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Gilbert H. Mitchell Collection

 Collection 0080-SCPA
As a cornettist, conductor and educator, Gilbert H. Mitchell, Jr. (b. 1925) has been involved with numerous ensembles. His career began in 1943, at the age of 18, when he substituted with the Radio City Music Hall Symphony Orchestra and began to work with Leopold Stokowski and the New York City Symphony. Drafted into the Army in 1946, he began an illustrious career as a cornettist and conductor with the United States Army Band "Pershing's Own." He co-founded the Army Herald Trumpets and coordinated music for the state funeral of President John F. Kennedy. The collection consists of letters of commendation and awards related to Mitchell's career with the Army Band, photographs from throughout his career, and Mitchell's self-published memoir.


  • 1943-1998
  • Majority of material found within 1960-1970

Use and Access to Collection

There are no restricted files in this collection.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Materials from this collection must be used in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Contact the curator for an appointment:


1.50 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Gilbert H. Mitchell Collection covers the period from 1943 to 1982; the bulk of the materials date from 1960 to 1970. The collection consists of letters of commendation, awards related to Mitchell's career as a cornettist and conductor of the United States Army Band "Pershing's Own," photographs from throughout his musical career, and a copy of his self-published memoir.


Gilbert H. Mitchell, Jr. was born in Lykens, Pennsylvania in 1925. His early cornet instruction was at the Williams School in New York, under Dr. Ernest S. Williams. In 1943, Mitchell began his professional career playing trumpet with the Radio City Music Hall Symphony Orchestra and the New York City Symphony, under the direction of Leopold Stokowski. He joined the New Orleans Symphony, conducted by Massimo Freccia, as first trumpet in 1944.

In 1946, Gilbert Mitchell was drafted into the Army and began his career as a cornettist in the United States Army Band. In the late 1950s, Mitchell co-founded and directed the Herald Trumpets. In 1960, Mitchell was promoted from Master Sergeant to Captain and appointed assistant conductor of the Army Band. For his work as a conductor, Mitchell was awarded the Army Commendation Medal four times. He retired from the Army on November 30, 1970 as Associate Conductor at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was awarded the Legion of Merit.

After retirement, Mitchell continued his musical career as a conductor and educator, conducting the U.S. Department of Agriculture Symphony Orchestra and the Northern Virginia Chamber Orchestra, teaching trumpet as George Mason University, and founding the Brass of Peace scholarship program. In 2009, he was awarded the distinction of Conductor Emeritus for the Army Band.


This collection is organized into four series.
  1. Series 1: Memoirs
  2. Series 2: Letters of Thanks, Appreciation, and Commendation
  3. Series 3: Photographs
  4. Series 4: Awards and Certificates

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The collection comprises several gifts made by Lt. Col. Mitchell between 1998 and 2009.

Related Material

This collection is part of the American Bandmasters Association Research Center.

American Bandmasters Association 64th Annual Conference 1998: US Air Force Band. Guest conductor. Compact Disc. [ABA Recordings Collection]

100th Anniversary of the Birth of Ernest S. Williams. Guest conductor. Audio cassette tape. [ABA Recordings Collection]

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.
Gilbert H. Mitchell Collection
Processed by David Travis, November 2009, and Leahkim Gannett, March 2010.
Language of description
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Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

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