Paramount Theatre Music Library, Oakland, California--Jean Cunningham, Librarian

The Paramount Library of Popular Music (Jean Cunningham, Librarian; 510-893-2300), one of the largest libraries of popular and light-classical music in the country, consists of ten distinct collections, with a total of approximately 100,000 entries dating from the 1850s to 1980. The major source of early music is the Walter J. Rudolph Library collected by Rudolph during his fifty years as a vaudeville orchestra leader in San Francisco. Since this was a performer's collection, Rudolph discarded many of the sheet music covers so that working copies begin with the music, and trimmed all 35,000 items to a uniform 30 x 24cm. Other collections include tens of thousands of orchestrations, but the earliest is dated 1901, outside the scope of the project.

Thanks to a summer 1998 grant from HUD's Joint Community Development program, administered through the Institute of Urban and Regional Development at the University of California at Berkeley, the California Sheet Music Project was able to hire two students from McClymonds High School, Oakland, to locate 19th-century California sheet music at the Paramount Theatre Music Library and scan the new titles to mount on the project web site. Julia Williams (see left) is pictured at the scanner with a unique copy she found of The Belle of Honolulu (San Francisco: Sherman, Clay & Co., 1898). Ms. Williams is a junior at McClymonds who has studied voice for a number of years, including the Young Musicians' Program at UC Berkeley (1996).

Jevary Demry is a junior at McClymonds where he is enrolled in the Law and Government Academy, studying an introduction to law, and is a member of the Youth Court which provides a jury of peers to youth who have committed minor offenses. He has studied clarinet and saxophone, attending YMP at UC Berkeley in 1996. He is pictured with By-Lo Baby By-Lo by Lee Johnson (San Francisco: Lee Johnson & Co., 1900). The students used the online and printed catalogues at the Paramount Theatre Music Library to retrieve from some 300,000 pieces of sheet music and printed parts (band and orchestra) over a hundred new titles for the project. While the library is in the basement under the magnificently restored theater of the 1930s, the music itself is up in the rafters of the theater. The students had to search folder after folder to locate individual items. They then came to the university campus to enter the items in the project database and scan the full text for retrieval on the web.