sign up button

Weill-Lenya Research Center

7 East 20th Street, 3rd floor
New York, NY 10003
(212) 505-5240 / FAX (212) 353-9663
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Weill-Lenya Research Center is located on the third floor of a 12-story building in a historic area of Manhattan known as the Flatiron District, situated west of Gramercy Park and east of Chelsea. It is accessible by subway (1,4,5,6,F,M,N,Q,R,W) and bus (M1-3,5-7,23) lines (map). The facilities include a reading room, video viewing room, listening facilities, and photocopy equipment.


Monday-Friday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM, by appointment only.
Closed weekends.
Closed on major holidays and the last week in December.

The Research Center may be closed occasionally at other times. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. well in advance if you plan to travel to New York.


Scope of the Collection

The Weill-Lenya Research Center is the principal international repository for research materials related to the life and work of composer Kurt Weill (1900- 1950) and actress-singer Lotte Lenya (1898-1981). As a combination library, manuscript repository, and media center, the Research Center attempts to acquire original documents as well as reproductions of materials that are held in repositories or private collections worldwide. The collections document not only Weill's and Lenya's achievements during their lifetimes, but also how their legacies have influenced the cultural history of the twentieth century.

The Research Center serves an international clientele of scholars working in a wide range of disciplines, including musicology, music theory, music performance, theater history, twentieth-century cultural history, women's studies, Jewish studies, and emigré studies. The collections are also used by musicians, actors, directors, and other music and theater practitioners and professionals, as well as the electronic and print media, record companies, film companies, and museums. Since the opening of the Weill-Lenya Research Center in 1983, its collections have provided source materials for a large number of books and dissertations and assisted in the planning and realization of nearly three decades' worth of concert and stage performances, festivals, broadcasts, exhibitions, and recordings.

The Research Center also supports the program activites of the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music and serves as the source repository for the Kurt Weill Edition.

Scope of the collection

In 1981 Lotte Lenya bequeathed to the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music a core collection of printed music, music manuscripts, scripts, correspondence, audio and video recordings, films, programs, photographs, posters, press clippings, business records, the papers of her second and third husbands, George Davis and Russell Detwiler, and the personal libraries of Weill and Lenya, mostly collected by Weill and Lenya after their immigration to the United States in 1935 (bulk dates 1935-1981). Since 1983, acquisitions efforts have focused on materials related to Weill's and Lenya's European careers and have augmented the collection significantly. For example, the collection now includes photocopies of Weill's holograph manuscripts from Universal Edition, Vienna, holographs of juvenilia and family correspondence (Hans and Rita Weill Collection), first editions and performance documentation sent by Weill to his parents in Israel (Hannelore Marom-Bergman Collection), photocopies of Weill's writings for Der deutsche Rundfunk, photocopies of correspondence with Weill's publishers, non-autograph manuscript material from the archives of Universal Edition, and a number of collections acquired from repositories and private sources. Also included are scripts, translations, and music editions related to the Foundation's administration of copyright in Weill's and Lenya's legacies. The Research Center maintains an extensive file of performance history and documentation of reception (1914-present, including programs, press clippings, photos, audio and videotapes), offprints of articles from journals and periodicals, a large collection of audio recordings, and a general collection of books and dissertations devoted to Weill and his collaborators, culture in the Weimar Republic, German theater history of that period, and the American musical theater. The repository also holds photocopies of most of the material in the Weill-Lenya Papers, Yale University Music Library.


The Weill-Lenya Research Center's holdings are organized into three large collections, or record groups:

  • The Main Collection comprises 80 series, organized by medium or type of document. The arrangement is modeled roughly on the way that Lenya kept her papers and is supplemented by artificial series created by the Research Center. Because the Research Center tends to acquire materials item by item rather than in large collections, many new acquisitions have been interfiled with Lenya's original collection or filed in artificial series. In either case, information about provenance is appropriately noted.
  • The Yale Collection comprises photocopies of the Weill-Lenya Papers located at the Yale University Music Library. They are arranged according to the published register of that collection.
  • The Kurt Weill Foundation Archives comprise the administrative and business records of the Foundation.


A Guide to the Weill-Lenya Research Center (Kurt Weill Foundation, 1995) remains the best general guide to the collections, although it does not reflect the numerous additions made since its publication. Copies are available for $5.00 from the Foundation (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Researchers are encouraged to make general or specific inquiries of the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. about items of interest in the collections.

The Research Center maintains for most series detailed item-level listings in hard copy and WordPerfect files. Record group and series-level cataloging records were also entered into the Archives and Manuscripts file of the RLIN (Research Libraries Group) database and have now migrated to OCLC. (The OCLC library identifier is KWF and the National Union Catalog symbol is NNWFM.) Item-level records for books, audio recordings, and video recordings are available on OCLC as well.

Bibliographic information for articles and offprints (Series 80) is maintained in a ProCite database and indexed according to a system of local headings. Users may request custom searches of the database from staff members.

Note: Researchers searching the OCLC database will notice that collection and series titles in the OCLC records may differ slightly from those listed on this site, where they have been edited for brevity and ease of use. The titles used in OCLC are more descriptive and are constructed to facilitate browsing on multiple-listing screens.