Skip to main content
Please contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections for assistance with accessing these materials.

Mark Fax Papers

Identifier: GTM-20170822

Scope and Contents

Music manuscripts of the composer Mark Fax, including choral arrangements and vocal solos, chamber music, piano and organ pieces, operas, orchestral works, studies and sketches. Fax composed music in many genres, classical, popular, and sacred; all are represented in the collection. Of note are Fax's regular collaborations with poet Owen Dodson and composer Hall Johnson. A small file containing miscellaneous papers related to his music (copyright filings and posthumous notes by his wife, Dorothy and others, letters and event programs) provides some minimal context for the collection.

The manuscripts comprise both finished autographs (intended as copy-masters) as well as fragments, drafts, and sketches, with the bulk made up of photocopies, with and without marginal notes, corrections and additions. They have been divided into four main series according to instrument, with a small fifth series of miscellaneous material and published sheet music.


  • 1932 - 1999
  • Majority of material found within 1945 - 1972


Conditions Governing Access

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Biographical Note

Mark Fax (1911-1974) was a noted African American composer and music educator. He began learning music as a child growing up in Baltimore, where he attended public school and at 14 was working as an organist at local churches and at the Regent Theater. Inspired by his high school music teacher to embark on a career in music, Fax received the Bachelor of Music in piano from the University of Syracuse in 1933, winning the prestigious Julius Rosewald Fellowship. From 1934 to 1942, Fax taught music at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia.

In 1942, Fax returned to New York to study advanced composition at the Eastman School Of Music. To support his family, he worked both as choirmaster and janitor at a Rochester church. Having received the Master of Music in Composition, Fax won a second Rosenwald Fellowship, and taught at the Black Mountain College in 1946.

From 1947 to 1973, Fax served on the Howard University music faculty, first as an Associate Professor in Composition, then Administrative Assistant to the Dean of the College of Fine Arts, and from 1971, he was appointed Acting Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Director of the School of Music. Up until 1974, he served as Director of the School of Music. He also served as a music director at the Asbury Methodist Church.

Some of his most prominent works include "Till Victory Is Won" (1967), "A Christmas Miracle" (1958), "Three Piano Pieces" (1969), "Toccatina" (1953), and "The Gettysburg Address" (1965).

Mark Fax died on January 2, 1974.




3. Typed memorial found in box 7, folder 2 of this collection.


3.5 Cubic Feet (10 boxes and 5 oversized folders)

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts of David Fax, received in 2017 and 2021.

Related Materials

A similar collection of music by Mark Fax is held at Boston University's Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, under the title "Mark Fax Papers", accession number 1000.

See also the Mickey Thomas Terry Papers.

Mark Fax Papers
Ted Jackson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057