Carnegie Hall's Historical Archival Collections Named as Carnegie Hall Susan W. Rose Archives
(New York, NY, February 9, 2021)—Carnegie Hall today announced that its historical archival collections have been named as the Carnegie Hall Susan W. Rose Archives. This naming is in recognition of Susan W. Rose’s longstanding support of the Hall’s Archives and Rose Museum over the course of the past thirty years.
A Carnegie Hall trustee since 1988, Mrs. Rose’s support of Carnegie Hall’s Archives began not long after it was first established in 1986. Over the last three decades, many of the historic materials that have been collected have been put on display to concertgoers and the public in Carnegie Hall’s Rose Museum, opened in 1991 and funded by the Susan and Elihu Rose Foundation. Over time, she has underwritten close to 40 special museum exhibits aligned with Carnegie Hall’s programming and history. In 2012, generous support from their foundation also helped launch an initiative to digitize, conserve, and share Carnegie Hall’s important legacy materials, including its collection of Carnegie Hall program books dating from 1891.
“Not long after I became Chairman of Carnegie Hall, Suzy invited me to visit the Hall’s Archives,” said Robert F. Smith, Chairman of Carnegie Hall’s Board of Trustees. “Her enthusiasm for the Hall’s history was infectious as was Suzy’s determination to preserve the ephemeral and defining moments of this great performance hall. We are immensely grateful for her stewardship of these essential collections which play a central role in helping us to share the Hall’s story with the world.”
“Given her passion and dedication to the Hall’s Archives and museum over the last thirty years, it is wonderful for us to be able to pay tribute to Suzy in this way,” said Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall’s Executive and Artistic Director. “Since she first became involved with the Archives, it has traveled from being a collection in its infancy, growing into an important resource that has had a huge and growing impact on people’s understanding of Carnegie Hall and its central role in the development of music in America.”
“When he built Carnegie Hall, Andrew Carnegie intended that it would be a home for music and a cultural center that would enrich the lives of all New Yorkers. The Hall’s important historical collections trace how it has achieved that vision, growing to become a place that influences artists and music worldwide,” said Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York. “We applaud Suzy’s longtime stewardship in this area. The Corporation has been proud to join her as a lead supporter in digitizing and conserving these collections so they can be shared widely with scholars and music enthusiasts around the world.”
“Suzy’s involvement over the years—from the opening of the Hall’s Rose Museum to our work with the conservation and digitization of our collections—has had a transformative impact on our ability to share the Hall’s history with people everywhere,” said Gino Francesconi, Carnegie Hall’s Founding Archivist and Historian Emeritus, who served as director of the Hall’s Archives and Rose Museum from 1986 through last fall 2020. “She has always been extremely generous with her time and energy, always excited about our projects, always encouraging us to keep building on how we can serve audiences. Having worked with her so closely since the earliest days of the Archives, it is personally very special to me that it will now carry her name.”
"Since the opening of the Museum, I have been inspired by Gino’s leadership,” said Susan W. Rose. “We have had a marvelous time! With the digitization of the Archives, all of our magnificent materials are assured a lasting life for music lovers around the world. I am so proud of my involvement in Carnegie Hall, the Museum, and the Archives!"
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The Carnegie Hall Archives was established in 1986 in preparation for the Hall’s centennial celebrations in 1991. Since no central repository existed prior to that time, a significant portion of the Hall’s documented history had been lost, discarded, or otherwise forgotten. Over the last 30 years, Carnegie Hall’s Archives team, led by Mr. Francesconi, meticulously re-constructed the Hall’s history, frequently turning to concertgoers, artists, and music lovers across the country to collect more than 300,000 items related to more than 50,000 performances and events in its three concert halls; construction of the building and its subsequent alterations; and the many notable artists, world figures, and personalities who have graced the Hall’s stages. Many of these artifacts have been put on display to concertgoers and the public in Carnegie Hall’s Rose Museum, opened in 1991 and funded by the Susan and Elihu Rose Foundation.
In 2012, the Archives entered a new chapter in its development with the launch of a Digital Archives Project. This initiative has enabled Carnegie Hall to conserve and digitize most of its historic materials—many of which were previously available only on paper or in obsolete media formats—ensuring that the Hall’s legacy is preserved and can be shared with future generations forever. In 2013, searchable program information from 1891 through the present day was made available directly to the public through the Performance History Search, continuously updated on the Carnegie Hall website. In 2019, the Hall’s new Digital Collections invited the public to search and explore select archival collections online for the very first time.
Today, online visitors to the Digital Collections can discover and download more than 80,000 recently digitized items drawn from the Hall’s legacy collections, offering a window into its richly diverse history. Digital materials include Carnegie Hall concert programs from 1891-1925, flyers, photographs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, autographs, booking ledger pages, and promotional flyers. Recent additions include a collection of conductor Walter Damrosch’s memorabilia, including a letter of introduction written by Franz Liszt to be used by Leopold Damrosch upon arrival in America; the William B. Tuthill collection with questionnaires sent by the architect to venues and music halls throughout Europe as he began his designs for Carnegie Hall; and accounting ledgers from the Music Hall Company of New York that track artist pay in the Hall’s early history, including for Tchaikovsky who Andrew Carnegie invited to open the Hall in 1891. This online destination for exploration will continue to expand in future with new digital collections added over time.
About Carnegie Hall
Since it was built by steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1891, New York City’s Carnegie Hall has set the international standard for musical excellence as the aspirational destination for the world’s finest artists. From Tchaikovsky, Dvorák, Mahler, and Bartók to George Gershwin, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Judy Garland, and The Beatles, music making by a long list of artists representing the best of every genre has filled Carnegie Hall over the years. The Hall’s unique history has grown out of its stunning acoustics, the beauty of its three concert halls, and its location in New York City, where it has played a central role in helping to elevate the city into one of the world’s great cultural capitals.
Carnegie Hall continues to hold this musical tradition today, performing hundreds of exceptional musical performances on its three stages–the renowned Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage, the intimate Weill Recital Hall, and the innovative Zankel Hall—ranging from orchestral concerts, chamber music, and solo recitals to jazz, world, and popular music. Complementing these performance activities, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute creates wide-reaching music education and social impact programs that annually serve more than 800,000 people in the New York City area, nationally, and internationally, playing a central role in delivering on Carnegie Hall’s commitment to making great music accessible to as many people as possible.
For more information on Carnegie Hall and its history, please visit carnegiehall.org/history.
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Lead funding for the Digital Collections of the Carnegie Hall Susan W. Rose Archives has been generously provided by Carnegie Corporation of New York, Susan and Elihu Rose Foundation, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Public support has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities and a Save America’s Treasures grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through its partnership with the National Park Service.
Additional funding has been provided for the Carnegie Hall Films Company Collection with support from the National Film Preservation Foundation, and by the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) through the New York State Regional Bibliographic Databases Program.
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