Ethnomusicology Collections

Hornbostel and Herzog Collection

75 items (accession 1962-07)

These items were collected by Eric Von Hornbostel and George Herzog and were obtained by Indiana University in the 1950s. Dr. Hornbostel was both an ethnologist and musicologist in Austria. While much of his work is noteworthy, he is particularly well-known for co-developing the Hornbostel-Sachs classification system. This system is used by many museums to classify instruments. He was also the mentor of Dr. George Hertzog.

George Herzog was a Hungarian-born scholar who was among the first to blend the disciplines of anthropology, linguistics, and music into what would become known as ethnomusicology. Herzog was educated in Budapest and Berlin, where he served as an assistant to Erich M. Von Hornbostel at the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv during the early 1920s. Herzog joined the IU Anthropology faculty in 1948 bringing with him a collection of nearly 10,000 recordings from his own research as well as from scholars, collectors, and even institutions in the late 19th and early 20th century. There are over 40 field collections made by Herzog in ATM holdings, as well as an extensive collection of Herzog's papers, which include some papers and slip files acquired from Hornbostel.


Goqin 古琴 (Chinese lute) 1962.07.0001
Hiiu kannel (Estonian lyre) detail 1962.07.0003

Archives of Traditional Music transfers

199 items (accession 1966-29)

The mission of the Archives of Traditional Music focuses on sound recordings and accompanying print records so in 1966 the instruments held by the ATM were transferred to the IUMAA, known at the time as the IU Museum.

Laura Bolton Collection

390 items (accession 1986-12)

The Laura Boulton collection is one of the largest within the ethnomusicology collections at 390 items and is complimented by the materials at the ATM. The ATM has 170 boxes of correspondence, research notes, news clippings and ephemera, descriptive notes for recordings, drafts for publications (including journals, her autobiography, liner notes, TV and radio programs, and documentary films), information relating to her instrument collection, and personal materials.

ATM's Boulton collection finding aid on  Archives Online

Of particular note among the instruments that Boulton collected are a set of Haitian drums. Collected in the late 1930s these drums are a rarity in museum collections. The anti-superstition campaigns coordinated by government and clerical leaders in the 1920s through the early 1940s resulted in many drums of this type being destroyed. Today environmental change is radically changing the resources available for the construction of sacred drums, making the objects collected by Boulton all the more important. For more information on the topic, see:

Dirksen, R. (2020). After the dance, the drums are heavy : carnival, politics, and musical engagement in Haiti. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.


Kalaman (Filipino gong) 1986.12.0200
Haitian drum 1986.12.0277

Barbara and Alan Merriam Collection

33 instruments (accession 1988-01)

Dr. Merriam studied under Melville Herskovits at Northwestern and came to IU in 1962, and is the author of The Anthropology of Music, which looks at music from an anthropological perspective. He advocated for thinking not just about music in culture, but music as culture. His career was cut short when he died in a plane crash in 1980.

His collection includes instruments from Haiti as well as Africa. It is enriched by five field audio collections - made by Alan and Barbara Merriam, recorded throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, the United States, and Cuba, with even more in which Alan Merriam is featured as a speaker, interviewee, or the subject on the recordings. The ATM has a highlight page for one of the Merriams' collections recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which includes audio excerpts from the recordings!

ATM's Merriam Belgian Congo collection   

Alan Merriam's personal papers at Lilly Library

Terence Bech Collections

227 objects, 169 instruments (accessions 1973-13, 1974-02)

Terence Bech traveled more than 9,000 miles across Nepal, making recordings on an open-reel tape machine, totaling over 260 hours of performances and life histories. The Bech collections at the ATM include musical transcriptions, life histories, thousands of song texts, fieldnotes, and nearly 1500 photo slides.


Dhime धिमे (drum from Nepal) 1973.13.0001
Detail on Dhime of deity with 6 arms. 1973.13.0001

Frisbie Collection

189 items (accession 2003-01)

Charlotte and Ted Frisbie were faculty members at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville and experts on the American Southwest. Their collection includes musical instruments from across the globe.