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
Adolph Hirschberg was born on April 15, 1878 in Riga, Russia to Louis and Olga Hirschberg. Adolph and his father immigrated to the United States in 1887, with his mother and two brothers arriving the following year. The family settled in Brooklyn, New York and welcomed two more children. By 1890, the family had relocated to Philadelphia, where three more children were born.
Despite very little formal music training, Hirschberg played several instruments including the flute, alto-horn, bass fiddle, trombone and tuba. His musical career was just as diverse. He started as a member of the Wyoming Wild West Show band in 1895 and eventually progressed to play in larger bands and orchestras such as the Conway Band, Pryor Band, Sousa Band, Victor Herbert's Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He also managed and served as assistant conductor for the Stanley and Massbaum Theatres in Philadelphia.
Hirschberg joined Local 77 of the American Federation of Musicians and later served as president for 6 years. He then went on to serve as president of the Central Labor Union for 17 years. He was a member of the executive board of labor's Non-Partisan League in Pennsylvania; Philadelphia Finance Advisory Commission; Morais Lodge #6, Judaic Union; Welcome Lodge, F. and A.M.; the NRA (National Recovery Administration?) Compliance board. He also ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Philadelphia City Council in 1935.
Hirschberg died of Hodgkin's disease on July 17, 1937. His wife Jennie Wolfe Hirschberg (1880-1937), 1 son and 3 daughters, survived him.
This collection of correspondence, minutes, newspaper clippings, financial documents, photographs, bulletins and campaign posters documents Adolph Hirschberg's work as president of Local No. 77 of the American Federation of Musicians to secure paying concerts for unemployed musicians during the Great Depression (1929-1941). Hirschberg or someone in his office organized a binder of correspondence and newspaper clippings entitled, "Clippings and press notices relating to the Unemployment Fund sponsored by Local #77, A.F. of M., in conjunction with prominent citizens in Philadelphia, April 4, 1933 to June 12, 1933." The remainder of the collection, after June 12, 1933, continues to focus on Hirschberg's efforts on behalf of the Philadelphia Committee for the Relief of Unemployed Musicians.
The Philadelphia Committee for the Relief of Unemployed Musicians was organized in 1933 and chaired by Leopold Stokowski. Other members included James Francis Cooke, Herbert J. Tily, Benjamin H. Ludlow, Mary Louise Curtis Bok, W. Curtis Bok, Jacob Billikopf, Albert M. Greenfield, Clinton Rogers Woodruff, and Hirschberg. The committee sought to raise $25,000.00 in an effort to retain the cultural standard of music in the Philadelphia area during the Great Depression. The funds raised would employ musicians at $5.00 per week for 25 weeks by playing concerts at hospitals, schools, camps, parks, zoos, etc. The committee believed by offering musical employment, musicians would not be forced to seek other means of employment outside of music. The correspondence and minutes of the committee provide insight into their fundraising efforts. However, the bulk of the correspondence is between Hirschberg, the organizations/institutions and musicians detailing the scheduling of concerts.
The minimal biographical material on Hirschberg includes an undated photograph of a young Hirschberg with several instruments, a campaign poster from Hirschberg's unsuccessful run for a seat on Philadelphia's City Council, and an interview from the February 1933 issue of The Etude, in which Hirschberg chronicles his musical career.
Gift of Juliet Goodfriend, 2022.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Kristine McGee
- Finding Aid Date
- 10 January 2024
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- 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.