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Charles Huerter Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: EL
Date: Sep 1977

Biographical History

Charles Joseph Huerter (1885-1974), composer, pianist, and teacher, was born in Brooklyn, New York. After receiving piano instruction from his father and completing his secondary education in New York City and Geneva, New York, he entered Syracuse University, where he studied piano under Joseph C. Seiter and Adolf Frey and composition with William Berwald. He continued his musical studies at the Royal Academy at Charlottenburg in Berlin with composer Paul Juon. Also in Europe he studied piano with Karl Heymann.

As a composer he wrote some two thousand works, including piano pieces and exercises, songs, and compositions for violin, violincello, solo performers, choral groups, and orchestra. Using his own texts for many of his songs and choral works, he had more than 700 published titles. His songs were used in the motion pictures"The Sea Hawk," the original version of "The Jazz Singer," and the original "Beau Geste."

A fifty-six-year resident of Syracuse, New York, for many years he taught piano and composition there and early in his career served as an organist and choirmaster.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Charles Huerter Papers contain manuscript scores, musical sketchbooks, and printed scores that span almost seventy years of musical composition. There are also small amounts of biographical material, letters, and memorabilia. Material in the papers dates from 1898 to 1970.

Biographical material contains two folders of miscellaneous biographical material

Letters contains two folders of incoming letters, mostly from music publishers regarding Huerter's work.

Memorabilia includes programs of Huerter compositions performed in either live or broadcast concerts, lyrics set to music by the composer, a notebook of musical jottings, and a manuscript of "Playland." Details an this material and other items of memorabilia are given in the shelf list. Rounding out the holdings are

Scores in manuscript form, largely undated, are arranged by type in four oversized packages. The vocal works, as well as a large portion of the piano works, are arranged alphabetically by cover titles, which occasionally vary from the inside titles. Many of the sheets containing works for piano solo may once have been part of composition folders, the assembled order of which has since been lost, and the manuscripts of other piano works sometimes have earlier sketches of other songs on their reverse sides. Some of the piano manuscripts either carry several titles or contain several compositions on the same page; these are separately foldered, as indicated in the shelf list. At the head of the section of scores are placed lists of compositions by Charles Huerter.

Sketchbooks of compositions — mostly songs — from a more-than-sixty-year period fill three archival boxes. These seventy music writing books are arranged by dates that, for the most part, appear on the books' covers in the composer's handwriting. Other dates, bracketed in pencil on or inside the front covers, are supplied from dated compositions inside the sketchbooks. Such dates, used here for purposes of arrangement and identification, may only approximate the inclusive dates of these books' compositions. Because the composer apparently sometimes kept simultaneous sketchbooks, some dates overlap. The subjects or place names that appear in the shelf list are those given by the composer himself on the cover labels. The sketchbooks date from 1904 to 1970, with two undated sketchbooks placed at the end of the sequence.

Charles Huerter's Works in published form, many of them written under pseudonyms, are arranged by type. Some of these are marked in the composer's handwriting "corrected copy." The accompanying shelf list gives details of holdings. The item count provided in the shelf list is, in most cases, the equivalent of a title count.

Arrangement of the Collection

Letters and sketchbooks are arranged chronologically. All other material is arranged alphabetically by type and/or title.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Huerter, Charles, 1885- -- Archives


Composers -- United States.
Music -- 20th century.
Musical sketches.
Musicians -- United States.
Pianists -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Letters (correspondence)
Manuscripts for publication.
Musical scores.
Programs (documents)
Sheet music.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Charles Huerter Papers
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of estate of Charles Huerter, 1975.

Table of Contents

Biographical material



Scores in manuscript


Works in published form