Junger Männerchor 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 Junger Männerchor was founded in 1852, as the sixth German singing society in Philadelphia and an offshoot of the oldest society in the city, the Männerchor. Under the leadership of Gustav Friedeborn and Julius Pick, nine members of that society, joined by two members of the society Sängerbund and two more men, founded the new society on February 22, 1852. Their first rehearsals took place under the direction of Matthias Keller, then the director of the Arch Street Theatre, and they competed in the 1852 Sängerfest in New York under the leadership of Philip Reuter. With 42 members at this point, they won first prize for the best rendition as well second prize for best song. In 1855, now counting 36 active and 120 passive members, the Junger Männerchor found their first permanent meeting space on the second floor of a house on the northwest corner of 4th St. and Vine St., where they remained for the next twelve and half years. During this period, they absorbed the singing society Eintracht, and George (Gustav) Runge (architect of the Philadelphia Academy of Music, with Napoleon LeBrun), served as president from 1858-1860.
During the 1860s-70s, the Junger Männerchor won prizes at both the New York and Baltimore Sängerfeste and, under the presidential term (beginning in 1867) of Wilhelm Hartmann, they experimented with a Damenchor (women’s chorus). In 1884, the society founded a more permanent Damenchor and also purchased the location of their longest-lasting hall at 310-312 N. 6th Street. They held their first mixed-chorus performance and moved into their newly completed building the following year. In 1895, then president of the Junger Männerchor Arno Leonhardt became the president of the United Singers of Philadelphia, a consortium of singing societies in the area, and the Junger Männerchor Vereins-Halle became the headquarters of this organization as well, leading to the expansion of the building.
In the beginning of the twentieth century, the Junger Männerchor continued to meet, give concerts, and compete in Sängerfeste. In 1912, they won the top prize at the Nordöstlicher Sängerbund’s Sängerfest, and were granted permanent possession of the Kaiser Prize, a silver and gilt statue donated by Kaiser Wilhelm II to the competition in 1900. While the First and Second World Wars did impact the Junger Männerchor’s activity, they continued on as an organization until at least 1991, and this collection retains materials from concerts and other events up until 1966.
The Junger Männerchor of Philadelphia is one of the oldest German-American singing societies (founded on February 22,1852). This collection comprises membership records, ephemera, memorabilia, songbooks, sheet music, and audio recordings of the Junger Männerchor, with dated materials spanning from the year 1892 to 1966.
The collection is organized as follows: Series I includes two manuscript membership records books, dated 1906 and 1911. Series II contains ephemera, and primarily contains concert programs, including for the society’s centennial concert, as well as lyric sheets, season programs, and event tickets. An issue of the society’s own periodical "Der Adler" (Oct. 1902) , a preservation copy of J.F. Anton’s history of the society (published in 1902), and three audio recordings from a concert in 1959 round out the series. Series III comprises a vast collection of sheet music materials, including songbooks printed for events in which the Junger Männerchor participated, in addition to a vast catalogue of sheet music purchased by the society. The songbooks are organized by event date, and the sheet music is organized by title, lyricist, and composer. This collection retains the partitur and two copies of each voice (Tenor I, Tenor II, Bass I, Bass II) where possible, and also includes additional copies if significant manuscript notation is present. The sheet music subseries (III B) also includes some manuscript sheet music as indicated at the folder level.
The audio recordings from 1959 were shared digitally with the German Society of Pennsylvania and the Horner Memorial Library by Jan Michael Wieczerzak in 2022, on behalf of his father, John Wieczerzak, who was a member of the Junger Männerchor. The 1911 membership book was found in a box with the Friedrich W. Haussmann memorial resolutions (item now Ms. Coll. 18) in the attic of the German Society of Pennsylvania. All other materials were discovered in various locations on the premises.
- German Society of Pennsylvania: Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Jehnna Lewis
- Finding Aid Date
- The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, as part of the Germany Society of Pennsylvania's 2020 Historical and Archival Records Care Grant.
- 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.