In 2012 Howard W. Wildin donated his entire collection of American Popular Sheet Music to Gonzaga University. This collection of about 20,000 pieces dating from 1835 to 1980, documents the unique attitudes, tastes, and biases of bygone eras. In addition to being historical artifacts, many titles have beautiful covers which are considered works of art.
Currently, the sheet music collection is being scanned and made available online for digital viewing. Since federal copyright laws allow only for pieces published before 1923 to be viewed online, those wishing to see post-1923 items in the collection must come to the Foley Center to view those items. To view the entire sheet music collection, click here.
This exhibit of about 50 items reflects the physical exhibit housed in the Rare Book Library, 3rd Floor, Foley Center, that will be on display from September 3 to December 31, 2013. The exhibit showcases the variety of topics covered in the entire sheet music collection. Each case covers a different subject: “Sheet Music Publishing,” “America at War,” “Notable American Popular Sheet Music,” “Ragtime,” “Humor,” and “Sheet Music Illustrators.”