Scope and arrangement
This collection documents the Dessoff Choirs' administrative activities and performances from throughout the ensemble's history. The records reveal the ensemble's efforts to introduce early music and contemporary compositions to their audiences, and document the changing logistical and financial struggles of an independent amateur choir in New York City throughout the 20th century.
The collection is organized by file type, such as concert files, financial records, programs, etc. The files were created by various members of the choirs' administration and staff, and their file naming conventions are reflected in the collection's organization. Below are descriptions for the file sections with names that do not adequately capture the scope of their contents:
The Concert Files document the programming, planning, and critical response to most of the choirs' concerts between 1959 and 1979. Present are letters between the choirs' management and venues concerning logistics and promotion, as well as internal communications among the choirs' staff and members. The files occasionally contain concert hall seating plans, financial records, programs, and concert reviews.
General Alphabetical Files are subject files that were organized by a Dessoff staff member. The original order of the files has been maintained.
Membership Materials are made up of letters, member lists, member handbooks, and other documents concerning the Dessoff Choirs' singing and associate members. Of note are copies of the Dessoff Crier, the membership newsletter (1943-1988), and "The DSheet," a weekly handout containing organizational updates and rehearsal schedules (1996-1997).
President's Files contain various documents kept and created by Dessoff Choirs presidents David Prager (1955-1956), Emily Greenberg (1976), Natalie Jaffe (1977-1978), and Sue Keusch (1979-1980). These include budgetary reports, meeting minutes, letters and memoranda to and from staff members, and summer greetings to choir members from the president.
Recording Files document the creation of many of the Dessoff Choirs' sound recordings, and consist of communications with record companies, items documenting the recording programming and planning process, and the sale and dissemination of the recordings.
The Scrapbooks largely contain materials related to the ensemble's performances, such as programs, reviews, press, and flyers. Many of the volumes have overlapping date ranges. Of note is the Adesdi Chorus scrapbook (1924-1931), which contains membership lists, meeting minutes, budget reports, and correspondence.
The Dessoff Choirs records are organized into 17 sections by file type.