This essay in music bibliography is intended to give a hint to scholars in American music of the peculiar character and value of the Louisville Orchestra's archives housed in the University of Louisville Archives and Records Center and the Dwight Anderson Memorial Music Library by presenting in diplomatic facsimile with some photographic facsimiles a selection of the letters written by the composers to the Louisville Orchestra concerning some phase of the procedure for commissioning, performing, and recording the composers' works. The diplomatic facsimiles preserve as many features of the originals as is practical, including the spacing of the letter on the page with the exception of the justified margins. Italics are used to represent handwriting, so that manual corrections of typescript will appear in italics, as will signatures.
The Louisville Orchestra New Music Project was a unique phenomenon in modern American, perhaps European, music history. At no place or time was so much music created in such a short period composed for the small orchestra and the regional opera house. It was as if for a brief moment the creative patronage of the 18th century had been reborn in a modern transformation and in an unlikely place - mid-America - as private foundations, private citizens, and civic government banded together to solve the problem of supporting a type of music only marginally able to survive in the commercial world. But brief as that moment may have been, when history has brought the event into focus, we may be able to learn from the lesson and reawaken that fecund time.