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MUS 370: Music through Sketch Study: MARBL Resources

A Guide to Student Research at MARBL

A Guide to Learning in MARBL for Student Researchers

The Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) reference room is located in room 784 of the Woodruff Library. The MARBL reading room is available by appointment only. You must have an appointment to enter the reading room. During the academic year, our hours are 9:00-5:00 Monday through Saturday. We are closed on Sunday. For more information on using the reading room, please visit or contact MARBL at

The materials in MARBL are rare, often fragile, and often very valuable. Therefore, when you come to do research, you will be asked to show proof of your identity, to keep a record of what you use, and you will have guidelines for how to use the materials during your visit. It may seem like there are a lot of rules associated with MARBL materials, but remember that we want you to use our materials and we’re glad that you are doing so. Our rules are in place to protect our materials and to make sure they are preserved for many future generations of students and researchers to explore. If you have any questions about a policy, please feel free to ask us for more information.

Preparing for Your Visit

Depending on your course, the items you will work with may either be pre-selected for you or you may select your own material. For most projects, you will need to explore our collections and select your own material. However, in order to do research in MARBL you must first register online, make an appointment and request materials prior to your visit in MARBL. You will only need to register once, but you will need to register and request materials each time you visit to use the reading room. To begin this process please visit

Once you arrive in MARBL you will need to:

  1. Check in at the reference room (Woodruff 784). You are encouraged to arrive at least 10 minutes in advance of your appointment.
  2. Show a photo ID.

Making an Appointment

You must have an appointment to use MARBL materials.

During MARBL's period of transformation, our reading room space will be somewhat reduced. In order to offer our patrons the best service and attention, we have moved to an appointment-only system during this time. The following are some important things to keep in mind about this new appointment process:

  • Appointments must be made more than 24 hours in advance.
  • Appointments can be made in hour increments.
  • All appointments start on the hour.
  • You must contact us if you are running more than 30 minutes late for the start of your appointment, or you risk losing your scheduled time.
  • The online calendaring system allows for you to make more than one appointment at a time. After choosing your time, click 'Schedule additional time.' This will only work if your subsequent appointment is for the same length of time as the initial appointment. For more information, see the step-by-step instructions below.
  • If you are planning to come to MARBL on Monday morning, you must make an appointment by Friday at noon. We cannot guarantee appointments that are made over the weekend.

Appointments can be scheduled from 1 hour up to 8 hours at a time. We advise you to arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment to make sure you get settled and can start on time. Should you be running late, please contact us and let us know. We cannot guarantee your appointment if you are more than 30 minutes late. For more information and to make an appointment, please visit Online Appointments.

You are only submitting a request at this time. All requests must be confirmed by MARBL staff. Please do not come to MARBL unless you have received an email confirming your appointment. Step-by-step instructions for making an appointment can be found here.

Registering to Use MARBL Materials

MARBL has implemented a new registration and request system. Please read the following information carefully, even if you have previously registered and requested materials, as the process has changed.

We require that you register upon your first visit and request materials in advance of all visits through Emory University's Special Collections Request System. This new system will allow you to sign in with your Emory NetID. You will then be able to use this online account to place requests, view past requests, and place photoduplication orders. To begin the registration process, please visit the Special Collections Request System login page. Once you have registered with the Special Collections Request System, you can simply login going forward to view information about your account. 

When you arrive at MARBL, you will be asked to show a photo ID. Generally this is a driver's license, but we also accept institutional IDs and passports-just make sure it has a photo!


What to Bring

We suggest that you bring the following to you to MARBL:

  1. Pencil
  2. Computer (you will be asked to leave any cases in a locker)
  3. Digital camera (flash disabled) or cell phone (flash and sound disabled)

Please do not bring pens, notebooks, gum, food or drink of any kind, unless they are sealed and can be left in your locked. We no longer make photocopies on demand. For Emory students, the first 20 pages of photocopies are free, and subsequent pages cost $.25 per page for manuscript material and $.50 per page for books. Students also receive 5 free scans (suitable for a powerpoint presentation) per year.

Selected Music-Related Collections in MARBL

The Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL) has a number of music related materials within its holdings, particularly as it relates to African American history and culture. To help in your research, I have included a list of collections that may be of interest to you. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but to introduce you to good candidates to help you begin your research. Please note that these collection vary in topic and size. There may also be restrictions on the use of the materials. (For example, sheet music cannot be photographed.)

  • Black Fire Music Records (MSS 1160) -Records of Black Fire Music, an African American record publishing company, including album covers, photographs, and printed material.

  • African American Sheet Music Collection (MSS 1028)- Collection of sheet music related to African American history and culture. The majority of items in the collection were performed, composed, or published by African Americans.

  • William Levi Dawson papers (MSS 892)- Papers of William Levi Dawson, African American composer, conductor, and educator from Anniston, Alabama, including correspondence, original scores of Dawson's works, personal and family papers, photographs, audio visual materials, and printed material.

  • Geneva H. Southall papers (MSS 1004)- Papers of African American musician, educator, activist and author Geneva H. Southall, including personal papers, research and writing files, writings by others, musician files relating to African American composers, photographs and scrapbooks, printed material, and audiovisual material.

  • Undine Smith Moore papers (MSS 1155) - Papers of African American composer Undine Smith Moore including correspondence, manuscript scores of her compositions, subject files, sound recordings, writings, photographs, sheet music, and other printed material.

  • Emory University Glee Club records (Series No. 8) - The collection contains the records of the Emory University Glee Club and includes correspondence, performance programs, subject files, clippings, scrapbooks, and audiovisual materials.

  • William W. Lemonds papers (Series No. 218)- The collection includes a photograph album kept by William W. Lemonds, professor of music and director of the Glee Club, Women’s Chorale, and other musical organizations at Emory University, containing candid photographs pf Glee Club and Chorale members and various musical performances. There are also enclosures which include additional loose photographs and photocopies of obituary clippings.

  • Victoria Spivey papers (MSS 809) - Papers of Victoria Spivey, African American blues artist, motion picture actress, and owner of Spivey Records.

  • Lucille Hegamin papers (MSS 1134) - Papers of African American blues singer Lucille Hegamin, including correspondence, photographs, printed material, manuscript music scores, and financial material.

  • Curtis E. Reed papers (MSS 951) -Papers of African American performer Curtis E. Reed, including contracts, promotional material, photographs, correspondence, lyrics, and scores.

  • John Samuels papers (MSS 952)- Papers of John Samuels, an African American musician from Atlanta, Georgia including sheet music, handwritten scores, programs from Atlanta churches, and photographs.

  • Johnny Hudgins papers (MSS 1029) -Papers of African American performer Johnny Hudgins, including photographs, sheet music, a scrapbook, printed material, and correspondence.

  • Duke of Paduch collection (MSS 687)- Collection of materials relating to musician and actor Benjamin Francis Ford (Duke of Puducah) including radio scripts, photographs, and printed material.

  • Ellis B. Kohs papers (MSS 877)- Papers of composer and teacher, Ellis B. Kohs, relating mainly to his activities as director of the all-African American 334th Army Forces Services Band at Fort Benning (Georgia) during World War II.

  • H. T. Burleigh papers (MSS 1195) -Collection of materials relating to African American composer H.T. Burleigh, including scores, sheet music and some personal papers. Note: Additional Burleigh sheet music can be found in the William Levi Dawson papers and the African American sheet music collection.

>> Visit MARBL's website

Instruction Archivist & QEP Librarian

Need Help With Your Assignment?

MARBL offers research consultations to student researchers. These consultations are scheduled for at least 30 minutes, done in person with an archivist, and cover finding sources in MARBL and topic development, among other things. To schedule a research consultation, please contact Gabrielle M. Dudley, Instruction Archivist and QEP Librarian at

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