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Chicago Business Men's Orchestra Records

Identifier: Midwest-MS-154

Scope and Content of the Collection

Letters, clippings and programs relating to the Chicago Business Men’s Orchestra from 1941 to 1962. Correspondents include Percy Grainger, Rafael Kubelik, Mishel Piastro, Edward L. Ryerson, and Frederick Stock. Clippings date from 1941 to 1955, and included is an undated transcript of a radio talk given by Milton Cross on the history of music in Chicago. Concert programs are from the 40s.

For programs 1939-1941, see bound cataloged programs at the Newberry Library, Call number: V 3896 .151


  • Creation: 1941-1962



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Chicago Business Men’s Orchestra Records are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Chicago Business Men’s Orchestra Records are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

History of the Chicago Business Men’s Orchestra

Symphony orchestra based in Chicago.

Founded in 1921 by State Street businessman and bass player George Lytton as the Chicago Business Men’s Orchestra, membership was drawn from the business and professional men who worked in the downtown area. These men were not only successful businessmen but also accomplished musicians. The Orchestra had an excellent reputation, giving local amateur players an opportunity to perform a varied repertoire of classical music.

By 1941, when the orchestra consisted of 115 Chicagoans, 25 of its players were presidents or vice presidents of local businesses. However, through the first twenty years the membership included accountants, doctors, engineers, a farmer, a postman – in fact, anyone who could be chosen from the waiting list of 200 hopefuls.

Concerts were played in Orchestra Hall under the direction of such noteworthy conductors as Frederick Stock and Rafael Kubelik. Eventually, the Chicago Business Men’s Orchestra became known as the Chicago Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.


0.2 Linear Feet (3 folders)


Correspondence, clippings and programs of this orchestra, established in 1921, which was composed of men working in Chicago business firms. Later renamed the Chicago Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.


Arranged by type of material.

Collection Stack Location

1 1 2


Gift, Merle Jennings, 1984.

Processed by

Virginia Hay Smith, 2008.

Inventory of the Chicago Business Men's Orchestra Records, 1941-1962
Virginia Hay Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 08/17/2011: Revisions, additions, and updates were made.

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States