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Guide to the Robert E. Middleton Papers, 1939-2008

Table of Contents

Collection Summary

Repository: Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries
Creator: Middleton, Robert, 1920-
Title: Robert E. Middleton Papers
Dates: 1939-1954
Quantity: .75 cubic feet (2 boxes)
Abstract: Correspondence, photographs and miscellaneous papers from Robert E. Middleton, VC Professor of Music 1953-1985.
Forms of Materials: Correspondence, musical score and photographs

Biographical Note

Born 18 Nov 1920 in Diamond, Ohio, Robert E. Middleton was a composer, performing artist and instructor. Educated at Harvard, Middleton began teaching music at Vassar College in 1953, after spending three years as an instructor at Harvard. Command Performance, Middleton's full-length opera was commissioned by the Vassar College Centennial Committee and had its premiere at Vassar College on 11 Nov 1961. In 1974, Middleton was appointed the George Sherman Dickinson Chair of the Music Department. He retired on 30 June 1985.



18 Nov 1920 Born in Diamond, Ohio
Sept 1942-Jan 1946 Military Service, U.S. Army
1948 B.A., Harvard University
1953 Appointed Assistant Professor, Vassar College
1954 M.A., Harvard University
1958 Appointed Associate Professor, Vassar College
1965 Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship in Musical Composition
1966 Appointed Full Professor, Vassar College
1974 Appointed George Sherman Dickinson Professor, Vassar College
30 June 1985 Retired from Vassar College

Scope and Content Note

The Robert E. Middleton collection contains correspondence, notes, postcards and 2 scores.



This collection is open for research according to the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to quote (publish) from unpublished or previously published material must be obtained as described in the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library.


Subject Headings


  • Boulanger, Nadia
  • Chanler, Theodore, 1902-1961
  • Chauncey, Henry
  • Copland, Aaron, 1900-1990
  • Dallapiccola, Luigi, 1904-1975
  • Palmer, Robert, 1915-
  • Piston, Walter, 1894-1976
  • Slonimsky, Nicolas, 1894-1995
  • Szigeti, Joseph, 1892-1973
  • Thompson, Randall, 1899-1984


  • College teachers
  • Composers
  • Musicians
  • Opera -- United States -- 20th century
  • Pianists

Document Types:

  • photographs
  • postcards
  • scores

Encoding Information

Finding aid encoded by Jason Kovari, 12 Feb 2009.


Preferred Citation

Robert E. Middleton Papers, Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries.

Processing Information

Processed by Laura Finkel, 2005. Updated in 2017.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Robert E. Middleton, 1992. 1950 score donated by the Paddock Music Library, Dartmouth College, 2016.


The Robert E. Middleton Papers were appraised by Wurlitzer-Bruck, 60 Riverside Dr., New York, New York 10024, 1 July 1992.


Container List

1.1 "Approximations for Viola and Piano" by Robert Middleton 1970 (1 score)
1.1b Boulanger, Nadia, 1939-1946 (14 notes and letters from N.B.; 1 letter from Henry Chauncey, Harvard University)
1.2 Boulanger, Nadia, 1952-1958 (18 notes and letters; 2 postcards
1.3 Boulanger, Nadia, circa 1960-1969 (11 notes and letters; 2 photographs)
1.4 Boulanger, Nadia, 1970-1979 (12 notes and letters)
1.5 Chanler, Theodore, 1947 (2 letters)
1.6 Chanler, Theodore — Score of Second Joyful Mystery, circa 1947
1.6b "Command Performance : opera in four acts" approximately 1960 (typescript)
1.6c "The Complete Libretto of Command Performance" by Robert Middleton and Harold Smith 1961 (program for permier performance laid in)
1.7 Copland, Aaron, 1964, 1969 (4 letters)
1.8 Dallapiccola, Luigi, 1953-1958 (6 letters)
1.8b "Organ Preludes" by Robert Middleton 1979 (1 score)
1.9 Palmer, Robert, 1965
1.10 Piston, Walter, 1957-1966 (12 letters; 1 postcard)
1.11 Slonimsky, Nicolas, 1958
1.12 Szigeti, Joseph, 1956-1958 (3 letters from Szigeti; 1 carbon from Middleton; 1 program)
1.13 Thompson, Randall, 1958, 1964 (2 letters; 1 postcard)
Box 2 "String Quartet" by Robert Middleton 1950 (1 score)

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