John Cage Collection

Printer-friendly versionSend by email

The John Cage Collection documents the life and work of John Cage (1912-1992), one of the twentieth century's most revolutionary and influential composers. The collection includes thousands of letters by and to Cage from the late 1940s through the end of his life, manuscripts by various composers collected by Cage for his book Notations, scrapbooks, and other materials.


The John Cage Collection is organized into six series and two sub-series.

Brief Description


I. Correspondence, 1909-1993; n.d.

Letters, documents, and other correspondence to and from Cage

Series I Finding Aid
II. Notations Project, 1884-1990 (bulk 1960-1969); n.d.
  • Sub-series 1: Manuscripts
  • Sub-series 2: Correspondence

Music manuscripts by 274 composers collected by Cage for his book, Notations (New York: Something Else Press, 1969); related correspondence

Series II Finding Aid
III. Scores, 1914-1975; n.d.

Various music manuscripts in Cage’s possession.

Note: This series has been separated from the John Cage Collection. All items have been added to the General Manuscript Collection, and are searchable in NUsearch.

IV. Scrapbooks, 1917-1951; n.d. Nine scrapbooks with photographs and other records of Cage's childhood and formative years Unprocessed; not available
V. Ephemera, 1909-1995; n.d. Wide variety of items collected by Cage, including programs, articles, books, clippings, and other materials Unprocessed; not available

VI. Correspondence Addenda, 1941-1992; n.d.

Correspondence related to Cage but acquired separately by the Music Library

Series VI Finding Aid

Using the John Cage Collection

Processed series are available to Northwestern students, faculty, and visiting researchers for on-site examination by appointment and in accordance with the Policy for Using Rare Music Library Materials.