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Hans Schwieger papers

Identifier: RB-8003

Scope and Contents

The Hans Schwieger Papers contain personal papers, photographs and drawings, scrapbooks, sound recordings, annotated music scores, correspondence, awards and certificates, concert programs, and ephemera. The majority of these materials relate to his career as a conductor in Germany, Japan, and the United States. The personal papers include biographical information, correspondence, concert programs, diplomas, awards, publicity and research materials, and Schwieger's index to his collection of scores. Drawings and photographs depict both Hans Schwieger and his wife, Mary, as well as performances, conductors, composers, and rehearsals. Well known people represented in the images include United States Presidents Harry S. Truman and Richard Nixon, Jack Benny, Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Durante, Isaac Stern, and Lawrence Welk. Sound recordings are originally on LP records and cassette tapes, but have been digitized onto CDs for preservation. The majority feature Schwieger conducting the Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra. Composers include Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Gershwin, Prokofiev, Schubert, Schumann, Strauss, Tcherepnin, and Wagner. The annotated music scores were often used during performances conducted by Schwieger. Additional scores without annotations from Schwieger's collection are housed in the Music Library and can be located through the library catalog. The scrapbooks contain primarily newspaper clippings about Schwieger and date from 1945 to 1970, documenting the majority of his tenure with the Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra.


  • circa 1905-2009
  • Majority of material found within 1954 - 1965


Materials are in English and German.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for use in the Dougherty Reading Room without restrictions. An appointment for research is recommended. The Dougherty Reading Room is located on the 4th floor of Belk Library in Special Collections.

Biographical Note

Conductor Hans Schwieger was born in Cologne, Germany on June 15, 1906. He served as the general music director for the Mainz State Opera and Symphony in Germany in 1932, but was dismissed from the position by the Nazi authorities in 1934 due to his marriage to Elsbeth Bloemendal, a Jewish woman. He then served as general music director in the Free State of Danzig from 1936 to 1937, when he left Germany for a conductorship with the Imperial Orchestra in Tokyo, Japan. Schwieger came to the United States in March 1938 and was detained by the American government as a suspected enemy alien after Pearl Harbor for a year. He became a citizen in 1944, on the same day his wife, Elsbeth, died. In 1947, Schwieger married Mary Fitzpatrick Shields.

Schwieger spent many years as a guest conductor around the country before taking the position, in 1948, as director of the Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra in Kansas City, Missouri. During his tenure as music director, a position he held until 1971, he was awarded three honorary doctorate degrees. The Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra lasted another ten years before dissolving in 1982.

Schwieger and his wife moved to Naples, Florida in 1976 and he remained there until his death on February 2, 2000.


34 Linear Feet (24 manuscript boxes, 2 half-sized manuscript boxs, 13 record cartons, 1 LP record box in cold storage, 1 audiocassette box, 1 CD box, 3 shoeboxes, 1 square box, 8 oversize boxes)


German conductor Hans Schwieger was the first music director for the Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he held from 1948 to 1971. His papers contain photographs, scrapbooks, recordings, annotated scores, correspondence, concert programs and awards relating primarily to his career as a conductor.


The Hans Schwieger Papers are divided into five series: Series I: Personal Papers, Series II: Photographs and Drawings, Series III: Recordings, Series IV: Scores, and Series V: Scrapbooks. Series I and II are arranged alphabetically. Series III is subdivided by material type, with user copies arranged separately from the originals, and is arranged alphabetically by the last name of the composer of the first song on the recording. Series IV is arranged alphabetically by the last name of the composer. Series V is arranged chronologically, with loose materials from the scrapbooks removed and housed separately in folders noting which pages they were between.

Acquisitions Information

The bulk of the collection was donated to Appalachian State University by Mary Schwieger in 2001. An addition, consisting primarily of scrapbooks, was donated by Frank and Kay Borkowski in 2011.

Related Collections

The Kansas City Public Library has additional photographs of Hans Schwieger as well as related materials, such as scrapbooks of the Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra, in their Missouri Valley Special Collections.

Separated Materials

The original donation (RB.2009.004) included a total of 1,160 scores, 543 miniature scores, and 38 oversize scores. The 576 scores with Schwieger's annotations and notes are housed in Series IV of these papers. The remaining scores are located in the Music Library and can be accessed through the library catalog. Donated books, largely in German, relating to Schwieger's life and career have been cataloged to the Rare Books & Manuscripts General collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Kelly R. Grimm, Grant Maher, and Cynthia Harbeson, 2011-2012. Finding aid written by Kelly R. Grimm and Cynthia Harbeson, 2012.

RB.8003: Hans Schwieger Papers, circa 1905-2009
Kelly R. Grimm and Cynthia Harbeson
February 16, 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository