Collection 022 - Hellmuth Wolff Organ Collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Hellmuth Wolff Organ Collection

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Graphic material
  • Object

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the name of the creator.

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Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1969-2009 (Creation)
    Wolff & Associés Ltée
  • 1969-2009 (Creation)
    Wolff, Hellmuth, 1937-2013

Physical description area

Physical description

Approximately 119 m of textual records, graphic material and objects.

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Administrative history

Name of creator


Biographical history

Hellmuth Wolff (b Zurich, 3 September 1937; d Montreal 30 Nov 2013) was an important and respected organ builder who took a leading role in the revival of historical organ building practices in North America in the early 1960s. He studied and apprenticed in Europe and the United States before he immigrated to Canada in 1963 to work for the company Casavant Frères in St-Hyacinthe, Quebec. In 1968 he established his own atelier, Wolff & Associés, in Laval, and started a productive and influential career as a builder of historically-informed tracker organs. Between 1968 and 2008, Wolff designed, built, and installed fifty instruments in churches, universities, concert halls, and homes across North America. For more information, please consult:
Karl J. Raudsepp. "Wolff, Hellmuth." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed November 16, 2015,

Custodial history

Scope and content

The Hellmuth Wolff Organ Collection consists primarily of organ plans, pamphlets, photographs, books and periodicals, and personal correspondence. The majority of these documents are associated with or represent one of the fifty organs in Wolff’s opus. In addition to depicting Wolff’s instruments, the collection of organ plans also includes Wolff’s drawings for proposed but not-constructed organs, plans by other organ builders, and plans drawn by Wolff that are based on historical models and treatises by writers such as Dom Bédos. Of the photographs, most are associated with specific Wolff organ projects and represent a span date of the late 1960s to the early 2000s. Also in the photograph collection are images of historical organs in Europe, which Wolff presumably used in modelling and designing several of his instruments, as well as images associated with other organ projects by builders such as Casavant Frères, Karl Wilhelm, and Rieger, all of whom Wolff worked with before establishing his own workshop in Laval. The collection of pamphlets includes programs, program notes, and concert series information for several of the Recitals and concerts performed on Wolff’s instruments. Of the periodicals and books, titles include The American Organist, Choir & Organ, and Orgelforum. Also in the collection are several three-dimensional models, or maquettes, of Wolff organs.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Gift from the estate of Hellmuth Wolff.


The Hellmuth Wolff Organ Collection is divided into 15 series.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script note

Collection material is primarily in English. Some items are in French, as well as German, Italian, and Spanish.

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

A short description can be found in the Library Catalogue at

Restrictions on access

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

The Hellmuth Wolff Collection is open to research. Certain restrictions on use, copying and/or publication of materials may apply. Researchers are advised to contact the Marvin Duchow Music Library prior to visiting.

Finding aids

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The status of copyright on the contents of the Hellmuth Wolff Collection is governed by the Copyright Law of Canada.

Preferred citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: container number, <collection name>, Marvin Duchow Music Library, Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Montréal, Québec.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Finding Aid prepared in 2015 by David Henkelman; edited by Sharon Rankin.
Revision 22 June 2016; updated and entered into AtoM by Geneviève Beaudry, May 2019.

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