Archives and Special Collections are open by appointment only, limited to UMN affiliates. Appointments must be made one week in advance of your visit. Contact or the curator of the collecting area you wish to use for assistance. We continue to provide scans of requested research materials when possible, especially for our non-campus clientele.

The Kleiner Collection was donated to the University of Minnesota in 1981 by Mrs. Kleiner. It contains music scores, both printed and manuscripts, for nearly 700 silent films. Some of the scores are Kleiner’s own compositions, adaptations, or arrangements; the majority are by other composers. Most of the scores are for English-language films, but a significant number are for German, French, or Swedish-language films. Some of the scores contained in the collection are: Birth of a Nation, Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Chien Andalou, Menschen am Sonntag, Metropolis, Potemkin, The Sheik, and Thief of Bagdad.  Other materials contained in the Collection are: slides of actors and movies scenes; photographs of some of the scores; correspondence, programs, contracts, books, and other archival material. The collection also includes more than 80 tapes, both reel to reel and cassettes, of interviews, broadcasts and lectures. Kleiner planned to use those tapes for a book he wanted to write.

Arthur Kleiner was born in Vienna in 1903. He spent several years working with director Max Reinhardt before moving to New York in 1938.  In 1939 Mr. Kleiner became the musical director for the Museum of Modern Art’s Film Department. At that time he was said to be the “world’s only full-time pianist for silent films.”  During those same years, he was also a pianist and composer for George Balanchine (1938-1939) and Agnes De Mille (1939-1959).  After his retirement in 1967, he moved to Minnesota, where he was associated with the Walker Art Center and the Guthrie Theater while continuing to work internationally. In 1979, Kleiner received the “Film Band in Gold” from the West German government for “many years and exceptional activity in German film.”  Mr. Kleiner died in 1980.

The collection, is accessible through a printed card catalog found in the Special Collections Reading Room.  An inventory to a portion of this collection, Silent Movie Music, is arranged by movie title and available through this page.  The Collection is available for research and non profit purposes.

The stipulations for using any score from the Kleiner Collection are:

    1. That the patron will pay for any photocopying if the score is not already photocopied.
    2.  That the score will be used for one performance only.
    3.  That the score will be used for a non-profit performance.
    4.  That the patron will return the photocopied score to Special Collections immediately after use.
    5.  That the patron will make no further duplication of the copy.

The patron will be asked to sign an agreement to these stipulations before a score is released for performance.
  Menschen am SonntagMenschen am Sonntag PotemkimPotemkim

Arthur Kleiner Curriculum Vita

Music Scores

Silent Movie Music Inventory

Sound Recordings