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Leopold Mannes music manuscripts

Identifier: MP-0012-01


Leopold Mannes (1899-1964) was an American musician, educator, inventor, and son of the founders of the Mannes School of Music, David and Clara (Damrosch) Mannes. Leopold Mannes and Leopold Godowsky, Jr. invented Kodachrome color photography. Mannes became president of the Mannes School of Music in 1948. This collection contains music manuscripts of Mannes's compositions, including arrangements of pieces by other composers.


  • 1919-1979
  • Majority of material found within 1919-1929



1.2 Cubic Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials





Scope and Content of Collection

This collection contains manuscripts of Leopold Mannes's compositions and arrangements of existing works. His arrangements and transcriptions in the collection include piano arrangements of Gabriel Fauré's Orchestra Suite of Pelléas et Mélisande, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Prelude from his Sonata in E major, and a piano transcription of Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor. Mannes’s original compositions include, a String Quartet in C minor, a suite for orchestra, variations on a theme from Dvorak’s Symphony from the New World, piano cadenzas written for Mozart and Haydn concertos, works for two pianos, organ works, choral works, motets, madrigals, as well as several songs composed from poetry by William Shakespeare, Robert Louis Stevenson, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Heinrich Heine, and others. Some manuscripts are in photographic negative, photostatic, and photocopy form and contain annotations. The collection also contains some of Mannes’s published works by Editions Maurice Senart, Paris and Oliver Ditson.

The date range of the majority of the collection (1919-1929) suggests that most of the compositions were created during the period of time between Mannes’s study at Harvard University (1917-1920), his Pulitzer Music Scholarship (1925), and his Guggenheim Fellowship to study composition abroad in Italy (1926), where he studied with the noted composition teacher Rosario Scalero.

This collection includes only Mannes’s music compositions; unlike the Library of Congress’s Mannes-Damrosch collection, it does not contain correspondence or articles by Leopold Mannes, nor does it contain material pertaining to his experiments in photography or his tenure as head of Mannes School of Music. However, it does encompass a large extent of his musical work, including his most prominent compositions.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use. Please contact for appointment.

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact:

Biographical Note

Leopold Mannes (born 1899, New York, New York; died 1964, Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts) was an American musician, educator, and inventor. His parents, David Mannes, violinist and conductor, and Clara Mannes, pianist and daughter of conductor Leopold Damrosch, founded the David Mannes School of Music in 1916. In his youth, Leopold Mannes took music and piano lessons at the Mannes School and at the Institute of Musical Art (later known as The Juilliard School). He attended Riverdale School in New York City where he met Leopold Godowsky, Jr., the son of the famous concert pianist and composer. The two shared a mutual interest in photography, in addition to music, and they set up their own photographic laboratory in 1917.

Mannes attended Harvard University, studying physics and music, and graduated in 1920 with a bachelor’s degree in music. In 1922, he made his New York debut as a pianist, and in 1925, he won a Pulitzer Music Scholarship. In 1926, he received a Guggenheim fellowship to study composition in Italy. From 1927 to 1931, he taught music theory and composition at the Mannes School, while also continuing to work with Leopold Godowsky, Jr. on experiments to develop a technique for color photography.

In 1920, the two partners filed a patent for an additive color film process, but the technique was impractical. Their work, however, came to the attention of the head of research at the Eastman Kodak Company, C.E. Kenneth Mees, who convinced them in 1930 to move to the Kodak research laboratories in Rochester, New York to continue their experiments with Kodak’s staff and equipment. By 1935, Mannes and Godowsky had perfected the subtractive color system they had been working on since 1920 and the invention of Kodachrome was announced. The process was initially developed for motion picture film, but in 1936, Mannes and Godowsky applied it to still photography film as well. Kodachrome quickly became a success; within three years its sales of 16mm film eclipsed that of Kodak’s black and white stock. Kodachrome film remained in production until 2009.

In 1940, Mannes married Evelyn Sabin, a dancer who performed with Martha Graham’s dance company in the 1920s and was a student of Graham’s at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester (Mannes’s previous marriage to Edith Vernon Mann Simonds ended in divorce in 1933). After the success of Kodachrome, he returned to his music career in 1941, performing and serving as a co-director of the Mannes Music School with his parents, also teaching theory and composition as of 1946. In 1948, after the death of his mother, Leopold Mannes became president of the school, with his father David remaining part of the school as founder. In 1953, the school received a charter as a degree granting institution and its name was changed to The Mannes College of Music.

As a musician, Leopold Mannes created The Mannes Trio in 1949, later known as the Mannes-Gimpel-Silva Trio, which performed until 1955. He also composed original works, including his Suite for Two Pianos (1924), 3 Short Pieces for Orchestra (1926), String Quartet (1928), and incidental music for Shakespeare’s The Tempest (1930).

Leopold Mannes remained president of The Mannes College of Music until his death in 1964. He and Leopold Godowsky, Jr. were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2005.


Ashton, George. “50 Years of Kodachrome.” The British Journal of Photography. (12 April 1985): 418-423.

“Evelyn Sabin, 90, Student of Graham.” 1998. New York Times. Last modified October 29, 1998. Accessed March 31, 2020.

“Leopold Mannes.” John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Accessed March 31, 2020.

“Leopold Mannes.” National Inventors Hall of Fame. Accessed March 31, 2020.

“Leopold Mannes, American Musician and Photography Technician.” In Encyclopedia Britannica. Last modified December 22, 2019. Accessed March 31, 2020.

“Leopold Mannes, Pianist, Dies; Inventor Headed Music School.” 1964. The New York Times. Last modified August 12, 1964. Accessed March 31, 2020.

“Mannes: History.” The New School. Accessed March 31, 2020.

Oron, Aryeh. 2007. “Leopold Mannes (Composer, Arranger).” Accessed March 31, 2020.

Suddath, Claire. 2009. “A Brief History of Kodachrome.” Time. Last modified June 23, 2009. Accessed March 31, 2020.,8599,1906503,00.html.

Organization and Arrangement

Organized into 6 series; within series, arranged alphabetically by title.

  1. Organ Works
  2. Piano Cadenzas
  3. Piano Works
  4. String Quartet in C minor
  5. Suite for Orchestra
  6. Vocal works

Custodial History

No accession file exists. Custodial history of collection is unknown. Based on documentation within the collection itself, New School Archives staff believe this to be a compilation created by the librarians of Mannes College of Music from multiple accessions.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from Harry Scherman Library of Mannes School of Music to the New School Archives, 2015.

Related Materials

Collections outside of The New School related to Leopold Mannes include the Mannes-Damrosch collection at Library of Congress and the Evelyn Sabin papers at New York Public Library's Jerome Robbins Dance Division. Sabin was Mannes's wife and the collection contains two scrapbooks concerning his career. The New School Archives holds a collection with Mannes's notes for a 1940 lecture at Carnegie Hall and notes related to his experiments with color photography.

Processing Information

This guide supercedes the bibliographic record for the collection (OCLC number 827470781), created prior to the processing of the collection.

The New School Archives and Special Collections acknowledges researcher Matthew Gamber's insights into the collection.

Guide to the Leopold Mannes music manuscripts
Jason Adamo
September 16, 2022
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