Skip to main content
Use the right side menu to identify relevant boxes and place requests.

Volkwein Bros. Band collection

 Collection 0322-SCPA-ABA

Brothers Jacob C. Volkwein (1880-1984) and Rudolph G. Volkwein (1882-1954) were bandleaders and the proprietors of Volkwein’s Music, a major music store and publishing house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The collection includes photographs, news clippings, and professional writings detailing the two brothers’ careers.


  • 1907-1926 and undated

Condition Description

Some items are brittle, most are soiled from usual handling.


6 Items

3 Photographs

0.25 Linear Feet

Content Description

The Volkwein Brothers Band collection covers the period from 1907 to 1926 and includes undated material; the bulk of the materials date from 1907 to 1926. The collection consists of professional papers, ephemera, and realia including news clippings, photographs, business cards and contracts.

Historical Note

Brothers Jacob C. Volkwein (1880-1984) and Rudolph G. Volkwein (1882-1954), formerly Rudolf, were born in Breitenbach, Germany and in 1892 emigrated to work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Following a trip to Fred Bechtel’s Music House, Rudolph began working at the store and at Bechtel’s retirement in 1905 both brothers gained control of the business renaming it Volkwein Bros. This shop grew to become the second largest in the state and was known for its sheet music collection and also began publishing music. Following Rudoph’s death and Jacob’s retirement, Rudolph Volkwein’s sons took control of the business. The Volkweins were also active performers leading their own ensemble, the Volkwein Band. In addition to this, Jacob played the zither and trombone and Rudolph studied cornet and led the Keystone State Brass Band. The Brothers were members of the Musician’s Club of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Musical Society. Rudolph was a member of the Local 60 American Federation of Musicians and Jacob was a member of the American Guild of Organists, the American Bandmasters Association, and for four years served as president of the National Association of Sheet Music Dealers.

Arrangement of Collection

This collection is organized into three series.

• Series 1: Papers

• Series 2: Clippings

• Series 3: Photographs

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

These materials were originally transferred to Major Dale L. Harpham of the US Marine Corps Band Library, in his role as a liaison to the American Bandmasters Association Research Center, by agents of the Volkwein Bros. Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA in March 1972. For reasons unknown, Major Harpham never transferred the materials into the care of the Research Center at UMD. Consequently, the materials remained with the Marine Band Library until October 2017, when they were transferred into the care of the ABA Research Center by Master Gunnery Sgt. Jane Cross, Librarian and Archivist for the Marine Band.

Condition Description

Some items are brittle, most are soiled from usual handling.

Volkwein Bros. Band collection
Benjamin Jackson
January 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

University of Maryland Libraries
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park MD 20742 United States