Vitak-Elsnic Collection of Polka Scores

Polka scores and books from the collections of the Music Library and Bill Schurk Sound Archives

About the Collection

The Vitak-Elsnic collection of polka sheet music represents the better part of the back catalog of the Vitak-Elsnic Corporation, a music publisher that originated in Cincinnati before moving on to Chicago at the turn of the 20th Century. The Vitak-Elsnic Company was co-founded by former Ohioan Louis Vitak who later joined forces with other business partners, including Otto Georgi and later, Vitak's nephew, Joseph Elsnic. The collection includes polka arrangements for a number of instruments, including accordion (solo and ensemble), band, orchestra, concertina, and piano. Music from this genre is a part of America’s musical and cultural heritage, in the same tradition as bluegrass, Dixieland and jazz. Nearly all of the music in the Vitak-Elsnic Collection was composed or arranged by Americans, many of whom were of central European descent. 

A 2015 gift of the Music Publishers of America (MPA), the collection consists of thousands of polka charts, folios and sheet music originally published by the Vitak-Elsnic Company, MPA’s predecessor.  BGSU's Vitak-Elsnic collection is for research and preservation only; to order scores and parts for performance, please consult the Vitak-Elsnic site for purchase of materials as instant downloads as well as a more extensive company history.

As materials are cataloged, their descriptions will appear in our online catalog. Doing a title search on the series title, "Vitak-Elsnic Collection" will generate a complete list of all of the titles cataloged to date.

Read more about the collection and the gift to BGSU in the press release that accompanied the receipt of the gift.

Support the Collection

To make a secure gift online, please visit To send a check, please download the donation form and mail it with your check to the address on the form.

We have launched a fundraising campaign to help support activities around polka in general and the Vitak-Elsnic Collection in particular. The Polka Preservation Fund will support activities such as processing of the materials; digitization of materials to assist patrons with access and research; promotional and outreach efforts in collaboration with area ensembles; student travel to perform pieces from the collection or present on polka topics at conferences; and acquisition of related polka materials and reference sources.

We would like to thank all of the donors who have contributed to the Polka Preservation Fund already:

Bank of America
Mark Barnett
Robin Bauer
Jack Blaine
Ernest Broeniman
Sara Bushong
Susannah Cleveland
Debbie Cook
Catherine D'Hoore
Bruce Daniel
Paula Davis
Mary Littlefield Devine
Dean Dort
Cal Downey /Diamond Oak Brewing
Chris Ehring
Steven Felgran
Amy Fry
Sharon Hanna
Charlotte Harris Memorial Fund
Michael Harris
Shelly and Eliot Harris
Stefan Harris
Steve Harris
Todd Harris
Geoffrey Howes
Shirley Johnson
KPMG Foundation
Bernie Knoerdel
Brian and Dottie Linn
Cal Massmann
Alex Meixner
Sue Mendizza
Lanny Milligan / Gary Pfotenhaur
Joseph Oberaitis
Theresa Parker
The Polkanauts
Tara Rainey`
Curtis Rumrill
Rema Serafi
Melina Sings
Larry Snavley
Brian Trauman
Daniel Vicker
Jim Vollmer
Doug Walker
Tom Watkins
Bill Weis



Updated: 06/05/2023 09:39AM