First-Year Intro Part 4: Special Collections

The Princeton University Library, and by extension Mendel, has numerous special collections. These span from digitized manuscripts and historic scores to documents from people affiliated with Princeton’s music department. This final blog post in our introductory series will be a very brief look into some of the many holdings at PUL and Mendel.

A notable holding in Special Collections is the Hall Handel Collection, which consists of almost all the manuscripts or early editions of works by George Frideric Handel as collected by James S. Hall and expanded upon by the University. You can check out what’s in the Hall Collection at

A more recent addition to PUL’s special collections for music is the Fred D. Valva Collection of Silent Film and Vaudeville Theatre Orchestra Music. The Valva Collection contains the music library of Fred D. Valva, a violinist who also conducted orchestras for silent films and vaudeville theatre. The orchestral parts that make up the collection are currently being digitized for worldwide viewing, and the completed items can be viewed on the Digital PUL site at

Digital PUL is also a treasure trove of other interesting holdings from across the PUL branches. All of the DPUL collections for music can be found at This contains archives of past performances by Princeton ensembles as mentioned in our previous blog post among other recordings and manuscripts.