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F. Charles Adler Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: KM
Date: Apr 1991

Biographical History

The F. Charles Adler Papers is a collection of materials, including correspondence, writings, and memorabilia, which reflects the conductor's career from 1936 through 1955. Born in London in 1889, Adler began his career in the United States as conductor of the New York Festival Orchestra, a component of the Federal Music Project which was sponsored by the Works Progress Administration. With his interest in contemporary musical compositions coupled with a belief that the most fertile ground for the growth of American music was outside the country's large cities, Adler founded the New York Chamber Orchestra in 1945, and shortly thereafter transferred his base of operations to Gansevoort, New York. Composed of selected members of the Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York (later known as the New York Philharmonic), the New York Chamber Orchestra performed more than 40 new compositions at the Saratoga Spa Music Festival during the 1946-1947 seasons. Adler died in Vienna in 1959 at the age of 69.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Correspondence-Subject files (Boxes 1-13) contain both incoming and outgoing letters and related material, most of which was generated between 1936 and 1955, with composers, conductors, musicians and musicologists. Correspondence which is of greatest volume includes that with composers George Antheil, Will Gay Bottje, Charles Wakefield Cadman, Robert Casadesus, Avery Claflin, Henry Cowell, Norman Dello Joio, Arcady Dubensky, Vernon Duke, Isadore Freed, Anis Fuleihan, Vittorio Giannini, Eugene Goossens, Edward Burlingame Hill, Frederick Jacobi, Philip James, Werner Josten, Ernst Krenek, Otto Luening, Jacques de Menasce, Darius Milhaud, Douglas Moore, Paul Amadeus Pisk, Vittorio Rieti, Roger Sessions, Elie Siegmeister, Virgil Thomson, Ernst Toch, Burnet C. Tuthill, John W. Work, and Eric Zeisl; conductors Theodore Bloomfield, Dimitri Mitropolous, Alex North, and Leopold Stokowski; musicians Claire Coci, John Corigliano, Albert Elkus, Rudolf Kolisch, Boris Koutzen, Louis Krasner, Ray Lev, Eugene List, Carl Stern and John Wummer; and musicologists Oliver Daniel, Alfred Einstein, and H.C. Robbins Landon. The Correspondence-Subject files also contain a substantial amount of correspondence relating to the American Composers Alliance, the American-Soviet Music Society, the Bruckner Society of America Inc., the Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York, the Saratoga Spa Music Festival, Inc., and the Society for the Publication of American Music, Inc. as well as that of a number of music publishers and recording studios, including Am-Rus Editions, Associated Music Publishers Inc., Boosey and Hawkes Inc., Elkan-Vogel Co., Carl Fischer, Inc., Edward B. Marks Music Corporation, Leeds Music Corporation, Music News, Inc., Sesac Inc., SPA Records (of which Adler was artistic director), Southern Music Publishing Company, Inc., Unicorn Records, and Vanguard Recording Society, Inc.

Memorabilia (Boxes 15-18) includes financial material and an assortment of printed items, including clippings, programs, publicity, research material, and reviews. The financial material is divided into Adler's personal expenses and bank transactions, and those relating to the Saratoga Spa Music Festival, Inc. Printed material includes various clippings and other items relating to Adler's sojourn in Austria in the early 1950s, his affiliation with the New York Chamber Orchestra, and miscellaneous personal notices. Programs include those relating to Adler's work with the Federal Music Project (1936-1941), concerts conducted by Adler in Germany, concerts for the Saratoga Spa Music Festival, and various miscellaneous concerts which Adler conducted as well as those with which he was not associated, but for which he received material. Publicity includes flyers and advance notices for miscellaneous concerts. Research material encompasses Adler's collection of clippings and articles pertaining to music, while reviews include those relating to Adler's career (1952-1953) as well as those of SPA Records. Memorabilia concludes with a selection of miscellaneous items, including articles, clippings, publicity and reviews which relate to the Saratoga Spa Music Festival.

Recordings (phonodiscs) include transcriptions (pressings made for distribution to radio stations) of the Saratoga Spa Music Festivals for 1937, 1946 and 1947 and an assortment of test pressings of SPA records. Although the ID numbers assigned to these items go up to adler_fc_089, there are in fact only 87 phonodiscs.

Writings (Box 14) include those of Adler, his wife Hannah Moriarta Adler, and a poem by an unidentified author, "Good Time Charlie On the Loose." Adler's writings include transcripts of an Open Forum discussion at Skidmore College between Adler and Frederick Schang, president of Columbia Artists Management, Inc., on the role of concert management in fostering an appreciation of music; program notes; miscellaneous manuscripts; and published material.

Arrangement of the Collection

Series are arranged in alphabetical order. Within each series, material is arranged alphabetically by topic or title.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Adler, F. Charles (Frederick Charles), 1889-1959.
Adler, Hannah Moriarta.

Corporate Bodies

Federal Music Project (U.S.)
Saratoga Spa Music Festival, Inc.
United States -- Work Projects Administration
United States -- Works Progress Administration


Composers -- United States
Conductors (Music) -- United States
Music -- 20th century
Music festivals -- New York (State)
Musicians -- United States


Saratoga Springs (N.Y.), History

Genres and Forms

78 rpm records.
Clippings (information artifacts)
Programs (documents)
Reviews (document genre)


Conductors (Music)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

F. Charles Adler Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Hannah Moriarta Adler, 1972.

Table of Contents

Correspondence-subject files


Recordings, audio