University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Margit Varro Papers 1933-1962

© 2008 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Varro, Margit. Papers




4.5 linear feet (7 boxes)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Margit Varro (1892-1978), music teacher and author. The Papers document Varro's career as an educator and music historian, and her association with Hungarian composers Bela Bartok and Leo Weiner.

Information on Use


Open for research. No restrictions.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Varro, Margit. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Margit Varro graduated from the Royal Hungarian Academy of Music. In 1938 she emigrated from Hungary to the United States and worked as a music educator in U.S. for many years, teaching at Roosevelt University and Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, among other institutions. Varro collaborated and corresponded with the Hungarian composers Bela Bartok and Leo Weiner. She published articles in Hungarian, English and German, including essays in The Musical Quarterly and Journal of the American Musicological Society. Her book Dynamic Piano Teaching was published in 1921 and used widely in Europe and in the United States. Varro continued teaching until age 93. She died in Chicago in 1978 at age 96.

Scope Note

The Margit Varro papers consist of four series. Series I contains teaching materials for courses Varro taught in the 1940s and 1950s, including syllabi, lecture notes, and student work. This series also contains notes for a lecture series on music history that Varro delivered in New York in late 1939 and early 1940. In addition, the series contains musical compositions and drawings by young children. Series II consists of notes, manuscripts, and correspondence having to do with Varro's research on various composers and aspects of music. Materials on Franz Liszt, Bela Bartok, and Leo Weiner make up a large part of this series. Drafts of Varro's book Dynamic Piano Teaching are included, as are research notes and essays on other subjects. Also in this series is a bound compilation of published articles in English, German, and Hungarian. Series III contains some personal materials, including programs for a lecture-recital series by Felix Ganz, a colleague of Varro's at Roosevelt University. Also included is a copy of the carillon from Alfredo Casella's Pezzi Infantili, miscellaneous correspondence, and an expense record book from the 1960s. Series IV contains two oversize items: a composition from the file of Hungarian children's composition (in Series I) and Varro's editions of Haydn piano sonatas.

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:


Subject Headings


Series I: Teaching Materials

Box 1    Folder 1

History of Music Lectures, New York, 1939-1940

Box 1    Folder 2

Notes for Music History Courses, 1941-1942

Box 1    Folder 3

Notes for Music History Courses, 1942-1943

Box 1    Folder 4

Notes and Student Assignments, Music Pedagogy Course, 1950

Box 1    Folder 5

Notes for Studies in Style Courses, 1953-1954

Box 1    Folder 6

Notes for Studies in Style Courses, 1954-1955

Box 1    Folder 7

Notes for Studies in Style Courses, 1955-1956

Box 2   Folder 1

Notes and Student Assignments, Music Pedagogy Courses, 1955-1956

Box 2   Folder 2

Notes for Music Literature Course, 1956

Box 2   Folder 3

Student Essays and Compositions, 1957

Box 2   Folder 4

Notes and Student Assignments, Music Pedagogy Course, 1957

Box 2   Folder 5

Notes for Private Music Seminar, 1958

Box 2   Folder 6

Notes for Fine Arts Course, 1958

Box 2   Folder 7

Notes for Fine Arts Course, 1959

Box 2   Folder 8

Hungarian Children's Composition

Box 2   Folder 9

Children's Compositions and Drawings

Series II: Research and Writing

Box 3    Folder 1

"An Unknown Liszt Portrait," Notes and Drafts

Box 3    Folder 2

"Liszt and His Hungarian Friends," Notes and Drafts

Box 3    Folder 3

"A Forgotten Liszt Biography," Notes and Drafts

Box 3    Folder 4

Contributions to the Biography of Liszt

Box 3    Folder 5

Notes on Liszt, "Talent and Personality"

Box 3    Folder 6

Miscellaneous Liszt Research

Box 3    Folder 7

Dynamic Piano Teaching, Drafts

Box 4   Folder 1

Dynamic Piano Teaching, Drafts

Box 4   Folder 2

Reviews of Dynamic Piano Teaching

Box 4   Folder 3

Manuscript on Leo Weiner

Box 4   Folder 4

Correspondence about Leo Weiner

  • Hamvas, L. U., 1961-1962, undated
  • Leod, 1960
  • Miklosne, Mathe, 1960-1962, undated
  • Lautos, M. 1962
  • Reiner, Fritz, with narrative of Weiner's Toldi, 1954
  • Vera Sos, 1961
  • Sandor Vas, n.d.
  • Vincre, 1959-1962
  • Kato Weiner, 1960-1962, n.d.
  • Unidentified, 1959, 1961, n.d.
Box 4   Folder 5

Correspondence with Leo Weiner, 1933-1960

Box 4   Folder 6

Photos and Drawings of Leo Weiner

Box 4   Folder 7

Research and Notes on Bela Bartok

Box 4   Folder 8

Essays on Bela Bartok

  • "Contributions to Bela Bartok's Biography"
  • "Music of Today for Children of Today"
  • Untitled Essay
  • "Bela Bartok and His Mikrokosmos"
Box 4   Folder 9

Correspondence about Bela Bartok

  • Melvin Balliett, 1949
  • Karola Bartok, 1960
  • Allen P. Britton, 1951
  • Mrs. Harold Driver, 1961
  • Ralph Hawkes, 1950
  • Wiktor Labunski, 1947
  • Colin Mason, 1952
  • Boris E. Nelson, 1950
  • Louis Rittenberg, 1950
  • Roberta Savler, 1960-1961
  • Scott, 1961
  • Halsey Stevens, 1950
  • Benjamin Suchoff, 1954
  • Unidentified Letters/Notes, n.d.
Box 4   Folder 10

Manuscripts on Children

  • "Children's Compositions"
  • "The Musical Receptivity of the Child and Adolescent"
  • "Child Prodigies"
Box 4   Folder 11

Research and Notes on Child Prodigies and Wunderkind

Box 4   Folder 12

News Clippings about Child Prodigies

Box 5   Folder 1

"A Bach Fugue Analyzed in Poetry," Notes and Drafts

Box 5   Folder 2

Notes for "The Borderlands of Music"

Box 5   Folder 3

Notes on Beethoven

Box 5   Folder 4

Observations from (to) German Book

Box 5   Folder 5

Miscellaneous Notes

Box 5   Folder 6

Miscellaneous Notes

Box 5   Folder 7

Writings by Others

  • "The Composer," W.H. Auden
  • Selection from "Peter Quince at the Clavier," Wallace Stevens
  • "Cathedrals," Doro
  • "Andre Gide's Les Faux-Monnayeurs: A Structural Analysis," Susan J. Ringler
  • "18th Century Pianoforte Music and the Modern Performer," Maxim Shaw"
  • "And What Is Musicology," Hans Tischle
  • Other Materials on Hans Tischler and Musicology
Box 5   Folder 8

Bound Copies of Published Articles

Series III: Personal Files

Box 6   Folder 1

Alfredo Casella's Pezzi Infantili

Box 6   Folder 2

Felix Ganz's Bach Series, Chicago Musical College, Programs

Box 6   Folder 3

Miscellaneous Correspondence

  • Elsa, 1960
  • J. Engel, 1948
  • Elzadr, 1960
  • Felix Ganz, n.d.
  • L.U. Humvas, 1961
  • M. Lautos, 1961
  • Leod, 1961
  • Pete, n.d.
  • Fritz Reiner, 1945-1953
  • Edy Rnefeuacht, n.d.
  • Sandor Vas, 1952-1962
  • Unidentified Letters, 1960, n.d.
Box 6   Folder 4

Expense Record Book, 1962-1963

Series IV: Oversize Materials

Box 7   Folder 1

Margit Varro's Editions of Haydn Piano Sonatas

Box 7   Folder 2

Hungarian Children's Composition