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Jonathan Britton Elkus: Lehigh 1957-1973

Identifier: SC MS 0265

Scope and Contents

The collection contains correspondence, concert programs, music scores, newspaper clippings of critical reviews and photographs. Much of the correspondence was in file folders that have been cataloged into the first box, and subsequent boxes contain pages from four albums arranged personally by Professor Elkus. The three ring albums were replaced by archival boxes for better long term storage.


  • 1949-2010
  • Majority of material found within 1957-1973


Conditions Governing Access

Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Conditions Governing Use

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Jonathan Elkus is a composer, arranger, editor and teacher. Born in 1931 in San Francisco, California, son of Albert I. Elkus and Florence Britton Elkus. He attended University of California, Berkeley and graduated 1953. He graduated Stanford University with a MA in 1954 and continued his post graduate studies with Darius Milhaud at Mills College until 1957. In 1957, he came to Lehigh University and taught music and was Lehigh’s Marching 97 Band director until 1973. He left Lehigh University to pursue his composing talent. He then became visiting professor at North Carolina School of the Arts and Yale School of Music. In 1979 he became director of the Cape Cod Academy. He then went to University of California, Davis in 1992 from where he retired in 2007. He also was an arranger for the Goldman Band and frequent band conductor in their Central Park summer concerts. In 2002 he received the Edwin Franko Goldman Memorial Citation of the American Bandmasters Association. He specializes in Charles Ives music and has transcribed Ives’ music for the U.S. Marine Band and is well known for his critical edition of Charles Ives’ Symphony No. 2. He is editor of the Charles Ives Society editions. He has composed and published operas, chamber music, works for band, and songs. While at Lehigh, he composed the operas “The Mandarin” with Richard Franko Goldman as librettist, “Medea,” “Helen in Egypt,” “Outcasts of Poker Flats (world premiere at Lehigh in 1960) ,” and conducted the Lehigh Brass Group in an outstanding recording Music for Brass Choir which included compositions of three American composers: Wallingford Riegger, Carl Ruggles and Henry Brant. Professor Elkus has made many transcriptions and arrangements of American music, Sousa marches and Charles Ives’ works. He and his wife, Mickey (Marilyn), own Overland Music Distributors. His students addressed him as “Moose.”


5 boxes ; 2 linear feet

Language of Materials



Collection contains memorabilia from Professor Jonathan Elkus during his tenure (1957-1973) at Lehigh University in the Music Department as professor and director of the University’s Marching 97 Band. The collection contains correspondence, concert programs, music scores, newspaper clippings of critical reviews and photographs.


The materials are arranged alphabetically, chronologically and by format. The correspondence is arranged alphabetically and the three albums containing newspaper clippings, music programs, etc. are chronological. The correspondence box is first and the albums follow.

Other Finding Aids

Elkus, Jonathan. L-SPCOLL-A SC LVF E45 (Elkus Music Co., J. B. Elkus & Son Music Co.)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Professor Jonathan Elkus donated all of the material contained in the collection on July 8, 2013. His personal feeling is that the material tells a story of the growth of the Music Department at Lehigh University. Additional material was donated by Professor Elkus in May 2016 including three reel to reel tapes: The Mandarin, Medea and The Outcasts of Poker Flat.

Related Materials

1956. Elkus, Jonathan. “Tom Sawyer:” a musical play in one act and seven scenes. Book and lyrics by author from novel by Mark Twain. LU 782.8 E43to

1962. Elkus, Jonathan. “Treasure Island.” Libretto by Bruce M. Snyder. LU 782.8 E 43t3

1964. Elkus, Jonathan. “Five Sketches:” for two clarinet and bassoon. LU M357.2 E689.S5

1965. Elkus, Jonathan. Opera Manuscripts. LU SC MS 0021, SC MS 0223x

1966. Elkus, Jonathan. “Gryphons, grades and the holy grail.” LU L E43g

1966. Elkus, Jonathan. Three Medieval pieces for organ solo, edited by Robert Cutler. SC R 782.8 E43muth

1969. Elkus, Jonathan. “The Mandarin:” opera buffa in three acts. Book by Richard Franko Goldman. LU 782.12 E43m

Separated Materials

1967 January 9 1966-1967 Lehigh University Minutes of the Faculty Meeting (addressed to Jonathan B. Elkus from Ralph N. Van Arnam 1967? Brochure The Lehigh University Band and postcard of LEHIGH on field 1971 September 21 from Leopold Stokowski LS Apartment 14, 1067 Fifth Avenue, New York 28, N Y to Jonathan Elkus regrets than he cannot conduct Grunde Symphonie (typed note but original signature – to be added to I Remain archive of original signatures) 1972 Pops black and white photograph measuring 20.5 x 25.5 cm of Elkus on podium 1972 December 16 The Bethlehem Globe-Times “Christmas Eve with Bach on national TV” newspaper article 1973 April 27 The Brown and White “Band’s Pops Concert is Farewell for Elkus” 1973 Reunion Lehigh Alumni Bulletin, pages 1-4,8-10 featuring Elkus and Band 1973 June 30 The Lehigh University Band, Inc….Report for the Fiscal Year End June 30, 1973 (as at May 6, 1973, prematurely) S. D. Leidisdork & Co. The Best God-Damned Accountants in New York City(5 pages stapled) 1973 July 23 Memo from Robert Cutler to Members of the Band announces that the new director of the Lehigh Band is Professor James Brown 1974 February 24 note from Kinn ? re: Winter Concert and Henry Brant 1991 August 7 from Philip A. Metzger to Elkus re: Elkus visit to Lehigh 2007 Fall Lehigh Alumni Bulletin, pages cover, 17-23 “Forward March” Marching 97 (on cover From Jim Hobbs) 2009 September 28 from George Ruckert (MIT) to Elkus (recollections of band Concerts) 2013 September 14 from Steve Breckley (Chandler, AZ) to Elkus re: banquet 2013 September 28 program The Lehigh University March 97 Presents: The 107th Anniversary of the Marching 97, Saturday, September 28th, 2013 Holiday Inn Center City, Allentown, PA (with 3 name cards: Join the Marching 97 Booster Club!, Craig A. Franklin, The Sayre Mansion Inn

2014 June 7 from Elkus to Ilhan Citak re: article about Bethlehem in Preservation, Fall 2013 2016 May 10 E-mail between Elkus and Ilhan Citak

Ilhan Citak and Eleanor Nothelfer
July 11, 2013
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Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)