1871-2009; bulk: 1890-1980

Offsite Storage Inventory

Restrictions on Access

The Apollo Club (Boston, Mass.) records are stored offsite and must be requested at least two business days in advance via Portal1791. Researchers needing more than six items from offsite storage should provide additional advance notice. If you have questions about requesting materials from offsite storage, please contact the reference desk at 617-646-0532 or

Collection Summary


This collection consists of the records of the Apollo Club of Boston, Mass., the city's oldest active male chorus. Included are papers documenting over 130 years of concert performances, administrative and financial activities, and prominent members and officers.

Historical Sketch

The Apollo Club of Boston, founded in 1871 and incorporated in 1873, is the city's oldest active male chorus and the second oldest continuously active male singing group in the country. The origins of the club go back to 1866, when James Cutler Dunn Parker (1828-1916), an organist at Trinity Church in Boston, gathered together 12 men who enjoyed singing. These 12 men called themselves the Chickering Club, after founding member George Harvey Chickering (1830-1899) of the famous family of piano manufacturers. The other 11 members were: Allen Augustus Brown, Dr. Samuel W. Langmaid, David W. Loring, William B. Merrill, Henry Pazolt, P. H. Powers, Charles James Sprague, John H. Stickney, Myron W. Whitney, John F. Winch, and William J. Winch.

In 1871, the club expanded and was renamed the Apollo Club. The Apollo Club's original 52 singers included the 12 members of the Chickering Club, as well as Henry M. Aiken, Henry Clay Barnabee, Loring B. Barnes, Edward Bowditch, J. Lewis Brackett, Abel Parker Browne, Cornelius Chenery, Nathaniel Childs, Henry A. Cook, John B. Coyle, Jr., John N. Danforth, Warren Davenport, W. W. Davis, G. W. Dudley, Clement K. Fay, William H. Fessenden, Daniel F. Fitz, B. F. Gilbert, Gardner Gove, A. P. Howard, Charles T. Howard, J. J. Kimball, Francis W. Lawrence, Arthur Lincoln, John A. Lowell, Alexander A. McFarlane, F. C. Packard, C. E. Pickett, Arthur Reed, T. Frank Reed, John Rogers, A. C. Ryder, William H. Wadleigh, Charles C. Wentworth, J. Q. Wetherbee, N. O. Whitcomb, H. L. Whitney, Hiram Wilde, Joseph R. Winch, and George C. Wiswell. Many of these were professional singers. Well-known musician Benjamin Johnson Lang (1837-1909) served as the first conductor, and the club's first informal concert was performed on 5 Sep. 1871.

The Apollo Club consists of three types of members: active (singing), associate (subscribing), and honorary members. Most concerts are open only to members and their guests, but the club has performed at some public functions throughout the years, including the funeral of Charles Sumner, 29 Apr. 1874; the centennial celebration of the Battle of Bunker Hill, 17 June 1875; a visit by President Rutherford B. Hayes to Boston, 26 June 1877; and the memorial service for President William McKinley at Faneuil Hall, 26 Nov. 1901. Among the outside soloists who have performed with the club are: Richard Arnold, Adele aus der Ohe, David Scull Bispham, Lillian Blauvelt, Giuseppe Campanari, Gustav Danreuther, Carl Faelten, Geraldine Farrar, Johanna Gadski, Fritz Giese, Max Heinrich, Anton Hekking, Josef Hofmann, Franz Kneisel, Leopold Lichtenberg, Edward A. MacDowell, Henri Marteau, Ovide Musin, Marie Nichols, Ernst Perabo, Pol Plançon, Maud Powell, Xavier Reiter, Thomas Ryan, Alwin Schröder, Antoinette Antonina Szumowska, and Camilla Urso.

The Apollo Club has premiered the work of many renowned composers, performing specific pieces for the first time in the United States or the world. Composers whose work has been premiered by the club include Hector Berlioz, Frank H. Brackett, Johannes Brahms, Carl Joseph Brambach, Max Bruch, Dudley Buck, George Whitefield Chadwick, Frederic Hymen Cowen, E. S. Engelsberg, Heinrich Esser, Arthur Foote, Henry Kimball Hadley, Ferdinand Hiller, Benjamin J. Lang, Margaret Ruthven Lang, Charles Martin Loeffler, Felix Mendelssohn, Jean Louis Nicodé, George Laurie Osgood, John Knowles Paine, James Cutler Dunn Parker, Ebenezer Prout, Joachim Raff, Alberto Randegger, Camille Saint-Saëns, George Templeton Strong, Gustav Strube, Arthur Wilder Thayer, and George Elbridge Whiting. Many pieces were specifically composed for and dedicated to the club.

The Apollo Club continues to perform at patriotic and charitable events, as well as professionally, in and around the Boston area and the northeastern United States. The club has also served as a model for musical groups across the country and around the world.

Conductors of the Apollo Club

Benjamin Johnson Lang
Emil Mollenhauer
Thompson Stone
Wheeler Beckett
Francis M. Findlay
Dean Winslow Hanscom
Nicolas Slonimsky
Alfred Nash Patterson
William Achilles
Florence A. Dunn

Presidents of the Apollo Club

John Phelps Putnam
Robert M. Morse, Jr.
John Lathrop
Arnold A. Rand
Solomon Lincoln
George Harvey Chickering
Charles Sumner Hamlin
Benjamin Johnson Lang
Courtenay Guild
Henry A. Moore
John H. Grant
Alan M. Hay
Howard S. Davee
John K. Dineen
John N. Williams
Erik Johnson
Edward Fink
Myron Welsch
Leonard Saulnier
Everett Grant
Eugene Racek
Francis "Frank" W. Cusack
Conover Fitch, Jr.
Peter B. Baker
Charles "Chip" Huhta
Tom Buffum
Herb Motley
William Thorndike
Thomas Motley
Joseph Byrne
John Verani
Robert O'Mara
Richard Wenger
Anthony Polito
John Moynihan
Matthew W. Cassis
John Fanton

Ludvig Sandöe Ipsen (1840-1920)

Ludvig S. Ipsen was a Danish-American architect and designer living in Boston who designed book covers, posters, and book plates. He worked as a staff illustrator for James R. Osgood's publishing firms and illustrated The Skeleton in Armor by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1877), The Confessions of a Frivolous Girl by Robert Grant (1880), The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain (1882), The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott (1883), Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1886), and Log of the "Ariel" in the Gulf of Maine (1886). He also designed the crematorium at Forest Hills Cemetery, Boston. Ipsen was commissioned by Arthur Reed, the secretary of the Apollo Club, to illustrate the club's publications, and he designed 130 program covers over the course of 23 years, as well as the club's seal in 1876.

Collection Description

This collection documents over 130 years of concert performances, administrative and financial activities, and prominent members and officers of the Apollo Club of Boston. Included are secretarial and financial records, concert programs (loose and bound), pamphlets of sheet music, scrapbooks, clippings, ephemera, exhibition planning materials, and miscellaneous other papers. Materials used to organize the 2009 exhibition entitled Ecce Quam Bonum: Boston Public Library Exhibition of the Musical History and Artifacts of the Apollo Club of Boston were compiled by the exhibition planning group, in particular curators Herb Zeller (Apollo Club) and Diane Ota (Boston Public Library). These records document the history of the club, its prominent members, performances, and its organizational and financial activities. The collection also contains 51 original illustrations by Ludvig Sandöe Ipsen (1840-1920), created for Apollo Club concert programs.

Acquisition Information

On deposit from the Apollo Club of Boston, Jan. 2012.

Restrictions on Access

The Apollo Club (Boston, Mass.) records are stored offsite and must be requested at least two business days in advance via Portal1791. Researchers needing more than six items from offsite storage should provide additional advance notice. If you have questions about requesting materials from offsite storage, please contact the reference desk at 617-646-0532 or

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Administrative records, 1873-1986

This series contains the Apollo Club's meeting minutes, by-laws, and records of the treasurer. The papers in this series document the day-to-day administration and financial activities of the club, as well as the activities of various club members.

A. Meeting minutes and by-laws, 1873-1986

This subseries contains the club's meeting minutes and by-laws, as recorded and submitted by the secretaries of the club. The earliest records (1873-1929) were kept in a bound volume by the secretaries, beginning with Arthur Reed. The volume includes descriptions of meetings, the 1873 act of incorporation, by-laws and subsequent revisions, signatures and addresses of active and associate members, and ephemera (meeting and election notices, newspaper clippings, club rules, etc.). There is a gap in the minutes between 1929 and 1954. Minutes beginning in 1954 consist of loose papers removed from their binder. Included are descriptions of annual meetings, decisions and proposals made, discussions that took place, and club events (rehearsals, concerts, parties, etc.), as well as lists of officers and committee members. This subseries also contains correspondence, account statements, a historical sketch of the club, a probate court citation, competition material, notes, printed matter, and ephemera.

Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 1-12

B. Treasurer's account book, 1949-1977

This volume contains the yearly receipts and disbursements of the club, including dues, salaries, expenses, etc. The records were kept by the club's treasurers, beginning with Ben Thewlis. Also included at the end of the book are annual totals, bank account information, and a list of stock shares owned by the club.

Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 13

II. Exhibition material, 1877-2009

This series consists of two binders of material compiled for a 2009 exhibition on the Apollo Club held at the Boston Public Library. The first subseries contains historical documents, and the second contains documents related to the planning of the exhibition. Papers have been removed from their binders and rehoused.

A. Historical documents, 1877-2009

This subseries contains both original items and photocopies of materials documenting the history of the club. Included are biographical and historical sketches, sheet music, booklets, early- to mid-20th century newspaper clippings, papers related to singing contests in which the club competed, concert materials (including photocopies of programs), documents related to accompanist and director Florence "Flossie" Dunn's 40th-anniversary celebration, 1903 concert tickets, and miscellaneous print material. The subseries also contains one CD-ROM of the exhibition entitled Ecce Quam Bonum: The Apollo Club, 1871-2009: Boston's Oldest Men's Chorus and a CD entitled Making a Joyful Noise: the Apollo Club of Boston Live in Concert (recorded at Nahant Town Hall, 1 June 2003).

Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 14
Music sheets, 1877, undated
Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 15-18
Apollo Club history, 1931-2009
Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 19
Newspaper clippings, 1940-1976
Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 20-21
Contest materials, 1984-1985
Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 22
Newspaper clippings, 1992-2002
Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 23-34
Concert materials, 1903-2009
Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 35
Conductors and presidents, 2008-2009
Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 36
Ipsen materials, ca. 2009
Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 37-38
Miscellaneous, 1877-2009
Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 39
Flossie Dunn 40th anniversary celebration, 1991-1995
Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 40
Concert materials, 1953-2008
Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 41-43
Newspaper clippings and miscellaneous, 1910-2009

B. Planning material, 2009

This subseries contains planning material for the 2009 Apollo Club exhibition at the Boston Public Library. The papers consist primarily of photocopies of original 19th- and 20th-century items, such as flyers and program covers; printouts; and other printed material. Also included are drawings of the exhibit layout, images, maps, and a few original historical items. The papers cover many aspects of the history of the Apollo Club and are arranged by subject according to their exhibit case. Cases 7 and 8 contain an inventory of and correspondence related to Apollo Club artifacts.

Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 44-46
Case 1: "The Founding"
Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 47-50
Case 2: "The Members & Conductors"
Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 51-54
Case 3: "The Composers & Soloists"
Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 55-57
Case 4: "The Venues & Events"
Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 58
Case 5: "The Music"
Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 59
Case 6: "The Programs"
Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 60
Case 7: "Inventory"
Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 61
Case 8: "Misc."

III. Printed material, 1871-1954

This series contains printed material related to, or produced by, the Apollo Club, primarily concert programs and booklets of sheet music documenting the club's performances.

A. Concert programs, 1871-1941

This subseries consists of loose and bound concert programs of Apollo Club performances. Included in each program are the lyrics of songs performed. Note: Many of the bound volumes are in fragile condition.

Carton 1SH 189E YFolder 62-70
Loose programs, 1871-1941
Carton 2SH 189F ZVol. 1
Bound programs, 1871-1878
Carton 2SH 189F ZVol. 2
Bound programs, 1879-1883
Carton 2SH 189F ZVol. 3
Bound programs, 1883-1888
Carton 2SH 189F ZVol. 4
Bound programs, 1888-1892
Carton 2SH 189F ZVol. A
Bound programs, 1892-1896
Carton 2SH 189F ZVol. 5
Bound programs, 1892-1898
Carton 2SH 189F ZVol. B
Bound programs, 1896-1900
Carton 2SH 189F ZVol. 6
Bound programs, 1898-1904
Carton 2SH 189F ZVol. C
Bound programs, 1900-1904
Carton 2SH 189F ZVol. 7
Bound programs, 1905-1911
Carton 2SH 189F ZVol. 8
Bound programs, 1911-1916
Carton 2SH 189F ZVol. 9
Bound programs, 1916-1923
Carton 2SH 189F ZVol. 10
Bound programs, 1923-1929

B. Music library, 1894-1954

Arranged alphabetically.

This subseries contains published booklets of musical scores for songs performed by the Apollo Club, originally housed in two volumes. Included are two indexes listing the songs by title, composer, arranger, copyright, etc., as well as when and where each song was performed by the club (if known) between 1938 and 1949.

Note: Series II.A. (Historical documents) also contains some original sheet music.

Box 1SH 189G -Folder 1-18

C. Oversize printed material, 1886-1947

This subseries contains a color map of Boston (1886), an oversize newspaper article about the club (1903), and other oversize printed items removed from the rest of the collection.

Note: This box is stored onsite at Ms. N-2361 (OS).

Box OSFolder 1-4

IV. Scrapbooks, 1884-1948

This series consists of scrapbooks documenting the daily activities and performances of the club, notable members and performers, and concert criticisms published by Boston-area newspapers.

A. Club scrapbooks, 1884-1948

These scrapbooks contain printed material and correspondence documenting the daily activities of the Apollo Club and its notable members, including concert performances, meetings, and other events. Included are newspaper clippings, concert programs, notices and announcements, bulletins, issues of the publication Keynote, tickets to performances, and other ephemera related to, and produced by, the club. Note: Many of the scrapbooks are in fragile condition.

Box 2SH 19CH +Vol. 11
Box 2SH 19CH +Vol. 12
Carton 3SH 19CI %Vol. 13
Carton 3SH 19CI %Vol. 14
Box 2SH 19CH +Vol. 15
Box OSVol. 16

Note: This volume is stored onsite at Ms. N-2361 (OS).

Carton 3SH 19CI %Vol. 17

B. Concert criticisms, 1932-1940

This subseries consists of two volumes of Apollo Club concert reviews published in various Boston-area newspapers.

Carton 3SH 19CI %Folder 1-2

V. Ludvig S. Ipsen program artwork, 1871-1899

This series consists of 51 original black-and-white ink illustrations by Danish-American artist Ludvig Sandöe Ipsen (1840-1920), created for concert program covers and page details. Included is the Apollo Club seal, designed by Ipsen in 1876. For a biography of Ipsen, see the Historical Sketch above.

Note: This box is stored onsite at Ms. N-2361. Five oversize illustrations have been moved to the oversize box.

Box 3Folder 1-9

Materials Removed from the Collection


Portraits of members, in groups and individually, including George H. Chickering and the Chickering Club, ca. 1870-1992 (3 folders)
Group portrait and testimonial to Arthur Reed, 9 Nov. 1878 (1 folder)
Miscellaneous concerts and other events, 1958-2002 (5 folders)
Members singing the National Anthem at Fenway Park, 9 Sep. 1998 (3 folders)
50th anniversary dinner celebration of Florence "Flossie" Dunn's service to the Apollo Club, 7 Feb. 2006 (14 folders)
Oversize group portrait, ca. 1870, and Apollo Club rooms at the Chickering Building, ca. 1900 (Note: These photographs are stored in the oversize box onsite at Ms. N-2361.)


7 metal music printing plates for printing sheet music

Preferred Citation

Apollo Club (Boston, Mass.) records, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.


Ipsen, Ludvig Sandöe.
Zeller, Herb.


Account books--1949-1977.
Boston (Mass.)--Societies, etc.
Concert programs--Massachusetts--Boston.
Men--Societies and clubs.
Men's choirs--Massachusetts--Boston.
Music--Massachusetts--Boston--Societies, etc.
Sheet music.