Moldenhauer, Hans

Alternative names
Birth 1901-04-10
Death 1929-12-29

Biographical notes:

Hans Moldenhauer (1906-1987) was a German-American musicologist and music collector. He gathered primary source materials relating to music, which became known as the "Moldenhauer Archives."

From the guide to the The Moldenhauer Archives at Harvard University: Manuscript music compositions, 1880-1985., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Hans Moldenhauer was born in Mainz, Germany, on December 13, 1906 and died in November 1987 in Spokane, Washington. He completed five years of study of music under Hans Rosbaud at the Mainz Municipal College of Music. In 1918 he immigrated to the United States, where he settled in Spokane, Washington. After serving in the United States Army he returned to Spokane and was Whitworth College’s first student under the G. I. Bill and earned a bachelor’s degree in music in 1945.

In 1942 he founded the Spokane Conservatory of Music. With his late wife, pianist Rosaleen Moldenhauer, he inaugurated a series of duo-piano programs on radio which lasted 12 years. He received his doctorate in musicology from the Chicago musical College, Roosevelt University. His thesis, Duo-pianism, published in 1950, remains the only text in the field.

His great research accomplishment was the formation of the Moldenhauer Archives, embodying some 100,000 music manuscripts, letters and documents of unique importance to musical biography and literature. Much of this collection has been distributed to various educational institutions, including a small portion to Whitworth College. Whitworth awarded him an honorary doctor of music in 1945.

From the guide to the Hans Moldenhauer Music Collection, 1906-2007, 1906-1987, (Whitworth University Archives)

Biographical Sketch

The ardent music collector and mountain climber Hans Moldenhauer was born in Mainz, Germany, in 1906, and died in 1987. Over the course of forty years he established the Moldenhauer Archives, a matchless resource of musical documents that encompasses music history from the Middle Ages through the 20 th century, and about which Moldenhauer said, “the Archives includes not only bricks, but the mortar,” referring to both the great musicians and critical but lesser-known figures that hold it together.

Hans Moldenhauer emigrated to the United States in 1938, settled in mountainous Spokane, Washington, in 1939, and served in the U.S. Mountain Troops during World War II. In 1942, as he embarked upon a musical career in collecting, performance, and writing, he founded the Spokane Conservatory. In 1943 he married his piano pupil, Rosaleen Jackman, to whose memory he would later dedicate his Archives. When Moldenhauer was diagnosed with the incurable retinitis pigmentosa and told he would soon be blind, he focused much more of his energy on acquiring the monuments of “Music History from Primary Sources,” as he called the growing Moldenhauer Archives.

Hans Moldenhauer procured manuscripts from composers such as Berg, Brahms, Beethoven, Liszt and Lutoslawski, and obtained numerous items from the archives of Mahler, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, and Schoenberg. Moldenhauer acquired the Webern Archive in the 1960s and with his wife Rosaleen wrote the seminal biography Anton Webern, A Chronicle of His Life and Work (New York: Knopf, 1978), along with other publications on Webern.

At the time of Hans Moldenhauer’s death in 1987, the Moldenhauer Archives included many thousands of items that are now housed in nine institutions around the world: in the United States, at the Library of Congress, Harvard University, Northwestern University, Washington State University, and Whitworth College; in Basel, Switzerland, at the Paul Sacher Foundation; the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich; the Zentralbibliothek in Zurich; and in Vienna at the Stadtarchiv und Oesterreichische Nationalbibliothek. The Moldenhauer bequest to the Library of Congress in 1987 consisted of over 3,500 music manuscripts, letters, and other materials and was the greatest composite gift of musical documents yet received. The Library also received the funds to produce a volume, now published, The Rosaleen Moldenhauer Memorial: Music History from Primary Sources: A Guide to the Moldenhauer Archives, edited by Jon Newsom and Alfred Mann, Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 2000 [ISBN 0-8444-0987-1].

From the guide to the Moldenhauer Archives at the Library of Congress, circa 1000-circa 1990, (Music Division Library of Congress)


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Constellation Information

Ark ID:


  • Music--History and criticism
  • Music


not available for this record


  • Spokane, Wash. (as recorded)