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Robert Marsh Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Marsh

Scope and Content of the Collection

This collection contains significant correspondence mainly from the 1950s and 1960s with Cleveland Orchestra conductor George Szell, conductor and Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Artur Rodzinski, composer and pianist Alexander Tcherepnin, and journalist and NBC anchor John Chancellor.

Additionally, the collection includes large scrapbook pages containing newspaper clippings of Marsh’s reviews and columns, some correspondence, other clippings collected for personal interest, and memorabilia collected from 1969-1978.

Also included are Marsh’s classical record reviews from High Fidelity Magazine and his corrected unbound copy of The Cleveland Orchestra.

A 2015 addition from the Estate of Kathleen Marsh includes reel-to-reel tape recordings (currently inaccessible) of radio broadcast interviews and features on classical music, photographs of prominent conductors and musicians, many autographed to Marsh, and some memorabilia. The Peabody award certificate along with the recording of the Stravinsky program were also donated.


  • Creation: 1940-1986



Materials are in English.


The Robert Marsh Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Conditions Governing Audiovisual Access

Audiovisual recordings in this collection have not been digitized and are unavailable for use at this time.

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Robert Marsh Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Robert Marsh

Chicago music critic and author.

Robert Charles Marsh was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1924. He graduated from Northwestern University with degrees in journalism and philosophy, later receiving his doctorate from Harvard. He continued his studies, taking courses on music and philosophy at Cornell, the University of Chicago, Oxford and Cambridge. Marsh taught at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago between the years of 1947 and 1968 on a full-time or adjunct basis.

In 1956, Marsh succeeded Felix Borowski as music critic for the Chicago Sun-Times. He retained this position until his retirement in 1991. In addition to Marsh’s work with the Sun-Times, he was also a contributing classical record reviewer for High Fidelity Magazine between 1954 and 1980.

Marsh was a prolific author, writing works on Arturo Toscanini, the Cleveland Orchestra, and James Levine among others. When Marsh died he was nearly finished with a meticulous chronicle of opera in Chicago that he had been working on for over 20 years. Norman Pellegrini completed the work and published it in 2006.

Marsh won a Peabody Award for Broadcasting for his WFMT series on Igor Stravinsky, a collaborative effort with Chicago Daily News music critic, Karen Monson.

Marsh died in 2002 at the age of 77 after a long battle with cancer of the esophagus. He was survived by his wife Anne Noren Marsh and son James MacArgain Marsh.


6.8 Linear Feet (4 boxes, 3 oversize boxes)


Music scholar and Chicago Sun-Times classical music critic for over thirty years. Marsh chronicled a golden age for classical music in Chicago, including the tenures of Fritz Reiner and Georg Solti at the CSO and the Lyric Opera in its infancy. The collection includes correspondence, record reviews, photographs, memorabilia, audio recordings, and scrapbooks.


Materials are arranged by type of document. Sound recordings (reel to reel tapes) are arranged by size (12 inches, 7 inches, and 5 inches, respectively), then alphabetically by title.

Collection Stack Location

1 25 5; 1 38 1; 1 30 4 (oversize)


Gift of Robert Marsh, 1985-1997; Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 2015.

Processed by

Shannon Yule, 2007; Alison Hinderliter, 2015.


This inventory was created with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this inventory do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Inventory of the Robert Marsh Papers, 1940-1986
Shannon Yule
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 8/8/2015: Alison Hinderliter added photographs, memorabilia, and audio.

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States