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Gilbert H. Mitchell Collection


Gilbert H. Mitchell Collection
Mitchell, Gilbert H.
Collection number:
1.5 linear feet
Bulk dates:
Inclusive dates:
Collection Area:
Special Collections in Performing Arts
Special Collections in Performing Arts, Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. Contact the curator:

As a cornettist, conductor and educator, Gilbert H. Mitchell, Jr. (b. 1925) has been involved with numerous ensembles. His career began in 1943, at the age of 18, when he substituted with the Radio City Music Hall Symphony Orchestra and began to work with Leopold Stokowski and the New York City Symphony. Drafted into the Army in 1946, he began an illustrious career as a cornettist and conductor with the United States Army Band "Pershing's Own." He co-founded the Army Herald Trumpets and coordinated music for the state funeral of President John F. Kennedy. The collection consists of letters of commendation and awards related to Mitchell's career with the Army Band, photographs from throughout his career, and Mitchell's self-published memoir.

Important Information for Users of the Collection


There are no restricted files in this collection.

Preferred citation:

Gilbert H. Mitchell Collection, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Publication rights:

Materials from this collection must be used in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Contact the curator for an appointment:


This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

Gilbert H. Mitchell, Jr. was born in Lykens, Pennsylvania in 1925. His early cornet instruction was at the Williams School in New York, under Dr. Ernest S. Williams. In 1943, Mitchell began his professional career playing trumpet with the Radio City Music Hall Symphony Orchestra and the New York City Symphony, under the direction of Leopold Stokowski. He joined the New Orleans Symphony, conducted by Massimo Freccia, as first trumpet in 1944.

In 1946, Gilbert Mitchell was drafted into the Army and began his career as a cornettist in the United States Army Band. In the late 1950s, Mitchell co-founded and directed the Herald Trumpets. In 1960, Mitchell was promoted from Master Sergeant to Captain and appointed assistant conductor of the Army Band. For his work as a conductor, Mitchell was awarded the Army Commendation Medal four times. He retired from the Army on November 30, 1970 as Associate Conductor at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was awarded the Legion of Merit.

After retirement, Mitchell continued his musical career as a conductor and educator, conducting the U.S. Department of Agriculture Symphony Orchestra and the Northern Virginia Chamber Orchestra, teaching trumpet as George Mason University, and founding the Brass of Peace scholarship program. In 2009, he was awarded the distinction of Conductor Emeritus for the Army Band.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Gilbert H. Mitchell Collection covers the period from 1943 to 1982; the bulk of the materials date from 1960 to 1970. The collection consists of letters of commendation, awards related to Mitchell's career as a cornettist and conductor of the United States Army Band "Pershing's Own," photographs from throughout his musical career, and a copy of his self-published memoir.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The collection comprises several gifts made by Lt. Col. Mitchell between 1998 and 2009.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by David Travis, November 2009, and Leahkim Gannett, March 2010.

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Cassandra N. Berman, March 2010.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Memoirs, 1998 (1 folder)

This series contains one autographed copy of Mitchell's self-published memoir, which focuses on his career as a musician.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Gil Mitchell: A Musician Merely. Self-published Manuscript, autographed, 1998 series 1box 1folder 1
Berz, William. "Gilbert Mitchell in Conversation with William Berz." The Brass Herald, December 2011 series 1box 1folder 2

Series 2: Letters of Thanks, Appreciation, and Commendation, 1948-1982 (2 folders)

This series contains original and facsimile letters of thanks, appreciation, and commendation received by Mitchell during his career with the U.S. Army Band "Pershings Own." This series also includes material on President Kennedy's funeral and Mitchell's participation in the Bandmaster Evaluation Examination.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
[Letters of Thanks, Appreciation and Commendation (1)], 1948-1982 series 2box 1folder 3
[Letters of Thanks, Appreciation and Commendation (2)], 1948-1982 series 2box 1folder 4

Series 3: Photographs, 1943-1974 (2 folders)

This series contains photographs from Mitchell's career as a musician and conductor, including photographs of ensembles he played with and conducted, and photographs of colleagues.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / FrameItem
[Photographs (1)], 1943-1974 and undated series 3box 1folder 4
[Photographs (2)] (oversize), 1943-1974 and undated series 3box 2folder 1
US Army Band performing outside of White House Gilbert Mitchell conducting, undated series 3box 2folder 1item 1.0
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Band (autographed), undated series 3box 2folder 1item 2.0
Grenadier Guards (autographed), 1962 series 3box 2folder 1item 3.0
New Orleans Symphony Orchestra, undated series 3box 2folder 1item 4.0
Massimo Freccia (autographed), 1945 series 3box 2folder 1item 5.0

Series 4: Awards and Certificates, 1960-1982 (2 folders)

This series contains original and facsimile awards and certificates given to Mitchell throughout his musical career and after his retirement from the Army.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
[Awards and Certificates (1)], 1960-1982 series 4box 1folder 5
[Awards and Certificates (2)] (oversize), 1960-1982 series 4box 2folder 2

Related Material

This collection is part of the American Bandmasters Association Research Center.

American Bandmasters Association 64th Annual Conference 1998: US Air Force Band. Guest conductor. Compact Disc. [ABA Recordings Collection]

100th Anniversary of the Birth of Ernest S. Williams. Guest conductor. Audio cassette tape. [ABA Recordings Collection]

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.