An important section of the Utrecht Organ Archive features material reflecting the place of the organ in society. It includes articles from newspapers and journals, recital programmes, amateurs' collections, photographs and other illustrations etc. This type of material forms an essential complement to documents in the archives of organ builders and experts, which are often official and formal, specialised, or concerned with personal and profound thought processes. Newspaper and journal articles, amateurs' collections etc. show the other side of the picture, illustrating how a wide audience reacts to the actions of experts and the results of their work. Fascinating sociohistoric aspects also play a role, such as the evolution of public taste and the denominationalism and de-denominationalism of Dutch society. The section of the Utrecht Organ Archive concerning "The organ in society" features a number of main components:
The Organ Centre Foundation existed from 1958 to 1986 and aimed, as the statutes state, " ... to serve the organ culture in a Christian sense, focusing particularly on the organ (chorale) tradition of the Dutch Reformational organ as it originated in Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck ... and was continued by Jan Zwart (1877-1937)." On the instruction of the foundation, aspects of the organ in Dutch public life were documented for nearly 30 years by cutting articles, reviews and announcements from many Dutch newspapers and collecting brochures, correspondence, illustrations etc. In addition, a considerable amount of older material was documented, much of which dates from 1900-1950, as well as a large amount of material of foreign origin. The archive is built up as follows:
The Archive of the Organ Centre Foundation contains a total of ca. 25.000 documents.
Several file drawers from the Archive of the Organ Centre Foundation (l)
and an organist's hymn list from the Janskerk in Utrecht (r)
Photograph of the organ in the Hooglandse Kerk in Leiden (1920/1930) (l)
and cuttings on the Jan Zwart commemoration (1957) (r)
The Amsterdam organist A.H. Sijmons collected documents on the organs in North Holland. This compilation of material from existing literature comprises 26 files with a total of ca. 2,600 items.
M.A. Vente not only collected original documents (building specifications, technical drawings, contracts etc.) but was quick to realise the importance of documents reflecting the reception of the organ and its music, the development of musical taste etc. The Utrecht Organ Archive contains an estimated 25,000 items in this category collected by M.A. Vente.