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Ann Leaf Papers

Identifier: AOIAL-ATOC-RG0008
The collection consists of papers and photographic materials dated from 1927-1986.  Most of the collection is dated between 1930-1935 and 1965-1975.  Ann Leaf's early career as a radio and television organist, as well as her subsequent silent film and concert performances are documented through performance programs, promotional materials, photographs, newspaper clippings, press releases and reviews, and correspondence.  The correspondence primarily includes letters from Leaf's fans and friends.  Also included in this collection are arrangements, cue sheets, and performance notes created by Ann Leaf, newletters, educational material, awards, and other publications.  Silent film cue sheets comprise a sizable portion of the collection.


  • 1927-1986
  • Majority of material found in 1965-1975

Language of Materials



Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

The use of archival materials outside of the scope of education and/or research must be approved by the American Organ Institute Archives and Library and may be subject to copyright.


3.50 cubic feet

Administrative History:

Ann Leaf was born on June 28, 1906 in Omaha, Nebraska.  She began playing the piano at the age of four and quickly became an accomplished pianist by age 6.  By the time she was ten years old, she was playing as a soloist with the Omaha symphony orchestra.  At age sixteen, she had earned a scholarship at Julliard School of Music in New York where she began preparing for a career as a concert pianist.  Her sister's interest in the organ brought the organ to her attention.  Once Leaf's interest in the organ was picqued, she began to focus her attention on playing the theatre organ.  She continued to study organ in Omaha, Chicago, and Los Angeles and proved to be adept at adopting her classical skills and repertory to her organ playing.  She quickly became an in-demand, featured artist, accompanying silent films in theatres around the country.  In addition to accompanying silent films, Leaf also played for radio and television programs and concert programs.

Ann Leaf is probably best known for her own organ programs on the National Network of Columbia Broadcasting Systems.  Throughout the course of her career, she appeared with radio and television artists such as Fred Allen, Frank Parker, Ralph Edwards, Bud Collyer, Norman Brokenshire and others.  For several years, her radio programs won top honors in national polls.  In addition to radio programs, she also provided background music for well-known soap operas of the times, such as Stella Dallas, Women of Courage, and Nora Drake.  Among her many solo performances, the most prominent include her perfomances at the Paramount Theatre in New York, the Metropolitan in Boston, the RKO in Rochester, Million Dollar and Paramount theatres in Los Angeles, and the Cleveland Explosition.  By invitation of the National Press Club at Washington, she played for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. On April 3, 1995, Ann Leaf passed away, leaving behind a strong imprint on the theatre organ community

Arrangement of Materials:

The collection is arranged alphabetically by folder title, then chronologically within the folder, with exceptions made for materials that require separate housing (i.e. oversized, ephemera).  Another exception is correspondence, which is arranged alphabetically by folder title, within the folder by author, and then chronologically.

Acquisition Information:


Processing Information:

Oversized materials were relocated to another location within the archive.  Separation forms within file folders indicate these materials.  Duplicates of some materials were weeded from the collection.
Processing Information In October 2017, Assistant Archivist Brynn Simons reprocessed the Ann Leaf Papers. This reprocessing included adding unique item identifiers, renaming folders, making series-level distinctions and moving folders into series that better reflect their intellectual content. This reprocessing demonstrates the American Organ Institute Archives and Library's desire to follow current archival standards.
Processing Information In February 2018, using the 2015 accession record form provided by Nicole Umayam, Brynn Simons processed and incorporated additions to the Ann Leaf Collection. This processing included retaining the original order, but putting duplicates of items together in a folder. If more than two duplicates of an item existed, two were saved and the rest were deaccessioned. Items were placed in folders, photographs were placed in covers and audio materials were moved to boxes that provided a good fit for the size of the materials. Found dates and content descriptions from the items were used to provide information for dates as well as a scope and contents note at a folder level. Unit Id's were assigned to the folders.
Guide to the Ann Leaf Papers AOIAL.ATOC.RG0008 AOIAL.ATOC.RG0008
Finding Aid Authors: Michelle Merriman.
Language of description
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the The American Organ Institute Archives and Library Repository

2101 W. Tecumseh Rd
Suite C
Norman Oklahoma 73069 United States
(405) 325-3341