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Frequently asked questions about the Moog archive donation to Cornell University Library (CUL)

Updated July 29, 2013

1. How did this donation come about?

Dr. Robert Moog left the items that constitute his archives to his wife, Dr. Ileana Grams-Moog. She approached CUL with the donation for two reasons: 

a) Dr. Moog's close ties to the Ithaca and Trumansburg communities. Dr. Moog received his PhD from Cornell’s highly ranked Engineering Physics program and he maintained ties to Cornell throughout his life; and

b) CUL's internationally recognized record of stewardship of irreplaceable items and making such items broadly available to researchers, undergraduates, and the general public.

2. Is CUL prepared to take on the responsibility?

Yes. We have nearly 150 years’ worth of experience in preserving and managing primary sources, and making them available for people to use.

The Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections (RMC) employs an expert staff of archivists and maintains state-of-the-art facilities, an extensive digitization program, and active public programming.  

And Dr. Moog’s legacy will stand alongside such treasures as a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln; the Gettysburg Address in Lincoln’s own handwriting; works and artifacts belonging to Antoine Lavoisier, Marquis de Lafayette, and Isaac Newton; Ezra Cornell’s telegraph; Hans Bethe’s papers; and — particularly important — music-related holdings from medieval graduals to punk and the largest collection in the world on hip-hop culture. The impact of music on 20th-century culture is a pronounced and growing focus for RMC.

3. Is CUL equipped to preserve this material? 

Yes. Cornell has world-renowned Preservation and Conservation Services, which provide expert care and repair for archival materials. If a preservation need arises that we cannot accommodate in-house, we contract it out to entities with the specialized skills required. 

4. Who will be able to consult and study the archives?

Anyone can use them. We welcome researchers and fans alike. More information, guidelines, and FAQs are available online.

5. How about digitization?

CUL started digitizing print materials in the late 1980s and has continued this tradition ever since. Consult the registry of digital collections for more information. These collections encompass multiple media and feature sophisticated interfaces for easy online access.  

When permitted by copyright and other laws, CUL makes its digital assets available for use by anyone, free of charge. Cornell’s position on removing restrictions on the use of digitized materials places it in the forefront of institutions promoting broad access.

6. Will you put the Moog archive on display?

RMC stages two major and several smaller exhibits every year. Exhibits are also accessible online. We lend items for exhibits elsewhere, and Dr. Ileana Grams-Moog specifically requested that we make materials available for loan for exhibitions in Asheville, which we will absolutely do.

7. Are the archives on campus yet?

No. We expect the donation to arrive later this year.

8. Where are the archives currently located?

It's our understanding that the archives are currently stored in several locations. This donation unites the entire archive in a single location, where all the materials will be accessible to scholars, researchers, and the public.

The choice of what to do with the archives belongs to Dr. Ileana Grams-Moog. She described her reasons for choosing the Library in the Asheville Citizen-Times.

9. Do archivists interpret archives? 

Archivists preserve primary materials and make them accessible to researchers who do the interpretation. That is the ethos of the profession. We have curatorial expertise in place to help researchers access materials in the archives. We adhere to the American Library Association and Society of American Archivists’ Joint Statement on Access, which directs that a repository is responsible for making original research materials available on equal terms of access.

10. What about the contributions others have made to advancing the Bob Moog legacy?

We gratefully acknowledge  the many people who have contributed their skills and enthusiasm to carrying forward the Moog legacy, including those at the Bob Moog Foundation. Asheville will remain a center for Moog celebrations and other activities with Moog Music, the Bob Moog Foundation, and Moogfest all located there.

We are also hearing from many others around the United States who have archival material and/or expertise to share. We are open to and interested in collaborating with anyone who has unique knowledge to contribute.