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Maurice the Maestro Rotenberg record collection

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Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. 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

Maurice Rotenberg was born on August 13, 1897, in Poland. He married Gussie (née Gittel Shaller) who was also born in Poland and became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1932. They were the parents of Phyllis (born about 1930 in New York), Cynthia (born about 1933 in Philadelphia), and Barbara (born in 1936 in Philadelphia). Maurice Rotenberg began his restaurant career in the 1940s, with a small lunchroom in Center City, Philadelphia. A great lover of classical music, he decided to replace the pop tunes in his juke boxes with classical selections. In 1948, he bought a three building complex including 211 Quince Street, broke through walls and opened Maurice's, an "Old World" style restaurant wired by technicians from Philco to pipe classical music throughout the dining rooms, including the "Beethoven Shrine" on the third floor. Long before Philadelphia's restaurant renaissance in the 1970s, Maurice's was offering a gourmet "J.S. Bach Club Sandwich" served with the latest recording of Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

In the 1950s, celebrities like Eugene Ormandy, Tony Randall and Sammy Davis Jr. would drop in for lunch and to hear some of Rotenberg's collection of over 30,000 classical records. After Maurice died in 1952, his wife Gussie operated the restaurant for an additional ten years before retiring.

This collection consists of sixteen recordings that were probably among the 30,000 classical records that were played in his restaurant, Maurice's. The collection is arranged in alphabetical order by composer. Composers include Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Antonín Dvořák, Modest Moussorgsky, Giacomo Puccini, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Camille Saint-Saëns, Bedřich Smetana, and Giuseppe Verdi.

Gift of Barbara Vetri and the Rotenberg family, 2018.

Subject

Publisher
University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Holly Mengel
Finding Aid Date
2018 November 30
Access Restrictions

The only material in this collection that is immediately open to researchers are the record album cases that can be found in box six. All original audio recordings must be reformatted prior to public use.

Access to Machine-Readable Materials

Access to original audio/visual materials and computer files is restricted. The Kislak Center will provide access to the information on these materials from duplicate master files. If the original does not already have a copy, it will be sent to an outside vendor for copying. Patrons are financially responsible for the cost. The turnaround time from request to delivery of digital items is about two weeks for up to five items and three to seven weeks for more than five items. Please contact Reprographic Services (reprogr@upenn.edu) for cost estimates and ordering. Once digital items are received, researchers will have access to the files on a dedicated computer in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. Researchers should be aware of specifics of copyright law and act accordingly.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

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Beethoven, Ludwig van, Concerto No. 4 in G Major, op. 58 (Camden, N.J.: Victor), circa 1940.
Box 1 Item 1-4
Beethoven, Ludwig van, Concerto No. 4 in G Major, op. 58 (Camden, N.J.: Victor), record album case and printed description of the recording, circa 1940.
Box 6 Item 1
Beethoven, Ludwig van, Concerto No. 5 in E Flat Major, op. 73: The Emperor for piano and orchestra (Camden, N.J.: Victor), circa 1941.
Box 1 Item 5-9
Beethoven, Ludwig van, Concerto No. 5 in E Flat Major, op. 73: The Emperor for piano and orchestra (Camden, N.J.: Victor), record album case and printed description of the recording, circa 1941.
Box 6 Item 2
Beethoven, Ludwig van, Klavierkonzert Nr. 3, C-Moll, op. 37 (Germany: Polydor Meisterklasse), circa 1942.
Box 1 Item 10-14
Beethoven, Ludwig van, Sonata in C Minor, op 13: (Pathetique) (Camden, NJ: Victrola), circa 1928.
Box 2 Item 1-2
Beethoven, Ludwig van, Symphony No. 9, in D Minor, op. 125: Choral; Symphony No. 1, in C, op. 21 (Camden, NJ: RCA Victor), circa 1952.
Box 2 Item 3-4
Beethoven, Ludwig van, Symphony No. 9, in D Minor, op. 125: Choral; Symphony No. 1, in C, op. 21 (Camden, NJ: RCA Victor), record album box, circa 1952.
Box 6 Item 4
Brahms, Johannes, Double concerto in A Minor, op. 102 (Camden, NJ: Victor) [includes on 3 discs, lacking discs 2-4], circa 1931.
Box 2 Item 5-7
Brahms, Johannes, Double concerto in A Minor, op. 102 (Camden, NJ: Victor), record album case and printed description of the recording, circa 1931.
Box 6 Item 5
Brahms, Johannes, Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, op. 68 (England: His Master's Voice), circa 1948.
Box 2 Item 8-13
Dumas, Alexandre, The Count of Monte Cristo, adapted by George Wells; entire production directed by George Wells (New York: Decca), circa 1942.
Box 3 Item 1-4
Dumas, Alexandre, The Count of Monte Cristo, adapted by George Wells; entire production directed by George Wells (New York: Decca), record album case with printed cast of characters on inside front and back covers, circa 1942.
Box 6 Item 6
Dvořák, Antonín Leopold, Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, op. 95: From the New World (England: Decca), circa 1946.
Box 3 Item 5-9
Moussorgsky, Modest, Boris Godounow Symphonic Synthesis (Camden, N.J.: RCA Victor), record album case only, which contained records for Beethoven's Sonata in C minor, undated.
Box 6 Item 3
Puccini, Giacomo, Turandot (London: Parlophone) [lacking the first 9 discs], between 1940 and 1949.
Box 3 Item 10-16
Rachmaninoff, Sergei, Rhapsodie for piano and orchestra, op. 43 (Camden, N.J.: Victor) [disc 2 is broken], circa 1935.
Box 4 Item 1-3
Rachmaninoff, Sergei, Rhapsodie for piano and orchestra, op. 43 (Camden, N.J.: Victor), record album case, circa 1935.
Box 6 Item 8
Saint-Saëns, Camille, Concerto No. 4 in C Minor, op. 44 (Camden, N.J.: Victor) , circa 1938.
Box 4 Item 4-6
Saint-Saëns, Camille, Concerto No. 4 in C Minor, op. 44 (Camden, N.J.: Victor), record album case, circa 1938.
Box 6 Item 9
Saint-Saëns, Camille, Samson et Dalila (France: Pathé) [lacks the first 6 discs], circa 1946.
Box 4 Item 7-15
Smetana, Bedřich, The Bartered Bride, Volume 2 (Camden, N.J.: Victor), record album case only, which contained records for Puccini's Turandot.
Box 6 Item 7
Verdi, Giuseppe (music) and Piave, Francesco Maria (libretto), La Traviata (United States), circa 1951.
Box 5 Item 1-11

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