Without a doubt, "pioneering" research poses unique challenges--among which are the sheer amount of work and organization required behind the scenes and the responsibilities one is faced with regarding that work. The first of these responsibilities is the one the "pioneer" has to those who may wish to continue his or her research--the fulfillment of which extends far beyond the finished product, into the background work itself. If this responsibility is adequately addressed, the end result will not be a work unto itself, but a guide to this greater project as a whole. In the case of the present enterprise, the first full-length monograph on the life and works of William Thomas McKinley, the background work entailed organizing and in some way preserving over thirty years of the composer's writings and related materials. That accomplished, I hope that this volume, in accordance with the "first responsibility," will serve as a guide to a newly defined area of research which now awaits exploration.
When I first began work on this project in the late summer of 1992, I found McKinley's works and memorabilia in complete disarray--the scores stacked in a closet in tattered envelopes, and sketches, newspaper clippings, and concert programs tossed into unmarked boxes. Thus, before anything so grandiose as a book tabulating all of this material could even be considered, a significant amount of organization was required--a process which in itself took several months. Once that task was completed, however, I attempted to fulfill the "first responsibility" by making the materials publicly available in one form or another. In the case of the music itself, this involved making arrangements for the scores and sketches to be stored someplace where they would be both protected and accessible. By the time this book goes to press, the final stages of such an arrangement with the Boston Public Library will have been completed and the bulk of McKinley's works transferred there. However, since personal memorabilia, such as McKinley's copies of concert programs, commission letters, and the like, were not to be included in the Boston Public Library arrangement, some other solution had to be found to make that material available. I decided, therefore, to include within this volume all of the pertinent data contained in such items: complete performance listings, commission information, award citations, and, most importantly, program notes.
It is no doubt clear that this "first responsibility" of pioneering research is oriented toward future scholarship. The pioneer must not, however, overlook the needs of . . .