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New Exhibit: Recent Acquisitions

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Back in March, we installed a new, temporary exhibition in the Rose Museum of Recent Acquisitions. The exhibition contains artifacts we have recently added to the Carnegie Hall Archives collections. Even after nearly 30-years of collecting thousands of pieces and cataloging more than 50,000 events, we are still finding wonderful items that fill the gaps in Carnegie Hall’s history.

The Recent Acquisitions exhibition features a variety of 22 artifacts—from jazz to comedy, classical to political gatherings, Broadway to lectures. Among them is a photo of two of the greatest personalities in the movie industry, Charlie Chaplin and Orson Wells, talking to each other backstage during a benefit. There is a rare, four-page brochure from 1949 announcing an event featuring Dizzy Gillespie and George Shearing, but what catches the eye is the heading of Harry Belafonte “the singing sensation of the year” on page four. Also in the collection is a wonderful sepia-toned photo showing the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union convention of 1940, as well as a poster from a 1991 salute to Broadway signed by some of the most well-known theatrical names of our time.

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Almost every month brings a new discovery about our past as we continue searching and collecting.

—Gino Francesconi, Director of Archives and Museum

Below is a sample of some of the artifacts from the Recent Acquisitions exhibit.

The Rose Museum is open seven days a week during the concert season from 11 AM–4:30PM. The museum is also available for visitation during the evenings to Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage concert patrons.

Recent Acquisitions Leonard Bernstein 

Leonard Bernstein, 1961

Leonard Bernstein conducted a rehearsal of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring) on April 11, 1961, in preparation for concerts on April 13, 14, and 16. The program also included Bacchanale by Toshiro Mayuzumi, conducted by the newly appointed assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic, Seiji Ozawa, who was making his Carnegie Hall debut.

Recent Acquisitions Broadway 

Give My Regards to Broadway poster, 1991

More than 50 artists participated in a 125-year salute to the Broadway musical on June 17, 1991. Thirty of them signed this window card: Michael Allinson, René Auberjonois, Lauren Bacall, Gene Barry, Theodore Bikel, Carol Channing, Martin Charnin, John Cullum, Tyne Daly, Yvonne De Carlo, Nanette Fabray, Sheldon Harnick, Jerry Herman, Sally Ann Howes, Judy Kaye, Burton Lane, Carol Lawrence, Dorothy Loudon, Andrea McArdle, Phyllis Newman, Jerry Orbach, Milo O'Shea, Joseph Papp, Lee Roy Reams, Chita Rivera, Charles Nelson Reilly, Harold Rome, Elaine Stritch, Jule Styne, and Ben Vereen.

Recent Acquisitions Garment Union

Convention of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union, 1940

From May 27 to June 8, 1940, the ILGWU held a two-week convention at Carnegie Hall—the longest convention in the Hall’s history. Each day a major speaker took the podium. More than 20 resolutions were discussed, including establishing a 30-hour work week, removing Communists from the labor force, and urging Congress to establish a minimum wage of 40 cents an hour.

Recent Acquisitions Smothers Brothers 

Smothers Brothers, 1964

The musicians and comedy duo of Tom and Dick Smothers gathered a strong following after their very first performances in San Francisco in 1959. Appearances in clubs and on TV led to a sold-out Carnegie Hall concert on May 15, 1964. Their TV program—which aired from 1967 to 1969—became one of the most popular, controversial, and censored variety shows in TV history for pushing the limits of what was then considered to be permissible. They have appeared at Carnegie Hall six times to date, the last in 1995 as part of an event title A Command Performance for Carol Burnett.

Recent Acquisitions Women Meeting 

Mass Meeting for Women program and ticket, 1925

The “Mass Meeting for Women” was organized by the American Women’s Association to raise awareness for women’s rights and funds to build a club hour (similar to the men’s clubs in Fifth Avenue). Nearly 5,000 women unable to purchase tickets to the sold-out event on April 27, 1925, stormed every entrance to Carnegie Hall. An open door was found that led to the basement, which quickly filled with hundreds of women looking for stairs to the auditorium. Printed on each ticket was “No Men Admitted.” Even male employees of Carnegie Hall were forbidden to enter. When women began moving a piano and stands on stage, they received a standing ovation from the all-female crowd. The event raised $1 million.

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