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Mahoney Music Collection

The Collection

The Archives and Special Collections at the University of South Dakota received the Mahoney Music collection from John P. and Barbara Mahoney in June 2006. The Mahoney Music Collection contains more than 4,800 books, magazines, pamphlets, and ephemera on all facets of stringed instruments, as well as music histories, encyclopedias and lexicons.  Dr. Mahoney originally developed the collection to provide support for a small business selling used violins and accessories.  He continues to donate to the collection which has become one of the most comprehensive collections of books about violins and the violin family.

In 1984, Dr. Mahoney found it difficult to find basic information on violin makers and that need launched a quest for music books in used book stores across the country. With the advent of the Internet and electronic inventories, it became easier to locate rare and unappreciated texts from around the world. In a little more than two decades, the Mahoney Music Collection became a world class collection with the capability to support research on instrument lineage, historical performance and exhibitions. 

Dr. Mahoney bought, sold, and traded books on stringed instruments for several years, but in the fall of 2005, he began the search for a permanent home for his collection. By October, Mr. Mahoney notified curators at the National Music Museum (NMM) of his desire to donate the collection in its entirety to the University of South Dakota. The I.D. Weeks Library (now called the University Libraries), in collaboration with the NMM and the USD Department of Music, made arrangements to accommodate this impressive collection. Along with the Witten-Rawlins Collection of fine stringed instruments at NMM and USD's advanced degree in the history of musical instruments, the collection represents a major addition to the teaching and research resources located at the University of South Dakota. All of those involved in this project believe that a collection of this magnitude will certainly become an attraction for both U.S. and international music scholars.


Antonio Campo: Cremona Fedelissima Citta, 1645

Using the Collection

This is a closed collection. Researchers are invited to view items in the Archives and Special Collections reading room, but books are not available for loan. 

Please contact the Archives and Special Collections before your visit.  Some items may be out for cataloging or digitization and will need to be retrieved.

Antonio Campo: Cremona Fidelissima Citta, 1645

Check out our blog!

Staff and students from time to time post about items and events on the Archives and Special Collections blog.  Check us out today!

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