Finding archival materials can be different than finding books, scores, and journals in the library. In some cases, like at the Conservatory and Berklee, some archival materials can be found through searching the catalog. But in many cases, archives keep a record of what materials are in a collection through the creation of a Finding Aid. It's important to know that Finding Aids may be written with varying levels of specificity, some detailing the contents of the collection and others merely mentioning names and topics associated with the materials.
Accessing archival materials generally requires researchers to visit the archives physically and place formal requests to have the materials retrieved, sometimes in advance of a visit. While digitizing archival materials has grown over the years, not every document is digitized and physical archival collections are generally far larger than what can be found online.
If you do decide to utilize archival materials in your research, plan ahead. Gather as much information as possible from online, contact a reference archivist for more information, and, if possible, plan a visit. Below are some hints for finding archival materials online, a guide on how to locate College and Conservatory materials at Berklee, and a list of some featured collections related to musical theater in the US.
To find recordings of past MFA performances, or other Conservatory performances, search the Albert Alphin Library catalog. From the Advanced Search page, navigate below the search bar and click the box for TBC Performances in the "Limit by Collection" section. This will allow you to narrow your search to just recordings of performances on campus. You can search for a specific performer (ex. Meagan Michelson) or for the title of the show, (ex, "Catch the Cabaret"), or a director (ex. Fran Charnas)
These recordings come in a variety of formats, from CD and DVD to streaming video. The library can provide CD/DVD players or you can use one of the viewing stations in the library. Note that physical copies of recordings cannot be removed from the library.
If you need further assistance finding a recording, ask the Conservatory library staff or use the Ask Us link on the Berklee library homepage
The Berklee Archives serves as the primary repository for materials documenting the history, activities, and contributions of the Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee: its academic and administrative departments, faculty, students, and alumni. Collections and descriptions of their contents can be found in the Collection Guides section of their website.
To schedule an appointment or request further information on a particular collection, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-747-8001.
Notable archival collections for Musical Theater materials. Note: not all collections have been digitized.