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Rosenthal Archives: Scope of the Collection

The Samuel and Marie-Louise Rosenthal Archives of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra holds over 2,000 linear feet of materials related to the founding, operation, and governance of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1890-present), Orchestra Hall (1904-present) and Symphony Center (1997- present), the Civic Orchestra (1919-present), and the Chicago Symphony Chorus (1957-present). The collections encompass a wide range of formats including manuscripts, printed books and music, architectural plans, scrapbooks, press clippings, programs, photographs, sound recordings, films, and videos.

Institutional records are divided into 12 main groups. The records of the Board of Trustees, established in 1890, along with those of the ten General Managers, document the growth of the Orchestra to its present international status. There is substantial information in the Artistic Administration records regarding programming, the contracting of guest artists, and the development and management of the Civic Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Chorus, and the Education department. Materials relating to media, touring, and the day-to-day management of the Orchestra, Orchestra Hall, and Symphony Center are found in the records of the Operations department. Box office statements, press releases and clippings, program books, and other publications as well as photographs and biographies of Orchestra members and guest artists form part of the Marketing and Communications department records. Financial transactions and fundraising efforts of the organization are documented in the records of the Finance and Development departments, respectively. The activities of the CSO League, the Orchestra's primary volunteer group, are also documented in the Development department records.

In addition to the institutional records, the Rosenthal Archives holds other collections of great interest relating to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The Music collection includes scores and parts from the Theodore Thomas Music Library, the Frederick Stock Collection of original compositions and arrangements, and the Fritz Reiner Score Collection. The Audio and Moving Image collections contain all of the Orchestra's commercial recordings, radio broadcasts, television programs, and recordings/videos of pre- and post-concert lectures. The Oral History collection contains tapes and transcripts of interviews of hundreds of individuals associated with the Orchestra including musicians, trustees, staff, subscribers, volunteers, and music critics, among others. Three-dimensional Artifacts and Ephemera include fine arts such as paintings and sculptures in addition to awards, posters, and memorabilia. Collections emanating from outside the Orchestra, including the personal papers, music, photographs, scrapbooks, and memorabilia from several former musicians, are accessioned as Special Collections.

Rosenthal Archives: THEODORE Search Tips by Category

Artistic Administration Department


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