The Beethoven Center’s reading room houses open stack collections of books, scores, microforms, recordings, and journal articles. Although none of the Center’s collections may be checked out of the library, visitors are welcome to use the materials in the open stacks during the Center’s open hours without prior arrangements. The Beethoven Center’s vault collections include manuscripts, rare books, first and early editions of scores, artworks, and archives.
For a count of all cataloged materials in our collection, see the Collection Statistics web page.
Most of the Beethoven Center’s library materials (including books, scores, recordings, etc.) are included in the San José State University Library catalog, OneSearch.
For assistance finding Beethoven Center materials in the online catalog, download the Beethoven Center OneSearch Guide [pdf].
Some of the Center’s museum materials (such as sculptures and other objects) are not yet cataloged online but will be gradually added to the Digital Collections.
Visit the Beethoven Digital Collections page of the King Library Special Collections website to view and download images of materials from the Center's collection. Additions to the digital collections are ongoing.
First and Early Editions
You can view and download entire scores from the Center’s collection. For more information, visit the First and Early Editions web page.
The Center owns several original Beethoven manuscripts, including seven letters from Beethoven to his publishers, friends, and other associates.
For more information, visit the Manuscripts web page.
Images in our collection include portraits of Beethoven and his contemporaries, images of sculpture and other works of art inspired by Beethoven, engravings of Vienna and other locations, and maps.
The Beethoven Center owns several unique objects in addition to its extensive collection of busts, sculpture, and other art media.
Featured items include:
- Locks of Beethoven’s hair
- Beethoven’s quill pen
- Beethoven’s shirt
- Mälzel’s metronome from 1815
Access to Collections
The Beethoven Center welcomes all researchers, from students to scholars, to use our collections on site. Drop-in research using the open stack collections is allowed, but those wanting access to rare materials will need to request them at least one day in advance.
The Center is open to the public without charge. To determine the location of materials, consult the online catalog or contact the Curator. Access to these collections should be requested in advance by contacting the Curator or other staff. Some materials may not be available on Saturday afternoons.
Researchers wishing to examine rare materials in the collection for specific projects will need to register when they arrive. For use of the open stack materials, no registration is required.
Many of the Beethoven Center’s materials are in the public domain and may downloaded from our Digital Collections without permission. However, use of any of the Beethoven Center’s materials in publications (online or print) may require permission and sometimes a fee. Downloading and reproduction of copyrighted materials fall under the fair use statue of U.S. Copyright law (Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use).
For further information, see our Guidelines on Permissions and Fees [pdf].