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Sylvia Meyer papers

Identifier: MSS 7764

Scope and Contents

The collection contains letters, newspaper clippings, photographs, books, articles, concert programs, correspondence, and World Harp Congress harp publications collected by Sylvia Meyer throughout her career as a harpist. Approximate dates range from 1930 to 2001. The items are associated with the American Harp Society. It also contains directories, notes, and certificates regarding members of the American Harp Society.


  • approximately 1930-2001


Conditions Governing Access

Open to public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material from the Sylvia Meyer papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

Sylvia Meyer (1907-2005) was a prominent harpist of the 20th century. She studied under Carlos Salzedo and was the first female member of the National Symphony Orchestra.

Sylvia Meyer was born in Madison, Wisconsin, November 23, 1907. Shortly thereafter, she moved to Washington because of her father's job. Sylvia got her start on the harp when her mother, an antique collector, brought home a $2.50 harp that was rusting and was missing the base and pedals. Her parents thought it was important to play an instrument, and she started playing at age seven. She then began studying at a local conservatory in Washington and eventually went on to graduate from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. She was also a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, where she majored in geology. She studied with Carlos Salzedo at his summer school in Camden, Maine. Salzedo then recommended her to the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) where she became the first female member in 1933. Sylvia played with the orchestra for decades before losing a fingertip in a gardening accident with pruning shears. Because of the extended medical leave caused by this accident, she was replaced by Ann Hobson-Pilot and was forced into retirement. Sylvia was married to Oliver Gasch, a former judge on the U.S. District Court, until he died in 1999. Six years later, she died of pneumonia at Suburban Hospital on March 26, 2005. She was ninety-seven years old.


16 boxes (8 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged into six series: I. Sylvia Meyer personal papers, 1916-1997. II. American Harp Society records, 1956-1996. III. World Harp Congress publications, 1974-1997. IV. Sylvia Meyer collection on Salzedo Centennial, 1985-1998. V. Sylvia Meyer collection on the Ginaster Concerto, 1967-68. VI. Sylvia Meyer collection of harp journals, 1976-1998.

The original order of the collection has been retained. Items in the series are spread throughout the collection.

Custodial History

Donated by Sylvia Meyer in 1997.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Sylvia Meyer; 1997.


Prominent Harpists (Section IV.a.i. International Harp Collection Development Policy, January 2011).

Processing Information

Processed; Lynzi Phillips; March 2011.

Register of the Sylvia Meyer papers
Lynzi Phillips
2011 March 1
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States