This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Music library opens online exhibit of Perry music memorabilia collection

Published: January 27, 2005

Contributing Editor

The Music Library has mounted an online exhibition of the site of its J. Warren Perry Music Memorabilia Collection, a collection of 2,500 photographs and items of memorabilia, ca. 1910-71, that is international in scope and a striking visual record of many of the most significant musicians of the 20th century.


Sketch of tenor Beniamino Gigli, from the Perry collection

John Bewley, associate librarian, says the library accepted the majority of Perry's memorabilia a few years ago, but recently received the remainder of his collection. The online exhibit, at, celebrates this recent acquisition. A reception honoring Perry will be held from 4-5:30 p.m. Feb. 3 in the Music Library in Baird Hall, North Campus.

The library also has digitized all 1,800 photos in the Perry collection, which now are available online. The photographic collection, much of which focuses on opera, can be found at and can be searched by the singer's or musician's name, operatic roles, title of opera, conductors, opera halls and other criteria.

It includes photographs of ensembles and instrumentalists, as well, and many of them bear personal inscriptions from the artists to Perry.

"In addition to the photographs, the Perry Collection contains some very valuable artifacts," Bewley says, "including a signed letter from Maria Callas, letters from Toscanini and Bruno Walter, rare musical stamps and medallions, small statuary, framed artworks, postcards, invitation, drawings of costume designs and sets, clippings, other correspondence and 300 photographs devoted to ballet.

J. Warren Perry, UB dean emeritus and professor emeritus, devoted his life to allied health education and is acknowledged nationwide as a pioneer administrator in this field. He founded the UB School of Health Related Professions (now the School of Public Health and Health Professions) in 1967 and served as its dean until 1977. Under his leadership, the school received national recognition as one of the most exemplary in the United States.

He also founded, and became the first editor of, the Journal of Allied Health, the official national publications of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions.

Perry is noted as well for devotion to and support of the arts. He helped to found the Lyric Opera Company of Chicago and served on the boards of directors of several Western New York arts organizations, including those of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Artpark.

"Dr. Perry committed to donating all of his collectibles to area non-profit organizations and colleagues," Bewley says, "thereby leaving a legacy that will long be remembered. We consider ourselves very fortunate to be the recipient of such an important collection."