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William Strasser papers (MSS 35)

Identifier: MSS 35

Scope and Contents

The collection contains correspondence, artwork, and other materials documenting Strasser's work in various fields including composition, conducting, engraving, orchestration, copying, and editing.


  • 1897-1944


Language of Materials

The letters are written in German or English, apart from one letter in Italian by Gemma Benotti.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

The Austro-Hungarian composer, conductor, and artist William Strasser (1875-1944) studied violin and piano at the conservatories of Vienna and Prague. He was the accompanist of Fritz Kreisler on his first concert tour and conducted operas in Spain, Italy, and Eastern Europe. Over time, however, Strasser found he was going deaf, an eventuality which prompted him to refocus his career away from music performance. He took work as an assistant to composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in Petrograd, Russia while simultaneously editing for a Petrograd publishing house and taking etching and painting classes from Russian artist Mikhail Rundaltzoff (1871-1935).

In June 1914 Strasser and his wife moved to New York, where he worked as an editor and orchestrator for music publishers, composers, and musicians including Leopold Stokowski, Richard Strauss, and Josef Hofmann. In 1928 Hofmann, director of the Curtis Institute of Music (1927-1938), appointed Strasser as a consultant to the library, where he worked as a translator, arranger, orchestrator, and editor until 1942.


1.83 Linear feet ((2) archival boxes and (2) oversized folders)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Strasser bequeathed his compositions, art work, and papers to Ella Saile-Mautzer, his former assistant at the library of the Curtis Institute of Music. She donated his music and art work to the library in 1977, while passing on his correspondence to her nephew Alfred Korn. Mr. Korn donated the correspondence to the Curtis Archives in 2010.

Related Materials

Correspondence between Strasser and Mary Louise Curtis Bok is found in the Founder's Papers (AD 1). Additional correspondence with and concerning Strasser may be found in the archives of the Curtis Library (AD 3.7), which also include a log book of the work he did with Ella Saile. Strasser's compositions are kept in the library's Special Collections and can be accessed through the library catalogue (ROC).

William Strasser papers (MSS 35)
Barbara Benedett
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