The Max Smith Collection includes rare European and American music books and scores in both published and manuscript forms, as well as other items related to classical music purchased through the Max Smith Endowment Fund. The collection ranges in date from the 15th century through the 20th century. Appalachian folk music is not included in this collection. See associated titles.
The Max Smith Collection includes the following sub-collections:
Matanya Ophee (1932–2017) amassed one of the world's largest collections of 19th- and 20th-century classical guitar music, including over 2,000 scores from the 1780s into the 1940s. Highlights from the Collection include over five hundred first and early editions of major guitar composers, as well as sub-collections of South American and Russian guitar music."
German conductor Hans Schwieger was the first music director for the Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he held from 1948-1971. His papers contain photographs, scrapbooks, recordings, annotated scores, correspondence, concert programs, and awards relating primarily to his career as a conductor.
George J. Trinkaus (1878–1960) was an American composer, violinist, and a cousin of composer John Philip Sousa. In 1914, Trinkaus and his good friend Victor Herbert founded the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). The collection consists predominately of music scores written or arranged by Trinkaus. In addition to his works, it also contains several scores written by other composers, such as Victor Herbert and Sousa.
This collection includes correspondence, photographs, and programs. Subjects represented include American composer and pianist Amy (Mrs. H. H. A.) Beach (1867–1944); American composer John Cage (1912–1992); Venezuelan pianist Teresa Carreno (1853–1917); American composer Alan Hovhaness (1911–2000); Soviet-Armenian composer Aram Khatchaturian (1903–1978); “The Swedish Nightingale” Jenny Lind (1820–1887); singer Ethel Merman (1908–1984); Mexican composer Manuel Ponce (1882–1948); and Italian tragedienne Adelaide Ristori (1822–1906).