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CRA227 -- Music and Arts Society Records


2.00 Linear Feet
February 1987
Revised July 1999


Mr. Robert G. Dalby, President, donated the Music and Arts Society Records to the Calumet Regional Archives on September 13, 1985.

Property rights in the collection are held by the Calumet Regional Archives; literary rights are dedicated to the public. There are no restriction on access to the collection.

Linear Feet of Shelf Space: 2.00 Linear Feet
Number of Containers: 3 Boxes
Calumet Regional Archives Collection 227
Arranged and Described By: Stephen McShane
Date: February 1987

Scope and Content

This collection documents the history of the Music and Arts Society from 1910 to 1987, with concentration on the period 1937 to 1967. The primary series of the collection comprises Season Files (1937-1987), containing programs, correspondence, clippings, announcements, membership information, by-laws, and yearbooks of the Society. Yearbooks list annual members as well as the Society's goals and other general information. Programs and meeting announcements detail the names of artists and performers, titles of concert pieces, and other performance details. Folders in this series may also hold programs, brochures, and catalogs form other local cultural associations. The Society's season extended from autumn to spring spanning two calendar years (for example, autumn 1970 to spring 1971).

Minutes furnish information on Society business from 1931 to 1982, although the series exhibits a number of gaps during the period. These records detail election of officers, financial conditions, and scholarship committee reports. Some program planning and program accounts also appear in the minutes.

Finally, a useful file of scholarship applications and awards (1950-1965) provide information on one of the most significant functions of the Society: The encouragement of the study of music and arts among young people.

One of the oldest community organizations in the Gary area, the Music and Arts Society served a vital need for dissemination of the arts in the predominantly industrial culture of north west Indiana, Researchers should note that histories of the Society are located in Box 1, File Folder 1. Related collections held by the Archives include: The William A. and Mildred H. Wirt Papers (CRA 101); The Eugene Pawlak Collection (CRA 106); The WWCA Collection (CRA 110); The Northwest Indiana Symphony Records (CRA 111); The Kenneth Resur Papers (CRA 124); The Michael J. Madura Papers (CRA 189); and the Otto Reising Papers (CRA 244).

Historical Sketch

On December 15, 1910, 11 persons gathered at the Gary studio of Mrs. B. F. Webster to found the Afternoon Musical Club. The club's goal focused upon the study of various composers and their music. In 1911-1912, the organization's name became the Gary Musical Club, and membership grew from 22 in 1910 to 77 in 1911-12 (36 performing members and 41 associate members). The club's mission expanded to include "the development of the musical talent of its members and stimulating musical interests in Gary".

By 1922, the club broadened its interest to include art and dram, and became known as the Gary Association of Music and Allied Arts. Programs included concerts as well as art exhibits and drama productions. Although early programs were held at the Gary Public Library and YMCA, the group usually met in members' homes. Composers, song cycles, music of nations, opera, and member's compositions constituted the Society's programs.

Several significant event occurred during the period 1922-1941. First, the Association worked to create an oratorical society. In the mid-1920's, this group became the Gary Municipal Chorus. Around 1930, the Association began a continuous scholarship program to assist local musicians in furthering their education in music. In 1940,the gary Music Festival was begun, and a year later, members helped to organize the Gary Civic Symphony (later the Northwest Indiana Symphony).

On september 18, 1947, the Association decided to revise its title choosing Gary Music and Arts Society, and continued to sponsor programs and exhibits. The Society became very active throughout the 1950's. Artists in the Society decided to promote juried art exhibits and formed the gary Artists League in 1953. With the opening of the new Indiana University Gary Center in 1959, the Society instituted a continuous art exhibit for several years in the Gary Main building on the Glen Park Campus.

Although reduced activity characterized the Society in the late 1960's and 1970's, members continued to meet and enjoy programs. Around 1970, the group faced yet another name change, becoming the Music and Arts Society. In recent years, the Society has attempted to be more active, planning full seasonal programs, although membership fell below that of earlier years.

One of the oldest community cultural organization in the Calumet Region, the Music and Arts Society has made invaluable contributions to the quality of life in northwest Indiana for over seventy-five years. Thanks to the efforts of its members, the Society has served to promote and preserve the performing and fine arts in the Gary areas's "cultural wasteland". Those efforts continue to serve as the primary mission of the Music and Arts Society today.

Box File Description
1 1 Historical Information, Music and Arts Society, 1969, 1986, n.d.
1a Constitution and Bylaws, n.d.
2-9 Minutes, 1931-1937; 1942-1947; (1950-1959); 1982
10 Officers, 1910-1962
11 Membership Lists, (1941-1973)
12-13 Membership Index, (1952-1963)
14 Membership Application Forms, n.d.
15 Treasurer's Reports, (1946-1973)
16 Bank Book, 1949-1951
17 Cash Book, 1956-1964
18 Dues Ledger, 1949-1952
19 Dues Books, (1963-1983)
20 Ledgers, 1954-1957, 1963-1964
21 Scholarship Applications and Awards, 1950-1965
22 Summaries of Programs, 1942-1947

Season Files
Box File Description
1 23-25 Seasons, 1937-1940
26-40 Seasons, 1943-1959
2 1-11 Seasons, 1959-1970
3 1-17 Season, 1970-1987

Box File Description
3 18 Programs, n.d.
19-20 Newsclippings, (1910-1939); 1967, 1973, n.d.
21 Various, n.d.
22 Guest Registers, 1949-1962; 1982-1983
23 Programs, Local Arts Activities, n.d.
24 Newsclippings. Local Arts Activities, n.d.
25 Pamphlet, Nelson Concert Hall n.d.
4 1 Scrapbook, 1944-1949

Subject Tracings

  • Altrusa Club
  • Arts
  • Chesterton Art Fair
  • Community Organizations
  • Drama
  • Gary
  • Gary Artists League
  • Gary Music and Arts Society
  • Gary Symphony Society
  • Indiana University Northwest
  • Lake Area Arts Alliance
  • Music
  • Music and Arts Society
  • Northern Indiana Arts Salon
  • Theater