Contact Info
  • University Libraries
  • Archives and Special Collections
  • Vermillion, SD 57069
  • (605) 677-5450
  • Monday - Friday
  • 8:00 - 5:00 PM CST
  • Closed on Holidays

About the Mahoney Music Collection

Portrait of Leopold Mozart

Side Illustration: Portrait of Leopold Mozart from his early treatise on violin technique. Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule. Augspurg : Gedruckt bey J.J. Lotter, 1756.

The Archives and Special Collections, University Libraries, at The University of South Dakota received the Mahoney Music collection from John P. and Barbara Mahoney in June 2006. The Mahoney Music Collection contains more than 4,800 books, magazines, pamphlets, and ephemera on all facets of stringed instruments. One of the most comprehensive collections of books about violins and violin family instruments, it was originally developed to provide support for a small business selling used violins and accessories. In 1984 Dr. Mahoney found it difficult to find basic information on violin makers and that need launched a quest for music books in used book stores across the country. With the advent of the Internet and electronic inventories, it became easier to locate rare and unappreciated texts from around the world. In a little more than two decades, the Mahoney Music Collection became a world class collection with the capability to support research on instrument lineage, historical performance and exhibitions.

Dr. Mahoney bought, sold, and traded books on stringed instruments for several years, but in the fall of 2005, he began the search for a permanent home for his collection. By October, Mr. Mahoney notified curators at the National Music Museum (NMM) of his desire to donate the collection in its entirety to The University of South Dakota. The I.D. Weeks Library, in collaboration with the NMM and the USD Department of Music, made arrangements to accommodate this impressive collection. Along with the Witten-Rawlins Collection of fine stringed instruments at NMM and USD's advanced degree in the history of musical instruments, the collection represents a major addition to the teaching and research resources located at The University of South Dakota. All of those involved in this project believe that a collection of this magnitude will certainly become an attraction for both U.S. and international music scholars.

Patrons will also have access to the collection through search features (title, author, subject, publisher, and keyword) on this web site that was originally designed by Dr. Mahoney for use in his book trade business. At a future date, the collection will be cataloged and made available through the library's on-line catalog. Those interested in learning more about the collection should contact Archives and Special Collections at (605)677-5450 or