A University of Chicago professor and editor of editions and series of Renaissance music, Howard Mayer Brown (1930-1993) was also a great collector of libretti, musical instruments, and books on music. Brown donated his library and papers to the Newberry.
In addition to collecting numerous liturgical books and opera libretti, Brown directed considerable resources to the microfilming of music from the 13th through the 19th centuries. This collection of manuscripts and printed works in more than 1,000 microfilms covers the thirteenth through nineteenth centuries, with the bulk treating the Medieval, Renaissance, and early Baroque period (before 1700). It includes medieval chants, renaissance lute tablature, Venetian madrigals, medieval French chansons, French Renaissance songs, 16th to 17th-century Italian madrigals, 18th-century opera libretti, copies of opera manuscripts, 15th-century missals, books of hours, graduals, and selected theatrical works.
The collection of Brown’s microfilm held at the Newberry is organized according to the microfilm listing Brown compiled (available as a PDF file) and is not formally cataloged. Entries vary in detail; some include RISM numbers which can be used to find a complete description of the work, other works are identified only by the library and shelf mark, and still others will require going to the microfilm reel for proper identification.