The Historic Sheet Music Collection

The UO Historic Sheet Music Collection is housed in the Douglass Room of Knight Library, and consists of over 27,000 pieces of popular sheet music from the 1840s to the 1960s.  This archival collection does not circulate, but may be used for in-person research inside the Douglass Room, Monday-Friday 11 am-5 pm.  To request retrieval of pieces from the collection for research purposes, please fill out the online retrieval form 24 hours in advance, or make a request in person at the Douglass Room Desk.

Searching the Historic Sheet Music Collection

There are several ways to access the contents of the Historic Sheet Music Collection:

  • Use the Online Sheet Music Index to search the vast majority of the collection (approximately 25,000 items).  This text-only index allows users to search the collection by song title, composer, lyricist, subject, keyword, and year.  It does not include any images, but entries do link to the Digital Sheet Music Collection for those works that have been digitized.
  • You can search, browse, view, and download selected pieces of sheet music in the Digital Collection of Historic Sheet Music, which contains approximately 1,000 public domain works from the UO Historic Sheet Music Collection. Special collecting areas highlighted within the Digital Collection include music from/about Oregon, and music by women composers. 
  • The contents of the entire Historic Sheet Music Collection are searchable through a printed index available at the Douglass Room Desk. The index organizes listings by song title, publisher, composer, lyricist, cover art, subject, as well as chronological groupings by decade.  This is the only complete index to the collection.

Obtaining Copies of Material in the Historic Sheet Music Collection

In order to preserve the fragile archival material in the Historic Sheet Music Collection, patrons may not eat or drink while using Historic Sheet Music materials, and only pencils or digital notetaking is allowed near the material.  Photocopying of pieces from the collection is not permitted, but patrons may take photographs with a cell phone or tablet. Patrons may request high quality digital scans of pieces from the collection if the requested items are in the public domain (published before 1927); the cost for this service is $20 per item, and digitization is performed by the UO Libraries Digital Scholarship Services. To place a request for digitization, please fill out the online request form, or send an email to and include the title, composer, date, and accession number of the piece in your request. 

Patrons working with Historic Sheet Music Collection materials in the Audio & Video Room may also request permission to take their own digital pictures of selections from the collection for research use. Consult the Music Librarian for more information.

For more information about the physical collection, contact the Knight Library Music Team at 541-346-3079 or e-mail us at

Related Resources

UO Library Research Tools

Other Online Sheet Music Collections