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Paul Creston Collection

Identifier: MS-0003

Scope and Contents

The Paul Creston Collection was donated to the University of Missouri-Kansas City by his wife, Louise Creston, in 1987. Organized into 18 series that occupy nearly 100 boxes, the manuscript collection is housed in LaBudde Special Collections and consists of published and unpublished scores; music and non-music related writings, including correspondence, diaries, and notebooks; reviews and concert programs; awards and honors; scrapbooks, photographs and other miscellaneous items. The earliest material in the collection are scores that date from 1922, and the latest material in the collection are obituaries and programs from Louise Creston’s funeral in 1989.

The strength of the collection lies in the over 300 manuscript scores, representing over one hundred of Creston’s 121 works with opus numbers, and many of his works without opus numbers, including radio, film and television scores. Many of the opus numbers, especially those with much instrumentation contain more than one score. Thus, Creston’s method of composing can be followed from the rough draft to the final published copy. The majority of the scores also contain annotations by Creston. The collection also contains over 150 published scores, some of which are permanently out of print.

Another strength of the collection is the correspondence. In handling correspondence, Creston always typed a letter, copied it, signed it, mailed the signed copy to the recipient, and kept the original unsigned letter for his records. Thus the correspondence contains all of the letters, telegrams, and postcards sent to and from Creston.

Other highlights of the collection include Creston’s writings on his own life and works, including program notes from over 60 works, autobiographical sketches, lectures, diaries, and date books from 1944 to 1985. Creston’s philosophy of life and music can be found in 11 notebooks kept by Creston on mysticism and occultism in the Writings Unrelated to Music series, which also contains 40 of his poems. Besides the music manuscripts, manuscripts of both published and unpublished books and articles by Creston are an important part of the collection. Over 200 reviews of Creston’s music and 470 concert programs from 1932-1985 can be found in their own series as well as in scrapbooks that were organized by Louise. The Media series contains a small assortment of audio/visual material of interviews and UMKC-sponsored events; however, the majority of this type of material (i.e., sound recordings) are housed separately in the Marr Sound Archives. Completing the collection are foreign language notebooks, biographical information, awards and honors, and scores and books owned by Creston, as well as over 130 photographs.

Other excellent sources of information about Paul Creston are Monica Slomski’s dissertation Paul Creston: The Man and His Music with an Annotated Bibliography of his Works and her book Paul Creston: A Bio-Bibliography.

The audiovisual materials consists of sound recordings on lacquer disc, open reel audiotape and cassette tape formats. Included are 140 tapes containing 255 recordings of 106 of his works, five interviews, and one lecture. The majority of the recordings are not published, and were originally recorded on reel-to-reel tapes. Vinyl LPs from the collection are searchable in the UMKC Libraries catalog. Cataloged Sound Recordings from the Paul Creston Collection


  • 1943 - 1986


Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status is unknown.


38.5 Linear Feet (LaBudde: 84 Manuscript Boxes.)

12 Linear Feet (Marr: 11 audiovisual boxes.)

Language of Materials


LaBudde: Bretty J. Fuelberth, Amy Leimkuhler (supervising archivist); Reprocessed: Patricia Altamirano, Teresa Gipson (supervising archivist). Marr: Cybelle Greenlaw, Cody Kauhl.
LaBudde: June 1997; Reprocessed 2007. Marr: 2015.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Special Collections and Archives Repository