Skip to main content

Howard Dunham Barlow Collection

Identifier: MS 001

Scope and Content Note

The Howard Dunham Barlow Collection consists of correspondence, newspaper and magazine clippings, recordings, original compositions, published choral arrangements, CBS program logs, scrapbooks, oral history, orchestral arrangements and works, prospective scripts, reviews of concerts, phonograph records, photographs, and writings.

The materials are organized into 13 series, each one arranged chronologically. 1. Activities (work related clippings, correspondence, ephemera). 2. Columbia Broadcasting System. 3. Compositions by HDB. Series 4: HDB Guest Conducted Orchestra Concerts (reviews). 5. Oral History. 6. Orchestral Arrangements by HDB. 7. Photographs.

8. Prospective Scripts. 9. Scrapbooks. 10. Writings. 11. Phonograph Records (78 rpm disks).

12. Miscellany. 13. Research Materials.

The bulk of this collection dates from Howard Barlow's years as conductor of the Columbia Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra (1927-1943) and as conductor for the Voice of Firestone radio broadcast (1943-1958). He was also appointed conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 1939.

Among the materials are many orchestral arrangements produced by Mr. Barlow. In the inventory the use of asterisks denotes the following: If there are no asterisks, the arrangements are complete (orchestra parts and conductor score). One * asterisk denotes parts only, no conductor score. Two ** asterisks denotes a commercially printed score. Three *** asterisks denotes piano/vocal only (basis for a recording of lullabies). Barlow also composed many choral arrangements and orchestral works, some of which were commercially printed during the early 1920s (Series 3).

After Barlow left full-time radio conducting, he began to write short scripts around interesting musical personalities and events. These he hoped to record with his own voice and commercially distribute via Playback Productions of Mt. Kisco, New York. Prospective Scripts (box 7, folders 1-18), contains the variety of materials that he produced in drafts. Some were recorded as examples and brought/sent to radio stations. They All Made Music contains the vast majority (sequentially numbered to 146) of the short five-minute segments that Barlow was hoping to sell as a filler series. Music Notes appear to be similar in length to those for They All Made Music, but are more personal, i.e., Barlow's own experiences, or connections to persons he had known.

Barlow recorded one 50-minute program about Christmas (box 3). Otherwise there are no known extant records of any of the few that he may have taped. Apparently, many of the ideas for the short scripts came from articles in Keyboard Jr. and Young Keyboard Jr.

Scrapbooks of his career were maintained by his mother, Mrs. E. W. Barlow, of Portland, Oregon. An article about Mrs. Barlow is on page 52 of Scrapbook II (box 8).

In the summer of 1951, Columbia University's Oral History project interviewed Howard Barlow as part of their "Radio Pioneers" collection. The University provided Barlow with a bound copy of the transcription of the interviews, which can be found in Oversized Box 9.

The Research Materials and Sources (boxes 10-11) were compiled by James Pegolotti during his many years of research on the life of Howard Barlow. This resulted in the lengthy biographical article "Howard Barlow and The Rise and Fall of Classical Music on Commercial Radio" published in Connecticut Review, Volume XVII, No. 1, Spring, 1995. The research materials collected during his research supplement those already in the Barlow Collection initiated in 1999.


  • 1911-2000, (Bulk 1920-1958)


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research without restrictions.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from the:

Ruth A. Haas Library

Archives and Special Collections

181 White Street

Danbury, CT 06810

Phone: 203-837-8992


Historical/Biographical Note

Howard Dunham Barlow was a radio pioneer. He served as the conductor of serious music for the Columbia Broadcasting System from the first CBS broadcast on Sunday, September 18, 1927, through 1943, then moved to NBC as the conductor for the long running Voice of Firestone. He took this latter program from radio into television and was its conductor for fifteen years until 1958. For several years afterwards, Barlow conducted some "pops" concerts and became interested in the development of youth orchestras. By 1965, he was no longer conducting.

In 1965, HDB and his wife moved from Pound Ridge, New York, to Bethel, Connecticut. He began to write material to help young conductors understand the basis of being an effective conductor and wrote detailed essays on conducting specific works, and wrote "notes" on famous musicians and music events. With these, he hoped to interest radio stations in purchasing a series of five-minute stories he recorded for breaks through the broadcast day.

Mr. Barlow utilized the Bethel Public Library extensively during his years in the town. When he died in 1972, his widow Jeanette gave the library many boxes of memorabilia.


  1. note by: James Pegolotti, WCSU Librarian, February 1999


25 Linear Feet (22 boxes)


Howard Dunham Barlow was a radio pioneer, musician, composer, arranger and conductor. The Howard Dunham Barlow Collection consists of correspondence, newspaper and magazine clippings, recordings, original compositions, published choral arrangements, CBS program logs, scrapbooks, oral history, orchestral arrangements and works, prospective scripts, reviews of concerts, phonograph records, photographs, and writings.


The files are grouped into 13 series:

Series 1: Activities

Series 2: Columbia Broadcasting System

Series 3: Compositions by Howard Dunham Barlow

Series 4: HDB Guest Conducted Orchestra Concerts (reviews), 1940-1942

Series 5: Oral History

Series 6: Orchestral Arrangements by HDB (See Scope & Content Note for *guide)

Series 7: Photographs, 1938-ca 1960

Series 8: Prospective Scripts by HDB, ca 1960

Series 9: Scrapbooks

Series 10: Writings: Newspapers and Magazines, 1924-1969

Series 11: Phonograph RecordsSeries

Series 12: Miscellany

Series 13: Research Materials on the Life of Howard Dunham Barlow


In 1988, Nan Rogers, then Bethel Library Director, brought the material in this collection to the attention of James Pegolotti, then a library intern. She suggested the value of having the material in Western Connecticut State University Library for its research potential. Dr. Pegolotti arranged for this deposition and the Bethel Library Board approved the transfer in a letter from the Library Director dated January 30, 1989.

In 2018, Rob Feinson of Danbury donated a group of materials (mostly additional sheet music) purchased in the 1970s at a library book sale (either Danbury Public Library or Bethel Public Library).

Related Material

Separated Material

Materials listed on the original inventory which are no longer in the collection:

Orchestral Arrangements by Howard Barlow

1. McDowell, Edward. To A Wild Rose (complete orchestra parts and conductor score)

2. Schubert, Franz. Moment Musical (complete orchestra parts and conductor score)

3. Schuman, Robert. Trumerei (complete orchestra parts and conductor score)

4. Smetena, Bedrich. Dance of the Comedians (complete orchestra parts and conductor score)

5. Taylor, Deems. Through the Looking Glass (parts only, no conductor score, commercially printed score)

Physical Description

17 inear feet

Guide to the Howard Dunham Barlow Collection, 1911-2000 (Bulk 1920-1958), MS001
Mary Rieke, Megan Shiskin, Harry Smolin, Maxime Delaugere, Catherine Pollack, Teresa Dias, Steven Bates, Brian Stevens, Seyun Lim.
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in English
Edition statement
This version was derived from Howard Barlow Collection (inventory).doc

Repository Details

Part of the Western Connecticut State University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Haas Library
181 White St
Danbury 06810 USA US
203.837.8322 (Fax)