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Carlos Salzedo collection (MSS 26)

Identifier: MSS 26

Scope and Contents

The Salzedo collection includes a personal scrapbook, composition books, and printed materials documenting his achievements as a child prodigy in France, his education at the Bordeaux and Paris Conservatories, and his performance career after moving to the United States. In addition, there are scrapbooks kept by Salzedo while serving as President of the Annual National Harp Festival (1922-31), records of the Harp Department at the Curtis Institute of Music (1924-61), snapshots of personal, social, and travel scenes as well as harpists at Seal Harbor and the Salzedo Harp Colony in Camden, Maine (1923-37) , artifacts, and miscellaneous materials.


  • 1886-1961


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research. Copyright to the materials remains with the Salzedo estate.

Biographical / Historical

Carlos Leon Salzedo, neé Charles Moise Léon Salzedo (1885-1961) was a French-born American harpist and composer who headed the harp department at the Curtis Institute of Music from the school's founding in 1924 until his death in 1961. A graduate of the Paris Conservatoire (1898-1901), he moved to the United States in 1909 to become principal harpist af the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra (1909-1913). In 1913 he founded the flute/harp/cello trio "Trio de Lutèce" with Georges Barrère and Paul Kéfer (later the Barrère-Salzedo-Britt trio). Considered the greatest harpist of all time, he performed in solo recitals, with orchestras, and on tour with the Salzedo Harp Ensemble, (later his Salzedo Concert Ensemble). He was president of the National Association of Harpists (1921-35), co-founded the International Composers Guild in 1921, and edited the Eolian Review (later Eolus) from 1921 to 1932. In 1931 he established the Salzedo Harp Colony at Camden Maine with his second wife Lucile Lawrence (member of the Curtis harp faculty 1927-33), where many of Salzedo's compositions premiered.

Salzedo's harp instruction and performance have become known as the "Salzedo Method." His students have filled many American orchestras and held teaching positions at conservatories and universities. At Curtis they included Casper Reardon (’27), Edna Phillips (’31), Reinhardt Elster (’37), Florence Wightman (’35), Marilyn Costello (’49), Alice Chalifoux (’34), and his third wife, Marjorie Call (’37) whom he married in 1938.


17.1 Linear feet ((11) archival boxes, (5) storage file boxes, (7) oversize photo boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection has been arranged into the following series: Series 1: Personal scrapbook, 1886-1906 Series 2: Composition books, 1907-1908 Series 3: Concert books, 1925-1933 Series 4: Programs and clippings, 1913-1948 Series 5: Annual National Harp Festival scrapbooks, 1923-1931 Series 6: Curtis Harp Department, 1925-1961 Series 7: Photographs, 1923-1947 Series 8: Printed materials, 1900-1932 Series 9: Miscellaneous materials, 1931 and undated Series 10: Artifacts, 1897-1900 and undated

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection is part of the materials bequeathed by Salzedo to the Curtis Institute of Music. His manuscripts of compositions and transcripts, which were originally part of this collection, are kept in the Special Collections of the Curtis Institute of Music.

Related materials at the Curtis Institute of Music and other repositories

Original manuscripts of Salzedo's compositions and transcripts are kept among the Special Collections of the Curtis Institute of Music, and are in the process of being entered into the library catalog. For a list of these materials in alphabetical original order consult the original finding aid to the collection (Inv. 1-118, to be downloaded from the online finding aid). Photostat copies can be searched in the library catalog (ROC).

The location of Salzedo's personal correspondence, which is not present in the Salzedo collection, is unknown. Letters from Salzedo to Mary Green, 1945-50 can be found in the Mary Green Beckman Collection (MSS 56) in the Curtis Archives.

Related materials pertaining to Carlos Salzedo and the Salzedo Harp Colony at Camden, Maine can be found at the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University, which holds the Dewey Owens collection on Carlos Salzedo, the Alice Chalifoux papers, and the Salzedo Harp Colony records.

Additional materials relating to Carlos Salzedo, including clippings and sheet music, can be found in the Ball State University Libraries, which hold the Lucille Lawrence Papers, 1921-69 (SPEC.033).

A collection of published works by Salzedo and compositions and arrangements by others, annotated by Salzedo, is held at the New School Archives and Special Collections and Kellen Design Archives.

Carlos Salzedo collection (MSS 26)
Kristina Wilson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
revised 2017

Repository Details

Part of the Archives Repository

1720 Locust St
Philadelphia PA 19103 United States