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Beatrice and Stephen Erdely personal archives

Identifier: MC-0753

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the life and work of Stephen and Beatrice Erdely. Materials in this collection span from the 1930s to the 2010s and are composed of ethnomusicology research, performance recordings, correspondence, recital programs, personal papers, teaching materials, and photographic materials.


  • Majority of material found within 1940 - 2002


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.

Biographical Note

Stephen Erdely (1921-2017) was Professor Emeritus of Music at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), actively teaching from 1973-1991. From 1951-1966 he played in the Cleveland Orchestra under conductor George Szell. He was among the first generation of scholars who defined the discipline of ethnomusicology. In 1973 he joined the music faculty at MIT, teaching courses in ethnomusicology, Western classical music, theory, and musicianship.

Beatrice Erdely (1922-2012) was a concert pianist and music teacher. She graduated from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Illinois and studied further in New York City, New York. She taught at several institutions including the Cleveland Institute of Music, New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, MIT, and Brandeis University, in addition to taking on private students. She and her husband Stephen performed professionally together through piano and violin duet performances as the Erdely Duo.



26 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials





This collection documents the professional careers of Stephen and Beatrice Erdely. Stephen Erdely was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 1973-1991 and an ethnomusicologist. Stephen conducted extensive research into Hungarian folk music in America and performed widely with his wife, Beatrice, as the Erdely Duo. Beatrice Erdely was an acclaimed concert pianist and educator. Materials in this collection comprise recordings, research notes, recital programs, correspondence, publications, photographs, and ephemera.


This collection is arranged into 3 series. 1. Biographical, 2. Research and Teaching, and 3. Performance.

Physical Location

Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were given to the Department of Distinctive Collections by Sheryl Cohen in 2018.


Duplicate copies of some recital programs and booklets were not retained. Additionally during processing, we checked the rarity of the books and published musical scores included in the Erdely accession to be considered for deaccessioning. We will document any decision about the books once one has been made.

Related Materials

MIT Music Oral History project: Stephen Erdely interviews

Processing Information

·Some duplicate materials were discarded during processing. ·The collection was boxed up based on where in the house the materials were housed (e.g. upstairs office, basement.) Without a clear original order, the materials were rearranged to fit into the three series listed. ·Legacy audio and visual materials may be selectively digitized in the future to provide access.

Laura Crook Brisson
2021 Dec
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021: Edited by Lana Mason for compliance with DACS single-level optimum requirements.
  • 2021 Dec: Processing began, collection level notes completed by Laura Crook Brisson

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US