Special Collections Department
American Academy of Music
Manuscript Collection Number: 308
Accessioned: Gift of the Moyerman Family, 1972
Extent: 1.6 linear ft.
Content: Correspondence, programs, and annual reports.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: October-November 1994 by J. Andrew Armacost.
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
Not long after its incorporation, the Academy came under the influence of the Baker family of Philadelphia. Two successive generations of the Baker family presided over the Academy from the 1880s to the 1920s. Alfred G. Baker (1831-1892) was active at the Academy as early as 1881 and was elected president in 1884; he was followed by his son George Fales Baker, M.D. (1863-1929) who succeeded him as president in 1892.
Under their tenure, the Academy became widely known for presentations of opera and classical music. This aspect of the Academy's performances forms a large part of John Marion's 1984 history of the Academy Within these walls: a history of the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Less well known, however, is that the Academy also offered many other kinds of attractions. It presented new technologies through phonograph concerts by the Girard Phonograph Company and early moving pictures by Lyman H. Howe. The Academy served as well as a hall for political and religious gatherings, educational lectures, and especially travel talks. Many of the great travel lecturers of the period were regulars at the Academy. Lecturers like Burton Holmes initially brought their hand-colored lantern slides to illustrate their "travelogues." Later speakers like the popular Edward M. Newman incorporated motion picture segments with their travel talks.
Sources:Caldwell, Genoa ed. The Man who photographed the world: Burton Holmes travelogues 1886-1938. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1977.
Kavanaugh, James V. Three American opera houses: the Boston Theater, the New York Academy of Music, the Philadelphia American Academy of Music. M. A. Thesis, University of Delaware, 1967.
Marion, John F. Within these walls: a history of the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Restoration Office, The Academy of Music, 1984.
Musser, Charles and Carol Nelson. High-class moving pictures: Lyman H. Howe and the forgotten era of the traveling exhibition, 1880-1920. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991.
Scope and Content Note
The majority of correspondence contained here is associated with Ferdinand V. Bonnafon (circa 1844-1920), who was appointed secretary in 1884 and treasurer in 1893, two posts which he held until his death in 1920. A limited amount of material is associated with other staff at the Academy--President George F. Baker, and G.D. Young, the Academy's treasurer after Bonnafon. Material from before 1910 consists solely of incoming correspondence, but afterwards the Academy's replies in the form of carbon copies are also preserved.
The collection has been divided into two separate series of papers. The first series includes material related to the Academy of Music as a corporation. This series presents a wide range of information, including a series of pamphlets from between 1852 and 1862 recording the act of incorporation and by-laws of the organization. Correspondence related to the stockholders as well as the board of directors of the Academy is included. The collection also preserves financial correspondence related to taxes, securities, licenses, and insurance.
This series also includes a large body of correspondence concerning maintenance and structural improvement to the building from 1896 and 1901 to 1925. This body of material not only demonstrates the daily expenses of maintaining a facility like the Academy, but further shows how a well-planned program of architectural improvements was considered vital to the Academy's continued existence.
A body of professional and non-Academy related correspondence is preserved from 1896-1926. Included is correspondence from other opera houses, various printers of programs, tickets and advertising, and personal correspondence of F.V. Bonnafon and G.F. Baker received at the Academy.
The second series of papers of the American Academy of Music contains material related to performances held at the Academy. A small body of programs and promotional flyers from 1873 to c. 1940, and a few property plots are preserved. These property plots record what the stage hands were responsible for during each performance and the specific properties required for each scene.
Also included in this series is a large body of leasing correspondence related to scheduling and booking of the events held at the Academy. Correspondence relating to leases of the Academy are preserved from 1895 to 1897 and 1901 to 1926. This collection indirectly documents the events held at the Academy. Much of the correspondence is from booking agents that do not explicitly state the nature of the attraction they are planning to show at the Academy. Correspondence with individuals who were, for some reason, unable to rent the Academy because of finances, scheduling, or subject restrictions is also contained within this series. These documents do, however, clearly represent the wide range of activities that took place at the Academy. This body of documents preserves correspondence with opera companies, several orchestras and choruses, and a variety of lecturers, comedians, charitable organizations, clubs, fraternal organizations, religious groups, and political parties.
Letters from patrons of the Academy are also included from 1896 to 1897 and 1901 to 1920. This correspondence includes inquiries concerning lost articles, requests for performance dates, and patron complaints.
Related collections:Ms 311 Baker - Fales - Rush Family Papers
I. Institutional material 1. Acts of incorporation 2. Stockholders and the board of directors correspondence 3. Insurance correspondence 4. Financial correspondence 5. Employee correspondence 6. Facility maintenance and improvement 7. Personal and professional correspondence II. Performance related material 1. Performance programs and promotional sheets 2. Property plots 3. Events at the Academy, leasing correspondence 4. Patron correspondence
1 Series I. Institutional material This collection preserves the corporate correspondence and publications of the Academy of Music. Included are the original acts of incorporation and by-laws of the corporation, annual reports, correspondence with stockholders, the Board of Directors, insurance companies, and a large body of correspondence detailing upkeep and maintenance of the Academy building. Series I.1. Acts of incorporation F1 Charter and prospectus of the Opera House or American Academy of Music. Philadelphia: Crissy & Markley, 1852. (Cataloged with printed material in Special Collections). Act of incorporation of the American Academy of Music, and the supplements thereto; with the by-laws of the corporation. Philadelphia: Crissy & Markley, 1857. (One copy is preserved here and a duplicate copy was cataloged with printed material in Special Collections). Act of incorporation of the American Academy of Music, and the supplements thereto; with the by-laws of the corporation. Philadelphia: Maas & Vogdes, 1862. (Cataloged with printed material in Special Collections). Series I.2. Stockholders and the Board of Directors correspondence F2 1882-1884, 1896, 1902-1915 Material related to the 1884 Pennsylvania Supreme court case of Alfred G. Baker et al. vs. the American Academy of Music et al. Included as well is an annual report from 1905. F3 1916-1928, n.d. Includes a statement read by the president to the Board of Directors commemorating the death of Ferdinand V. Bonnafon, November 11, 1920. Annual reports are preserved from 1923 and 1928. 1 Series I. Institutional correspondence (cont'd) Series I.3. Insurance correspondence Primarily with the Franklin Fire Insurance Co., Philadelphia, and insurance agent J. Craig Shields F4 1903, 1907-1920 Series I.4. Financial correspondence Correspondence related to taxes, licenses, securities and other financial matters. F5 1896, 1901, 1904, 1908-1919 F6 1920-1923 Series I.5. Employee correspondence Recommendations to and from other institutions, illnesses, and injuries. F7 1895, 1903-1915 A large group of payroll stubs from March 31, 1914 are included. F8 1916-1928. A large collection of payroll sheets from September 1916, and sheets documenting employee duties at individual performances from 1928 are preserved. Series I.6. Facility maintenance and improvement F9 1896, 1901-1906. Contains material concerning the purchase of new seats, ornamental iron work, and letters from the Philadelphia department of Public Safety concerning fire escapes. F10 1907 Includes a letter accompanying a "new portrait of Mr. Holmes" to be placed in the Art Gallery. F11 1908 Includes proposals from Strawbridge & Clothier, Karcherand and Rehn, and other companies for the renovation of the foyer. 1 Series I. Institutional correspondence (cont'd) Series I.6. Facility maintenance (cont'd) F12 1909-1913 Includes a letter from the Philadelphia Fire Underwriters' Association recommending fire safety improvements. F13 1914 Includes proposals for new curtains in the boxes and for the cleaning and repair of chandeliers in the foyer. F14 1915 Includes a proposal for a new chandelier with an architectural sketch (removed to oversize). Preserved as well is a proposal and drawing for a "moving picture booth." F15 1916 Jan-Aug Includes proposals for replacing the steps at the main entrance on Broad and Locust Streets. F16 1916 Sep-Dec, and 1917 Jan-Apr Preserved is a solicitation to install a score board that was to carry the World Series scores. F17 1917 May-Dec Included is correspondence with the Universal Electric Stage Lighting Co., manufacturers of special effects. Preserved as well are several proposals to replace the steps on Broad street. F18 1918 Jan-Jun Includes correspondence relative to a property dispute, which contains an architectural sketch produced by the F.T. Mercer Company. F19 1918 Jul-Dec Includes a draft of a long letter to Mr. Blumberg complaining about a property dispute. F20 1919 Includes correspondence related to the repair of an awning pole after someone drove into it. F21 1920-1921, 1923, 1925, n.d. Includes correspondence relative to the sale of property at 246 W. Walnut Lane, the Art Alliance's plan to replace the paintings in the "corridor" with "modern works of art," and documents concerning the erection of the Fritz Scheel Memorial Tablet designed by the architect Edgar V. Seeler. 1 Series I. Institutional correspondence (cont'd) Series I.7. Personal and professional correspondence F22 1896, 1902-1908 Includes correspondence with the Hibernian Publishing Co., and personal correspondence with Fred R. Comee of the Boston Symphony Hall. F23 1909-1917 Includes correspondence from the Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, and several publishing companies. F24 1918, 1919 Jan-May Includes correspondence relating Liberty Loans, and the ordering of new stage sets from Lee Lash Studios, New York. F25 1919 Jul-Dec, 1920-1926, and n.d. Included is correspondence with Geo. W. H. Moore, publisher of theater programs, and correspondence addressed to George F. Baker from G. D. Young. 1 Series II. Performance related material, mid 1800s-circa 1940 This series describes events that took place at the Academy. Included are programs of performances, property plots, material related to leasing the Academy for events, and the reaction of the patrons who attended those events. Series II.1. Performance programs and promotional sheets F26 1873-1893 Il Trovatore, November 10, 11, 1873 Philadelphia Chorus, May 10, 11, 1886 Philadelphia Chorus, April 26, 1888 Philadelphia Chorus, January 16, 1890 Paderewski's Third Piano Recital, February 4, 1893 F27 1908-circa 1940. German-American Charity Ball, February 3, 1908 Philadelphia Orchestra, March 20, 21, 1908 Burton Holmes Travelogues, November 18, 19, 1910 G. E. Marchand lecture, September 16, 17 n.y. Metropolitan Opera Company, March 19, 1929 Metropolitan Opera Company, January 29, 1929 Marion Anderson, October 17, [circa 1940] Series II.2. Property plots F28 "Magic Pills" "Game of Speculation" "The Garroters Farce" by William Dean Howells. "Bandanna Land" produced by the Williams and Walker Co. (see associated correspondence May 4, 1908, F34) And other unidentified titles Series II.3. Events at the Academy, leasing correspondence F29 1895-1897 Included is correspondence related to the Democratic City Executive Committee, the University of Pennsylvania commencement, and the vocalist Yvette Guilbert. F30 1901-1903 Includes correspondence related to the violinist Jan Kubelik, Burton Holmes, and a complaint about the Academy from the vocalist Lillian Nordica. F31 1904-1906, 1907 Jan-Sep Includes correspondence from the Belasco theater, the Mendelssohn Club of the Academy of Fine Arts, the Garrick Theater, and Mme. Schumann-Heink. F32 1907 Oct-Dec Includes correspondence regarding the Elmendorf Lectures, the Philadelphia Car Show, and Burton Holmes Travelogues. F33 1908 Jan-Apr Includes correspondence related to Lyman H. Howe's Moving Pictures, S. H. Chapman's travel lectures, the Elmendorf Lectures, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. F34 1908 May-Dec Includes correspondence related to the Philadelphia Orchestra, Burton Holmes Travelogues, S. H. Chapman's travel lectures, George Nox McCain's lectures, and L. Frank Baum's Fairylogue and Radio Plays. F35 1909-1911 Includes correspondence related to the Pennsylvania Anti-Saloon League, ballet dancers Anna Pavlova and Michael Mordkin, and the Philharmonic Society of New York. F36 1912, 1914 Includes correspondence regarding Jules Layolle's French Grand Opera Company of New Orleans, the Elmendorf Lectures, and the Woman Suffrage Parade Committee. F37 1915 Jan-Nov Includes correspondence regarding the Newman Traveltalks, the Elmendorf Lectures, the Woman Suffrage Parade Committee, and the Whitney Fashion Show. 1 Series II. Performance Related Material (cont'd) Series II.3. Leasing correspondence (cont'd) F38 1915 Dec, 1916 Includes correspondence related to the Chicago Opera Company, Temple University, and the concert director Helen Pulaski Innes. F39 1917 Jan-Jul Includes material regarding the Newman Traveltalks, the lecture tour of Sir Ernest Shackleton, and the Symphony Society of New York. 2 F40 1917 Aug-Oct Includes correspondence regarding the Newman Traveltalks, the Girard Phonograph Company, the comedian Harry Lauder, and the Pennsylvania Anti-Saloon League. F41 1917 Nov-Dec Includes correspondence regarding the National League for Woman's Service, the Newman Traveltalks, and William Howard Taft's League to Enforce Peace. F42 1918 Jan-Mar Includes correspondence regarding the University of Pennsylvania commencement, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Newman Traveltalks, and the San Carlo Grand Opera Company. F43 1918 Apr-Jul Includes correspondence related to William H. Taft's League to Enforce Peace, The Metropolitan Music Bureau, and the Newman Traveltalks. F44 1918 Aug-Dec Included is correspondence related to the Newman Traveltalks, and the Pennsylvania Council of National Defense and committee of Public Safety. 3 F45 1919 Jan-Apr Included is correspondence related to the Newman Traveltalks, and the National War Savings Committee. F46 1919 May-Aug Includes correspondence related to the Newman Traveltalks, the J. B. Pond Lyceum Bureau, and the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. F47 1919 Sept-Dec Includes correspondence related to the Colored Masonic Hall Association, the Solo Harpist Francis J. Lapitina, and the Newman Traveltalks. F48 1920, 1925-1926, n.d. Includes correspondence related to the World Conference on Christian Fundamentals, the Boy Scouts, and the World Conference on Narcotic Education. Series II.4. Patron correspondence This correspondence preserves inquiries concerning lost articles, requests for performance dates and complaints. F49 1896-1897, 1901-1907 F50 1908-1910 F51 1911-1920, n.d.
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