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Anna Harriet Heyer, an isolated pioneer.

Anna Harriet Heyer (1909-2002) first achieved profession-wide recognition in 1957 with the publication of her groundbreaking bibliography, Historical Sets, Collected Editions, and Monuments of Music: A Guide to their Contents (Chicago: American Library Association). Previously, she had been recognized by a small cadre of colleagues located largely in New York: Richard Angell, who taught the first music library course at Columbia University; Catharine Keyes Miller, who succeeded him; and Otto Kinkeldey, then librarian at Cornell University. Doubtless she was not the only person influenced by Kinkeldey's 1937 article in the ALA Bulletin, (1) which offered the first guidelines for appropriate education for music librarianship; beyond his influence on her education, he redesigned her Historical Sets to reflect post-World War II needs and aided in its compilation. Except for those distant colleagues, she worked in isolation, the only music librarian in Texas, indeed that part of the country.

Anna Harriet Heyer was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, 30 August 1909. Her mother, Harriet Gates Heyer, born in Dallas, Texas, and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, was a graduate of the University of Cincinnati--a Latin and Greek major--and the library school at Western Reserve University. Her father, Arthur W. Heyer, born and raised in Cincinnati, also a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, was a civil engineer. During Heyer's childhood the family moved around the Midwest, finally settling in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1924. After graduating from high school, Heyer entered a local university, Texas Christian University (TCU). There, influenced by an excellent high school math teacher, she was a math major with a piano minor. (2) Upon graduation in 1930, her excellence in the math program brought a TCU scholarship for additional study. Using the provisions of the scholarship, she took additional courses during the academic year 1930-31. In the fall of 1931 she became an elementary school teacher in the Fort Worth schools. She and an art teacher exchanged schools daily so that students had music one day, art the next. Heyer disliked the impermanence of her situation and described the experience as "a difficult year." (3)

Doubtless influenced by her librarian mother, fall 1932 found her in the library science program at the University of Illinois. (4) After graduation in June of 1933, she returned to Fort Worth where she chose to rest awhile; "I really didn't want to work...." (5) But by January 1934, she was ready to begin, as a temporary librarian, building up a library in a Fort Worth school. The next four years she was a high school librarian in the school system. During those years she nurtured her musical interests by studying organ and participating in a musical club. But Otto Kinkeldey's 1937 article in the ALA Bulletin changed her focus.

Kinkeldey's article--actually the publication of his talk before the first joint ALA/MLA meeting, New York City, 1937--detailed his concept of the appropriate education for music librarianship, a specialization which had not occurred to Heyer: "I didn't know about it...." Kinkeldey's description of music librarianship "appealed to me because I thought ... it would give me a chance to be within an interest that I like and still do library work." (6) Inspired by Kinkeldey's words, Heyer traveled to Columbia University the summer of 1938 to take Angell's course, "Music Library Administration," the first time it was offered. She stayed on at Columbia for the academic year 1938-39, earning an M.S. in library science, June 1939. (7)

Back in Texas the fall of 1939, she accepted an "offer" from the University of Texas in Austin to catalog music materials. Actually, she worked in the library's catalog department because there was not enough music bought to keep her busy, so she cataloged other materials as well. Meanwhile, administrators at North Texas State College in Denton had written to Columbia in search of a person qualified to create a music library for them. Columbia suggested Heyer, who had recently been there and was then not too far from Denton.
 During the Spring 1940, North Texas State Teachers College, as it was
 called then, contacted me about a full-time music library position
 there. Columbia University had answered a request from that school for
 someone who could handle the music library which North Texas was
 planning to organize. My name was submitted, since I had taken the
 courses at Columbia and was in Texas. I began my work there in
 September 1940. (8)

 I think the idea of a music library was strictly Dr. [Wilfred C.]
 Bain's idea. (9) He wanted to build that school up and ... they needed
 the background and support a good collection could give them. He was
 supported by the President and administration. (10)

When Heyer arrived in Denton, music books were in the general library and there were a few stacks of music. Dr. Bain bought a lot of music materials from his departmental budget, particularly recordings. Heyer felt her responsibility was "to balance" the collection so that "all the money wasn't spent in one direction." Heyer selected the books, music, and recordings to be ordered by the acquisitions department; she cataloged everything. (11) The books and music were shelved and serviced in the discrete Music Library within the general library. The recordings and their catalog cards were transferred to the music building where student assistants carried desired recordings to classrooms.

Spring semester 1942, Heyer took a semester leave to pursue a master's in musicology at the University of Michigan. She stayed on for the summer sessions and returned the summer of 1943 to complete the degree. An appendix to her thesis, "State and Resources of Musicology in the United States"--an update of Oliver Strunk's State and Resources of Musicology in the United States, published in 1932 by the American Council of Learned Societies as no. 19 of its Bulletin--was "A Check-list of Publications of Music." It functioned as a limited union catalog enabling readers to locate needed sources in another library. "During the war years, if you needed to see a particular source, you had to write around and locate the item in a library closest to you. That gave me the idea of making a checklist of what libraries had which sets...." (12) The appendix was published by the University of Michigan in 1944.

The summer of 1950 Heyer returned to Columbia considering their Ph.D. program; she also collaborated with Catharine Keyes Miller, then Columbia's music librarian, on a handbook for music librarians. The two corresponded later about preparing such a handbook, but the distance between proved too great to foster the collaboration. (13) Back in Denton, Heyer abandoned the Ph.D. idea and decided to expand her University of Michigan checklist instead. Here,
 for the second time. Dr. Otto Kinkeldey had an important influence on
 my professional career. He spent that year [1951-52] at North Texas
 State University as a visiting, distinguished professor. At this time,
 I had been considering updating the Check-list ... which the
 University of Michigan had published. Dr. Kinkeldey advised me to make
 it a contents listing rather than a location of material, and he
 suggested the direction to take in compiling the work, which developed
 into the first edition of Historical Sets.... Throughout the year, he
 came to the library often and offered to help me in finding titles and
 contents that should be included. (14)

Though Heyer had thought updating the 1944 checklist would be enough, Kinkeldey advised that there were now sufficient reprints so that location was no longer the issue; content was. The thing to do was to make a contents listing to help libraries know what was in the various multivolume sets.
 Throughout the year, he came to the library often and offered to help
 me in finding titles and contents that should be included. After he
 left in June 1952, the work was finally completed in 1957 and
 published that year by the American Library Association.

 Instead of my taking a year off and going off to have some work with
 him ... he [came] to us! We had room in the stacks.... He wanted to
 have his class, his class in music bibliography, in the library
 building where the material was.... I sat in on his class all year....
 It was really a remarkable experience because his feeling about music
 research was not just working with music books, it was working with
 everything available that would lead you in the direction in which you
 were working. (15)

When the first edition of Historical Sets was published by the American Library Association, it was a photocopy of Heyer's typescript. Originally she thought North Texas would publish it--as had the University of Michigan her Check-list. But a colleague suggested she send it to ALA for their consideration. To her surprise, they accepted it. The second and third editions, also published by ALA, were set in type, two columns per page. That format lacked room for a library's call numbers and additions as more volumes of the individual sets were published. (16) The final book edition of the data (17) was edited by George R. Hill and Norris L. Stephens.

In addition to her responsibilities to the Music Department, Heyer was an assistant professor in the School of Library Service. She taught a "one-semester elective course [which had] as prerequisites the general course in cataloging and a knowledge of music...." (18) From the course prospectus (19) for spring 1951, we can see its structure. The beginning segments, "Background reading" and "Reference work," were bibliographical. The largest segment, "Technical work," covered the classification of literature, music, and records and the cataloging of those materials and microforms. Binding and the shelving of records were additional topics. The class met twice weekly, written assignments due each session.

Heyer was affiliated with the library school throughout her tenure at North Texas; she first taught the music librarianship course in 1941. Typically it was offered alternate years, usually with about six students, "always select students." Heyer felt professional support and respect from having the library school on campus. "People [came to] recognize [music librarianship] as a special training ... because it [was] part of the whole school program." When she first arrived in Denton, she had noticed reservations in people's perception of music librarianship. Although supported by the president and Dr. Bain, others on campus would say, "'Now, isn't that a foolish thing they're doing!' You could tell they thought that starting [a music library] was kind of a foolish idea." (20)

In 1965, Heyer faced a life altering decision. Her mother had died, leaving Heyer with two houses: the Craftsman bungalow the family moved into in 1926, and the house she built in Denton. Her decision was
 strictly personal rather than professional.... My parents had lived
 here in Fort Worth in this house and I had a built home in Denton and
 so that was fine as long as they were living. My father died first and
 then my mother died in January 1965. So I came to a split in the way.
 I couldn't keep both places going by myself so it was a decision of
 whether to get rid of things here ... or coming home and giving up
 Denton.... For my personal future, I thought I was better off in Fort
 Worth, so that was the way I made my decision. (21)

All Heyer's working years accrued to the Texas state retirement system which permitted retirement at any age after thirty years' service. So, she retired from North Texas and "came home" to Fort Worth. Over the years, she had maintained contact with her alma mater, Texas Christian University, so that when she returned to Fort Worth they promptly made her "Consultant on Music Library Materials" and she began to build up a second library.

Heyer retired the second time at age seventy, deep in the publication process of the third edition of Historical Sets. In 1989 she moved to a retirement home with a living room large enough to hold her "grand piano easily." She died, 12 August 2002, shortly before her ninety-third birthday. She was a member of many professional organizations whose publications kept her current despite her geographic isolation. She also held memberships in honorary societies and social clubs in both Denton and Fort Worth, including a chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. A diminutive blond lady, she prized miniature objects. Her delicate Christmas cards, many of handmade needlework, included handwritten personal greetings--on library p-slips!

The data in her publications were, for the most part, gathered by questionnaire. Her geographic isolation and the design of her projects required current data. Her first thesis, "Policies of Cataloging and Classification in Self-contained Music Libraries" (Columbia University, 1939), although not officially published, is available from the university and is summarized in ALA Catalogers' & Classifiers' Yearbook 8 (1939): 126-28. Its data were collected by a fifteen-page questionnaire of twenty-four libraries, twelve in music schools, twelve in radio broadcasting stations. The disparity of the queried libraries precluded significant conclusions. Whatever the original premise of the study, Heyer's recommendation for both sets of libraries was membership in the Music Library Association "because of the opportunity it affords for an interchange of ideas concerning efficient music library methods, and for contact with other members of the music library field" (p. 127). Her second thesis, University of Michigan 1943, also a questionnaire project, is described above.

Perhaps in response to her own isolation and dependence on journals for up-to-date information, her 1951 Library Journal article identified library schools that offered specialized instruction in music librarianship. (22) The article briefly described programs at Columbia University, George Peabody College for Teachers at Nashville, the Universiy of Washington at Seattle, the University of Illinois, the University of Chicago, Florida State College at Tallahassee, Simmons College in Boston, and her own program at North Texas.

In her presentation at the 1967 MLA meeting in Rochester, Heyer spoke of "the importance of the individual and of his efforts in the advancement of bibliographical research...." For a contemporary data sample, she compiled a bibliography of music bibliographies published in the last twenty-five years. Analyzing the authorship of that 550-item sample, probably between fifteen and twenty of them can be considered in the category of extensive projects. A count of the number of agencies that have sponsored some type of music bibliography totals less than 25, excluding libraries and publishers.
 ... It is evident from these statistics that a small, even though
 major, portion of the total output of music bibliographies came from
 organized sources. The great bulk of the work was done through
 personal, individual effort. Although irregular in format and uneven,
 often limited, in scope, these compilations are nonetheless
 contributions to the field of music research. We as librarians and
 people engaged in the realm of reference work in music would be less
 equipped for our task without them.

She concluded,
 ... There is a personal drive and enthusiasm, a feeling of creative
 activity, which the serious bibliographer brings to his own work and
 which sparks his interest, leads him to strive toward high goals, and
 makes pleasant a task that might otherwise become a tedious chore.
 This personal industry and dedication, which prevailed in the great
 works of the past, will surely continue to be a prominent factor,
 and ... produce many important contributions to music bibliography in
 the future. (23)

This was exactly her accomplishment with her three editions of Historical Sets.

Heyer attended two national MLA meetings and spoke at each. She also attended the organizational meeting of the Texas chapter of the MLA held in Dallas, November 1974. From her isolated days as the only music librarian in Texas, indeed that part of the country, she developed two music libraries, created a bibliographic tool indispensable to all music librarians, and conducted a pioneer course in music librarianship. (24)


There are entries for Heyer in Who's Who in Library Service, 3d and 4th editions, and a memorial tribute by Morris Martin in Notes 59, no. 3 (March 2003): 612-13.

"Policies of Cataloging and Classification in Self-contained Music Libraries." Master's thesis, Columbia University, 1939. Abstract in ALA Catalogers' & Classifiers' Yearbook 8 (1939): 126-28.

A Check-list of Publications in Music. Ann Arbor: School of Music, University of Michigan, 1944.

"Music Activities at North Texas State College." Notes 4, no. 2 (March 1947): 234-40.

"Where to Train in Music Librarianship." Library Journal 76 (1951): 1786-88.

A Bibliography of Contemporary Music in the Music Library (North Texas State College, March 1955). Denton, 1955.

Historical Sets, Collected Editions and Monuments of Music: A Guide to their Contents. Chicago: American Library Association, 1957; 2d ed., 1969; 3d ed., 1980.

Bibliography of Music Bibliographies. Fort Worth, TX, 1967.

Carol June Bradley is emerita librarian, Music Library, State University of New York, University at Buffalo.

1. "Training for Music Librarianship: Aims and Opportunities," ALA Bulletin 31 (1937): 459-63; reprint in Reader in Music Librarianship, ed. by Carol June Bradley, Reader Series in Library and Information Science, 299-302 (Washington, DC: Microcard Editions Books, 1973).

2. Heyer earned a B.A. in math and a B.Mus. in piano.

3. Anna Harriet Heyer, interview by author, Fort Worth, Texas, 23 March 1980, tape recording, Music Library, State University of New York at Buffalo; hereafter, Bradley interview.

4. Throughout our interview, Heyer emphasized her keen interest in and desire to be a librarian. At one point she proudly described herself as a "second generation librarian."

5. Bradley interview.

6. Ibid.

7. Heyer explained that the Columbia courses were "advanced." The M.S. would have taken more than a year had she not a B.S. background from the University of Illinois. She mentioned advanced cataloging, which meant working with manuscripts and rare books, and advanced reference. She also took two music courses taught by composer Douglas Moore: "Bach" and "Modern Music."

8. Heyer's typewritten notes for the Bradley interview.

9. Dr. Bain was head of the School of Music, North Texas State College.

10. Bradley interview.

11. "Codes setting real standards for music and phonorecords were not published until the 1950s. Thus, decisions in organizing the Music Library at North Texas had to be made with very limited help. The Dewey classification was adopted, mainly because the main library used this.... For the cataloging, the tentative rules of the Music Library Association were used, as far as they were available. To supplement those not yet in print, recommendations from the course in Music Librarianship at Columbia University were adopted. A trip was made to New York during the Christmas holidays of 1940 so that I could copy aids used in the Columbia Music Library. The subject headings used at Columbia were modified with those in the provisional list made by the Music Library Association in 1933. The report on phonograph records made by the Music Library Association in 1939 was used." Heyer's typewritten notes for the Bradley interview. Heyer's mother accompanied her on the train trip to New York City and helped copy the desired professional tools Heyer needed.

12. Bradley interview.

13. "We made an outline of the material we thought should be included. However, although we corresponded about this after I returned to Denton that fall, distance made it difficult for us to work together on it, and the project was never developed." Heyer's typewritten notes for the Bradley interview.

For a more detailed account of the need for a handbook such as that proposed by Heyer and Miller, see the author's "The Music Library Association: The Founding Generation and its Work," Notes 37, no. 4 (June 1981): 796-98.

14. Heyer's typewritten notes for the Bradley interview.

15. Quotations from Bradley interview. Throughout our interactions, she continually returned to Kinkeldey's influence on her education and his guidance in the design of her major publication.

16. At least one music library removed the typescript first edition from its binding and transferred it to three-ring binders where it was kept up-to-date with interleaved sheets complete with additional contents notes and call numbers.

17. Collected Editions, Historical Series & Sets & Monuments of Music: A Bibliography, Fallen Leaf Reference Books in Music, 14 (Berkeley, CA: Fallen Leaf Press, 1997).

18. Heyer, "Where to Train in Music Librarianship," Library Journal 76 (1951): 1786-88.

19. I am very grateful to Morris Martin, music librarian at the University of North Texas, for locating the prospectus in the Heyer archive and sending a copy to me. Heyer had read from it during our interview, but examining it in black and white enabled me to grasp its comprehensiveness.

20. Bradley interview. "This was the first full-time music library position in this part of the country, a new situation that created several problems. Although the college and those in authority gave strong support, there were those who looked on it rather critically, with the attitude that it was foolish to have someone on a full-time basis handling just music in a library. Also, since there was no other music librarian in this part of the country, the position was an isolated one, with no one close by to share similar problems and solutions. The strong backing of the school and of Dr. Wilfred Bain, head of the School of Music, made it possible to prove the worth of the position. In fact, it was Dr. Bain who had recommended that a separate music library be established. From North Texas, he went to Indiana University as head of that School of Music. Both schools have benefitted from his foresighted ideas and dynamic personality. As for me, North Texas gave me an opportunity that I could not have found anywhere else. I owe much to that school for any contributions and accomplishments I have been able to make as a music librarian." Heyer's typed notes for the Bradley interview.

21. Bradley interview.

22. That issue of Library Journal was the first "special music number since 1915" (p. 1772).

23. Typewritten text of her remarks.

24. As noted in this journal's "Notes for Notes" column in March 2007 (vol. 63, no. 3: 578-79), Heyer's legacy lives on through two bequests from her estate to the University of North Texas: an endowed scholarship for students interested in music librarianship as a career, and support for the purchase of items for the university's music library not otherwise available through regular
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Author:Bradley, Carol June
Article Type:Brief biography
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2007
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