Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Milt Tonkin Music Fund

A recent acquisition of sheet music will be getting a very special bookplate this spring. Lillian Tonkin, who began working at the Library Company in 1957 and retired in 1980, has chosen to honor the memory of her late husband by creating the Milt Tonkin Music Fund.

At 101, Lillian Tonkin is able to look back on a long and full life, filled with music, art, and books. Milton Tonkin was a jazz and classical musician who played with symphony orchestras in the Twin Cities and New Orleans, among other places. Although Milt has been gone for almost 34 years, Lillian is devoted to the memory of a husband she remembers as a kind and wonderful partner and whom she lost too early. She also thinks back with great fondness on her years as a staff member of the Library Company. A slight person, she remembers carrying enormous folios down the massive central staircase at the Ridgway Library. Lillian describes feeling profoundly honored by her role in the preservation of the collections, and she has come to think of the library as an almost sacred space.

In 2013, Ms. Tonkin united these strands of her life by creating the Milt Tonkin Music Fund at the Library Company which served, just last month, to support the acquisition of a folio volume of 35 pieces of engraved sheet music containing over 50 songs and piano pieces, mostly published in Philadelphia between 1804 and 1814. The character of the music is summed up in the title of the first piece in the album, “The Ladies Collection of Glees, Rounds & Chorusses for Three Voices.” Most of the music is by European composers, with the notable exception of marches for presidents Jefferson and Madison, and a rousing piece called “The President’s March” by Philip Phile (d.1793), the composer of “Hail Columbia.” All early American sheet music is rare, but bound volumes like this are especially useful because of what they can tell us about the taste of their owners. The name of this album’s owner is stamped in gold on the cover: E. Colhoun, possibly a member of the family of Gustavus Colhoun (1765-1849) of Philadelphia. The volume will bear a traditional Library Company bookplate as well as a special insert bearing the photo above.

No comments:

Post a Comment

LCP News Menu