UW–Madison Libraries Services during COVID–19

COVID–19 Library Dashboard
Get the latest information on the status of library spaces and services
Instructional Continuity
Support for teaching and learning at a distance
Remote Library Services
Robust services available online

We are here to help

Contact a librarian via chat or email

Mills Music Library

Key Links

Library Catalog

Oxford Music Online (Grove)

ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global


WorldCat FirstSearch

Notes from Underground

See more

Mills Music Library Instagram

  • Happy Friday! It’s getting harder to keep track of what day it is, or how long a week lasts, or what “weekend” means, during these COVID-19 pandemic days, but we double-checked the calendar and it’s Friday. Time to slide into the evening and enjoy some music! ⁣
Travel with us to the Gordon Tavern in Schofield, Wisconsin, just south of Wausau and across the Wisconsin River from Rib Mountain. That’s Bessie Gordon at her cut-down reed organ under the tavern counter, in photos taken by Helene Stratman-Thomas on August 13, 1941. ⁣
Between 1940 and 1946, the Wisconsin Folk Music Recording Project, co-sponsored by UW-Madison and the Library of Congress, sent School of Music faculty member Helene Stratman-Thomas (1896–1973) on collecting expeditions around Wisconsin to record and document the folk music and folklore that reflected the colorful pattern of immigration and occupational development in the state.⁣
Stratman-Thomas also recorded Bessie Gordon performing “Gambler’s Blues” on this day. From her notes: “When Mrs. Gordon consented to sing some of the songs she sang for the entertainment of⁣
the customers at the Gordon tavern, she said, “Usually I play the organ when I sing.” She⁣
replied to our questioning look as to the whereabouts of the organ by taking us behind the counter and showing us the little reed organ that had been cut down to fit under the counter.” ⁣
You may hear Bessie Gordon yodeling her way through this song, see Stratman-Thomas’s transcription of the melody, read the lyrics and the field notes, and see more photos from the day in the Wisconsin Folksong Collection, 1937-1946 via @uwdigitalcollections This collection documents nearly 800 performances, representing more than thirty ethnic or geographical sources. Cheers! Prosit! Skål! Salud! Sláinte! #happyfriday #schofieldwisconsin #bessiegordon #gamblersblues #helenestratmanthomas #helenestratmanthomascollection #wisconsinfolksongcollection #onwisconsinathome #millsmusiclibrary
  • Circulating Sounds, our weekly radio show, airs noon-1 (CDT) on Thursdays on WSUM 91.7 FM Madison, and also streams live via wsum.org. @wsum91.7 ⁣⁣⁣
The library is closed, and we’re all working from home, but thanks to technology, our radio show will continue throughout the COVID-19 pandemic! WSUM is considered an essential service of @uwmadison and we’re happy to be part of it. ⁣
Nate Gibson is the host for this week’s show, and the theme is Staff Picks. Nate writes: When you walk into Mills Music Library in the basement of Memorial Library, you’ll see a lot of things: framed portraits and sheet music and LPs hanging on the walls; staff offices; rows of reference books, display cases with rotating collection highlights, as well as lots of tables, carrels and desks to work from; and a large front desk, several staff members, and across from the front desk and staff members is a large rotating shelf of staff recommendations—books, CDs, box sets, LPs, and more—that our staff thinks people should know about. Well, with foot traffic being a little down right now [hope everyone is staying safe and keeping their social distance whilst Mills is closed], I thought I’d bring that recommendation shelf to you. This show is entirely made up of recommendations by the staff of Mills Music Library and through these tunes you can learn a little bit about our staff and hopefully be exposed to some new music. #circulatingsounds #wsum #thesnakeonthelake #staffpicks #onwisconsinathome #millsmusiclibrary
  • Spring Break 2020 is over, and we’re now fully in uncharted territory. We are all telecommuting, just as all @uwmadison faculty are teaching their students remotely via various online platforms. We’ll get back to the strictly music content tomorrow, but today we wanted to make sure those who need to know know how @uwmadlibraries is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. You will find the pictured links on our home page (link in bio), and at the top of all UW-Madison Libraries webpages. We are here (although “here” is now much more a concept than a single physical space) to help! #covid_19 #millsmusiclibrary
  • Spring is here! In the northern hemisphere, that is, where the vernal equinox happened at 10:49 pm (CDT) local time. It’s the earliest the vernal equinox has occurred across the contiguous United States in 124 years, due to leap years and daylight saving time. For the record, in 1896 the vernal equinox arrived on March 19 at 9:29 p.m. EST (0229 GMT on March 20). ⁣
It’s possible that people were singing this song from our Americana Sheet Music Collection that day in 1896, because it was already two years old! Spring Is Here, words by Annette Baker, music by Edith A. Dick. New York: Edward Schuberth & Co. (11 E. 22nd St.); London: Ascherberg, Hopwood & Crew, Ltd., 1894. [ID: Americana.am5403.bib] The entire song is available online via @uwdigitalcollections #springishere #vernalequinox #annettebaker #edithdick #americanasheetmusiccollection #millsmusiclibrary
  • It’s the end of the first day of Mills Music Library being closed, and the first day that the staff have worked remotely. We’re finding our way forward, and discussing ways to do our work differently as we transition to this new model. We can’t utilize our physical holdings to set up memorials to musicians who’ve passed away, for example. So, here is the first of what may prove to be many memorial posts, highlighting materials available online via various databases to which we subscribe. ⁣
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge died of Leukemia this past Saturday in Manhattan at age 70. Here is how John Leland began his obituary in The New York Times: ⁣
“Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, the provocative British musician, writer and visual artist who pushed the limits of gender and the self, often using her own skin as her medium, has dropped her body.⁣
At least, that is how she might have described the transition. Even in death, she would not have wanted to be held to drab social norms.”⁣
Genesis—born Neil Andrew Megson on Feb. 22, 1950, in Manchester, England—led the groups Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, among other artistic pursuits, and undertook a long-running surgical project to merge identities with her wife, Jacqueline Mary Breyer (who died of an acute heart arrhythmia in 2007), in a single nongendered being they called a “pandrogyne.” @pandrogyne ⁣
Psychic TV: Black Joy is a film combining two programs: Black was filmed live at Subterrania Club, London, in March, 1991; Joy includes live footage from a show at Manchester Poly in October, 1988. It’s available to stream from Films on Demand, a database with over 39,000 titles. You will find the link in our library catalog, or via the Database Library on the @uwmadlibraries site. #genesisporridge #psychictv #pandrogyne #filmsondemand #streamingvideo #millsmusiclibrary ⁣
  • All of the focus on responding to the new coronavirus and COVID-19 certainly distracted us from celebrating St. Patrick’s Day today, but we’re sharing this selection from our Americana Sheet Music Collection for all who might still be wearing the green: Wearing of the Green, arranged by S. Behrens. Sung in Arrah na Pogue. As performed by: J. E. McDonough. Philadelphia: Chas. W. A. Trumpler (7th and Chestnut St.), 1865. [ID: Americana.am1608.bib] The entire song is available online via @uwdigitalcollections #stpatricksday #wearingofthegreen #americanasheetmusiccollection #millsmusiclibrary
More photos