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Dr. Benjamin F. Ward Collection

Identifier: MC-0028

Scope and Contents

This collection is comprised of material about and collected by Dr. Benjamin F. Ward. The material documents Ward's career as a concert pianist, including soloist performances with many notable symphonies, as well as at universities, churches, and music centers around the country. Ward's academic positions and faculty service roles, particularly at Duke University, are also documented in the collection.

The collection contains correspondence, performance and event programs and posters, newspaper and magazine clippings and articles, and ephemera related to Ward's academic and musical career. Several photographs of Ward and others are included, as well as two drawings and one framed painting of Ward at the piano. Also found in the collection are a number of published books on music, history, and philosophy, and piano scores collected by or given to Ward. Of particular note are six volumes by Maya Angelou, eached inscribed to Ward and signed by the author.


  • 1790-2014
  • Majority of material found within 1972-2013


Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Archives collections may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information which is protected under federal or state privacy laws, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in the collections without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina School of the Arts assume no responsibility.

Biographical / Historical

Born 2 August 1948 and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, Benjamin F. Ward began playing piano at age six. He performed regularly at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. was the minister. In 1964 he performed at a dinner honoring King as recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, as well as at King’s funeral in 1968.

Ward received his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College, followed by a PhD in Philosophy from Yale University in 1972. From 1973-1980 he taught philosophy, as well as serving as Dean of Berkeley College at Yale. During that time, Ward collaborated often with string students at the Yale School of Music in their degree recitals, participated in master classes with Pierre Fournier, Joseph Silverstein, Janos Starker, Donald Weilerstein, and Mstislav Rostropovich, and performed on several occasions with the Yale Quartet. He also founded the Berkeley Chamber Players in Berkeley College.

In 1980 Ward joined the faculty at Duke University, where he taught courses in philosophy, Arabic language, and German studies. In addition, he was active in many aspects of undergraduate life. He was Duke’s first faculty-member-in-residence, Chair of Faculty Scholars Committee, and Associate Dean for Faculty Programs. He also supported several varsity athletic teams and directed and performed with The Pitchforks, Duke’s oldest a cappella group. In addition to his dedication to the Duke community, Ward worked frequently with community service organizations in Durham, including the Urban Ministries of Durham, which serves the homeless community, and Rites of Passage, a mentoring group for African-American boys.

A frequent visiting performer and instructor at UNCSA, Ward served as a member of the Board of Visitors and was awarded a posthumous Honorary Doctorate in 2014. Ward performed regularly as a soloist, including with the New Haven, Atlanta, North Carolina, Tucson, Houston, and Seattle symphonies, as well as performances at universities, churches, and music centers around the country.

Ward died of cancer in December 2013. A posthumous donation to UNCSA was made from his estate in 2014, and the Benjamin F. Ward Music Library was dedicated in September 2015.


6.22 Linear Feet (3 document boxes, 2 oversize boxes, 13 oversize folders, 45 bound volumes)

Language of Materials





This collection is comprised of material about and collected by Dr. Benjamin F. Ward. The material documents Ward's piano performances, as well as his academic positions and faculty service, particularly at Duke University. The collection primarily includes correspondence, performance and event programs, newspaper clippings and articles, and ephemera related to Ward's career and volunteer activities. Also included are a number of published books and piano scores collected by Ward; of particular note are six volumes by Maya Angelou, eached inscribed to Ward and signed by the author.


The collection has been organized into nine series: Series 1: Academic and Teaching Material; Series 2: Concert and Event Programs, Posters, and Invitations; Series 3: Correspondence; Series 4: Newspaper Clippings, Magazines, and Newsletters; Series 5: Visual Material; Series 6: Ephemera; Series 7: Published Books and Scores; Series 8: Books and Serials; and Series 9: Giorgio Ciompi Materials. Items are organized in rough chronological order within each series, except for Series 7 and 8, which are organized in alphabetical order by author or editor.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Some of the items in this collection are extremely fragile and may require special permission for access or may be inaccessible. Advanced notice may be required to view oversized or framed items.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by the estate of Dr. Benjamin F. Ward in 2014.

Separated Materials

Published books, scores, and CDs without annotation or special housing and handling needs have been transferred to the UNCSA Library collection. Records for these items may be found in the Library catalog.


  • Bach : music in the castle of heaven (ML410.B1 G27 2013)
  • The history of music in sound (MT150.H57)
  • Stars in de elements : a study of Negro folk music (ML3556 .J35 1995)
  • Sviatoslav Richter portraits (ML417.R53 P7 1994)
  • Bach, Johann Sebastian: magnificat for soli, chorus, and orchestra
  • Beethoven, Ludwig van: missa solemnis
  • Britten, Benjamin: a ceremony of carols
  • Bruckner: ave maria
  • Bruckner: three graduals for the church year for mixed voices
  • Bruckner: two motets for mixed voices and 3 trombones
  • Cathedral anthems for mixed voices
  • Catholic church music: o bone Jesu
  • A collection of a cappella motets, madrigals, chansons, ballets, anthems, etc.: Iustorum animae
  • Dvorak, Antonin: five pieces for violin and piano
  • Envyvlopedia of jazz standards
  • Faure, Gabriel: sonata no. 2 in e minor for violin and piano
  • Fantasy-variations on thematic material from Liszt's Faust symphony
  • Five centuries of choral music for mixed voices
  • Franck: sonata in a major for violin and piano
  • Kantate Nr. 147 : Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (BWV 147)
  • Ten spirituals for solo voice
  • The king's singers' folk songs: British folk songs arranged for mixed voices
  • The king's singers choral series: three Spanish carols
  • Lord, let me know mine end
  • Palestrina choral music: exultate deo
  • Sacred music: o vos omnes
  • Saint-saens: sonata no. 1 in d minor - opus 75 for violin and piano
  • Stravinsky, Igor: symphony of psalms
  • Three far-eastern carols
  • Tudor church music: ave verum corpus
  • Tudor church music: o pray for the peace of Jerusalem
  • Wendell Whalum choral series: oh lord
  • What wondrous love this is
  • Windsor series of polyphonic music: remember not, lord, our offences
  • Beethoven - The late piano sonatas (CD-9283)
  • Brahms, J. - Variations & fugue on a theme by Handel, op. 24 ; Six piano pieces, op. 118 ; Two rhapsodies for piano, op. 79 (CD-9282)
  • Hindemith, P. – Piano sonatas (CD-9284)
  • Richter : the authorized recordings (CD-9286)
  • Strauss, R. - Tod und Verklärung ; Metamorphosen ; Vier letzte Lieder (CD-9281)
  • In memory of William Bennett (CD-9285)

Processing Information

The collection was arranged into series based on types of material, with descriptive folder titles supplied by the archivist. Materials were placed in acid-free folders and boxes.

Guide to the Dr. Benjamin F. Ward Collection
Kait Dorsky
February 2021; November 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the UNC School of the Arts Archives Repository

1533 South Main St.
Winston-Salem North Carolina 27104 United States