The collection consists of correspondence, appointment books, business records, music manuscripts, sound recordings, photographs, and ephemera documenting the activities of Duke Ellington and the management of Tempo Music, Incorporated. There is a small amount of material relating to the Ellingotn family.
The collection documents Duke Ellington's career primarily through orchestrations (scores and parts), music manuscripts, lead sheets, transcriptions, and sheet music. It also includes concert posters, concert programs, television, radio, motion picture and musical theater scripts, business records, correspondence, awards, as well as audiotapes, audiodiscs, photographs, tour itineraries, newspaper clippings, magazines, caricatures, paintings, and scrapbooks.
An outstanding scholar in the field of Iranian studies, Ernst Herzfeld (1879--1948) explored all phases of Near Eastern culture from the prehistoric period to Islamic times. This collection documents Herzfeld's excavations at Samarra, Persepolis, Pasargadae, and Aleppo and includes correspondence; field notebooks; drawings; sketchbooks; inventories of objects; "squeeze" copies of architectural details; and photographs.