United Singers of Philadelphia records
Held at: German Society of Pennsylvania: Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library [Contact Us]611 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19123
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the German Society of Pennsylvania: Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The United Singers of Philadelphia, founded in 1881, is a “fraternal federation of choral groups” located within the Philadelphia metropolitan area . Originally and frequently throughout its history known by its German name, Vereinigte Sänger von Philadelphia, this umbrella organization at its peak, around the first decade of the twentieth century, encompassed approximately 40 individual singing societies, with mainly German immigrant and German-American memberships.
The United Singers of Philadelphia did not represent all of the German-American singing societies in Philadelphia. Another such federation that was active in Philadelphia from around the 1890s until at least the 1930s was the Vereinigte Arbeiter-Gesang-Vereine (United Workers' Singing Societies, or United Workingmen Singing Societies). The two singers' federations were reported to have united for a concert under the same conductor for the first time in August 1914, in a show of united German spirit to benefit the victims of the war in Germany and Austria-Hungary .
Background: German-American choral societies, and the singing festivals of the Nordöstlicher Sängerbund (Northeastern Saengerbund)
German-language choral societies, or Gesangvereine, had existed in Philadelphia since the first such American society, the Männerchor, was founded here in 1835. In the following decades, many other German choral societies were founded throughout the country, in most cities with a German population . Like other voluntary associations (Vereine) popular among German Americans, including gymnastics and mutual aid societies, singing societies fostered a sense of camaraderie in the German language, and recalled traditions of the homeland. Singing societies and singing festivals had become an integral part of community life in Germany by the early 19th century .
The singing festival, or Saengerfest, was a part of German-American singing life from early on. In 1846, several choral groups in Philadelphia organized a festival, inviting Baltimore's Liederkranz . Such events were at first only sporadic, but they nurtured the desire to have a more formal union among the choral groups. A regional union came into existence first in the Midwest, with the founding of the Nordamerikanischer Sängerbund following a festival in Cincinnati in 1849. In the eastern part of the country, the Allgemeine Gesangverein (General singers association), was formed the following year, comprising five Philadelphia choral societies: Männerchor, Liedertafel, Sängerbund, Eintracht, and Cäcilia. The latter alliance organized a great festival in Philadelphia in June 1850 that drew the participation of 10 singing societies from other cities . In 1868, this eastern alliance, which takes in the Mid-Atlantic region, was renamed the Nordöstlicher Sängerbund von Amerika.
Between 1850 and 1871 the Nordöstlicher Sängerbund held 12 regional singing festivals under the title Allgemeines Sängerfest der Nordöstlichen Staaten (General singing festival of the northeastern states), with the longest pause between festivals occurring during the Civil War (following the 8th Saengerfest in 1859 there was not another one until 1865). But the 11th Allgemeine Sängerfest, in Baltimore, in 1869, resulted in a sizeable deficit for the singers, and the 12th, in New York, in 1871, was marred by discord among the participating societies , resulting in the gradual disbandment of the alliance, as one society after another withdrew from membership . A long hiatus in the organization of singing festivals ensued.
The founding of the United Singers of Philadelphia; the 13th National Saengerfest, 1882; and the revival of the Nordöstlicher Sängerbund
In the mid to late 1870s several local singing festivals were held in Philadelphia, including a very successful one in August 1878, in Reistle's Saenger Park, that had 29 choral societies participating . This event showed that the interest in organized choral singing had not abated; there had been only 19 Philadelphia-area singing societies participating in the last of the regional singing festivals in 1869 and 1871 . After this experience, the idea of organizing a new union of singing societies began to take hold. However, concrete progress toward that goal was not made until late 1880. At that time, with the bicentennial celebration of the city of Philadelphia on the horizon, singers in various of the Philadelphia societies began to discuss the possibility of organizing a national Saengerfest to coincide with those festivities, in 1882 .
The groundwork for a new alliance of Philadelphia singing societies was laid at a series of preliminary meetings held from December 1880 to February 1881. Delegates from 15 societies were present at the first meeting in Männerchor Hall, on 5 December 1880, at which a decision was reached to plan a singing festival for the year 1882, and a special committee of seven was appointed to draft a plan for the organization. Since not all of the area's singing societies were represented, it was decided to send written invitations to the others, before meeting again. At the next meeting, at the same location, on 2 January 1881, an additional nine singing societies were represented, for a total of 24 . At this meeting it was resolved to hold a local singing festival in 1881 as a "precursor to the great National Saengerfest in 1882" .
At a meeting on 6 February, the special committee presented its draft structure for the organization, including a proposal that it should be called the Vereinigte Sänger von Philadelphia (United Singers of Philadelphia); all of the committee's recommendations were adopted. Finally, at a meeting on 20 February 1881, the United Singers of Philadelphia elected its first officers: William Mechelke, president; Edward Faber, first vice president; Fritz Lindhorst, second vice president; Ernst Luedecke, recording secretary; C. Lang, corresponding secretary; A. C. Loewe, financial secretary; and John F. Schwarzkopf, treasurer . At this meeting 34 societies were represented, reporting memberships that totaled over 800 singers .
As had been proposed, the new organization proceeded to hold a local singing festival that same year, on 21 and 22 August 1881, in Rising Sun Park, located at Allegheny Avenue and Germantown Road, in North Philadelphia. The event was both a musical and financial success, raising about $3,500 that could be used toward the national Saengerfest that the group wanted to mount in 1882, to coincide with the bicentennial of the city of Philadelphia.
At a November 1881 meeting of the United Singers it was determined that the 13th National Saengerfest would be held on 29 June to 1 July 1882 . The festival was officially entitled the 13th Allgemeine Sängerfest der Nordöstlichen Staaten, with the numerical sequence picking up where that of the national festivals in the East had left off under the auspices of the old Nordöstlicher Sängerbund. In the earlier period of regional singing festivals, the singing societies had only ever come together for the purpose of mounting the festival, and afterwards they would all go their own way again; however, the new organization United Singers of Philadelphia was a more stable type of organization that remained in continuous existence, even in the interludes between festivals .
On 2 July 1882, at a meeting of the delegates of the singing societies participating in the 13th Allgemeine Sängerfest, a proposal was made by C. M. Baumann, to revive the Nordöstlicher Sängerbund "for the purpose of the common cultivation of song" .
Thus, under the auspices of the United Singers of Philadelphia, the custom of sponsoring a 'general' or 'national' singing festival in the Mid-Atlantic region again took hold. In the period leading up to the First World War, such festivals were held regularly every three years, until 1915, after which there was a gap of seven years. The first festival held after the war was the 25th National Saengerfest in Brooklyn, in 1922; it was followed by the 26th, in Philadelphia, in 1926. The location of the festivals rotated among the major cities in the region. Festivals were held in Baltimore; New York City; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Philadelphia; and Newark, N.J.
In an early printed constitution of the United Singers, the aims of the organization include the cultivation of music, in particular, German male choral singing, as well as the cultivation of the German language; the spread of German customs and sociability; the nurturing of friendly relations among the member singing societies; the furthering of patriotic undertakings; and, finally, the organization and sponsoring of local concerts and singing festivals, as well as the larger regional singing festivals of the Nordöstlicher Sängerbund .
The national Saengerfests, under the auspices of the Nordöstlicher Sängerbund, were typically grand events lasting several days, held some time between May and July. Some of the concerts during the festival would feature well-known soloists. For the singing festivals held in Philadelphia in 1897 and 1912 a new convention hall was built especially for the Saengerfest. The mayor of Philadelphia and other prominent citizens, and perhaps even the president of the United States, would be invited to the festival, and possibly deliver an address. (In 1912 Mayor Rudolph Blankenburg and President William Howard Taft both attended the 23rd National Saengerfest.)
Special publications in connection with the Saengerfest would typically be a festival newspaper (Fest-Zeitung), comprising at least ten issues, and a souvenir program. These publications would include all the details of the planned events, as well as background articles and biographical portraits.
During the era of the United Singers part of the Saengerfest program would be devoted to prize competitions among the singing societies, in three classes, as well as a city federation prize. The prize would be a portrait bust or medallion featuring a composer, or a trophy. At the 16th National Saengerfest, in 1891, and again at the 21st National Saengerfest, in 1906, both held in Newark, N.J., the United Singers of Philadephia captured the city federation prize. The grand prizes that they brought home on those occasions were busts of Franz Schubert and Joseph Haydn, respectively; the United Singers donated the busts to Fairmount Park, where they still stand today. In 1900, on the occasion of the golden jubilee of the Nordöstlicher Sängerbund, the German Emperor Wilhelm II donated as a special prize a silver trophy depicting a medieval German Minnesinger, or minstrel. The singing society that won the "Kaiser Prize" would keep it until the next national Saengerfest. When the Junger Männerchor won the Kaiser Prize for the third time, at the festival in 1912, the Kaiser Prize was awarded to them to keep permanently; today it stands in the Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library at the German Society of Pennsylvania.
Despite the focus on male choral singing, the musical events of the United Singers appear to have included the participation of female singers from the beginning, with a mixed choir for male and female voices in the singing festival of 1850. By the early twentieth century many of the member singing societies had a 'ladies section.' The souvenir booklet for the singing festival of 1912 highlights the participation a Ladies Festival Chorus of over 800 that performed at the opening concert: "composed of the ladies' choruses of those German Singing Societies which have ladies' sections; also of the members of the German church choirs, and a large number of German-American ladies not affiliated with any organization" . In 1939 three female choruses became regular members of the United Singers, and sent delegates to the meetings: Maennerchor Women's Chorus, Harmonie Women's Chorus, and Philadelphia Quartett Club Women's Chorus .
Other activities of the United Singers of Philadelphia
Local singing festivals and concerts by the United Singers were often performed for charitable causes, or as part of public celebrations in Philadelphia, especially those related to German-American culture. From the late 19th century on into the 20th century the organization played a significant role in the public life of Philadelphia through its participation in Fourth of July celebrations; the ceremonies accompanying the laying of cornerstones of monuments and new buildings; in public receptions and parades on various occasions; and in the annual celebrations of what became known as "German Day," commemorating the arrival of the first German settlers in America with the founding of Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1683.
In October 1882, the United Singers participated in the bicentennial celebration of the city of Philadelphia, with a serenade in front of Independence Hall. They sang at the ceremonies for the laying of the cornerstone and the unveiling of the Schiller monument in Fairmount Park, in 1885/1886, and the laying of the cornerstones of the Goethe monument in Fairmount Park, in 1887, the Mary J. Drexel Home, in 1886, the new building of the German Society of Pennsylvania, in 1888, the Odd Fellows Temple, in 1893, and the New German Theater (at Franklin and Girard), in 1905. The member singing societies of the United Singers typically gathered together to celebrate an annual "Kommers," a banquet and singing event, with the first such event held at Industrial Hall at Broad and Wood Street on 20 November 1884. Other celebratory occasions included special anniversaries of member societies, such as the 50th anniversary of the Männerchor, in 1885, and the 40th anniversary of the Jünger Männerchor, in 1892.
In 1893 the singers performed a series of concerts as part of a grand musical and drama festival to aid the Police Pension Fund of Philadelphia. Over the years the United Singers often made donations to benefit victims of natural disasters, usually by holding a special benefit concert; those efforts included relief for victims of the floods in the Rhine Valley of Germany in 1889; famine in Russia in 1892; the hurricane and tidal wave in Galveston, Texas, in 1900; the earthquake in San Francisco in 1906; and the floods in the Midwest in 1914. In 1915 the United Singers of Philadelphia organized a charity concert to raise humanitarian aid for German and Austro-Hungarian victims of the First World War. A total of 2,100 singers (including a children's chorus) performed for an audience of more than 20,000 . In 1916 the United Singers came together with the Philadelphia Turngemeinde in a concert and gymnastics exhibition to aid families of Pennsylvania national guard members who had been ordered to the front . During the war the organization and the member societies of the United Singers also participated in the fundraising efforts of the German-American relief organization Hilfsfond, of Philadelphia.
The general anti-German feeling that took hold in public life after the entry of the United States into the war, in 1917, had a dampening effect on the activities of all German-American organizations, including the singing societies. Although the singers continued to come together, they did not make public appearances. The last National Saengerfest held before the country went to war was the 24th, which took place in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1915. The next one was not held until 1922. As an organization the United Singers of Philadelphia contributed to the war effort by supporting the purchase of Liberty Bonds and appeals of the American Red Cross .
In the aftermath of the First World War, the United Singers played a significant role in the fundraising of the German-American community for humanitarian relief in German-speaking lands in Central Europe (work that was in part carried out in cooperation with the American Friends Service Committee), by performing charity concerts in the early 1920s .
During the interwar period, aside from participation in the national Saengerfests of the Nordöstlicher Sängerbund, the activities of the United Singers of Philadelphia included a charity concert for the benefit of the unemployed, in 1931; participation in the parade and musical festivities commemorating the 250th anniversary of the first German settlers in Germantown, in 1933; and musical participation in the annual celebrations of German Day in the 1930s. A noteworthy event after the entry of the United States into the Second World War was a concert at the Academy of Music for the benefit of the American Red Cross .
After the Second World War, the United Singers again participated in overseas relief efforts, raising a considerable sum with a benefit concert at the Academy of Music in 1947, in cooperation with American Relief for Central Europe , a Philadelphia-based group closely associated with the German Society of Pennsylvania.
In the decades following the Second World War one highlight in the activities of the United Singers was in 1956, the year of the group's 75th anniversary, when some of the members travelled to Stuttgart in order to attend the 14th German Singers' Festival there, and carried the flag of the group in a parade. In the 1950s through 1970s, the United Singers held anniversary celebrations at the halls or clubhouses of German-American organizations, including the Philadelphia Rifle Club (Schützen-Verein) and the Philadelphia Quartett-Club (a member society); and participated in Steuben Day parades. The 39th National Saengerfest in 1976, which coincided with the American Bicentennial celebration, was held in Philadelphia, hosted by the United Singers .
The United Singers of Philadelphia in recent decades
In 1991, when the United Singers hosted the 44th National Saengerfest in Valley Forge, it had only 13 member singing societies . The eminent Männerchor, the oldest singing society in the United States, had disbanded in 1985, on the occasion of its 150th anniversary . Among the member singing societies still in existence in 1991, the ones of longest standing were the Junger Maennerchor and Germania Männerchor Philadelphia, founded in 1852 and 1853, respectively.
In a historical sketch of the United Singers of Philadelphia published in 1995, William G. Moellhoff, secretary of the organization since 1953, concludes: "Although the songs must still be sung in German the United Singers now includes members of many ethnic backgrounds" .
Today the United Singers of Philadelphia continues to exist under the auspices of the Cannstatter Volksfest Verein . The Nordöstlicher Sängerbund continues the tradition of holding national Saengerfests every three years. The 47th National Saengerfest of the Nordöstlicher Sängerbund was held in Philadelphia in the year 2000. Most recently, the 51st National Saengerfest, was held in Allentown, Pa., in 2012.
 William G. Moellhoff, "A historical sketch," in The United Singers of Philadelphia 75th anniversary, Wednesday, October 24th, 1956 (Philadelphia?: s.n., 1956). [GAC Pamphlet AG 193.2]
 Russell A. Kazal, Becoming Old Stock: The Paradox of German-American Identity (Princeton: Princeton UP, 2004), p. 156, 336. For a list of societies belonging to the Vereinigte Arbeiter-Gesange-Vereine, see the "Vereins-Kalender" of 1915 in the Scrapbook on war relief efforts, circa 1915-1924 (facsimile copy, f. 76; Box 22). At its founding, the United Singers included at least one choral group identifying itself with 'workers,' the Arbeiter-Sängerbund, which by 1915 was affiliated instead with the workers' singing federation mentioned above.
 Albert Bernhardt Faust, The German element in the United States: with special reference to its political, moral, social, and educational influence (New York: Steuben Society of America, 1927), vol. 2, 273.
 Lesley Ann Kawaguchi, The making of Philadelphia's German-America: ethnic group and community development, 1830-1883 (Ph. D. thesis, University of California, Los Angeles, 1983), p. 270.
 Kawaguchi, 271.
 Martha Crary Halpern, German singing societies of 19th century Philadelphia (Philadelphia: s.n., 1988), 18-19.
 "Die Vereinigten Sänger von Philadelphia," in: 25. Stiftungsfest der Vereinigten Sänger von Philadelphia – Grosses Jubiläums-Konzert in der Academy of Music (Philadelphia: Theo. Leonhardt & Son, 1905). [GAC Pamphlet AG 192]
 "A short sketch of the 'Northeastern Saengerbund,'" in Official souvenir of the eighteenth national Saengerfest of the Northeastern Saengerbund, held in Philadelphia, Pa., June 21st to 26th, (inclusive) 1897 (Philadelphia: C.A. Browne, 1897). [GAC Pamphlet AG 465.3]
 C. F. Huch, "Das dreizehnte allgemeine Sängerfest in Philadelphia 1882," in Mitteilungen des Deutschen Pionier-Vereins von Philadelphia, Heft 25 (1912), 2.
 Beschreibung des Nordoestlichen Saengerbundes und seiner Sängerfeste von 1850 bis 1891: nebst Portraits von Festbeamten und Festdirigenten, sowie Anhang einer Geschichte der Vereinigten Sänger von Philadelphia (Philadelphia: s.n., 189-?), 140, 152. [GAC AG 185]
 "The United Singers of Philadelphia," in Official souvenir of the eighteenth national Saengerfest of the Northeastern Saengerbund, held in Philadelphia, Pa., June 21st to 26th, (inclusive) 1897 (Philadelphia: C.A. Browne, 1897). [GAC Pamphlet AG 465.3]
 In the present collection, see Delegates' minute book (13th Allgemeines Sängerfest der Nordöstlichen Staaten), 5 December 1880 - 7 January 1883 (Box 3).
 Of the 34 societies listed in the delegates' minute book, 20 February 1881 (p. 5), only 27 ultimately participated in the singing festival of 1882 (see Singing societies' membership lists, Box 2).
 Constitution der Vereinigten Sänger von Philadephia (Philadelphia: Leo. Heymann, 1895). [GAC Pamphlet AG 194]
 Twenty-third National Sängerfest, official souvenir program: Nord-Oestliche Saengerbund of America : Philadelphia, June 29th to July 4th, 1912 (Philadelphia : S. W. Hallowell, 1912), 46-49.
 Clippings documenting the event were collected by the chair of the press committee, Louis H. Schmidt, in a scrapbook that he dedicated to Frederick W. Haussmann, the secretary of the United Singers at that time (in the present collection, Box 22).
 See souvenir pamphlet, Grand concert and gymnastic exhibition under the auspices of the United Singers of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Turngemeinde, in aid of the families of the Pennsylvania National Guard ordered to the front (Philadelphia? : s.n., 1916). [GAC Pamphlet AE 2036]
 "Brief history of the United Singers of Philadelphia," in souvenir pamphlet: Grand Concert given under the auspices of the United Singers of Philadelphia for the benefit of the American Friends Service Committee relief work in Europe, ... December 13, 1920 (contained in the Scrapbook on war relief efforts, circa 1915-1924; Box 22.). See also the records of the Liberty Loan Committee of Americans of German Birth or Descent (GSP call no. AA 231).
 See a 1920 souvenir pamphlet in the Scrapbook on war relief efforts (described in footnote 16, above; Box 22), and the Frederick W. Haussmann scrapbook, circa 1921-1925 (Ms. Coll. 33).
 "The United Singers of Philadelpha! : a summary sketch," in souvenir pamphlet: Erinnerungs-Buch fuer das 31. National Saengerfest : verbunden mit Jahrhundert-Feier des Nordostlichen Sangerbundes von Amerika, Inc. (Philadelphia : s. n., 1950). [GAC Pamphlet AG 189.5]
 "The United Singers of Philadelphia, 1881-1981," in: One hundredth anniversary : Saturday evening, October 24, 1981 (souvenir program). Philadelphia, 1981. [GAC Pamphlet AG 193.3]
 See souvenir pamphlet: Nordöstlicher Sängerbund von America, Inc., präsentiert das 44. Nationale Sängerfest, 24., 25. und 26. Mai 1991, Valley Forge, Pa. [GAC Pamphlet].
 See Herbert Schmidt papers, photographs taken at the 1985 anniversary meeting of the Männerchor in 1985, with note by Schmidt, telling of the group's decision to disband (GSP accession no. 2009-01).
 William G. Moellhoff, "United Singers of Philadelphia," in: Invisible Philadelphia: community through voluntary organizations (compiled and edited by Jean Barth Toll and Mildred S. Gillam; Philadelphia: Atwater Kent Museum, c1995), 88-89.
 Cannstatter: the newsletter for the members of the Cannstatter Club (Philadelphia, Fall 2012), 11, 30.
The collection contains the records of the United Singers of Philadelphia (Vereinigte Sänger von Philadelphia) from their founding in 1881 until approximately 1926, with a few items of miscellaneous ephemera dating as late as 1935 (Series V). Aside from printed souvenir booklets and concert programs that are separately cataloged, the only other known extant records dating from this period are found mainly in scrapbooks (see Note on Related Materials).
As an alliance, or umbrella organization of singing societies in the Philadelphia area, the primary purpose of the United Singers of Philadelphia was to participate in and, periodically, to organize the great regional singing festivals held under the auspices of the wider regional alliance of singing societies in the ‘northeastern’ states (the Mid-Atlantic region), known as the Nordöstlicher Sängerbund (NOSB). Although the history of the NOSB dates back to 1850, it was the nascent union of singing groups in Philadelphia that was responsible for the revival of the NOSB during the festival held here in 1882, after a lapse of more than a decade since the last great regional singing festival, and the effective dissolution of the NOSB in the intervening time (see History note). For this reason, the records that encompass the 1882 festival (dating 1880 to 1883) form a separate series (Series I); they document both the founding of the United Singers of Philadelphia as a permanent union of singing societies, and the revival of the NOSB.
Series II contains the minute books recording meetings of the membership (i.e. delegates from the member singing societies) and/or the directors, from 1883 to 1921; and Series III, the records of the National Saengerfests held in Philadephia in 1897, 1912, and 1926.
Supplementary records are found in Series IV: a press book from a local Philadelphia singing fair in 1894; scrapbooks covering the periods 1881-1900 and 1915-1924; and two volumes of attendance rehearsal lists, a general one, dated 1894 to 1903, and one for the Ladies’ Chorus, dating from 1925.
The latest dated minutes are found in the directors’ minute book, 1914-1921 (Box 12), with the formal minutes ending in January 1919 (the remainder of the volume corresponds more to a scrapbook). After that the only substantial records contained in the present collection are those pertaining to the singing festival held in Philadelphia in 1926 (Box 19). Although the United Singers of Philadelphia continued to hold meetings as an organization after 1921, the whereabouts of any minutes of the organization in later years are unknown.
The organization’s activities after 1935 up to the present day are documented by souvenir booklets and concert programs published on the occasions of the National Saengerfests or other special events (many such items are held at the German Society of Pennsylvania).
Presidents of the United Singers of Philadelphia, 1881-1952
1. William Mechelke, 1881-1883
2. Edmund Wolsieffer, 1883-1885
3. Carl Kuhl, 1886-1892
4. Henry Lierz, 1892-1895
5. Arno Leonhardt, 1895-1898
6. Henry Detreux, 1899-1905
7. Edmund Wolsieffer, 1905-1907
8. Henry Detreux, 1907-1913
9. John B. Meyer, 1913-1919
10. Frederick W. Haussmann, 1919-1927
11. Josef Hassemer, 1927-1930
12. Henry Hoffmann, 1930-1944
13. Walter Boehm, 1944-1952
Principal musical directors of the United Singers of Philadelphia, 1882-1952
1. F. W. (Friedrich Wilhelm) Kuenzel, 1882-1892
2. C. A. Hartmann, 1892-1896?
3. Eugen Klee, 1896?-1897
4. Carl Samans, 1897
5. Eugen Klee, 1898?-1899
6. C. A. Hartmann, 1900
7. Herman G. Kumme, 1901-1914
8. Emil F. Ulrich, 1922-1927
9. Johannes Kramers,1927-1930
10. Leopold Syre, 1930-1952
National singing festivals held under the auspices of the Nordöstlicher Sängerbund, 1850-1935
1850 June 15-18: 1st Saengerfest, in Philadelphia
1851 June 7-10: 2nd Saengerfest, in Baltimore
1852 June 19-22: 3rd Saengerfest, in New York City
1853 June 25-28: 4th Saengerfest, in Philadelphia
1854 June 4-7: 5th Saengerfest, in Baltimore
1855 June 24-26: 6th Saengerfest, in New York City
1857 June 13-17: 7th Saengerfest, in Philadelphia
1859 June 12-15: 8th Saengerfest, in Baltimore
1865 July 16-19: 9th Saengerfest, in New York City
1867 July 13-18: 10th Saengerfest, in Philadelphia
1869 July 10-15: 11th Saengerfest, in Baltimore
1871 July 24-28: 12th Saengerfest, in New York City
[dissolution of the Nordöstlichen Sängerbund, until its revival in 1882]
Note: From 1882 on, festivals held in Philadelphia were hosted by the United Singers of Philadelphia.
1882 June 29-July 4: 13th Saengerfest, in Philadelphia
1885 July 4-8: 14th Saengerfest, in Brooklyn
1888 June 30-July 4: 15th Saengerfest, in Baltimore
1891 July 3-7: 16th Saengerfest, in Newark, N.J.
1894 June 23-26: 17th Saengerfest, in New York City
1897 June 21-24: 18th Saengerfest, in Philadelphia
1900 June 30-July 5: 19th Saengerfest, in Brooklyn
1903 June 14-18: 20th Saengerfest, in Baltimore
1906 June 30-July 5: 21st Saengerfest, in Newark, N.J.
1909 June 19-24: 22nd Saengerfest, in New York City
1912 June 29-July 4: 23rd Saengerfest, in Philadelphia
1915 May 29-June 2: 24th Saengerfest, in Brooklyn
1922 May 28-30: 25th Saengerfest, in Brooklyn
1926 June 20-23: 26th Saengerfest, in Philadelphia
1929 June 30-July 2: 27th Saengerfest, in New York City
1931 September 12-13: 28th Saengerfest, in Atlantic City, N.J.
1935 May 30-June 2: 29th Saengerfest, in Newark, N.J.
Gift of Frederick W. Haussmann, circa 1925. Additional gift (minute book of the 26th National Saengerfest) probably received from Henry Hoffmann, after 1926. Some of the items of miscellaneous ephemera may have been received from Hoffmann or other members of the organization who, like Haussmann and Hoffmann, were simultaneously active in the German Society of Pennsylvania.
Some souvenir programs of singing events as well as festival newspapers of National Saengerfests that were received from Frederick W. Haussmann at the same time as the present collection have been or will be separately cataloged (see original inventory list in collection file).
- Choral societies
- German American women
- German Americans--Music
- German Americans--Societies, etc
- Music festivals
- German Society of Pennsylvania: Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Violet Lutz
- Finding Aid Date
- The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from the Max Kade Foundation, as part of the grant project "Retrieval and Cataloging of the German-American Experience, 1918-1960."
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the German Society of Pennsylvania with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.
This series contains the records of the 13th Allgemeine Sängerfest der Nordöstlichen Staaten (General singing festival of the northeastern states), a regional singing festival held in Philadelphia from 29 June to 4 July 1882, including minute books, financial records, and membership lists. (See also ephemera from the festival elsewhere in the collection, Folders 11 and 63.) These records also document the founding of the United Singers of Philadelphia as well as the revival of the Nordöstlicher Sängerbund, which had been effectively dissolved in the period following its 12th regional singing festival, in 1871 (see History note). For records documenting later regional singing festivals, or national Saengerfests, that were hosted in Philadelphia by the United Singers, see Series III; those records are of a similar nature to the records in the present series, except that they were created in a different context, after the United Singers were well established as an organization.
Bound volume, 143 pages (+ 57 blank pages at back). Title imprinted on cover: Protocolle der Exekutive Committee des 13.ten Allgemeinen Saengerfestes zu Philadelphia 1882, Ernst Luedecke, Sectr. (Original GSP call number AG 440.2)
Bound volume, 102 pages (+ 98 blank pages at back). Title imprinted on cover: Protocolle der Delegation des 13.ten Allgemeinen Saengerfestes zu Philadelphia, 1882, Ernst Luedecke, Sectr. (Original GSP call number AG 440.5)
Bound volume, 24 pages (+ 84 blank pages at back). Title imprinted on cover: Protocolle der Local Saengerfestes 1881 als Vorfeier des 13.te Allgemeinen Saengerfestes zu Philadelphia, 1882, Ernst Luedecke, Sectr. (Original GSP call number AG 440.6)
Bound volume, 9 pages (+ 43 blank pages at back). Title imprinted on cover: Protocolle der Press & Druck Committee fuer das 13.te Allgemeine Saengerfest zu Philadelphia, 1882, Ernst Luedecke, Sectr. (Original GSP call number AG 440.3)
Bound volume, 21 pages (+ 35 blank pages at back). Title imprinted on cover: Protocolle der Musik Committee fuer das 13.te Allgemeine Saengerfest zu Philadelphia, 1882, Ernst Luedecke, Sectr. (Original GSP call number AG 440.4)
Bound volume, 44 leaves (+ 6 blank leaves at back). Title imprinted on cover: Allgemeiner Chor, Edm. Wolsieffer, Vorstz., Ernst Luedecker, Sectr. Includes the names of 973 singers with home address, singing society affiliation, and voice type (Original GSP call number AG 440.9)
Bound volume, 28 leaves (+ 12 blank leaves at back). Title imprinted on cover: Gemischter Chor, Edm. Wolsieffer, Vorstz., Ernst Luedecker, Sectr. Includes the names of 300 female and 294 male singes, with home address, singing society affiliation (for male singers) and voice type (Original GSP call number AG 440.10)
Condition note: spine detached; binding fragile; old repair with tape along hinges.
Condition note: front hinge split; some leaves loose.
Condition note: spine detached; hinges split; old repair with tape along hinges.
Condition note: paper browning, pages loose. Please use the accompanying preservation facsimile (see below)..
Bound volume, 152 pages. In the hand of Carl Kuhl, secretary. (Original GSP call number AG 455)
Bound volume, 100 pages. Inscription on paper label on front cover: Vereinigte Sänger Vorstands-Situzungen. In the hand of Carl Kuhl, secretary. (Original GSP call number AG 456)
Condition note: front cover, spine, and pages at beginning of volume are wanting; back cover detached; some gatherings loose; paper in good condition (Original GSP call number AG 457).
Bound volume, 69 pages (+ 131 blank pages at back). In the hand of Carl Kuhl, secretary. Items of correspondence tipped in. Two items laid in at back, dated November 1910. (Original GSP call number AG 458)
This series contains records of the national Saengerfests, or regional singing festivals, of the Nordöstlicher Sängerbund von Amerika that were held in Philadelphia, hosted by the United Singers of Philadelphia, in 1897, 1912 and 1926 (all of the national Saengerfests held in Philadelphia during that time period). The work for each festival was carried out under an executive body constituted especially for the festival. For each of these festivals, the secretary of the United Singers of Philadelphia simultaneously served as the secretary of the Nordöstlicher Sängerbund. The records of the national singing festivals typically include minutes, financial reports, correspondence, membership lists, clippings, and ephemera.
These records are of a similar nature to the records of the 13th Allgemeine Sängerfest of 1882, found in Series I, although the records of the 1882 festival were created in a distinctly different context (see History note). The 'national' singing festivals in the present series comprise part of the same numerical sequence of festivals that began with the 1st Allgemeine Sängerfest in 1850. Around the 1890s these regional festivals in the East began to be referred to with the appellation 'national' rather than 'general' (allgemein).
Preservation photocopy made from deteriorated original. This newspaper is also available on microfilm for this period
2 copies. Contains numerous portraits of participants. This newspaper is also available on microfilm for this period
Aside from the minute book (a bound volume), the records in this subseries were received as loose documents in a large box, accompanied by an inventory list (see collection file) that amounted to an itemization without a specific organization. The present arrangement preserves some groupings that were evident in the inventory list, while organizing and ordering the materials in terms of basic categores, in order to enable an overview and make the records more easily accessible.
Comprises membership lists for Philadelphia-area singing societies that participated, either on a typed form or on letterhead of the society. For each society includes name; address of headquarters; officers; delegates to the United Singers of Philadelphia; and list of members, with home addresses. Members are somtimes grouped by type of voice.
Includes: Allemania Gesang-Verein; Arion; Aurora Gesang-Verein; Beethoven Männerchor; Columbia Gesang-Verein; Concordia Gesang-Verein; Concordia Männerchor; Concordia Quartett Club
Includes: Fairmount Liedertafel; Franklin Sängerbund; Franklinville Gesang-Verein; Germantown Liedertafel; Germantown Männerchor; Harmonie; Hermann-Söhne Männerchor; Gesang-Verein Humor
Includes: Junger Männerchor; Karpathen Sängerbund; Kreuznacher Saengerbund; Gesang-Verein Liederhain; Liederkranz; Lieder-Verein
Includes: Männerchor; Mozart Harmonie; North Philadelphia Männerchor; Orpheus Gesang-Verein; Gesang Sektion der Philadelphia Turngemeinde; Philadelphia Quartett Club; Philadelphia Sängerkreis; Rising Sun Gesang-Verein
Includes: Saxonia Männer Chor; Schweizer Männerchor; Southwark Männerchor; Teutonia Sängerbund; West Philadelphia Fidelio Männerchor; West Philadelphia Männerchor; Wiener Gemütlichkeit
See also correspondence of various festival committees in subseries IV.B.6.
3 items. From Richard F. Gerlach, MD., chair, to Frederick W. Haussmann, or Henry Detreux
This series contains handwritten manuscripts by William A. Haussmann, of the three essays that he wrote for the festival souvenir program. His name appears in the program in connection with only one of the essays ( "An ethical view of the Saengerfest: The Saengerfest and Dionysian Tragedy").
Born in Stuttgart in 1870, Haussmann graduated from the distinguished Central High School of Philadelphia, in 1888; received a Ph. D. from John Hopkins University in 1895; and joined the teaching staff at Central High School in 1901. He was also a translator, and his translation of Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy, published in 1909, remains in print today.
Includes one letter addressed to female singers
With illustration of concert hall on verso
Festival program, illustrated with numerous portraits of individual participants. Color illustrated cover
Condition note: spine partially detached, front hinge loose; pages in good condition with no flaking.
Condition note: one leaf (p. 67-68) is loose; mold staining on back cover.
Condition note: some cracks in spine; binding fragile; pages generally in good condition with no flaking.
Condition note: Covers detached, leaves loose. Please use the accompanying facsimile (see below)..
Condition note: originally bound volume, now unbound, with covers wanting; gatherings and many individual pages loose; paper in good condition.