John Milton Ward, Harvard’s William Powell Mason Professor of Music from 1961 to 1985, died quietly at home in Cambridge on Dec. 12. He was 94 years old.
Ward joined the faculty of Harvard in 1955. Each undergraduate music concentrator took his chronological survey, while every graduate student in musicology took Music 200, which met once a week. Ward’s research interests were wide-ranging. Initially a specialist in Renaissance music, Elizabethan music in general, and English popular and folk music from the 16th century to the present day, he eventually taught courses in film music and music in ritual. After he became increasingly involved with ethnomusicology, he taught several groundbreaking classes in the field. Materials related to this field were scarce in Harvard’s libraries, so he founded the Archive of World Music, which began with recordings from his collection. He also established the Charles Seeger Room, which contains all the ethnomusicological volumes in the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library.
After Ward retired from Harvard, his long-standing fascination with opera, ballet, operetta, vaudeville, and social dance led him to form extensive new collections. He donated what he had gathered to the Harvard Theatre Collection of Houghton Library.
Predeceased by his wife, Ruth Neils Ward, Ward is survived by his sister-in-law, Margaret Padelford, of Seattle, 11 nieces and nephews, and countless friends.