Savoy Company records
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
The Savoy Company of Philadelphia was founded in 1901 by Dr. Alfred Reginald Allen with the assistance of his sister Anne Carrington Allen (Nance) and Maria Scott Beale (Rydie). Dr. Allen's intent was for the Company to perform the operas based on the original English staging. He believed Americans had ruined the operas in their attempt to circumvent copyright laws.
Despite Dr. Allen's resignation from the Company in 1902, it has produced one of the thirteen surviving Gilbert and Sullivan operas annually since its inception, excluding the years 1918-1919, and 1942-1945 due to the World Wars. The operas performed include Trial by Jury; The Sorcerer; H.M.S. Pinafore; The Pirates of Penzance; Patience; Iolanthe; Princess Ida; The Mikado, Ruddigore; The Yeomen of the Guard; The Gondoliers; Utopia, Limited; and The Grand Duke. The productions are produced entirely through the volunteer labor of the Company's membership, which includes the actors, chorus members, backstage crew, board members, officers and committee chairs.
Revenue from each performance is donated to local charities including the Alfred Reginald Allen Scholarship Fund. The Fund was established in 1921 by Savoy members in memory of its founder and supports the acquisition of books and scores for the University of Pennsylvania's Otto E. Albrecht Music Library.
The Savoy Company records provide insight into the workings of the Savoy Company from its founding in 1901 through the beginning of the twenty-first century. Ranging from files pertaining to the Company's history and productions to the files of individual Company presidents, members, administrative board and committees. The first five sections constitute the bulk of the collection and provide the most insight into the Company's daily functioning. The remaining sections include programs and publicity materials, opera scores and parts, published annals, scrapbooks and photo albums, audio-visual, miscellaneous and oversize materials.
The structure of the collection deviates minimally from that of the Records as they were transferred from the Company to the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and so reflects the Company's organizational structure. The distinction between production and presidential files, for example, though their contents overlap, indicates a separation between administrative and production-related responsibilities.
Throughout the lifespan of the Company represented in this collection, its members have consistently and actively not only preserved materials important to Company history, but published annals of its history in increasing detail; these can be found in Series VIII. Noteworthy items in the collection can also be found in the Historical Files, including correspondence between early Company members and from W.S. Gilbert, and the Company Files and miscellaneous sections, including early bound books of minutes, accounts and performance roles.
Gift of The Savoy Company, 2011.
The personal papers founder Alfred Reginald Allen and his son are located at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Leah Germer
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
The bulk of this collection is open for research use; however, access to original audio/visual materials and computer files (located in Series X. Audio-Visual) 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.