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Melvin Doner Papers

Identifier: AOIAL-ATOC-RG0030
The Melvin Doner Papers include correspondence with notable theatre organ performers and contributors to the American Theatre Organ Society, as well as photographs of Melvin Doner and theatre organ personalities, programs, biographical sketches, song listings, vinyl, newspaper clippings and periodicals.


  • 1929-2005

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.


3.5 Cubic Feet

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Melvin Hazelton Doner was one of the founding members of the American Theatre Organ Enthusiasts (ATOE), and the first editor of its newsletter. He helped to produce the first eight issues of the Tibia, which would later evolve into Theatre Organ: Journal of the American Theatre Organ Society. Doner also served as a member of the first Executive Committee of ATOE which was later reorganized into the Board of Directors when ATOE was incorporated. Doner was awarded ATOE's Honorary Member Award in 1961. Doner also collected 78 rpm organ records and eventually donated his sizable collection to Doric Records, Inc. to be preserved. Doner was also a contributor to the Theatre Organ from 1956 – 1960. His pieces were part of a discography series of organ recordings, that were inspired by his work to compile an extensive list of all known recorded organ music since the advent of the lateral disc. Doner worked as an entomologist for J.R. Watkins Co. and was one of the first commercial entomologists in the country as well as one of the first to do research with Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT). Doner joined the Winona State College Biology Department Faculty in 1967 and stayed until his retirement in 1976. Doner was married to Eleanor Welsh in January, 1935 in Partage, Wisconsin. Together they had four children: David Doner, Landis Doner, Diane Dosier and Linda Rosetti.


The original order of the collection is kept and the series have been established as follows: The Delta Queen Calliope, Theatre Organ Journal and Winona State Memorial Organ Pamphlet, Scrapbooks, David Doner and Jim Patak Correspondence.

Immediate Source of Acquisition


Processing Information

In November 2018, Graduate Assistant Archivist Brynn Simons processed the Melvin Doner Papers. The original order of the Melvin Doner Papers was kept as it was received. An identifier was assigned and series within the collection were established. Oversized items were moved to a separate box that could better accomodate them.
Melvin Doner PapersAOIAL.ATOC.RG0030

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