Library & Archives

Bok Tower Gardens maintains a number of collections documenting the history and development of the Singing Tower and Gardens, as well as the historic El Retiro Estate, the GUILD OF CARILLONNEURS IN NORTH AMERICA, and carillon art in general. As historical materials are processed, every effort is made to make them more accessible through our online catalog and digital collections.

In-person access to the collections is available by appointment only. To request an appointment or if you have a question, click the link below.

Bok Tower Gardens Digital Archives - NEW!

Digital CollectionThis growing selection of items features library and archival materials that reflect the rich history of Bok Tower Gardens. Digital collections provide direct access to photographs, papers, and other items with descriptive metadata to facilitate research and education.

  • DIGITAL PAPERS focus on condolence letters sent to Mrs. Edward Bok upon Mr. Bok’s death in 1930.
  • DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHS highlight Bok Tower construction images between 1927 and 1929.
  • DIGITAL POSTCARDS feature an array of historical souvenirs from 1914 to the 1970s.
  • DIGITAL CARILLON COLLECTION includes photographs and materials featuring carillon instruments, towers, and carillonneurs.
  • FINDING AIDS provide information about smaller collections housed within the archives.

Anton Brees Carillon Library

Anton BreesThe Anton Brees Carillon Library is considered to be one of the largest collections of carillon-related materials in the world. Established in 1968 and named after the Gardens’ first carillonneur, the library is located on the fifth level of the Singing Tower.

  • Books and professional journals
  • Musical scores and original compositions for carillon and keyboard
  • Audio and video recordings
  • Domestic and international carillon concert programs, newspaper clippings, andbiographical information

The library also houses historical blueprints and plans for the Singing Tower and Gardens, thousands of photographs and slides, and several important collections.

  • Guild of Carillonneurs in North America Archives
  • Ronald Barnes Collection
  • Anton Brees Collection
  • Sidney Giles Collection
  • Arthur Bigelow Collection

Chao Research Center Archives

Chao Research CenterThe Chao Research Center Archives is located on the second floor of the Singing Tower. Through a generous donation by the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation, this facility was created in 2008 as a climate-controlled space to house Gardens’ archival documents and other key collections.

  • Nellie Lee Bok Collection – a collection of manuscript writings, personal correspondence, photographs, and family memorabilia documenting the history and development of the Gardens as well as the Bok family involvement.
  • American Foundation Collection – a collection of newspaper scrapbooks, meeting minutes, publications, and other manuscript materials. This collection also includes documentation on the work that was done by the American Foundation at the recommendation of Edward Bok on the American Peace Prize and reform of American correctional facilities.
  • Edward Bok Newspaper Scrapbook Collection – this collection is made up of 42 bound scrapbooks filled with newspaper clippings detailing public reaction to Bok’s various book publications, the American Peace Prize, and his other philanthropic efforts.
  • El Retiro Collections – Housed within the historic El Retiro collection is furniture, ceramics, and other objects representative of the items that were contained in the home prior to its acquisition by Bok Tower Gardens in 1970. The collections also include manuscripts, letters, promotional materials, and items specific to the history and ongoing activities of the Estate.