Special Collections Department
Newark Music Society
1923 - 1945
Manuscript Collection Number: 235
Extent: (.3 linear ft.)
Content: Organizational documents, concert progams
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: April 1991by B.C. Mayes; revised January 2002.
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
In December of 1923, a small group of prominent Newark, Delaware, citizens met at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Walter Hullihen to discuss the formation of an organization that would “promote good music” in the town of Newark. The resultant organization – the Newark Music Society – played a significant role in the cultural life of the community during its twenty-six years of existence.
The Society began as a small cultural organization which met a few times each year at the home of a member After a business meeting an informal “musicale” concert featuring local talent was performed and refreshments were served. Gradually, the Society undertook more demanding projects such as sponsorship and promotion of music training in the public schools, fund-raising for the town bandstand, and a series of formal concerts under Society auspices which featured professional artists of moderate renown.
These projects were costly and not always financially successful. The Society experienced some fiscal difficulties during the late 1920s, but managed to continue a series of concerts featuring student talent from the Curtis Institute of Music (Philadelphia) from 1930 to 1941. Amongst these programs were early student performances by such notable artists as pianists Jorge Bolet and Ralph Berkowitz, and oboist John DeLancie.
The Curtis concerts were replaced by a series of recitals by local artists, an irregular “Artists series” of concerts by lesser-known professional musicians, and a return to the home “musicales” of the Society’s earlier years. By this time, however, membership was in a steady state of decline and the Society had lost the enthusiasm that had marked its earlier years. Finally, when the University of Delaware undertook sponsorship of its own concert series, the Society seemed to have lost its reason for existence. The Society disbanded and declared itself defunct in September, 1945.
Baker, T.A. Unpublished letter to W.D. Lewis, 3 April 1961. Morris Library,
University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware.
(Ask manuscripts librarian.)
The Newark Music Society Records consist of all of the known organizational papers generated by the Society during its activity and maintained in the Society’s “secretary book” by Miss Freda Ritz, secretary of the society from 1924 – 1945. These include the organization’s constitution; minutes of the Society’s organizational, annual and committee meetings; annual reports of the president and treasurer; announcements and press releases; and several programs from Society “musicales” and concerts given under Society auspices. The papers range between the years 1923 and 1945 with the bulk of the business and related papers dated within the spans 1923-1926 or 1935- 1940. Programmes run continuously from 1924 to 1945.
The papers may be of primary use to researchers in both the social sciences and the humanities. From a sociological outlook, the chronology of events detailed in the business papers may be viewed as a case study of U.S. small-city social life during the 1920s and 1930s. The minutes are detailed records of events both within and outside of the Society. Additionally, the reports of the Treasurer offer insights into contemporary pricing for such items as instrument rental, ticket printing, and janitorial service.
A bit of Newark/University of Delaware history may, of course, be found in the papers as well. Many names now familiar to students and residents as buildings – Hullihen, Sypherd, Loudis, etc. – are found within the active membership and committee rosters of the Society. The original membership and executive committee were comprised of Newark citizens with prominent status amongst the community. Also among the papers is a copy of the University of Delaware Review of April 25, 1945 containing a review of one of the Society’s later concerts.
The program collection may be found particularly useful to music and performing arts scholars. The Curtis concerts are representative of one aspect of musical training offered by the Institute during this time period: opportunities for public performance. Several notable performers were participants in this series during the formative years of their careers. The works that these artists studied and the artists with whom they worked can give insight to an individual performer’s development.
The papers have been organized into three series. The first series – business papers – is further subdivided into five subseries:
1. Constitution and Society papers
2. Meeting minutes
3. Officer’s reports
4. Correspondence and announcements
5. Membership rosters.
Finally, the subseries of meeting minutes is further organized into smaller groups:
1. Organizational meetings
2. Committee meetings (including the final disbandment meeting)
3. Annual meetings.
Some committee membership rosters are integral parts of the annual meeting minutes and are filed accordingly. Those not associated with any extant meeting minutes are filed within the Membership rosters subseries.
The second series – programmes – is also further organized. The four subseries are Curtis concerts, Artist recital, “Musicales,” and Other concerts. The final series consists of miscellaneous related items relevant to the Society’s history and to the collection.
All items are arranged chronologically within the lowest level of organization.
Folder -- Contents
Business Papers 1 Constitution, n.d. Organizational meeting minutes 2 1923 Dec 11 3 Dec 19 4 1924 Jan 8 Committee meeting minutes 5 1924 Feb 9 6 Mar 24 7 Mar 31 8 Apr 15 9 Sep 30 10 1925 May 13 11 Oct 25 12 1937 May 30 13 1938 June 21 14 1940 June 10 15 1946 Sep 11 Annual meeting minutes 16 1925 Jan 13 17 1926 Jan 12 18 1936 Jan 23 19 1940 July 8 Officer’s Reports 20 1924 21 1925 22 1926 23 1940 Correspondence and announcements 24 1936 [n.d.] 25 1937 [n.d.] 26 1938 [n.d.] 27 Oct 20 28 1939 Nov 7 29 1940 [n.d.] 30 Apr 17 31 Oct 23 32 1943 Oct 4 Membership roster 33 1935, 1939-40, n.d. 34 1937-38 Curtis Concert Programmes 35 1935 36 1931 37 1932 38 1933 39 1934 40 1935 41 1936 42 1937 43 1938 44 1939 45 1940 46 1941 Artist Recitals Programmes 47 1940 48 1941 49 1942 50 1943 51 1944 52 1945 53 1924 Musicales Programmes 54 1925 55 1933 56 1943 57 1924-25, 1933, 1945 58 University of Delaware Review, April 25, 1945 (includes article pertaining to Newark Music Society recital featuring the Ionian Singers)