Academic journal article Notes

John A. Emerson

Academic journal article Notes

John A. Emerson

Article excerpt

John A. Emerson, longtime music librarian at the University of California, Berkeley, and distinguished scholar, died on 21 July 1999 in Benicia, California, at the age of 73. Born in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, on 17 May 1926, he received a B.M. degree from Northwestern University in 1950, then studied composition with Darius Milhaud at Mills College and Roger Sessions at Berkeley. Eventually, however, he turned to musicology, completing an M.A. at Berkeley in 1960, and to music librarianship. He joined the staff of the Berkeley Music Library in 1962, the same year he got his M.L.S. from Berkeley, and there he remained for the next quarter-century, serving for most of the time as assistant head.

Every aspect of John's career was informed by a passionate devotion to the ideals of public service and scholarship. As a reference librarian he was tireless in pursuit of his prey, sometimes even outstripping the curiosity of the questioner in his zeal to find every morsel of information that might possibly be relevant to the query. He was no less assiduous in his efforts to provide bibliographic access to the Music Library's growing special collections. His greatest accomplishment in this regard was his Catalogue of Pre-1900 Vocal Manuscripts in the Music Library, University of California at Berkeley, published by the University of California Press in 1988. It took him twenty-two years to create, and until the final stages he did the work entirely on his own time, coming into the library early in the morning or staying late at night, since he could not take the manuscripts home. …

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