Within the scope of the Archives are concert programs, organizational minutes, press clippings and releases, departmental records, photographs and audiovisual materials, and manuscript collections, including volunteer organization records.
The minutes of the Houston Symphony Society document meetings of the full board as well as the various committees actively engaged in Symphony management. Minutes and other extensive committee records of the principal volunteer group, the Houston Symphony League, date from its inception in 1937. Their activities parallel and document those of the Symphony, with a focus on educational activities, ticket sales and fundraising.
A prime resource in the collection is the series of original concert programs dating from 1914, with bulk dates from 1931 to present. Tour programs date from 1938 to the present day. Concert programs of Houston Symphony performances with Houston Grand Opera and other contracted performances are also maintained.
Public relations files contain news clippings, press releases and newsletters. The Houston Metropolitan Research Center now houses some older news clippings which are preserved in scrapbooks assembled by the Women's Committee of the Houston Symphony Society.
Of particular note in the photography collection are class photos of the orchestra (1915 and 1930s to present); photos of individual musicians, string quartets, and orchestra sections; portraits of music directors, associate conductors, and guest artists. The collection also includes images of founders, staff and board members, chorus personnel, event photography, music competitions, and orchestra tours.
Audiovisual records provide a rich source of information about the orchestra, reflecting television and radio publicity dating from 1976. The archives also houses a collection of Houston Symphony commercial and private-release recordings and various commercial recordings of individual Symphony musicians.
Among the highlights of the manuscript collections are the papers of Houston Symphony historian Hubert Roussel, a copy collection reflecting the early 20th century career of concertmaster Josephine Boudreaux, and the papers of Principal Timpanist David Wuliger, featuring correspondence with leading American percussionists.
Other files of note from various departments include guest artist files containing photographs, correspondence and contracts. Marketing files preserve subscription sales brochures from 1937 to present. Education material documents school concerts, summer outreach concerts, music competition, adult education programs, docent programs, concert lectures, speakers bureau and community outreach programs.
The Houston Symphony's Recorded Sound Archives have been maintained by the Fine Arts Library at the University of Texas at Austin since 1985. Over 1600 concerts are preserved on radio broadcast tapes from 1945 to 1953 and concert recordings from 1975 to the present. Formats include reel-to-reel tapes, audiocassettes, DATs, compact discs and DVDs.