International Clarinet Association Research Center

Special Collections in Performing Arts (SCPA) at the University of Maryland is the home of the International Clarinet Association (ICA) Research Center, a hub for students and researchers to delve into the rich history of clarinet performance and composition. The ICA Research Center at SCPA includes hundreds of linear feet of scores, recordings, and archival collections. SCPA is proud to announce a major new expansion of the ICA Research center with the addition of the Sidney Forrest collection of clarinet scores, which are now open for use.

The Student Clarinetist book.

Professor Sidney Forrest (1918-2013) was a renowned performer and educator. He was the principal clarinet of the National Symphony Orchestra, as well as a faculty member at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins, Catholic University, Levine School of Music, and Interlochen Arts Camp. His career started as the clarinet soloist with the United States Marine Band throughout World War II. Professor Forrest’s influence lives on through his former students, many of whom took positions with orchestras in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Boston, Baltimore, London, Paris, and elsewhere.

The Sidney Forrest collection of clarinet scores at SCPA is now easily accessible for patrons of SCPA and UMD Libraries. Students, faculty, and staff from the University System of Maryland (USM) are permitted to borrow scores for up to two months, as are active members of the ICA. For anyone outside of the ICA and USM interested in accessing the materials, they can still view the materials in SCPA’s reading room inside the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library or request digital access to the items. Every score in the collection can be found by using SCPA’s online database of scores in our collections. Patrons can search by title, composer, instrumentation, or publisher and request access to the item once they have created a researcher account with SCPA. As Peter A. Jablow, president of the Levine School of Music told The Baltimore Sun in 2013, Professor Forrest “had a remarkable impact on music in the Baltimore-Washington region for the last seven decades. It was a remarkable career and he loved it. He believed that playing music kept you young.” Jablow summed up Professor Forrest’s life-long dedication saying “he loved music and teaching young people.” The Sidney Forrest collection of clarinet scores at SCPA helps preserve the profound legacy of Professor Forrest, allowing his influence to persist through the users of his score collection.

Items from the International Clarinet Association Research Center at Special Collections in Performing Arts.

Collection Highlight: The Adrienne Mandel papers

From the poet Emma Lazarus having her words inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty (you may remember the line “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”) to Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s accomplishments in the Supreme Court, Jewish women have been leaving their mark on America. This Jewish-American Heritage Month, we are highlighting one such woman in our collections: Adrienne A. Mandel, member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1995-2006. 

Campaign Flier for Adrienne Mandel. Features a Black and White Image of Mandel. Text Reads: "Re-Elect Adrienne Mandel Delegate- State Legislative District 19. With Local Loyalty and State Experience Adrienne MANDEL Speaks for YOU."

Adrienne A. Mandel was a Democrat who represented the 19th District, Montgomery County, in the Maryland House of Delegates. Her papers consist of committee files, correspondence, minutes, working papers, reports, photographs, speeches, and press releases pertaining to her service in the Maryland House of Delegates and bills that she supported, primarily relating to health care. The collection also includes topics directly relevant to Montgomery County,  the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, and the Intercounty Connector (ICC). 

The papers also consist of a number of items directly related to Jewish issues. The papers reveal that Mandel would give out the traditional triangle-shaped cookies called hamantaschen to fellow Delegates during the holiday of Purim while educating her fellows about this holiday of victory in the face of evil. She also was a strong advocate for Holocaust survivors living in Maryland. On top of various Holocaust education efforts, she was one of the leading figures in passing H.B. 177, the Holocaust Victims Insurance Act, ensuring that Holocaust survivors would not be taxed on insurance claims received via the International Commission of Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC) (more info here). 

Adrienne Mandel was but one of many Jewish Americans who have made this country what it is today.

Below are a few further resources to explore at UMD’s Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA):

Philip Perlman papers

Jo-Ann Orlinsky papers

Jewish topics in the Women’s Studies pamphlet collection

Publications from the Jewish Museum of Maryland held in SCUA

Books in Hebrew and Yiddish held in SCUA

The ABCs of Katherine Anne Porter: Z is for…


Today, May 15, is Katherine Anne Porter’s 133rd Birthday, which makes her a Taurus!

Taureans are considered to be tenacious individuals who value honesty and enjoy the finer things in life. They are practical, reliable, affectionate, resentful, stubborn, and persistent. This stereotype rings true for Porter who was opinionated, dedicated to her craft, and didn’t abide hearsay. Her more indulgent side can be seen in her fine tastes in clothing and furnishings she collected, including 16th century benches, stools, and chapel chairs, as well as an 18th century Louis XV fruitwood sofa, which are on display in the Katherine Anne Porter Room in Hornbake Library. The room recreates the ambiance of Porter’s home in the Spring Valley neighborhood of the District of Columbia where Porter lived from 1964 to 1969

Included in Porter’s personal library are copies of The Astrological Cookbook, The Compleat Astrologer, and Taureau (a French edition on her star sign). However, there are no annotations in these books, apart from Porter’s comment that The Astrologer Cookbook is “the worst cookbook I ever saw.”

Porter spent many years researching Cotton Mather, a puritan clergyman involved in the Salem witch trials. During her research, she explored different tools of witchcraft, including astrology, which sparked an interest in her own sign. When she had her star chart mapped out, astrologists were concerned about a lack of water in her chart, leading them to encourage Porter to be more open and aware of her emotions and the emotions of others.

Porter was moved by the stars. After watching a comet one night she mused, “I felt less than a grain of sand, less than an atom, but still no less alive, no less important for that.”

You can explore digitized letters by Katherine Anne Porter’s online in the online exhibit Katherine Anne Porter: Correspondence from the Archives, 1912-1977.

Browse the finding aid to the Katherine Anne Porter papers to learn more about Porter’s hobbies and manuscripts!

Mattie Lewis is a student in the Masters of Library and Information Sciences program and Graduate Assistant with the Katherine Anne Porter Collection at UMD.

The ABCs of Katherine Anne Porter: Y is for…


Yaddo is an artist retreat in Saratoga Springs, New York that provided artists of all disciplines uninterrupted time and space to create. It first opened in 1926 and is still accepting artists-in-residence today. 

Katherine Anne Porter learned about Yaddo through friends and began inquiring about a spot at the retreat in 1936. Timing and space finally aligned and Yaddo became Porter’s primary residence from June 1940 to May 1942. There were rules in place to meant to limit distractions to the artists, including radios only being allowed in the evening. At this time World War II was going on and the U.S. was preparing to join the fight. There were staff shortages and rationing, but the seclusion of the retreat created somewhat of a bubble from the outside world and gave residents an escape. 

Despite the support and break from financial strain, Porter didn’t find Yaddo as soothing or productive as she had hoped during her first visit. In a follow-up questionnaire she complained about required socializing, the odd dynamics between staff and visitors being asked to report on each other, and being dragged into others’ drama. However, she became close friends with executive director Elizabeth Ames and would end up joining the board and returning to Yaddo a few more times during her life to work. Porter strongly supported their mission to give artists a place where they could exist and create without pressure.

You can explore digitized letters by Katherine Anne Porter’s online in the online exhibit Katherine Anne Porter: Correspondence from the Archives, 1912-1977.

Digitized photographs of Katherine Anne Porter can be found in our Digital Collections repository.

Browse the finding aid to the Katherine Anne Porter papers and visit us in Hornbake Library to learn more!

Mattie Lewis is a student in the Masters of Library and Information Sciences program and Graduate Assistant with the Katherine Anne Porter Collection at UMD.

Special Collections Spotlight: The Bock Ark Papers

Bock Ark (白聖德) (1896-1974) immigrated from Toisan (Taishan), Guangdong Province, in 1911 and went on to become a restaurateur and active member of the Baltimore Chinese community. He advocated for the Chinese-American business community on the East Coast, lobbied for legal protections for Chinese refugees of the Sino-Japanese War and WWII, and worked to promote a democratic future for China through his work as a member of the American branch of the Republic of China’s Kuomintang government. The Bock Ark papers contain records of his activities in these areas, as well as his involvement in numerous organizations such as president of the Consolidated Chinese Association of Baltimore, a leader of the Chinese Benevolent Society, and secretary of the Chinese Merchant’s Association. The papers also hold records of his wife Sue Bock’s activities as president of the Chinese Women’s Association of Baltimore and her involvement in other Chinese organizations.

Long horizontal sheet of paper with Chinese characters hand written in vertical lines right to left.

A handwritten record of the major milestones of the Republic of China in its first 18 years.

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The ABCs of Katherine Anne Porter: X is for…


Katherine Anne Porter lived and worked all over the world. Porter lived ten years of her life outside of the United States. A total of three of those years were spent in Mexico. Between 1920 and 1931, she made four trips to Mexico establishing long residences in Mexico City between November 1920 and September 1921 and between May 1930 and August 1931. There, she became an editor of the English section of El Heraldo de Mexico and made friends with Diego Rivera and other revolutionaries. This proved to be a pivotal time for Porter as it inspired several of Porter’s stories including Flowering Judas.

In 1931, Porter received a Guggenheim fellowship which she used to travel to Europe. She went to Berlin, Paris, and Madrid before moving to Basil, Switzerland. Porter lives in four foreign countries and at least five U.S. states for extended periods during the 1930s. She lives in Mexico from April 1930- August 1931. She then travels to Berlin, Germany, where she lives for four months in 1931-1932. She resides predominantly in Paris, France, between 1932 and 1936 but also lives in Switzerland for six months in 1932. It is in Paris where Porter married her 4th husband Eugene Pressly, who worked for the U.S. foreign service. In early 1936, Porter makes an extended four-month visit to the U.S. after which she and Pressly repatriate in October 1936.

Porter would continue to travel for work, visiting Brussels, Moscow, Rome, London, Nice, and more. Occasionally she would travel to make audio recordings of her stories, but most of her trips happened as part of a culture exchange tours facilitated by the U.S. Department of State. In 1952, she was based in Brittany and Paris before, during, and after her participation in the International Congress for Cultural Freedom in Paris in May 1952. She was also Fulbright recipient in Liege, Belgium. She spent five months of 1963 in Paris during her European sojourn after the April 1962 publication of Ship of Fools.

You can explore digitized letters by Katherine Anne Porter’s online in the online exhibit Katherine Anne Porter: Correspondence from the Archives, 1912-1977.

Browse the finding aid to the Katherine Anne Porter papers to learn more about Porter’s hobbies and manuscripts!

Mattie Lewis is a student in the Masters of Library and Information Sciences program and Graduate Assistant with the Katherine Anne Porter Collection at UMD.

A Life in the Labor Movement

Nestled in the archives of the AFL-CIO sit the Alan Kistler papers, a collection of documents and memorabilia chronicling the activities of the federation’s second Director of Organization and Field Services. Whereas the majority of the AFL-CIO’s archive is closed to the public, the Alan Kistler papers are open, offering researchers a personal window into the USA’s largest labor coalition.

Cesar Chavez and United Farm Workers, Pro-Union Flyers and Pamphlets, 1951-1982, Rosalynn Carter Certificate, 1978 (0086-LBR-RG95-009, Box 18, Folders 1, 14, and 22).
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Cartoons, Pamphlets, and Posters, Oh My! Highlighting the Bernard Seaman Cartoon Collection

Bernard Seaman was a cartoonist whose illustrations appeared in many union publications. Born in Stamford, Connecticut, he attended the City College of New York, the Art Students League of New York, and the University of Alabama. He served as the Art Editor for the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, the Seafarers’ International Union, and the International Union of Electrical Workers, and later became the Editorial Cartoonist for AFL-CIO News. His works were published in the New York Times, Business Week, ILGWU Justice, The Call, Labor and Management News, The Labor Leader, Labor’s Daily, and American Maritime Officer, among many others, and were reprinted widely across the United States and Europe.

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Lynn Sams and “The Last Taxable Instrument”

As many Americans scrambled to file their taxes on time, we at Special Collections in Performing Arts (SCPA) would like to highlight the efforts of music industry luminary Lynn L. Sams in advocating for tax repeal on the purchase of musical instruments! 

Born on April 4, 1896, Sams’ career in music began as a traveling salesman for the Conn Corporation, one of the largest and most historically significant instrument manufacturers in the United States. Sams’ early days in instrument sales may have inspired the character of Harold Hill in Meredith Willson’s beloved musical The Music Man. Throughout his career, which included some time as vice president of the Buescher Instrument Company, Sams collected and conducted research on school bands as well as the American Bandmasters Association, an organization of band directors, composers, and members of allied professions of which he was a founding member. Sams’s personal papers are part of the American Bandmasters Association Research Center at SCPA, and the presence there of a most unusual item, “The Last Taxable Musical Instrument Award,” pictured below, inspired further research into his advocacy efforts just in time for this year’s Tax Day.

The Last Txable Musical Instrument Award - a plaque with a cornet attached.
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The ABCs of Katherine Anne Porter: W is for…

White House!

Having witnessed many struggles for political power and extremism in different forms around the world, Katherine Anne Porter felt strongly that democracy was a privilege not to be taken for granted. As such, she felt every citizen had a responsibility to get involved in politics by writing to government officials, campaigning, and voting in every election.

In the mid 1950’s, Porter’s opinions on U.S. politics can be found in her correspondence and writings. Referring to the political parties in America, she writes: “Republicans appeal to the basest thing in human nature- fear and hatred of unfamiliar ideas, its resentment of the existence of any breeding or intellect superior to their own.” Porter much preferred the openness of the Democratic party, which she wrote: “has always been by definition low-brow, and God knows we are a wonderful grab-bag of samples from every walk of life, every degree of intelligence, every sort of origin; its a party meant for everybody who wants to go along, nobody inquires about his brains or his worldly accomplishments; if he has got sense enough to register, he is free to vote. This is democracy, in one of its manifestations, whether you like it or not. I happen to like it thoroughly.”

In a letter to John F. Kennedy, Porter wrote, “I found a long time ago that one need not always know who a man’s friends are, but a good look at his enemies helps much in forming a notion of his character and motives.” This idea drove Porter’s involvement in the Democratic Party. Thanks to her proximity to Washington, D.C., Porter was often invited to events at the White House. She attended Kennedy’s inauguration, served on an art commission for LBJ, and more. After Porter’s passing, First-Lady Laura Bush helped with the dedication of Porter’s Texas home into a museum.

You can explore digitized letters by Katherine Anne Porter’s online in the online exhibit Katherine Anne Porter: Correspondence from the Archives, 1912-1977.

Browse the finding aid to the Katherine Anne Porter papers and visit us in person to learn more about Porter!

Mattie Lewis is a student in the Masters of Library and Information Sciences program and Graduate Assistant with the Katherine Anne Porter Collection at UMD.