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Joseph Braunstein Collection

Identifier: AR 25072 / MF 610

Scope and Content Note

The Joseph Braunstein collection covers the years 1892-1996 and consists of personal and financial records, correspondence, printed materials, audio cassettes, photograph materials, and ephemera that document the life, work, and writing activities of Joseph Braunstein. Among Braunstein's records were also several documents from his wife, Emma Gross-Braunstein, and her sister, Hilde Gross. The majority of the papers is printed materials, but the collection also contains manuscripts, correspondence, photographic material, audio tapes, video, and some objects.


  • 1854-1996


Language of Materials

This collection is in English, German, Italian, and French.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers. Only Microfilm of collection can be sent to Berlin (originals have to stay at NY).

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Collection is microfilmed (MF 610).

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact

Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011


Publication and display of photographs and program notes require permission by donors.

Biographical Note

Joseph Braunstein, affectionately known as Sassobruno (Italian for brown stone), was born on February 9, 1892 in Vienna, Austria. He began his study of the violin as a child, and became an avid chamber music player as a teenager. He went on to study under the auspices of Guido Adler and Arnold Schonberg at the University of Vienna, but WWI interrupted his studies. After serving in the military from 1915-1918, he returned to his academic pursuits and received his doctorate in Music and History from Vienna University in 1920. From 1919 to 1925, Braunstein performed as a violinist and violist in several orchestras, among them the Vienna Symphony-Orchestra and the Staatsoper, where he had the honor of working with famous conductors such as Richard Strauss, Felix Weingarten, Bruno Walter, Wilhelm Furtwangler and Otto Klemperer.

Braunstein was also a prolific author and published several monographs as well as hundreds of articles in newspapers, magazines. From 1928-1938 he wrote for the official "Radio-Wien" and lectured extensively. He has supplied record liner notes for Vox, Vanguard, RCA, Book of the Month Club, Decca Records, and was the program note annotator for inter alia the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

In addition to his love of music, Braunstein was an avid mountaineer and loved the Alpine regions of his native Austria. In fact, he was never able to attend performances at Bayreuth because of scheduling conflicts with his mountaineering expeditions. He climbed over 60 peaks in Europe above the 13,000 feet elevation mark, among them Mount Blanc and Matterhorn. He also published articles on mountaineering in Alpine Club magazines, such as the Oesterreichische Bergzeitung, and contributed to the Der Grosse Brockhaus encyclopedia's entry on Alpinismus.

In 1940 Mr. Braunstein fled the Nazis with his wife Emma (nee Gross). Their first stop was Italy, from whence they continued on to New York, were they settled in 1940. Joseph became the reference librarian at the music division of the New York Public Library, and in the 1950s he began teaching music history at Julliard School, the Mannes School for Music, and the Manhattan School of Music. In 1961 he began a 20-year association with Frederic Waldman, the founder of the chamber orchestra Musica Aeterna, assembling programs that often included rarely heard works. His wife Emma, who suffered from Multiple Sclerosis, died in 1966.

Braunstein passed away in 1996 at the age of 104.


15.75 Linear Feet


Joseph Braunstein (1992-1996) was a distinguished musician, publicist and musical educator, as well as a keen mountaineer. The Joseph Braunstein collection covers the years 1892-1996 and consists of personal and financial records, correspondence, printed materials, audio cassettes, photograph materials, and a video tape.


The collection is on twenty seven reels of microfilm (MF 610)

  1. Reel 1: 1/1-1/27
  2. Reel 2: 2/1-3/2
  3. Reel 3: 3/3-3/10
  4. Reel 4: 3/11-4/5
  5. Reel 5: 4/6-4/14
  6. Reel 6: 4/15-5/5
  7. Reel 7: 5/6-6/4
  8. Reel 8: 6/5-Diary 1946
  9. Reel 9: Diary 1948-Diary 1962
  10. Reel 10: Diary 1963-Diary 1977
  11. Reel 11: Diary 1978-Diary 1989
  12. Reel 12: Diary 1990-9/2
  13. Reel 13: 9/3-9/17
  14. Reel 14: 10/1-10/6
  15. Reel 15: 10/7-11/8
  16. Reel 16: 11/9-12/8
  17. Reel 17: 12/9-13/1
  18. Reel 18: 13/2-13/16
  19. Reel 19: 13/17-15/7
  20. Reel 20: 15/8-16/22
  21. Reel 21: 16/23-18/6
  22. Reel 22: 19/1-20/9
  23. Reel 23: 21/1-23/1
  24. Reel 24: 23/2-23/10
  25. Reel 25: 24/1-24/8
  26. Reel 26: 25/1-29/Photo Album 10
  27. Reel 27: 30/1-35/OSL 22


Old Call Number AR 10227

Guide to the Papers of Joseph Braunstein (1892-1996) 1854-1996 AR 25072 / MF 610
Processed by Stephen Naron and Oliver Pellarin.
© 2002
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from JosephBraunstein02.xml.

Revision Statements

  • September 2004.: Converted to ead 2002. Revised as JosephBraunstein02.xml. Removed deprecated elements and attributes, updated repository codes, added language codes, changed doctype declaration, etc.
  • March 2005.: Access points added by Dianne Ritchey Oummia.
  • January 2006.: Entities removed from EAD finding aid.
  • October 2010:: Updated folder numbering in the Container List.
  • October 23, 2013 : Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States