Dr. Grams-Moog Explains Why Bob Moog’s Archive Is Going To Cornell University

Dr_Moog_and_Dr_Grams-MoogWe recently reported that the Bob Moog Foundation had suffered a setback, with the announcement that Cornell University, rather than the Foundation, would be getting Moog’s personal notes, plans, drawings and recordings.

Moog’s widow, Dr. Ileana Grams-Moog, right, recently announced plans to donate his personal items to the Cornell University Library in Ithaca, N.Y.. Moog’s collection includes schematics, prototypes, letters, notes, recordings and other materials that document his role in electronic music history.

The announcement has proven to be controversial, because many people in the synth community have supported the Moog Foundation and their efforts over year’s since Moog’s death to preserve these items. And the announcement highlights disagreements within Moog’s own family over what is best for his archive.

bob-moog-archiveMichelle Moog-Koussa, Executive Director of the Bob Moog Foundation and one of Moog’s daughters, has shared her view on the decision at the Foundation site. She highlights the efforts of the Foundation and others over the last 7 years to preserve Moog’s collection of artifacts, shown at right at his former workshop.

Dr. Grams-Moog shared the following statement with us, explaining the reasoning behind her decision and noting that Moog’s archives will be “housed with the Emancipation Proclamation and Gettysburg Address”:

Dr. Ileana Grams-Moog’s Statement

“I am dismayed to hear so much misinformation about my donation of the Bob Moog Archives to Cornell University.  I did not intend to speak publicly about this. However, the number of false statements about the situation and the damage it could cause to Bob’s legacy have compelled me to do so.

“I’d like to make the following clear:

  • This was solely my decision. For anyone to imply that I was coerced by the president of Moog Music, Cornell, or ‘dark forces’ is laughable and false.
  • This is not about money. The only money I have ever been offered was by the Bob Moog Foundation last week, who offered me $100,000 to buy the archives. I was offended. I don’t believe you can put a price on my husband’s legacy or archives. They are not for sale. I am not being paid by Cornell. I have not ever and will not ever receive money for this donation.
  • Comparing Cornell’s world-class archival resources with those of the Bob Moog Foundation makes the decision clear. As the first chair of the BMF board, I have long had grave reservations about the financial stability of the Foundation. It would be irresponsible of me to place the archives with an organization that did not have a long-term record of stability and resources for a long-term future. I have always intended Bob’s archives to be publicly accessible as he wished, but keeping them with the Foundation was dependent on the successful achievement of the proposed Moogseum. It’s been seven years – there’s no Moogseum in sight, and scholars, researchers and students still don’t have adequate access to Bob’s archives.

“I am especially disappointed by the attacks on Mike Adams and Moog Music. Mike is the business partner Bob chose and worked side-by-side with. Bob loved and respected Mike, and he would be proud of the company Moog Music is today. The company is making both Bob’s products and new ones that build on what he did. It employs 50 people and supports the local economy. All this is the legacy that mattered to Bob.

“I want to express my appreciation to all the volunteers who poured their passion for Bob into the BMF and to assure them that Bob’s legacy will be fully accessible to them through Cornell’s work. Everyone, including the Foundation, will benefit from being able to access the collection online and in person when it is organized and made available to the public.

“I hope this clarifies my reasoning and dispels the falsehoods around this matter.  Please do not lose sight of the main issue. It’s a great honor to have Bob’s archives housed with the Emancipation Proclamation and Gettysburg Address.  Cornell is the best solution for scholars, engineers, and students to study Bob’s work in perpetuity.”

Note: In the spirit of full disclosure, we should note that Synthtopia has donated banner ad space to the Bob Moog Foundation for several years.

87 thoughts on “Dr. Grams-Moog Explains Why Bob Moog’s Archive Is Going To Cornell University

  1. This shouldn’t be a blow to the Moog foundation. It’s 2013. Make copies of material before you send it to Ithiica. Fuck all this sacred knowledge bullshit. Give it to the world!

    1. http://news.library.cornell.edu/news/MoogFAQ

      It IS going to be available to the world–frankly, it will be better served by the long-term experience and stability of a place like Cornell. Nothing against the Bob Moog Foundation, but let’s be honest–the number of people in the world truly interested in synthesizers, and beyond that, synthesizer history, is extremely small. And the Foundation is small, isn’t backed by super-wealthy donors, would be taking on preservation responsibilities for the first time, versus the extensive experience and trust in Cornell’s abilities to do the same with endowment support.

      A moment’s reflection and actually reading about the decision making, and reading Cornell’s history regarding archives, makes it the clear, correct choice. Plus, it really isn’t any of our business, she can do what she want.

  2. I heard she’d promised the archives to the BMF for YEARS, said constantly that she’d sign em over. That’s why the BMF spent all that time and effort restoring the archives. Her ill health slowed down the proper contract signing and then mysteriously, she changes her mind, GOES BACK ON HER WORD, and gives them to Cornell. Do not trust this article, simply because it’s written by someone who has gone back on their word. LAWYERED

    1. I think you have to take both of them at their word. They clearly both want to do what they think is best for Moog’s archive and they are both passionate about it.

      Moog’s widow had to make a tough call, and she did it.

    2. Oh well stop the presses for this mind-blowing update: AlexJuno HEARD this shit, people. AlexJuno is not just talking out his ass, like most people out there, he KNOWS His shit. Lol it just never ceases to amaze me how quick people are to pronounce judgment on shit which they know absolutely nothing about. Yes we all love Bob, we all want future generations to know all about what he did. But this is a squabble between a widow and her step daughter and anyone who thinks they can judge what’s going on is delusional. Bob’s widow sounds like she’s got the true long term in mind. I mean, even IF the foundation had gotten their shit together and somehow opened up a fitting museum, who exactly is going to staff it for the next, oh, dozen or so centuries? And who is going to pay the infrastructure needs, etc? AlexJuno? Cornell is not Richard Branson or Red Bull, its a top academic institution with an alumni filled with millionaires who leave endowments.

  3. There are such things as scanners? Why not make them available to both? Why not give to the foundation with a clause that if there is financial trouble they then go to the University? What do I know, Bob was a legend, the foundation seems to be keeping his name and work alive . . . .

  4. Based on the huge number of down votes by people who believes Moog’s own daughter is a fool and should never be trusted, not only Grams-Moog has lawyered up, forked her tongue but it seems she hired a small water army too 🙂

    Ego trip always win after the passing of someone important. Braid crumbs is left for the pigeons to fight on synth blogs and I love it.

    Let it rain water army! 🙂

  5. What ? They offered her money ? Why wasnt that mentioned on the other thread from all the foundation people launching attacks on the widow ? that’s all the foundation thought the archives were worth? Get them to Cornell asap

  6. As was alluded to above, I think for a museum, or for a group trying to educate and promote a particular subject of learning, the foundation can find creative ways to preset images, prints, video and other media to share what is interesting and valuable to the public without needing original sketches, etc.

    The challenge is not to house the original “collectables”– but to communicate something worthwhile, and to do so with clarity.

    1. Be real, though! BMF has been working on preserving Moog’s archive for 7 years – and was planning a museum around it. The reality is that they were not able to drum up enough support from synth lovers for that to be viable. That’s a kick in the head for them and also kinda sucks for synth fans.

      1. From Geary’s letter over at CDM in regards to the museum’s progress: More than three months ago, after a year of negotiation, the Foundation secured office, exhibit, and archival storage space at the Western Office of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources’ Office of Archives and History here in Asheville, a new, state-of-the-art, temperature- and humidity-controlled facility that houses collections significant to Western North Carolina’s history. Currently, researchers and scholars travel from all over the world to view the historical archives of Black Mountain College, which are available there under the guidance of the facility’s full-time archivist and her staff. It would have been fitting for Bob Moog’s archives to be available alongside the works of John Cage, Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg, and other prominent artists and innovators who once lived and worked in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
        If all had gone according to plan, once the collection actually belonged to the Bob Moog Foundation, it would have qualified for numerous grants and donations, including one for $600,000 from the Buncombe County Tourism Product Development Authority. That would have eventually allowed the Foundation to open a planned Moogseum, where experts and trained volunteers with a passion for all things Moog could have offered tours and taught visitors about Bob’s life and work, and allowed visitors a hands-on experience that would have been a tangible boost to Asheville’s musical and cultural significance.
        The only recent obstacle has been that after literally years of confirming a verbal agreement that she would hand over ownership of Bob Moog’s archives and collection, his widow apparently succumbed to outside influences and simply changed her mind. No restitution was offered to the Foundation, no compensation for their hard work and money spent, not even a thank you from Moog Music or from anyone involved in the arrangement with Cornell University. No one from the Bob Moog Foundation was consulted in the decision.

        1. Many years later the Moogseum exists and is wonderful.

          Both Michelle and Ileana are very good and beautiful people who only have ever wanted the best for these archives, and worked to that end to the best they knew how.

  7. Let’s just hope they make some this history available to use all. Cornell has many resources (students who will work for free) I’d like to see photo and pdf’s with free access. Can’t wait, it will be of great interest to many of us.

    1. PDFs or even single image scans of documents available online are far more useful than a museum. It’s about the technical achievements of Bob Moog and that means you’ll have to the able to sit down for a good while and read his lab notes and patent applications and so on. Not really that practical if you have to go to the middle of nowhere (perhaps not literally, but in some senses) to a museum run by enthusiast who are passionate about the material. I’d rather have some dispassionate academics handle the archive. Dr Gams-Moog made the right decision under the ciircumstances.

      1. Since Mr. Moog’s work was about sound, a museum does make sense for an experience rich with sawtooths, LPF’s, knobs, sliders, theremins, etc. etc. And pertinent information would be made more interesting if presented in the context of a hands-on workshop environment. And, assuming there is a great deal of somewhat dry technical material to sift through, having a group of folks provide essential highlights for visitors makes great sense. Again, original manuscripts would not be necessary for this.

        For members of the public who are interested in seeing the authentic original manuscripts, drawings and other memorabilia as relics (like the Emancipation Proclamation and Gettysburg Address); the question is whether more of them would prefer to find these items in a university setting under hush-ful conditions, or would the prefer to see them in the context of a well-designed tribute facility?

        I’m ok with the Cornell decision, but I also very much support the Foundation and it’s long-term goals.

  8. Lets be honest. Basing your operating capital off of museum revenue is a bad idea. Even worse if that museum won’t be in a high traffic area where mass amounts of potential visitors go, and doesnt cover a topic already popular with the general public. And I love Moog but I’m already weary of hearing about how amazing Bob was. I already know that. The foundation had nothing to offer there. No I won’t travel several states out of my way to a museum. No I don’t want to buy a calendar. But I’ll buy instruments over time. Anything that doesn’t support future instrument development has no interest from me.

  9. cant they just loan each other bits and bobs like galleries lend paintings to each other.

    didn’t take long for bob to be gone before they were fighting over his estate, greedy bastards!

  10. The vitriol is pointless. I think an offer of $100k was rational and generous, but so is placing a lot of the material with an established archiving facility, when its Bob’s alma mater. There is clearly a grey familial area none of us needed to know. It has nada to do with the fact that his materials WILL be preserved and his design wizardry is nice and healthy in numerous forms at every price level. That’s the real legacy.

    Besides, travel to many places is pretty arduous these days. I’d love to see an online archive. Personally, I’d pay a few bucks to read just his notes, to see the issues resolved, the little jokes expressed and maybe a bit of Bob’s congenial saltiness in his speech. Go watch the man talking to people in his later years, as if everyone he met was a bar-buddy of 30 years. I think that’s why his designs persist. The rest is just the clumsy processing of paper. Every child should be issued a MoogerFooger filter at birth.

  11. I find it interesting that Ileana chooses to address a few specific questions – some of which don’t even make any sense why they are being answered. I saw nothing about any offer of money from the BMF for the archives posted online. If true, I notice that she is saying ‘last week’. Could it simply be that the BMF was trying to pool their resources and ‘afford’ purchasing them in order to protect them after Ileana’s actions? Seems like that to me. Even though the press release came out mid last week, you know her decision had to be made much sooner. You do not organize a donation like this overnight. Plus, this has been bothering me for sometime as I have been reading all of this over the past week – If she served on the BMF and felt it was such a good organization, just had funding issues, why purposly omit them? This all makes no sense. I smell BS. With all of the tidbits coming out, defending Moog Music’s involvement, etc. in her press release, yet complete silence from Moog Music. If I ran that company and were attacked like that, I would for sure be publicly defending myself. I am beginning to think that there is much more to this issue than these simple press releases are showing. Also, if you have not yet looked at the petition (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/keepbobmoogsarchivesinasheville-bmf), there are several comments from key individuals and family members on both sides that are stating the opposite of what Ileans is stating. Also, as she states above, if part of Bob’s legacy is supporting the local community, why would he choose to take this away from the local community in Asheville where he was so spiritually connected for the last 25 years of his life? Also, WTF is with her comments about “scholars, engineers and students” benefitting from this? What about the musicians? All of Bob’s work was created hand in hand with musicians. What aboutMoog Music, who, thankfully, is able to keep making all these great tools for the musician? How could they even support this? They are also part of the local Asheville community. Working hand in hand with Bob, they certainly would know this. How can they not feel outraged and betrayed? I am starting to not take her words as truth. These look like they were crafted by someone else and given to her. Why do this now?

    1. “Why do this now?”

      Because she’s 7 years older and the Bob Moog Foundation doesn’t have their act together yet.

      Not sure why people would want to believe wacky conspiracy ideas over that, when it’s obvious that a). The widow made a solid decision; and b). There’s some serious family issues going on.

  12. I support the foundation and Moog Music. Thinking rationally, it makes sense to me to send the archives to Cornell and for all of us to stay out of the family stuff.

  13. i think the money and the mike adams story both show whos on the good side here.

    she was the woman he chose and loved, he was the guy that he chose and loved. all the bob moog foundation wants to make is money.

    i couldnt stand them from the beginning.

    also i think she has very good arguements why she did what she did, she didnt take 100 grands but either gave it to a guy that her husband loved. isounds good to me.

    who cares about tshirts with moogs face or LP schematics, this is his widows desicion, this is what he would do.

  14. please…stop…the nonsense. The letter above is the clearest explanation yet but please know that I am all about Moog, the company, the foundation, and the man. There is so much opportunity here for everyone. Come together people !

  15. I’m wondering why all the comments are one sided. I know several people supporting the BMF who have submit comments, but they have yet to show up. Why are these comments being moderated/filtered?

    1. Denise

      There were several comments in the moderation queue, from “Endowments”, “Hm…” and “Support Keeping Bob’s Archive in Asheville!”.

      They were in the moderation queue because the comments were submitted with different names from the same IP address, which indicates that the comments came from the same computer or location. This is a common tactic that spammers use, so the comment system held the comments for moderation.

    2. Denise,
      So your friends are all posting but they are actually the same person?

      How could you not have known that?

  16. Annie – that is a great question! Then why do my friends see their comments in an ‘awaiting moderation’ status instead of posted??

  17. Annie – here is a comment that was submitted over 3 hours ago that has not appeared:

    I find it interesting that Ileana chooses to address a few specific questions – some of which don’t even make any sense why they are being answered. I saw nothing about any offer of money from the BMF for the archives posted online. If true, I notice that she is saying ‘last week’. Could it simply be that the BMF was trying to pool their resources and ‘afford’ purchasing them in order to protect them after Ileana’s actions? Seems like that to me. Even though the press release came out mid last week, you know her decision had to be made much sooner. You do not organize a donation like this overnight. Plus, this has been bothering me for sometime as I have been reading all of this over the past week – If she served on the BMF and felt it was such a good organization, just had funding issues, why purposly omit them? This all makes no sense. I smell BS. With all of the tidbits coming out, defending Moog Music’s involvement, etc. in her press release, yet complete silence from Moog Music. If I ran that company and were attacked like that, I would for sure be publicly defending myself. I am beginning to think that there is much more to this issue than these simple press releases are showing. Also, if you have not yet looked at the petition (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/keepbobmoogsarchivesinasheville-bmf), there are several comments from key individuals and family members on both sides that are stating the opposite of what Ileans is stating. Also, as she states above, if part of Bob’s legacy is supporting the local community, why would he choose to take this away from the local community in Asheville where he was so spiritually connected for the last 25 years of his life? Also, WTF is with her comments about “scholars, engineers and students” benefitting from this? What about the musicians? All of Bob’s work was created hand in hand with musicians. What aboutMoog Music, who, thankfully, is able to keep making all these great tools for the musician? How could they even support this? They are also part of the local Asheville community. Working hand in hand with Bob, they certainly would know this. How can they not feel outraged and betrayed? I am starting to not take her words as truth. These look like they were crafted by someone else and given to her. Why do this now?

  18. Why are people so against the BMF here? They are the only ones I hear about spreading the word of Bob’s legacy. And werent they the ones who were responsible for rescuing the artifacts from an old shed instead of them being left there to rot? With the greatest respect to Bob’s widow, why didnt she get in touch with Cornell back then before all the money and effort was spent?

    1. Read the threads. She did, she was on the board of BMF. It’s only after 7 years of giving BMF the chance of building a facility, that she’s given up on them as custodians of the stuff. BMF seems to be about kids and outreach, rather than cataloguers and archives. She’s the custodian, it’s her decision.

  19. Although I certainly recognize Ms. Grams-Moog’s legal authority to do whatever she pleases with her late husband’s archival collection (as she has by letting a significant portion of it rot in her damp basement for nearly eight years), I’m forced to challenge some of her recent statements concerning the Bob Moog Foundation’s stewardship of the larger portion of the collection.

    The ONLY (could I stress “only” more clearly?) reasons that the BMF has been unable to make the archives more widely available to researchers and the public and to open the Moogseum are the delaying tactics of Ms. Grams-Moog herself. Consequently, I feel she has a lot of nerve complaining about issues for which she has been the sole obstacle.

    Like all non-profits, the BMF’s finances are a matter of public record. If anyone has “grave reservations about the financial stability of the Foundation,” a look at those records should reassure them that the BMF maintains firm financial footing, thanks to generous and ongoing donations from thousands of individuals and companies. In particular, you’ll see how much financial progress has been made in the years since Ms. Grams-Moog was the Board of Directors’ first Chair.

    The only aspect of Ms. Grams-Moog’s recent statements I agree with wholehearted (and I’m very pleased to see) is that someone has FINALLY expressed appreciation for all the work the Bob Moog Foundation has done (even if her praise was limited only to volunteers and not to paid staff). Up until now, no one involved with Cornell University or Moog Music has publicly thanked them for the thousands of man-hours and considerably more than $100,000 they’ve spent on their preservation efforts.

    More than 1,000 supporters of the Bob Moog Foundation have signed the petition encouraging Ms. Grams-Moog to allow Bob’s archives to remain in Asheville. Every one of those people signed that petition because they care deeply about Bob and his legacy. Many of the comments left along with the signatures have been quite poignant, but perhaps the most revealing was the one left by Ms. Grams-Moog’s brother, Daniel Jacoubovitch:

    “I was saddened, but not surprised, to read what my sister, Ileana Grams-Moog has done. I very much hope the foundation will succeed in retaining the archives.”

    1. “letting a significant portion of it rot in her damp basement for nearly eight years”

      Gary, have you actually been to Mrs. Grams-Moog’s home to view these conditions for yourself? If not, how can you justify such bold accusations as to their condition?

      1. I haven’t actually been in her basement in years, but I know people who have seen it more recently. I also know how the state archivist described it: damp, mildewy, and altogether unsuitable for storing archives. I understand she has a single underpowered dehumidifier and windows that won’t close, and it’s necessary to wear a face mask to avoid breathing in the mold and mildew. I don’t envy Cornell their task in trying to recover the stuff that’s in there.

        1. I have been a house-guest of Ileana Grams-Moog’s. I was one of the first volunteers to work with the Moog Foundation in Dr. Grams-Moog’s basement to begin the work of examining and cataloging Bob Moog’s archives, in January 2008. Geary Yelton’s descriptions are accurate.

      2. I’m sorry, I misspoke. I should have said, “damp, mildewy, and altogether unsuitable for storing anything of value.” I’ll see if I can locate someone who has photos.

  20. If I may say a word in Ms. Grams-Moog’s defense, I should point out that she has received some appallingly bad advice.

      1. Dr. Ileana Gram-Moog is being advised by Mike Adams, the owner of Moog Music, Inc. When Bob Moog was dying of brain cancer, he sold Moog Music, Inc. to Mike Adams.

        It is my understanding that Mike Adams and Moog Music, Inc. are providing the services of lawyers and the publicity firm of Adapt Public Relations, of Asheville, North Carolina, to represent both Moog Music Inc. and Dr. Grams-Moog. The press release on the Cornell Library web site was written by Adapt Public Relations, and the “FAQ” posted later was probably written by that firm also, rather than written by anyone at Cornell University.

        Both Mike Adams and Ileana Grams-Moog were founding members of the Board of Directors of the Moog Foundation, but each resigned from the board some time ago.

      1. Thanks for posting the link! While I think the BMF is a great organization, review of the filings from 2006 to 2011 tends to underscore the smallness of the Moog Foundation. Given the apparently meagre income of the BMF, how did the foundation intend to retain the services of professional archivists to do the preservation, metadata, digitization, etc.? Am I misreading the documents?

  21. I can’t even begin to express by disdain for the comments posted here. The most offensive is that no one really cares about synthesizers. The implication is that it does not matter if Moog’s archives go into cold storage. Ok, better than Lleana’s basement.

    And if no one cares about synths then how does Moog Music stay in business not to mention lots of others and an explosion of new companies.

    If people have complaints about the foundation then lets have them? Don’t hide behind Lleana’s. As for Mpog Music, not only have you lost a customer who has spent thousands on your products but unless I get a better explanation from Moog Music and not Lleana’s then Moog Music has strong opposition from me.

    1. Lux Seeker

      Why are you looking for an explanation from Moog Music? The disagreement is between Moog’s widow and Moog’s daughter. Moog Music has wisely decided not to wade into that cesspool!

      1. Lux Seeker, you are totally wrong about that. This action of Dr. Grams-Moog is being managed, organized and implemented by Moog Music, Inc. It is their lawyers and the publicity firm that Moog Music, Inc. has hired (Adapt Public Relations) which are managing this whole affair. It was Moog Music, Inc. that put out the initial press release announcing the donation to Cornell. In doing so, Moog Music, Inc. clearly states that they are directly involved in it.

        You can read the press release at Moog Music, Inc. here:


        1. I meant to say “Greyelle, you are totally wrong about that”. LuxSeeker is the person who made the correct observation.

    2. It seems extremely mean-spirited and even vicious to suggest that Moog’s widow had to be tricked or manipulated into donating Moog’s archives to Cornell.

      Cornell is an established organization with $5 billion in the bank. The Moog Foundation, though well-intentioned, is nowhere near being able to provide a permanent home for the archives.

  22. As I sit here in Dallas, I got to wonder, geary do you speak for the foundation? I just looked at the foundation website and there is 3 board members and you are not one of them. Just curious because you bring nothing productive to this conversation except more venom. You are hurting the foundations chances in my opinion.

  23. At the risk of encouraging trolls, I’m a freelance music technology writer who occasionally accepts assignments from both Moog Music and the Bob Moog Foundation. I have many good friends with both organizations, and I am an enthusuatic supporter of both organizations. However, as a journalist with a conscience, I have an interest in seeing that the truth comes to light and that injustices are exposed. Perhaps that doesn’t mean much to you, but it does to me. Bob Moog was someone I cared about, and if there were a way to see this conflict come to resolution, I would do anything I could to help make that happen. Even before all this became public, I was asking questions and getting answers from both sides of the issue. I’m simply reporting what I’ve discovered: that the Bob Moog Foundation is getting a raw deal.

    1. Geary Yelton is no troll and he knows what he is talking about.

      I have known Geary Yelton for thirty years. I have been a personal friend of one of Bob Moog’s daughters for almost twenty years. I was a founding volunteer with the Bob Moog Memorial Foundation and worked closely with them for three years, donating hundreds of hours of volunteer work.

      Geary is one of the most respected music technology trade journalists in the USA, with a huge resume of work for magazines including Electronic Musician and others.

      Geary Yelton is his real name, and Wheat Williams is my real name. You can Google Geary Yelton and find out who he is and what he has done. He’s not hiding behind a screen name like most of you anonymous posters. He has earned his credibility as a music journalist, and he also has personal and direct knowledge of the work of the Bob Moog Foundation, of Ileana Grams-Moog, and of Bob Moog and his family’s long history in Asheville, North Carolina, going back almost forty years.

    2. Whatever story there is to tell, Geary is a good one to tell it: he’s worked with the Moog Foundation and Moog Music, and he is one of the most experienced writers in the music tech field.
      I also knew Bob pretty well (he did the foreword for my MIDI book) and Michelle is a friend as well. I don’t know Ileana, but I’m willing to take her at her word that this was a decision based on her own judgement and not outside influences. So how does one take sides?
      Having worked closely with independent non-profit foundations and with large universities, I see the arguments for both sides. Non-profits are tough to keep going, especially in today’s economic climate, while major universities (I hope!) are safe bets for longevity. Librarians at universities are not the kind of people who let valuable assets languish, and I have no doubt that Cornell will do justice to Bob’s archives. On the other hand, the BMF seemed to be counting on the verbal agreement with Ileana to assure its future, and it’s a very valuable organization that deserves to thrive.
      It’s sad that this has become a public fight, and it certainly looks like the BMF got a raw deal. I think more behind-the-scenes negotiations, with all interested parties included, should have taken place.

    3. Is it somehow surprising that Moog Music would want to help Moog’s widow out or to see Moog’s stuff go to a great institution?

      What surprises me is that BMF & its supporters are dragging Moog’s company and his widow through the dirt. It’s completely counter-productive.

  24. Thanks Geary and I want this to work out in the end. Since you know all the key players on both sides and have a bunch of experience, is there any way you can help work a compromise?

  25. Moog started his business in Trumansburg, N.Y. , just a short distance from Ithaca, home of Cornell.
    If you want to see the birthplace of Moog instruments, that’s where it is – not North Carolina.

    It’s fitting that Cornell house archives that originated in that region, in addition to the other arguments presented.

  26. It MIGHT be fitting if Bob Moog’s four children wanted the archives to be at Cornell. They don’t. Bob Moog’s four children: Michelle Moog-Koussa, Renée Moog, Matthew Moog, and Laura Moog Lanier, are unanimous in wanting their father’s archives to remain in Asheville, North Carolina, the town where Bob and their mother, Shirleigh Moog, raised them, and where the Moog family has called their home town since about 1975.

    Dr. Ileana Grams-Moog, who was Dr. Bob Moog’s wife for the last decade of his life, obviously, feels differently. And the Bob Moog archives are legally her personal property.

    1. Bob Moog left his archives to his wife, not his children. And she’s donating his archives to a great institution, his alma matter.

      We get that the kids don’t like their stepmom, but backstabbing her in public completely kills their credibility.

  27. This was a private family feud to begin with and never should ave made it to t public for people to banter about aimlessly without knowing or investing a thing in the actual situation.

    Any archivist will tell you the collection is better off with well funded professionals in humidity and climate and light controlled spaces with experts at hand to not only preserve but digitise, house and deliver the collection globally.

    It’s a pity the BMF hadn’t sought a partnership like this earlier, then they may have been able to focus their efforts on a moogseum, but that is all pure speculation.

  28. It will be buried in a warehouse or basement at Cornell. Decades later it will be sold off to save the storage money most of it going to wealthy collectors in the far east. This stuff doesn’t rate along side the Emancipation Proclamation and Gettysburg Address. Look to ebay for pilfered items once it’s forgotten.

    The fat lady has sung and Bob Moog has left the building.

    Hell the Smithsonian doesn’t have any electronic music instruments on display and they have an RCA theremin. No one cares but us and we don’t have the money or the cred to make a museum happen.

    Apps for iPads and iPhones are the future – genius and hardware are just ephemera.

    Sucks don’t it?

    Now let’s listen to Sheldon play the theremin. Let down the legacy and step away.

  29. My real name is Danny Byrd. I have worked in the non-profit world for over 15 years. I do not have the experience in music journalism that Geary and Wheat do, but I can break down a financial report in about 5 minutes. So I want to be respectful to all the commenters and the personal feelings involved in this situation.
    If I was hired to do some forensic accounting on the foundation, I would immediately be concerned that in the last 5 years that there are no upward trends in revenue. In other words, there are not enough monies left over at the end of the fiscal period to carry forward to build sustainability. This could tell us three things: 1) the foundation has not retained the services of a professional fundraiser to implement a successful capital campaign 2) the foundation board has not been successful in fundraising since its inception or 3) there is simply not enough interest to financially support the foundation. But most concerning is the failed effort to retain the matching funds of the local government challenge grant (TDA grant I believe ?) If its true, according to some of the commenters above, that you couldn’t raise the money because you didn’t have ALL the archives, why did the foundation accept the challenge without all the components in place ? Its difficult to Monday morning quarterback these situations and it would be different if the passion that I see in the commenters above was there during these capital campaigns and the challenge grant. I told one of my clients last week, sometimes you don’t know what you have till its gone. And by that I mean “the opportunity”. In conclusion, fundraising should have been a top priority from Day 1 and now its too late. Best of luck to everyone involved for a peaceful resolution.

  30. Iliana’s first statement here is referring to my “dark” comment on Create Digital Music. I want to make it VERY clear that I have no problems with Iliana. She has been very nice to me and I have no personal experience to the contrary. The PROOF about Moog Music’s involvement is right here. http://news.library.cornell.edu/news/130718/moog At the top it clearly states that Jill from http://www.adaptpublicrelations.com/ wrote it. Adapt is Moog Music’s PR company, not Cornell’s. No compromise suggested + no mention of the BMF’s massive efforts = a “dark force” or evil as far as I am concerned. Anyone with a conscience would see it the same way. Just now in this seemingly PR advised statement is the first mention of gratitude of the BMF’s efforts. For those that doubt their effort read this http://moogfoundation.org/the-archives-in-review/

  31. I work for a large university. The department that I work for spent 12 years raising money to build a new building. We spent almost 10 years raising money to do a renovation of an existing building. This was the effort of a hard working staff of development people working with wealthy alumni and industries. I can’t imagine how long it would take selling posters and T-shirts.

    The point is that anyone who is down on the BMF because it has been 7 years and there is still no museum, just doesn’t have a clue how long something like this takes as a matter of practical reality.

  32. This whole discussion is distasteful. There were two decent choices, and she made one. Its not like she ran off with his money and the pool boy and the daughters living in her car. Weve seen that enough times in real life leave it alone. jeez.

  33. For over 12 years I worked as an actuary for an insurance company and a rating bureau. I probably understand money far better than most posting here. If this were only a business matter I might find myself siding with Lleana. But here is the problem. I am also a musician and composer of electronic music. I’m a very small fish but I love synthesizers and I know a lot about them and Bob Moog’s incredible contribution to synthesis.

    As an artist I feel music transcends finance. It’s about a kind of intangible magic when the musicians fingers hit the keys of a synth. Music does not live in a rarified academic background, at least not EM. I have also come to believe that when artists come together another kind of magic happens. I have a demanding job (no longer financial) now that does not afford me much time but every year I lug a lot of gear up to Heugenot to play music and touch base with many musicians whose art I respect. Ok. you probably will not see them playing stadiums but we share a love of electronic music.

    It’s my strong impression that this is Asheville. If Moog Music does not care about this community why doesn’t it relocate to Ithaca? This is about more than money and who can raise the most money. It’s about magic, the magic that happens when synthesizers are made and played. Bob Moog got that better than any other maker of synths.

    Those who think moving the archives to Ithaca don’t understand what it is to be an artist and to be part of a community. Nor do they understand loyalty. I have to scrimp and save to buy synths now because I don’t make the big $s I used to. But I’m happier. Money isn’t everything and that is why the archives should remain with the BMF.

    1. @Lux Seeker: I wonder why you consequently misspell Mrs. Ileana Grams-Moog’s name. Her first name is indeed Ileana, and not at all ‘Lleana’.

  34. One of the “delightful aspects” of the internet is that everyone feels affirmed and validated when they can “weigh in” on a topic. Sadly, this almost never includes any research or understanding of the situation. People feel justified in making snap judgements on the information they read based entirely on how they feel when they read it and then state their opinion with extreme prejudice.

    There are people responding to this thread who are involved in the situation and possess first-hand knowledge. These are not casual observers or fanboys or nobodies. Instead of examining their viewpoint, researching, and questioning their motivations, some of you are just arguing because someone has gone against your hastily-formed opinion. And that, unfortunately, is how the internet works.

    If you take the time to read the petition, you’ll see that those who have signed are a veritable who’s-who of important music technology people (as well as Ms. Grams-Moog’s brother, as a matter of fact). These are the people who have the knowledge many of you do not. The people who are knowledgeable in regard to this situation tend to side with the Foundation. Because, in case you’ve done no research whatsoever, the Foundation has tirelessly met the exact requirements described. Professional archivists, professional facilities, accolades from professionals who have experienced the Foundation’s portion of the archives, and much much more. All of this info is provable, and has been proven on the internet. If you do any research at all. I don’t suppose you’ve explored exactly how much the Foundation has brought to the community with its various extensive efforts? Perhaps you’d like to head over to the website and actually do some reading. No? Okay, that’s what I thought.

    As for money and time, I would encourage any of you who are really interested in the topic to explore how long it took the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to be built. There is no such thing as a “reasonable timeline” for these things. Raising money for things that people even want is really challenging. Ms. Grams-Moog knew this all along. It is inappropriate to pretend there was a timeline that wasn’t met.

    Factual, provable, objective information about this situation is readily available and will easily dismiss the weirdly emotional insistences in this thread and elsewhere about this being a “family matter,” or a matter having to do with a mythical lack of archivists, facilities, etc. Ms. Grams-Moog’s assertions are unfounded, and when they’re not unfounded, they’re used in a manner that is intended to suggest untruth.

    This is not a “family spat.” This is a situation where a person has made a very serious decision for reasons other than the provably-wrong reasons she has given. And that is wrong. There are other reasons and motivations that are unsavory and which will eventually come to light. The archives do belong to her, but the Foundation has every right to be concerned when the reasons she has given are not only untrue, but potentially destructive to their overall efforts. In addition to that, a very great deal of time, effort, and money have been invested in the archives by the Foundation without recompense.

    Those are the facts of the matter. No amount of smear generated to cover up the true motivations for this action are going to change them.

    Get back to me when Moog Music opens their own Moogseum-like space in Asheville using some portion of these archives, and then we can revisit this.

    1. Marc

      I’m disappointed by the way the Bob Moog Foundation has been handling this – calling Moog’s wife a liar, spreading conspiracy theories and then suggesting that you’re victims of a smear campaign.

      And are we supposed to be surprised that Moog Music has its own agenda?

      1. The Bob Moog Foundation has not called Ms. Grams-Moog a “liar.” However, there are statements she has made that are in conflict with provable fact. It is our responsibility to address these inaccuracies.
        Please don’t confuse the statements of people who are in support of the Foundation with statements made by the Foundation. If you’d like to see the official stance of the Foundation, feel free to follow the links which have amply been provided.

        1. Sorry if I was putting words in your mouth, Marc.

          When you say her ‘statements are in conflict with provable fact’, though, it sounds like you’re saying she’s either lying or misinformed. What does the BMF hope to accomplish, saying things like that?

          If you want to change her mind about her decision, you should be looking for common ground.

          1. There is a vast difference in intention and meaning between “LIAR” and “misinformed,” “inaccurate,” or etc. And in a ridiculous pissing match like this has become, these things are relevant.

            The BMF hopes to accomplish its mission of promoting Bob Moog’s legacy through education, celebration of Bob Moog’s work, and inspiration. This current situation has been a stumbling block to our work, and because it is being portrayed in an inaccurate light, the BMF has to respond. The decision to move this portion of the archives we protect, promote, and conserve is what it is. And that’s fine. However, the reasons given are not accurate, and need to be addressed. At least until more accurate motivations are described.

            If the effective, caring, and documented work that has been done with the archives is not enough to motivate her to continue with what she had supported strongly up until very recently, its not likely that further accurate portrayal of our great work is going to make any difference. Changing her course now would interfere with her plans and the plans of the others involved. It’s not about changing her mind, it’s about making sure the truth is known.

  35. Sorry about the misspelling Ms. Grams-Moog name. No offense intended.

    While I do not have firsthand knowledge of what is happening that’s really my point. I do have firsthand knowledge of a Moog Voyager. I have done recordings with it. In other words, I am one of the reasons Bob Moog made synthesizers.

    If there were a Moogseum in Asheville I would go. It’s about 9 hours from me. Ithaca is less. However, I have seen the Cornell campus once as my father got his Bachelors in mechanical engineering there but I have no desire to go again. I would go to Asheville because as a musician there are many things to see not just the Moogseum when it’s built.

    On the archives. How about this as a compromise? Cornell archives the collection and it stays in Ithaca. However. Cornell works directly with the foundation on the archival process as equal partners. When completed the Moog Foundation would be given free access to all digitally archived recordings and documents. The Moog Foundation would also be allowed to exhibit part of the collection over specified periods of time. Cornell would also parter with Moog Foundation in fundraising and creating a Moogseum.

    Once again, I say these things because I am the type of person the Moogseum is about. Ok, I no I am part of a limited group but there are small museums all over the country dedicated to different areas of limited interest. My point is that perhaps rather than this being about personalities it should be about the limited group of synth fanatics that would love to see the Moogseum become a reality.

  36. I love the idea of a Moogseum!

    I hope level heads will prevail and find a way to compromise. Maybe Cornell would work with The Bob Moog Foundation and lend items to display.

    Grams-Moog made a decision that’s probably the best, for right now – but a multimedia museum would be a much more compelling way to learn about Moog and his work than a library.

  37. It’s certainly worth noting that much of the vitriol aimed at Ileana Grams-Moog and Moog Music is coming from disgruntled former employees of Moog Music.

    1. Montag, your statement is highly inaccurate. Aside from Ben Hovey and myself, the VAST majority (of named) people that have weighed in on this subject are NOT ex-Moog Music employees, but appear to be music industry veterans and other informed synthesizer enthusiasts that are generally concerned that the correct thing be done with these materials.
      And for the record, both myself and Ben Hovey, (whom I know very well), are not disgruntled, and have embraced the wonderous opportunities that life has presented us after leaving Moog. We wish nothing but success for our former company PROVIDED that they operate with honesty, integrity, and fairness in all endeavors.

  38. Anyone who has read Electronotes knows that most of Bob’s work is already available and not a kept secret. It should go to Cornell, where Bob earned his PhD, and where the head of Electronotes is still a professor.

  39. Ileana is the step-mom. She has no blood relation to the family, including the woman who went through everything with Bob: Shirleigh, who still is in Asheville. She has no blood relation to any of the Moog offspring who have worked so very hard to get things done.
    Ileana has suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome for 17 years. the negotiations with the foundation would stop for months on a single revision.
    Mike Adams should never have been on the board; complete conflict of interest.
    Moog Music collected 1 million on the death of Bob and gave nothing to the Foundation.
    Mike Adams stood in the way of the Foundation from day 1.
    Mike is a winner-take-all guy who simply wanted the Foundation to go away so he could have complete access to everything Bob did, *so he could monetize it*.
    Moog Music refused to ever put a brochure for the Foundation into any of their products.
    Cornell never honored Bob with anything after his success. No speaking engagements, no chair, no honorariums for a visit, nothing.
    The Foundation never could use the archives for money-raising precisely because Ileana never allowed them to do a thing with it, all while some of it sat in the basement you can read about earlier in the thread.
    If you won’t travel to a museum for hands-on fun, you won’t travel to Ithaca to a LIBRARY where they’ll be stored.
    Terms of such a gift to an institution can be completely written to suit the person making the gift, i.e., Ileana can write it in such a way that no one has access, Moog Music only has access, the Foundation doesn’t have access, etc. but to date, no details of the gift have been made public.
    I am in a position to know these things. No you will not get supporting evidence. Yes, most of you are simply ignorant of what’s going on. That’s not an insult, it simply means you don’t know.

  40. My heart sank when I first heard the news of the archives being donated to Cornell, rather than the organization that had already put so much into saving them, but I have to admit that my heart is even heavier after reading the above exchanges.

    While the truth regarding what has happened is important, I don’t think it’s really what the BMF should be about – and I say this as a strong supporter of the BMF.

    It seems that the transaction has taken place – I’m not hearing that there’s any chance that it will be reversed.

    While these archives are uniquely important and irreplaceable, their loss (from the BMF’s point if view) should in no way change the work of the BMF. I won’t pretend to know the potential financial implications (both now and in the future) of the BMF no longer having them – I’m far from an expert on the topic – but I hope the BMF can continue progressing on the long road of continued growth and success, doing what they do best – connecting the science behind Bob’s work with the imagination, the heart, and the emotion that ultimately results from it.

    If there’s any chance of a compromise and there’s anything that individuals can do toward that, then I’m happy to be the first in line.

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