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Scrapbook of Bethlehem Bach Choir, January 1917

Identifier: SC MS 0236

Scope and Content Note

Many of the newspaper articles appear to have been collected by the Argus Pressclipping Bureau, Otto Spengler, Director, 352 Third Avenue, New York or Henry Romike, Inc, 106-110 Seventh Ave., New York City. The newspapers included The New York Times, The New York World, New York Deutsches Journal, New Yorker Herold Morgenblatt, The Music News, New York Musical Courier, Philadelphia Press, The New York Herald, The World, The New York Evening Post, New York Globe, N.Y. Town and Country, New York Telegraph, The New York Sun, The New York American, Philadelphia Public Ledger, Philadelphia Press, Chicago Musical Leader, The Bethlehem Times, American-Tribune, Lehigh Valley Review, The Globe, The Bethlehem Times, The Evening Post Saturday Magazine New York, Lansdale Republican, The New York Tribune, Brooklyn Eagle, Boston Globe and Springfield, Mass. Republican. Also included are the Jubilee Festival Programme, a Christmas letter from the Bach Choir to Charles Schwab and a photograph from the New York Musical Courier.


  • 1916-1917
  • October 1916 to June 2, 1917


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Biographical Note

The Bethlehem Bach Choir is the oldest Bach Choir in America. It was organized in December, 1898 to study Bach’s Mass in B Minor under the leadership of J. Fred Wolle, organist of Bethlehem Moravian Church. He was founder and first conductor of the Bach Choir. In March, 1900 the Bach Choir presented the first American performance of the Mass in B Minor at the first Bach Choir Festival which commemorated the 150th anniversary of Bach’s death. In 1905 Bach Choir disbanded when Wolle accepts a professorship at University of California Berkeley. In 1911 Wolle returns to Bethlehem and the Choir is revived by a group of community leaders including Charles M. Schwab. In 1912 the annual Bach Festival is reinstituted and Choir appears for the first time in Packer Church on the campus of Lehigh University. Henry S. Drinker, president of Lehigh is elected second president of the Choir. In 1917 the Philharmonic Society of New York invites the Bach Choir to participate in the celebration of their 75th anniversary festival. Charles Schwab, owner of Bethlehem Steel Company, pays for the cost of the 300 members of the Bach Choir to travel to New York City. The Festival takes place in Carnegie Hall. This was the first time that the Bethlehem Bach Choir sang outside Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.


January 20, 1917
The main appearance of the Bach Choir, Saturday, January 20, 1917 is listed first with earlier dated material subsequently recording the arrangements that occurred that led to the Choir singing for their first time outside Bethlehem.


1 volume, 23 x 31 cm

Language of Materials



This scrapbook contains newspaper clippings relating to the Bach Choir’s first appearance outside Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This event occurred in January 1917 appearing in Carnegie Hall, New YorkCity as a featured participant in the New York Philharmonic’s 75th anniversary festival. Charles Schwab of Bethlehem Steel Company generously paid for the trip to New York. Lehigh University’s Henry Drinker provided the logistics for getting the 300 members of the Choir to New York for the festival performance.

Organization of the Content

There is no strict arrangement of the material but the event of the Bach Choir’s first appearance outside Bethlehem, Pa. at Carnegie Hall, New York City, January 20, 1917 for the New York Philharmonic‘s 75th Festival occurs on the first pages. The eleventh Bach Choir Festival performances held at Lehigh University, June 1 and 2, 1917 are reported in the later pages. There are a few items from late 1916 describing the preparations for the January 1917 appearance in New York distributed among the pages between January and June 1917.

Acquisition Information



No additions anticipated.

Related Material

Fred Wolle Manuscripts.

Finding Aid of the Bethlehem Bach Choir Scrapbook, January 1917.
William Ying
March 6, 2013
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Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)