967 dissertation, "The Italian Sonata Literature for the Violoncello in the Baroque Era".

The papers contains the personal papers of Elizabeth Cowling. It includes Cowling's teaching and research notes, photographs, newspaper clippings, publicity materials, programs, and correspondence.


  • 1937 - 1987
  • Other: Date acquired: 1977


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.

Biographical or Historical Information

Note written by Special Collections Staff


127.50 Linear Feet (85 boxes)

Language of Materials



Elizabeth Cowling was born in Northfield, Minnesota. She attended Carleton College, where she received her B.A. degree in Philosophy and went on to Columbia University, where she received her M.A. degree in Economics. Her Master'sand Ph.D. in Music were earned at Northwestern University.

Dr. Cowling studied in Europe, starting in Paris in 1929, where she worked with Paul Bazelaire and studied with Mischa Schneider of the Budapest String Quartet. In 1950 she was a student of Pablo Casals for a brief period. She came to the Woman's College (now UNCG) in 1945. At the Eastman School of Music in 1946 she began what was to become a long association with Luigi Silva. It was due to her efforts that UNCG acquired the Silva Cello Music Library and Silva's papers in 1963. Dr. Cowling's research into the literature and history of the cello led to the publication of her well-received work, The Cello, in 1975.

Dr. Cowling donated her music collection to Jackson Library in 1976 and 1977 and her collection of books in 1988. The standard cello repertoire is represented by more than 1000 publications and copies of manuscript music, including significant holdings of "teaching composers". The collection also features a large number of copies of manuscripts of seventeenth to nineteenth century Italian composers, collected in preparation for her 1967 dissertation, "The Italian Sonata Literature for the Violoncello in the Baroque Era."

Arrangement Note

The sheet music is arranged by genre. The series are as follows: Series 1: Manuscripts in Cowling's Hand Series 2: Manuscripts in Various Hands Series 3: Early Editions: Concertos, Ensembles, and Pieces Series 4: Early Editions: Sonatas Series 5: Cello Sonatas Series 6: Concertos and Concert Pieces with Orchestra Series 7: Cello Pieces and Suites Series 8: Cello Pieces Series 9: Cello Solos Series 10: Cello Methods Series 11: Duets for Cello Series 12: Duets for Violin and Cello Series 13: Trios Series 14: Viola da Gamba Pieces Series 15: Quartets, Quintets, and Large Ensembles Series 16: Violin and Viola Pieces Series 17: Oversized Pieces The Cowling papers are arranged as follows: Sub- Series 1: Biographical Information Sub-Series 2: Teaching Material Sub-Series 3: News Clippings Sub-Series 4: Materials Related to Cowling's Death Sub-Series 5: Concert Programs Sub-Series 6: Correspondence Sub-Series 7: Material Relating to Luigi Silva Sub-Series 8: Janos Scholz Honorary Doctorate Sub-Series 9: Photos/Drawings Sub-Series 10: Textiles and Artifacts Sub-Series 11: Letters from Luigi Silva

Source of Acquisition

Gift of Elizabeth Cowling.

Method of Acquisition

Donation by Elizabeth Cowling

Accruals and Additions

Additional materials added to the collection in 1996, 2015

Separated Materials

Bound scores, monographs, and serials were separated and can be searched through the library catalog.

Offensive Language Statement

The UNC Greensboro University Libraries collects, preserves, and makes accessible unique and historical materials for learning and research. The nature of historical materials is such that some material may represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive and objectionable. These materials represent the opinions and actions of their creators. By providing access to these records in our reading room and through our digital collections, we recognize that archives and rare books can play a vital role in holding those creators accountable and in helping us learn from the past.

Our finding aids and other collection descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by creators or former holders of the materials, but we strive to place outdated or offensive terminology in context. That said, we recognize that we may not always make the right decision and welcome feedback from all sources so we can learn and adjust our practices. Please contact us at if you encounter problematic language in our finding aids or other collection description. We will review the language and, as appropriate, update it in a way that balances preservation of the original context with our ongoing commitment to describing materials with respectful and inclusive language.

Processing Information

The collection was processed by Special Collections staff upon its gifting in 1977. The collection was reinventoried and this finding aid created in July of 2012. There has been no significant arrangement changes to the collection with the 2012 reprocessing.

Elizabeth Cowling Musical Score and Personal Papers Collection
Stacey Krim and Tricia Seeley
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US