Barbara Cooke is an alumna of USF whose career in musical theatre has spanned 30+ years. She spent time on stage in both Chicago and New York City, all the while collecting sheet music, books and other items related to musical theatre. Her collection is a treasure that is an incredible resource for students and researchers alike.
Ms. Cooke contacted the University in January 2008 about the possibility of donating her collection to the school. The initial meeting was a time for Ms. Cooke to explain what her collection consisted of, what it means to her and what her hopes were for it in the future. She mesmerized the USF staff with her tales of life both onstage and backstage and the lengths she has gone to in the past to add to her collection.
The Deed of Gift was signed on May 5, 2008 officially transferring ownership of the collection to USF. Room G10 on the Lower Level of the Library was converted into the Barbara A. Cooke Musical Theatre Collection Room by adding appropriate furniture, shelving and a fresh coat of paint. In September 2008 the boxes containing the collection materials were delivered to the Library and Barbara began the hefty task of unpacking boxes and organizing the materials within the room. With the help of a couple of Archives Student Workers Ms. Cooke was able to organize the room using her extensive knowledge of musical theatre subjects as a guideline.
The collection was officially opened to the public at the Grand Opening Reception held on March 27th, 2009 on the Lower Level of the Library outside the Barbara A. Cooke Musical Theatre Collection Room. The collection is now an official part of the Brown Library Archives and is constantly being added to by continued donations by Ms. Cooke and from other interested patrons.
The Barbara A. Cooke Musical Theatre Collection includes sheet music, complete scores, musical theater reference books, CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, LP records, theatre magazines and much more.
The books and materials in this collection are non-circulating and may only be used in the Barbara A. Cooke Musical Theatre Collection Room. Equipment is provided for use in the room, including a TV, DVD player, VHS player, CD player, Record player and copy machine.
The Barbara A. Cooke Sheet Music Collection is an online collection that contains digital images of sheet music from Ms. Cooke's collection that is in the public domain. As more music becomes available it will be scanned and added, making this an ever growing online collection. Visit the collection here.