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Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia supplementary records

Ms. Coll. 513

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia.
Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia supplementary records
circa 1820-2004
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. 513
58 boxes
Correspondence and business records supplementing the main collection of records. These supplementary records include applications for membership; minutes for the committees on admissions and relief and for the Musical Fund Hall; programs and other materials related to the history of Musical Fund Hall (1848-1982), including material relating to performances of soprano Jenny Lind; financial records; correspondence; histories; memorabilia; and late 20th-century records of annual meetings, special and standing committees, and the Musical Fund Society Foundation. The supplementary records cover the same years as and should be used in conjunction with Ms. Coll. 90, Musical Society Fund of Philadelphia Records.
Cite as:
Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia supplementary records, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
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The Society

In his memoirs John K. Kane (1795-1858), a lawyer and Judge for the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, has left us an engaging account of the beginnings of the Musical Fund Society. Kane, an amateur musician, founded the Musical Fund Society in company with his friends, Dr. Robert M. Patterson, Dr. William P. DeWees, and a number of noted professional musicians in Philadelphia.

In 1820, Dr. Patterson, Dr. DeWees, and myself gathered together the better sort from among the Musicians of Philadelphia, and organized the Musical Fund. Old Ben Carr, the kind and simple-hearted, - queer George Schetky, with his one eye and one wig, both fiery, - Charles Hupfeldt [sic], who was up to that time the Solo Violin of Philadelphia, for all except some Gramsetral variations that Gillingham used to play delightfully as often as he could get a concert of hearers, - Gilles, a violoncello, fresh from the Conservatoire, - Load [sic, Thomas Loud] and Ben Cross the elder, deputies of Carr, - these made the staple of the Society. (Autobiography of the Honorable John K. Kane, pp. 63-64.) John K. Kane served as the first secretary of the Musical Fund Society from 1820 to 1821, was vice-president from 1829 to 1834, and was its third president from 1854 to 1856. The first president was Dr. William P. DeWees from 1820 to 1838, followed by Kane's friend Dr. Robert M. Patterson from 1838 to 1853. Conductors Benjamin Carr and his business partner George Schetky both served as Directors of the Music and Managers of the Fund for the Society.

The purposes of the Musical Fund Society were two (as stated in the Charter): "the relief of decayed musicians and their families, and the cultivation of skill and diffusion of taste in music." In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Musical Fund performed some of the functions of a beneficial and protective association, providing monetary relief to professional members who were sick, payment for funeral expenses, and payments to surviving widows and children of professional members. After 1938 no new members were admitted to the former professional membership category, and, therefore, the provision of relief for members and their families has gradually diminished: only two widows were receiving relief in 1994.

The "cultivation of skill and diffusion of taste in music" was provided for by performances given by the orchestra and chorus of the Musical Fund Society, conducted by Benjamin Carr (1768-1831), Benjamin Cross (1786-1857), George Schetky (1776-1831), Charles F. Hupfeld (1787-1864), Thomas Loud (1752-1833), and Peter Gilles, violoncellist and composer. At the inception of the Society, both men and women were admitted as amateur and professional members. Benjamin Carr came to America from England with his family in 1792, and established businesses as a music dealer in Philadelphia and New York, while his father Joseph and brother Thomas operated the family music publishing firm in Baltimore. Carr was a publisher, actor, singer, organist (at St. Peter's and at St. Augustine's in Philadelphia), pianist, composer, and conductor both in New York and Philadelphia. Many of Benjamin Carr's compositions and arrangements have been collected (and cataloged) in the Keffer Collection of Sheet Music, part of the library of the Musical Fund Society. Carr's death in 1831 was a blow to the Musical Fund Society, but his work was carried on by one of his former students, Benjamin Cross, one of the principal leaders of the Society until 1857. The Musical Fund Society voted funds to erect a memorial, designed by William Strickland, to Benjamin Carr at his grave in St. Peter's cemetery in Philadelphia.

Many notable performers and performances were presented under the auspices of the Musical Fund Society, from its first concert in 1821 throughout the nineteenth century. Haydn's oratorio The Creation was given its first performance in Philadelphia in 1822 by the Musical Fund Society, featuring the highly praised singing of Mrs. French, a pupil of Benjamin Carr. Haydn's The Seasons was performed in 1835 and again in 1839. The Musical Fund Society gave the first performance in the United States of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte in 1841.

Following the death of conductor Benjamin Cross in 1857, the Society's concerts were directed by Leopold Meignen. The Germania Orchestra was reorganized in 1856 and played weekly "public rehearsals" in Musical Fund Hall until 1868. Later, just before the turn of the century, in 1896-1897, members of the Germania Orchestra conducted by Henry Gordon Thunder gave a series of performances in Musical Fund Hall, subsidized by the Musical Fund Society. This orchestra was the core group of musicians that were to form the Philadelphia Orchestra, founded in 1900 under conductor Fritz Scheel. Encouraged by the Musical Fund Society, the Philadelphia Orchestra rehearsed in Musical Fund Hall in 1900 and 1901 and on a number of occasions thereafter. The Musical Fund Society also supported the Philadelphia Orchestra by helping to raise funds for the Orchestra during a financial crisis in 1919 and by helping financially to establish its summer concerts in Robin Hood Dell in the 1930s.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872), the noted Philadelphia painter, was a member of the Musical Fund Society, served as vice-president, and painted portraits of many of its founders and presidents. These paintings along with other portraits of Musical Fund Society presidents by artists John Clarendon Darley, Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860), Wayman Adams (1883-1959), and Leopold G. Seyffert were dispersed during the 1940s and 1950s (some were given to family members of past-presidents of the Society). A photographic record of these portraits can be found in Box 64.

Musical Fund Hall

All the historical and anecdotal descriptions of Musical Fund Hall praise the building for its unsurpassed acoustics. Located on the 800 block of Locust Street near Washington Square in Philadelphia, the building was constructed in 1824, just a few years after the founding of the Society, with plans developed by William Strickland (1787-1854), the eminent American architect and civil engineer. John K. Kane recalled his part in building Musical Fund Hall: It [the Musical Fund Society] met, and made bad music for a year or two in the third story of Dufief's bookstore, - then hired the hall of the Carpenters' Company, and gave its concerts in the Washington Hall, - till that burnt down, - and then in a moment of lucky delirium we determined to build a hall for ourselves. I bought the ground of Alexander Henry, a church of premature dilapidation, and its graveyard [the Fifth Presbyterian Church]. The Congregation had balked Henry of his ground rent, and Presbyterian Elder and U.S. bankman as he was, he would trust no Corporation. We dug up the dead, such as the living would pay us for removing; and Strickland built us our Hall, over the bones of the others, the doors and windows and everything else that his ingenuity could make convertible being transferred without modification to the new structure. Even the old pew backs, worthless for all purposes else, made our platform for the Orchestra; They were dry enough to vibrate well. Strangely enough, our room, limited in dimensions, proportion, and style by the condition of our treasury, was and is the best music room in the country, and unless all the musicians lie, in the world. (Autobiography of the Honorable John K. Kane, p. 64)

The expenses for the building of the Hall were indeed modest, $23,547.08 for the property, building, and furnishings. From its start the Musical Fund Hall was an enormous success; General Lafayette attended a concert there held in his honor in 1825. Rossini's oratorio Moses in Egypt was performed in 1833. Donizetti's La Favorita made its Philadelphia premiere in the 1830s. Among the famous musicians who performed during the nineteenth century were singers Marie Malibran (in 1826 and 1831); Caradori Allen; Jenny Lind; Adelina Patti; Anna Bishop, wife of the distinguished composer, Sir Henry Bishop; Henriette Sontag; Giulietta Grisi; Erminia Frezzolini; and members of the Italian Opera Company and the Havana Opera Company.

The extraordinary Norwegian violinist Ole Bull (1810-1880) appeared in recital in 1843, and in 1844 Henri Vieuxtemps (1820-1881) gave his first recital there on a date (4 May 1844) which unfortunately coincided with the native American riots in Kensington. Camillo Sivori, Paganini's student and successor, performed in the Hall in the 1840s. The Musical Fund Hall had achieved a world-wide reputation for its acoustics, and performers making tours to the United States made special arrangements to perform in this Hall. Jenny Lind (1820-1887) gave eight concerts at Musical Fund Hall in the fall of 1850. Prominent American performers included Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869), composer and pianist, and Musical Fund Society board member Septimus Winner (1827-1902), composer of "Listen to the Mocking Bird."

Throughout most of the nineteenth century, the Musical Fund Hall provided a steady rental income, which did much to place the organization on a sound financial footing. In addition to the musical performances sponsored by the Musical Fund Society, the Hall was used for political meetings. The Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention met there for ninety days in 1837. The first convention of the national Republican Party was held there in 1856. There were frequent lectures by many distinguished individuals, including Horace Mann, Samuel Lover, Edward Everett, William Makepeace Thackeray, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William H. Furness, Horace Greeley, Henry Ward Beecher, and Conan Doyle.

The completion of Philadelphia's grand opera hall, the Academy of Music, in 1857 affected the primacy of Musical Fund Hall as a venue for classical music performances. Operas with full staging at the Academy proved more attractive than the concerts held in the Hall. However, the Hall was still in demand for balls, meetings, lectures, weddings, and commencement exercises for a number of distinguished music schools. The University of Pennsylvania held commencements there, with faculty, trustees, degree candidates, judges, United States Senators and Representatives, the mayor, and aldermen of the city all marching in the procession to the Hall. Commemorative exercises at the fiftieth anniversary of the Franklin Institute were held there in 1874. In the latter part of the century meetings of the Pennsylvania Rail Road were held in the Hall, as were the state medical examinations for doctors and dentists.

The Musical Fund Hall underwent two major renovations in the nineteenth century. In 1847 two members of the Society, architect Napoleon Le Brun (1821-1901) (who later was the architect for the Academy of Music) and artist Franklin Peale planned the alterations, which included an enlargement of the Hall to increase its seating capacity to 1500. The stage was moved from the north end of the building to the south end. A Ladies' Bazaar was held to raise money for the renovations (a great success), and a grand Bazaar Ball was held on 23 December 1847 to celebrate. In 1891 the Hall again underwent a major renovation, removing the wings that had been constructed on the stage and completely changing the facade of the building.

By the turn of the century the Musical Fund Hall had become a venue for widely diverse performances. The Hall's fine acoustics and historic reputation meant that it continued to be booked for classical music performances and pupils' recitals for many of the major musical academies in Philadelphia, particularly the Combs Broad Street Conservatory of Music, the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music, the Philadelphia Musical Academy, the Hyperion School of Music, the Leefson-Hille Conservatory of Music, as well as a number of others. The Musical Fund Hall was used for minstrel shows and vaudeville, for boxing matches, basketball games, political meetings, and services for the Jewish holidays. Annie Besant (1847-1933) lectured in the Musical Fund Hall for the Theosophical Society in 1906. The Greek Orthodox Church, which shares the block with the Musical Fund Hall, engaged the hall for meetings and parties, as did Frank Palumbo, who operated a second restaurant nearby (in addition to his South Philadelphia location).

Noted African-American poets and musicians performed in the Musical Fund Hall. Paul Laurence Dunbar gave a reading there on 17 November 1897. Contralto Marian Anderson (1897-1993) gave a number of performances there, at first as a chorus member of the People's Choral Society and the following year (1916) as soloist (with Roland W. Hayes singing tenor) in the People's Choral Society performance of Handel's Messiah. Programs from some of Marian Anderson's earliest performances in Philadelphia are in the Musical Fund Society Records. Roland Hayes gave several performances in the Hall, often for the benefit of charitable causes. Another important African-American musician was Carl Rossini Diton (1886-1962), organist at St. Thomas's African Episcopal Church in Philadelphia and a noted classical pianist, composer, and arranger: he gave concerts at Musical Fund Hall on a number of occasions.

The Italian-American community in Philadelphia used Musical Fund Hall extensively for parish fundraisers, balls, and parties and for benefit concerts to aid victims of earthquakes in Italy. They brought a number of prominent Italian singers to the stage of the Hall. In 1906 the Verdi Italian Orchestral Society directed by Ettore Martini began an annual season of performances in Musical Fund Hall. Many Irish and Jewish fraternal and charitable organizations used the Hall as well, the programs that document these events and organizations (Ms. Coll. 90, Boxes 40-52) contain much material of interest to social historians of Philadelphia.

The Musical Fund Society began to consider selling the Musical Fund Hall in 1918, but the sale was not completed until 1924. There were a number of reasons for the Musical Fund Society to sell the Hall, which required expensive maintenance and repairs in addition to the salary and wages of the superintendent and a number of workers. The rentals of the Hall fell off considerably during the years of World War I and had been up and down over the previous thirty years. The income from rentals no longer covered the expenses of maintaining the Hall, but perhaps the most important reason for the sale was the perception that the Hall and its surrounding neighborhood had lost its former "status."

The sale of Musical Fund Hall to the Philadelphia Labor Institute in 1924 meant that the Society had to find new locations for office space, meetings, and storage for the music library and portraits. The Society had offices at 407 Sansom Street and 400 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia before moving to the Public Ledger Building, where it was situated until 1952. During the time that the Philadelphia Labor Institute was headquartered in the Musical Fund Hall, many more distinguished speakers graced its stage as part of the Labor Institute English Forum. They included Bertrand Russell, Clarence Darrow, James Weldon Johnson, Rabbi W. H. Fineshriber, Arthur Garfield Hayes, and W.E.B. DuBois. The Institute also ran a Yiddish Forum along the same lines as its English Forum, and a Yiddish studio for theater as part of its Drama Guild. There was a Labor Institute Chorus with classes in music theory, harmony and voice culture, and chamber music concerts presented by Shreibman's trio, along with appearances by the best artists from the Jewish stages of Philadelphia and New York.

With the onset of the Depression in the early 1930s, the Philadelphia Labor Institute was not able to make the mortgage payments or pay taxes on the property: the mortgage was foreclosed, and the Musical Fund Hall again became the responsibility of the Musical Fund Society in 1934. It was eventually leased in 1937 to James Toppi, a boxing promoter, and was used mainly for athletic events. In 1945 the building was sold to Yahn & McDonnell, and it became a storage warehouse for tobacco products. The building was acquired by the City of Philadelphia's Rede¬velopment Authority in 1964, and a number of plans and studies were undertaken to restore the Hall as a musical performance space, cultural center, or museum.

Several members of the Musical Fund Society--notably George E. Nitzsche (1874-1961), Samuel L. Singer, and Sol Schoenbach--were strong advocates for restoring the Hall to its former functions and dignity. The matter was studied for a number of years by Musical Fund Society's Plans and Scope Committee. The building was designated a National Registered Landmark by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The money, however, to operate the Hall as a venue for musical events was not forthcoming, and in 1982 the building was renovated for luxury condominiums. As most of the building’s original integrity has been compromised, landmark designation for the Musical Fund Hall was withdrawn on January 13, 1989. Music Library of the Musical Fund Society

From its inception, the Society appropriated money for the purchase of scores and parts, sheet music, and musical instruments. By 1879 when a catalog of the printed music owned by the Musical Fund was published, the music library numbered 304 pieces and included overtures with full orchestral parts, opera, oratorios, sacred music, symphonies, and chamber music. In 1931 the Society purchased a collection of music known as the Newland-Zeuner Collection—music that had been collected by Charles Zeuner and augmented by William A. Newland near the end of the nineteenth century. In 1933 Dr. Edward I. Keffer donated his large collection of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century sheet music to the Musical Fund Society. Together with its other acquisitions this Library is a valuable record of the repertoire of early music in the United States.

In 1936 the Musical Fund Society entered into an agreement with the Free Library of Philadelphia to house the entire music library of the Society, with ownership retained by the Musical Fund Society. In 1991, when the Musical Fund Society donated its archive to the University of Pennsylvania Library (to be housed in its Rare Book and Manuscript Library), the music library was transferred from the Free Library of Philadelphia to the University of Pennsylvania’s Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center.

Musical Fund Society Competitions for the Composition of New Music

In 1925 the Society announced $10,000 in prizes in a world-wide chamber music contest designed to encourage composers of new music. After long deliberation by the judges, prizes were awarded in 1928: Béla Bartók's Third String Quartet (dedicated to the Musical Fund Society) shared the first prize with Alfred Casella's Serenata. The second prize was shared by H. Waldo Warner and Carlo Jachino. Bartók's string quartet was first performed in Philadelphia at the Bellevue Stratford Hotel to mixed reviews.

On 30 July 1925, "The Edward Garrett McCollin Memorial Fund for the Encouragement of Creative Work in the Higher Forms of Music" was established by the Musical Fund Society with a Trust created by the widow of McCollin. McCollin had been president of the Musical Fund Society from 1910 to 1923 and was one of the key figures in supporting the founding of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The winning composition in 1931 was written by the Catalonian composer, Josep Valls, and is now included in the papers of Edward G. McCollin, held in the University Archives and Records Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The McCollin competitions have been held periodically, whenever sufficient funds have accumulated in the Trust.

Current Activities of the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia

Throughout the twentieth century the Musical Fund Society has continued as an active organization sponsoring music and musicians. In the 1930s the Musical Fund Quartet performed the complete chamber music of Brahms in cooperation with the Curtis String Quartet and co-sponsored by the Philadelphia Art Alliance. The Society sponsored a free chamber music series at the Free Library of Philadelphia for most of this century, and has offered many concerts featuring music by Philadelphia and American composers.

Over the years the Musical Fund Society has given a number of scholarships to music students and recently began a program to foster the careers of emerging young artists and ensembles through professional counseling by master musicians; by offering debut recitals in New York, Philadelphia, and other cities; through grants toward the purchase of concert quality musical instruments; and by hosting seminars on the ongoing professional and business aspects of musical careers.

In addition to this program that aids individual musicians, the Society gives annual grants to worthy non-profit organizations that carry on the goals of the Musical Fund Society through their own work. In 1983 the Society established a fully tax-exempt foundation, called the Musical Fund Society Foundation, which accepts gifts to further the Society's goals and programs.


Kane, John K. Autobiography of the Honorable John K. Kane, 1795-1858. Philadelphia: Privately printed, 1949.

Mactier, William L. A Sketch of the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Henry B. Ashmead, 1885.

Madeira, Louis C. Annals of Music in Philadelphia and History of the Musical Fund Society from Its Organization in 1820 to the Year 1858. Edited by Philip H. Goepp. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1896.

Nitzsche, George E. "The Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia," Philadelphia History 4, No. 6, 1960.

150th Anniversary of the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: 1970.

Scope and Contents

The Records and Music Library of the Musical Fund Society were maintained in the Society's offices in Musical Fund Hall until the sale of the Hall in 1924. Since that time several different arrangements have been made for the preservation of these historic documents. In December 1936 an agreement was made with the Free Library of Philadelphia to house the Music Library of the Society, with ownership to the materials retained by the Society. In 1991 these materials were donated by the Musical Fund Society to the University of Pennsylvania Library. The musical scores, parts, and sheet music are now housed in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Van Pelt Library; many have already been individually cataloged. The minute books, engagement books, and other archival materials of the Musical Fund Society were kept in the Society's offices in Philadelphia and in a bank vault. In December 1952, when the Society gave up its offices in the Public Ledger building, some of the historic correspondence and many engagement books and scrapbooks were deposited with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Most of the minute books, receipt books, the engagement books for Musical Fund Hall from 1883 to 1918, and some memorabilia were retained by the Society in a bank vault until the Fall of 1986, when a trunk and several tin boxes of records were moved to the Free Library.

This history of transfers of the records of the Musical Fund Society accounts for the limited scope of the correspondence remaining in the collection at the University of Pennsylvania. Most of it dates from 1946 to 1980, the post World War II years, and comprises routine correspondence relating to membership matters, concerts, grants, or to the business of the officers of the Society. There is some important correspondence from the 1920s and 1930s, including the Free Library of Philadelphia correspondence about the deposit of the Music Library and access to it by scholars, as well as the correspondence of Edward I. Keffer and Henry S. Drinker, Jr.

A few nineteenth-century items of correspondence include a note from E. Ives, ca. 1833, requesting the loan of the Messiah orchestra parts for a rehearsal that he was conducting. There is a single letter dated 1867 from Thomas Sully, an active member and officer of the Society.

The series of minutes of the Musical Fund Society is fairly complete up through the end of the bound volumes (ca. 1955). Engagement books for Musical Fund Hall cover the period from 1883 to 1918, a time period when the Hall was used much more frequently for balls, cotillions, union meetings, political meetings, religious services, vaudeville acts, and sporting events than it was for concerts produced by the Musical Fund Society itself. As such, these books document a particularly vibrant time in the life of the ethnically diverse neighborhood of South Philadelphia, near where the Hall was located.

The remaining series are categorized according to the administrative functions of the Society: Board of Directors, Committee on the Music (programs and music competitions), Committee on Relief, Committee on Admissions, Committee of the Fund (including all financial records), and Special Committees. Minutes, records, and committee reports are not complete for the years later than those recorded in the bound minute books; scattered records exist for the 1950s to the early 1980s and more complete records from approximately 1987 to 1993. Related collections

Consisting of 126 boxes, the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia Records (completed in 1994) contain extensive material best used in correlation with this collection:

* Ms. Coll. 90. Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia Records, ca. 1811-1994.

The following collections located in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Van Pelt are from the Music Library of the Musical Fund Society:

* Ms. Coll. 35. Béla Bartók. Third String Quartet. 1927. The manuscript score was purchased from the Musical Fund Society in 1991 by Mrs. Eugene Ormandy and donated to the University of Pennsylvania's Eugene Ormandy Archive in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Other winning scores from Musical Fund Society's competitions include:

* Ms. Coll. 93. Alan Leichtling. Concerto for chamber orchestra opus 40. 1966.

* Ms. Coll. 94. Alfredo Casella (1883-1947). Serenata. 1927.

* Ms. Coll. 95. Carlo Jachino (1887-1971). Quartetto in mi minore. 1927.

* Ms. Coll. 96. H. Waldo Warner (1874-1945). Quintet. 1927.

The Keffer Collection of Sheet Music and the Keffer Collection of Music Manuscripts have been completely cataloged on-line at the University of Pennsylvania, with records made available in national databases and world-wide via the internet.

In addition, there several related collections at the University of Pennsylvania:

* Ms. Coll. 186. John Rowe Parker Correspondence: contains a number of letters of Benjamin Carr to Parker (1777-1844).

* Ms. Coll. 53. Philadelphia Art Alliance Records, 1915-1980: contain programs of concerts jointly sponsored by the Musical Fund Society and the Art Alliance. In addition, a number of prominent Philadelphians were active members of both organizations, notably Henry S. Drinker, Jr., Philip H. Goepp, Thaddeus Rich, and Vincent Persichetti.

The University Archives and Records Center of the University of Pennsylvania holds the papers of Edward G. McCollin, past president of the Musical Fund Society. The collection includes his own compositions, scrapbooks related to the Germania Orchestra and founding of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the winning score from the Musical Fund Society's first McCollin competition by Josep Valls (1931). Also located at the University Archives are the papers of John Kintzing Kane, past president of the Musical Fund Society.

The supplementary records of the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia are divided physically into two sections: the first consists predominantly of materials dated from 1820 to 1950; the second part contains materials dated from approximately 1959 to 2004. To gain a proper chronology, it is essential to use these documents in correlation with the materials found in Ms. Coll. 90.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  2005

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Leann Currie

Access Restrictions

The bulk of this collection is open for research use; however, 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 ( 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.

Source of Acquisition

Transfer from Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 2004.

Electronic Guide

The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project. The finding aid was entered into the Archivists' Toolkit by Garrett Boos.

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Controlled Access Headings

  • Concert programs
  • Correspondence
  • Drawings (visual works)
  • Estate records
  • Financial records
  • Machine-readable artifacts
  • Memorabilia
  • Reports
Personal Name(s)
  • Bartók, Béla, 1881-1945
  • Carr, Benjamin, 1768-1831
  • Music
  • Music--Societies--19th century
  • Music--Societies--20th century
  • Musical Fund Hall

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Collection Inventory

Part 1. I.  Early Membership.

Box Folder

Professional membership applications, arranged alphabetically.

1 1-16

Disassembled booklet of names of members: "Alphabetical List of Members of the Musical Fund Society 1820", 1820.

1 17

List of Directors of Music, 1910-1911.

1 18

Lists of Board of Directors and Standing Committees., 1913-1917, 1918-1920, 1921-1923, 1924-1929. 11 leaves.

1 19

MFS Professional and Amateur Members, Subscriptions from 1920 & 1921. Lists members and their addresses. The volume is also cross-referenced with a scrapbook from the corresponding year., 1920-1921. 1 volume.

1 20

Professional and Amateur Members and their Guests List (list for annual collation)., May 1924-May 1926. 3 leaves.

1 21

Pamphlet of committee members, 1896-1897, and 2 cards listing 1928 & 1929 directors.

1 22

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Part 1. II.  Minutes.

A.  Committee on Admission: Minutes, May 21, 1844-June 27, 1939. 1 volume.


B.  Committee on Relief, 1844-1926.


Minutes of the Committee of Distribution, May 21, 1844—October 2, 1849 [pp. 1-15]. Minutes of the Committee on Relief, April 1850—May 21, 1867 [pp. 16-end]. List of professional members glued in back cover., 1844-1867. 1 volume (and 7 leaves).


Minutes of the Committee on Relief. List of professional members glued in front cover., May 24, 1867-April 14, 1885. 1 volume.


Minutes of the Committee on Relief, includes many documents and correspondence regarding relief and schedule, May 2, 1885-January 12, 1926.


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Part 1. III.  Musical Fund Hall.

A.  Minute Book, May 28, 1847-December 30, 1847.


Minutes of the Building Committee of the MFS of Philadelphia. Lists alterations and budget necessary for renovation of the Musical Fund Hall. Also includes a small booklet of receipts for services rendered. 1 volume (and 1 booklet).


B.  Engagement and Memorandum Books.


“Minute Book of Business Done in the Musical Fund Hall.” Titled as a minute book, but merely a register of events in the hall., December 1, 1834—April 6, 1838. 1 volume.


“Memorandum Book of the Musical Fund Hall.” Back cover lists US presidential votes per state for 1836, 1840, and 1844., March 1, 1837—July 6, 1847. 1 volume.


“Musical Fund Society Engagement Book.” Many clippings regarding Musical Fund Hall concerts and other local events are pasted within the book. Also includes brief remarks on weather, attendance, and behavior., October 1, 1847—May 9, 1854. 1 volume.


“Engagement Book No. 4.” This volume contains many clippings, sketches, small photos, and recipes., May 2, 1854—May 13, 1862. 1 volume.


"Engagement Book No. 5.", May 12, 1862-May 10, 1870. 1 volume.


"Engagement Book No. 5.", May 11, 1870-May 3, 1883. 1 volume.


Appointment Book. This is a register of events held in the Musical Fund Hall, not exclusively related to the Society (i.e., medical exams and dances)., July 9, 1918—June 21, 1924. 1 volume.


Memorandum Book. This volume documents the balls held in the Musical Fund Hall and overlaps with preceding volumes. It includes short remarks on weather, conduct and turn-out., September 30, 1869—February 22, 1887. 1 volume.


C.  Financial Records, 1848-1920.


Ledger. Lists expenses and rental fees for hall usage. Thomas J. Beckett, superintendent., May 10, 1848—August 7, 1866.


Ledger. Thomas J. Beckett and Josiah A. Kelch, superintendents., September 1, 1866—March 4, 1889.


Ledger. Josiah A. Kelch, Charles F. Heaton, Joseph M. Hagan, and A.S. Lowry, superintendents., April 15, 1889—December 25, 1908.


Receipt Book. Lists receipt of payment for services such as hall maintenance (i.e., cleaning and repair). A.S. Lowry and Joseph M. Hagan, superintendents, April 16, 1906—July 11, 1920.


Superintendent’s Cash Book. Lists payment to Musical Fund Hall staff and receipt of payment to the hall fro outside organizations. A.S. Lowry and Joseph M. Hagan, superintendents., April 7, 1908—November 2, 1914.


D.  Programs, 1840-1920.


E.  Miscellany, 1824-1940.

Box Folder

Purchase and Building of the Musical Fund Hall, 1824-1867.

21 45-71

Renovation of the Musical Fund Hall, 1891-1893.

21 72-88

Sale and Acquisition of the Musical Fund Hall, circa 1920-1940.

21 89-94

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Part 1. IV.  General Correspondence, 1822-1951.

Box Folder

Early Correspondence. Folder 96 contains letters to founding Society member John K. Kane from Harrisburg regarding the Musical Fund Society’s act of incorporation and procuring of a charter, 1822-1885.

22 95-98

Correspondence (arranged alphabetically), 1904-1951.

22 99-123

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Part 1. V.  Amendments and By-Laws, 1910-1911.


In 1910 secretary William Hollis proposed two amendments to the Musical Fund Society’s by-laws. The first regarded changing the pension age from 80 to 70, along with an increase from 28 dollars to 30 dollars monthly. The second allowed for members to vote on by-law emendations, rather than an exclusive board of directors vote. Folder 145 contains a list of the proposed by-laws and folder 166 holds two copies of corrected Musical Fund Society by-laws.


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Part 1. VI.  Financial Records and Reports, 1848-1935.

A.  Cash Books.


Cash book. Many letters and clipping mounted on inside front and back covers. F.G. Smith and William L. Mactien, treasurers., February 11, 1848—January 31, 1870. 1 volume.


Cash Book. George C. Harrison and George P. Kimball, treasurers., April 12, 1887—January 9, 1906. 1 volume.


Cash Book. Pages 350-end. is a summarized account taken from the data reports of treasurer George P. Kimball., January 1, 1920—August 31, 1933. 1 volume.


B.  Ledger, March 31, 1919—March 31, 1935. 1 volume.


his volume charts various expenses (in an alphabetical index at the front) including, but not limited to: the 100th anniversary concert, bonds, bank interest, cash, dividends, hall expenses, hall rentals, interest, mortgage, membership, property expense, society expense, and U.S. government tax.


D.  Annual and Treasurer's Reports, 1916-1927 & 1920-1927.

Box Folder

Annual Reports, 1916-1927.

29 170-179

Treasurer's Reports, 1920-1927.

29 180-196

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Part 1. VII.  Histories and Memorabilia.

A.  Chamber Music Competition.

Box Folder

Resolution re The Philadelphia Orchestra, October 9, 1900 and Resolution re Chamber Music Competition, January 13, 1925, 1900, 1925.

30 197

Committee of Music resolution: Holding a Chamber Music Competition, undated.

30 198

Letter from George Pechstein to Dr. E. Keffer re Announcement of Competition, June 23, 1925.

30 199

Two signs (one English, one French) announcing the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia Chamber Music Competition, undated.

30 200

Announcement of Competition in English, two copies, one with emandations, undated.

30 201

Same announcement as above, in German, undated.

30 202

Paper listing winners of competition and amounts won, circa Oct. 1, 1928.

30 203

Paper listing winners of competition and their addresses, undated.

30 204

Announcement of prizewinning work (2 copies), October 1, 1928.

30 205

Copies of letters sent to the four prizewinners, October 4, 1928.

30 206

International Press Cutting advert and order form along with two clippings re H. Waldo Warner, October 3, 1928: Manchester Guardian and October 4, 1928: Daily Mirror--London, October 3, 1928 and October 4, 1928.

30 207

Letters of thanks: from H. Waldo Warner to Gilbert Raynolds Combs, October 30, 1928.

30 208

Letter of thanks from A. Casella to Gilbert Raynolds Combs, November 1, 1928.

30 209

Letter from Universal Edition A.G. to MFS re Bartók score, November 7, 1928.

30 210

Letter of thanks from Béla Bartók to Gilbert Raynolds Combs, November 10, 1928.

30 211

Letter from A. Laciar to Dr. E. Keffer re invites to chamber music concert, December 14, 1928.

30 212

Letter from J. Crosby Brown to S. Hazard re invites to chamber music concert, December 20, 1928.

30 213

Letter from A. Laciar to Dr. E. Keffer re invites to chamber music concert, December 21, 1928.

30 214

Invitation to performance of competition's prizewinning works, December 30, 1928.

30 215

Alphabetically arranged from G-W, negative R.S.V.P. to the Musical Fund Society chamber competition concert (10 letters).

30 216

Clippings re Chamber Music Competition (10 clippings), July 29, 1925--December 31, 1928.

30 217

Correction sheet for a listing of the Musical Fund Society Chamber Music Competition in Pierre Key's Music Year Book for 1929-1930 edition, undated.

30 218

Letter to The Musical Fund Society from S. Tualbrix re a negative response to prizewinning works, 1929.

30 219

B.  Scrapbooks.


Some documents from 1924 (sale of Musical Fund Hall). Compilation of programs, program notes, and newspaper clippings re the Musical Fund Society and Hall., ca. 1820-1844. 1 volume.


54 loose sheets of programs. Binding broken., circa 1828-1857. 1 volume.


Scrapbook and Minutes of the Musical Junto, the amateur music group of the Musical Fund Society., 1848-1849. 1 volume.


The Choral School of the Music Fund Society. Includes clippings, letterhead, programs, and a list of rules., 1885. 1 volume (and 1 leaf).


Includes programs for graduations and concerts along with other community events held at the Musical Fund hall., circa 1895-1921. 1 volume (and 1 folder (no. 220) with 10 items).


Includes orchestral programs of the Germania Orchestra dating 1896-1898 and newspaper clippings dating 1915-1927., circa 1896-1827. 1 volume (and 1 folder (no. 221) with 4 items).


Contains many clippings re The Musical Fund Society and Hall., 1880-1919. 1 volume.


C.  Clippings.

Box Folder

3 clippings, 1800s.

38 222

3 clippings, 1900-1910.

38 223

17 clippings, 1911-1920.

38 224

14 clippings, 1921-1930.

38 225

24 clippings, 1931-1940.

38 226

12 clippings, 1941-1971.

38 227

15 clippings, undated.

38 228

D.  Miscellany.

Box Folder

By-Laws of The Management of the Fund of the Musical Fund Society, April 19, 1820.

39 229

Indenture with Daniel Harrington for use of Carpenter Hall, November 20, 1823.

39 230

Indenture with N.G. Defief for property usage, November 28, 1823.

39 231

Resolution re Celebration of the society's organization, January 23, 1828.

39 232

Ordinance from the gas works, 1837.

39 233

MFS Quadrennial Celebration subscription list, February 29, 1848 and March 1, 1852. Lists paid subscriptions with signatures of parties to attend celebration., February 29, 1848; March 1, 1852. 1 volume (and 1 leaf).

39 234

Invitation to lecture given by Sam Houston, December 19, 1851.

39 235

Receipt from Henry E. Busch re Alumni Association, January 20, 1859.

39 236

Ticket for Third Annual Soiree of the Harmonia found in piano in 1931, January 21, 1861.

39 237

Pamphlet, "Musical Fund Society." Lists 1870-1871 members along with a short history of the society, 1870.

39 238

List of music in the Musical Fund Society library, April 20, 1872.

39 239

Ticket to the Inaugural Concert of mark Hassler's First Series of Ten Consecutive Matinees, December 15, 1877.

39 240

Pamphlet from the Edison Electric Co. of Philadelphia, circa 1893.

39 241

Invitations to the Musical Fund Society Annual Collations, 1904, 1906, 1907, 1927.

39 242

4 cards announcing MFS annual meeting and elections and topics, May 2, 1905; May 5, 1914; May 4, 1915; May 6, 1919.

39 243

Pamphlet for The People's Choral Union, 1910-1911.

39 244

Musical Fund Society death notices for members, 1910-1917.

39 245

Summary of minutes, unbound., April 10, 1917. 5 leaves.

39 246

Department of Public Safety general order no. 281: Balls, Dances and Entertainments, April 4, 1918.

39 247

Pamphlet with Musical Fund Society history and original members list including current members, 1919-1920.

39 248

Invitation to Collation addressed to Chas. P. Fisher. 4 cards and envelope, May 4, 1920.

39 249

Invitation to "Jenny Lind Masque" tribute concert, May 4, 1920.

39 250

Review by John Curtis regarding May 4, 1920 Lind tribute concert, May 4, 1920.

39 251

Program of an address given by Arnold Levitas in honor of Jenny Lind, June 25, 1921.

39 252

Statement from Chas. Perry Fisher regarding a memorial prize of $5000, December 16, 1924.

39 253

List of resolutions regarding Chamber Music in Schools, May 10, 1925.

39 254

Clipping from Musical America regarding Jenny Lind, September 19, 1925.

39 255

Short pamphlet of The Settlement Music School of Philadelphia "Growth & Purpose": lists board of directors, ca. 1926.

39 256

Obituary of Dr. Edward Iungerich Keffer (class of 1883) from The Pennsylvania Gazette (University of Pennsylvania), pgs. 355-358, April 1, 1933.

39 257

Information sheet, US Constitution Sesquicentennial Commission, June 1936.

39 258

"The Academy of Music Memorials" from The Philadelphia Forum Magazine, July 1937 and a follow-up to that article August 1937, July 1937, August 1937.

39 259

Pamphlet "The PTC (Philadelphia Transportation Co.) Traveler": lists Musical Fund Society concerts, March 28-April 14, 1945.

39 260

Handwritten newspaper excerpt from William Hildebrant (Jenny Lind librarian), undated.

39 261

Paper handwritten regarding Mr. Sogno administering Italian lessons to pupils of the Academy, undated.

39 262

Lists of names and addresses of conductors, musicians and faculty. 10 leaves.

39 263

Small catalogue of Eulenburg miniature scores.

39 264

List of music in the Musical Fund Society library. 3 leaves (and envelope).

39 265

Cover page to The Mocking Bird Cotillons by Septimus Winner, reverse has music for "Hold Your Horses".

39 266

Business card of Rev. Bartholomew Pizzuto, O.S.A.

39 267

Business card of Eugene Bonniwell, Judge of Municipal Court of Philadelphia.

39 268

List of regulations governing buildings where dances are held, Thos. B. Smith, mayor, undated.

39 269

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Part 2. I.  Officers and Members, 1959-2002.

Box Folder

Membership applications, 1984-1989. 1 volume.


Membership dues notices, 1994-1996.

41 270-271

Membership dues notices, lists of directors and members, and cancelled dues checks, 1996-1997.

41 272-290

Membership dues notices, lists of directors and members, and cancelled dues checks, 1997-1998.

41 291-294

Membership dues notices, lists of directors and members, and cancelled dues checks, 1998-1999.

41 295-296

Membership dues notices, lists of directors and members, and cancelled dues checks, 1999-2000.

41 297-301

Miscellaneous. Includes pamphlets and annual lists of officers and members, 1959-1999.

41 302-320

Membership dues notices, lists of directors and members, and cancelled dues checks, 2000-2001.

42 321-328

Membership dues notices, lists of directors and members, and canceled dues checks, 2001-2002.

42 329-347

Member resignation and officer appointment correspondence, 1991-2000.

42 348-354

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Part 2. II.  Board of Directors, 1989-2004.

Box Folder

Minutes and Agendas, holdings incomplete, 1989-1992.

42 355-373

Minutes and agendas, holdings incomplete, 1990-2004.

42 374-424

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Part 2. III.  Musical Fund Society Annual Reports and Annual Meetings, 1990-2002.


Annual meetings, minutes, agendas: holdings incomplete.

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Part 2. IV.  Musical Fund Society Special Committees and Standing Committees, 1984-2004.

IV. A.  Special Committees, 1984-2004.

Box Folder

Committee on Career Advancement. Includes guidelines for application, potential applications, and correspondence related to career development program, 1984-2000.

44 440-481

Musical Fund Society Archives at the University of Pennsylvania. Contains correspondence regarding the transfer of archive materials from the Free Library of Philadelphia to the University of Pennsylvania., 1990-2004.

44 482-503

Miscellaneous Committees. Includes reports from historical, relief, nominating, and activities committees. Holdings incomplete, 1972-1994.

44 504-510

IV. B.  Standing Committees, 1984-2004.

1.  Committee on the Music.

a.  Correspondence, Reports, 1967-2000.

Box Folder

General Correspondence re Contracting musical ensembles and arranging performance venues.

45 511-539

Correspondence and Contracts re Piano and Hall rentals with Jacobs Music and The Academy of Music.

45 540-551

b.  Competitions and Awards, 1987-2004.

Box Folder

Edward Garrett McCollin Memorial Fund. Deed of Trust. Photocopy, July 30, 1925.

45 552

Edward Garrett McCollin Memorial Fund correspondence and financial balance sheets. Holdings incomplete, 1990-2004.

45 553-595

Distinguished Artist Award, 1987-1992.

45 596-598

Unclaimed scores from Musical Fund Society chamber music competition, 1928.


Unclaimed scores from Musical Fund Society McCollin music competition in 1963. Also contains a copy of Theodore Newman's winning composition, a concerto for organ and orchestra, 1963.


2.  Committee of the Fund, 1985-2004.

Box Folder

Minutes and reports. Holdings incomplete, 1985-2002.

49 599-666

Organization grants--proposals and approvals. Holdings incomplete, 1984-1998.

50 667-684

Organization grants--applications.

50 685-705

Organization grants--correspondence, 1985-1997.

50 706-742

Organization grant panel reports, 2001-2003.

50 743-745

Organization grants--miscellaneous.

50 746-750

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Part 2. V.  Musical Fund Society Foundation, 1983-2004.

Box Folder

Musical Fund Society Foundation articles of incorporation, by-laws and amendments, and tax exemption information, January 1983. 1 volume.


Minutes of officers and directors, 1991-1994.

52 751-759

Minutes of membership committee, 1992-1993.

52 760-761

Financial balance sheets, 1990-2004.

52 762-802

Certified accountant's reports, 1993-1994, 1996-1997, and 2000-2001.

52 803-805

Correspondence, 1987-1998.

52 806-819

Miscellaneous, 1988-1998.

52 820-828

Musical Fund Society Foundation gifts. Includes documentation of donations received by the Musical Fund Society Foundation between 1997 and 2002. Holdings incomplete., 1997-2002.

53 829-855

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Part 2. VI.  Financial Correspondence, Records, and Reports, 1973-2004.

Box Folder

Musical Fund Society proposed budgets. Holdings incomplete, 1992-2003.

54 871-878

Financial balance sheets. Holdings incomplete, 1989-2004.

54 879-920

Investments (Statements). Holdings incomplete, 1994-2002.

54 921-941

Musical Fund Society portfolio holdings with Janney, Montgomery, Scott, May 18, 1990.

54 942

Reports of net assets, May 4, 1992.

54 943

Correspondence re Legal counsel to MFS from Duane, Morris, and Heckscher, February 21, 1997.

54 944

Correspondence re Stock portfolio, H. Schwartz to R. Fitzpatrick, June 16, 1997.

54 945

Documents concerning Hemmenway and Reinhard acting as MFS fiscal agents, May 24, 1998.

54 946

Receipts, correspondence regarding board luncheon fees. Holdings incomplete, 1990-2004.

55 947-957

Credit card invoices/receipts for society expenses, 2002-2003.

55 958-992

Miscellaneous, 1973-2003.

55 993-1000

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Part 2. VII.  Musical Fund Society Programs, Events, Announcements, 1965-2002.

Box Folder

Announcements, reservations, and donations received regarding Annual Collations and Annual Receptions. Holdings incomplete, 1965-2002.

56 1001-1042

Concert advertising, 1980-1989.

56 1043-1052

Programs and Announcements for Musical Events, 1989-2002.

56 1053-1071

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Part 2. VII.  Musical Fund Society Newsletter (later called  Musical Fund Notes). Holdings incomplete, 1983-2004. 1 volume.


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Part 2. IX.  Histories, Memorabilia, and Miscellaneous, 1976-2001.

Box Folder

Proposed amendment to MFS by-laws, November 29, 1983.

58 1079

By-law revisions, November 15, 2000.

58 1080

List of MFS by-laws, April 18, 2001.

58 1081

Copy of December 1, 1936 MFS archive agreement with the Free Library of Philadelphia.

58 1082

Pamphlet, "The Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia" by George E. Nitzsche, 1960.

58 1083

Correspondence, Hackenberg to Barnard re Musical Fund Hall photographs, June 19, 1965.

58 1084

Advert for "The Play of David", circa 1966.

58 1085

Copy of speech given honoring Adolph Vogel with a doctor of music degree, May 4, 1976.

58 1086

Correspondence regarding paintings owned by MFS, Layman to David, February 19, 1987.

58 1087

Boyd T. Barnard, MFS philanthropist, 3/20/1987-5/17/1988.

58 1088-1092

Clipping from "Chestnut Hill Local" regarding Combs College of Music, February 1, 1990.

58 1093

Clipping from Main Line Times. Annual Meeting, May 24, 1990.

58 1094

Notice of beneficial interest: Boyd T. Barnard, February 20, 1993.

58 1095

Member mailing from R. Capanna, September 1993.

58 1096

Obituary for Albert Boss, April 5, 1994.

58 1097

Article from Harper's Magazine, "Classical Music in Twilight" by Charles Rosen, March 1998.

58 1098

William Sunderman concert, September 13, 2002.

58 1099

"A Brief History of The Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia", undated.

58 1100

Musical Fund Society pamphlets, undated.

58 1101

History--The Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, undated.

58 1102

Copies of MFS letterhead, stationary, seals, postage labels, undated.

58 1103

Short list of MFS purpose and role in community, undated.

58 1104

Address of MFS hall owners, undated.

58 1105

Business card for P. Kelker at The Free Library of Philadelphia, undated.

58 1106

5 1/4 Floppy disks and list of contents [RESTRICTED], 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993.

58 1107

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