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Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Records (MS-314)

Identifier: MS-314

Scope and Contents

The collection is a significant contribution to the local and regional history focus of the archives. The collection contains biographies, programs, newspaper clippings, photographs, board information, and marketing information. The collection has a large number of brochures and photographs from the last three decades of the 20th century. The organization’s early history is not documented in this collection. For additional information and further reference see, MS-102: The Paul Katz Papers, SC-67: Ann Kirk Diary, and MS-183: The Dayton Philharmonic Women’s Organization, which all have more information on this topic.

Series I, Administrative, 1959-2001 (bulk 1980-1999), includes the history of the orchestra as first gathered and published in 1973 for the fortieth anniversary and continued in 2003 for the seventieth. This series begins with the executive records such as Board of Trustee Minutes and committee notes. Financial records concerning the budget and annual reports follow. The bulk of the series are general administrative records such as newsletters, education programs and youth orchestra information. The series contains mostly records for the 1980s and 1990s, although the youth orchestra information dates from the 1960s.

Series II, Marketing, 1973-2005, has extensive files on the marketing issues and data used by the orchestra to recruit subscription members and to promote ticket sales. This series contains advertising campaigns, marketing expenses, audience surveys, sales reports, marketing videos, and press releases.

Series III, Photographs, 1933-2003 (bulk 1970-2000), is one of the collection’s strongest areas with hundreds of photos, proofsheets, negatives, and slides. The series is divided into two subseries, the first of which contains portraits of the music directors, musicians, Ensemble Groups, Board of Trustees, staff, and volunteers. Subseries III.B. contains photographs of Concerts and Events, and is arranged chronologically. Please note that many individuals are photographed during rehearsals, concerts, and events found in this subseries. This subseries also contains the formal photographs of the DPO and DPO Youth Orchestra within the chronological arrangement.

Series IV, Newspaper Clippings, 1941-1942, 1960-2004, contains clippings from local newspapers that feature the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra in articles or advertisements. The files are organized by date.

Series V, Program Booklets, 1933-2008, consist of programs of the orchestra’s performances. The files are organized by date. The dates are 1933 to 2004 with a large number of programs from the 1970s and 1980s. The Programs list the music performed, the musicians involved, and the advertising paid for by local agencies to help support the Orchestra.

Series VI, Concert Events, 1934-2010, contains programs, advertising materials, and administrative paperwork regarding specific concert events, either ongoing series, such as the Philharmonster concert, or single performance events. The file are organized alphabetically by event. Most date from 1991 to 2004. The exception is the Young People’s Concert materials which contain material from 1934 to 2010.

Series VII, Performers, 1979-2002, is organized alphabetically by performer’s last name. It contains details on the guest performers as well as some artists that were regular members of the orchestra. The files primarily contain the performer’s promotional materials, frequently including promotional photographs.

Series VIII, Audio-Visual Materials contains audio and video recordings. The series is divided into three subseries: performances, marketing, and sheet music. The Performance and Marketing subseries are subdivided first by type (audio or video), then chronologically. The Performance subseries contains mainly recordings of DPO concerts. The Marketing subseries contains mainly commercials or "promos" for radio and television. Several formats are present throughout this series, with the majority consisting of 1/4" sound reel tapes, audiocassette tapes, and VHS tapes. The last subseries contains a 6 spiral books of sheet music for the choir and orchestra. (Note: Some audio items in this series were previously listed as part of MS-102: Paul Katz Papers.)

Series IX, Oversize Materials, 1933-1934, Undated, is devoted primarily to the vast array of promotional artwork and posters produced for the orchestra’s advertising purposes. A small collection of oversized photographs is also included in this series. Series IX is located in oversize drawers 57-59.


  • Creation: 1933 - 2010
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1970 - 2001


Restrictions on Access

The collection is open for research except for electronic records, and magnetic audio and video formats without reference copies. Due to preservation concerns, only reference copies of original audio and video materials can be accessed in the reading room. Items without reference copies can be digitized at the request of a patron for the cost of creating a digital copy. Please provide us at least two weeks advance notice if you would like to request an audio or video reference copy. Call (937) 775-2092 or e-mail us at Use of digitized content is subject to conditions governing use.

Access to electronic files in this collection are restricted until they are fully processed. Requests for unprocessed electronic records can be submitted for consideration.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

In 1935, the Dayton Chamber Orchestra Society became the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Miriam Rosenthal, a powerful businesswoman in the Dayton community, worked with Paul Katz to support the budding institution. Rosenthal became the Executive Secretary in the third season and remained in that position until her death in 1965.

Paul Katz conducted and guided the Orchestra for 42 years. In 1934, Katz introduced the Young People's Concert, a program to give students the opportunity to hear live music in a performance hall. In 1935, an all-volunteer Dayton Philharmonic Chorus was developed. In 1937, the Dayton Philharmonic Training Orchestra was formed to give young students an opportunity to study challenging pieces. Highlights of the young orchestra included performances in 1938 by both Marian Anderson and Nadia Boulanger. Paul Katz retired following the 1974-1975 season and was named Conductor Emeritus.

Charles Wendelken-Wilson was the second Music Director and conductor, serving from 1975 until 1987. During his tenure he started the All Orchestra Night Concerts as well as projects including the Women's Association Designer Show House and the SuperPops Concerts. Isaiah Jackson became the third Music Director in 1987 and continued in that post until 1994. After an extensive search during the 1994-1995 season, Neal Gittleman became the Music Director and conductor in September 1995. Gittleman helped develop the New Year's Eve concerts, the Classical Connections series, performances at Fraze Pavilion, and educational projects including Family Concerts, the Philharmonster concerts, and the SPARK program.

The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra moved to its new home at the Benjamin and Marion Schuster Performing Arts Center in March 2003 and will celebrate its 70th anniversary as well. Previously, it was headquartered in Memorial Hall, but also held performances at Victoria Theater, the Dayton Convention Center, and the Fraze Pavilion.

For a more thorough history, please refer to the anniversary publications available in the collection.


59.74 linear feet

Language of Materials



The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra was founded by Paul Katz in 1933. It is recognized as one of Dayton's oldest and longest standing cultural institutions. The records of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra document the organization's history from founding to the recent past. Emphasis is on the 1970s and 1980s. This is an ongoing collection. The collection is rich in brochures and photographs, programs, administrative records, and marketing material.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 9 series:

  1. Series I: Administrative
  2. Series II: Marketing
  3. Series III: Photographs
  4. Series IV: Newspaper Clippings
  5. Series V: Program Booklets
  6. Series VI: Concert Events
  7. Series VII: Performers
  8. Series VIII: Audiovisual
  9. Series IX: Oversize

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The majority of the collection was donated to Wright State University Libraries' Special Collections and Archives by the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra in May 2005.

Approximately 65 of the audio tape reels of DPO performances were donated by William Foster, a long-time DPO performer, in 2015 (accession 15-68); for specific details and item numbers, refer to the AV Database.

Many of the early performance recordings were donated as part of the Paul Katz Papers (MS-102) in 1980. These recordings were integrated into MS-314 during reprocessing of the audiovisual series in January 2024.

Related Material

MS-102: The Paul Katz Papers; SC-67: Ann Kirk Diary; MS-183: The Dayton Philharmonic Women's Organization (Dayton Philharmonic Volunteer Association Records); MS-664: Dayton Performing Arts Alliance Operation Records

Separated Materials

Oversize materials in Series IX are located in drawers 57-59. Electronic records in the form of CDs, DVDs, and floppy disks have been separated to the E-Archives (ms314_e0001 to ms314_e00149).

  • Three mass-produced audiocassettes (copyright) and 1 small box of mass-produced slides showing various composers (old box 44).
Guide to the The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra (MS-314) Records
Finding aid prepared by Kimberly Richards, Lucy Putnam, Donna Davis, Jim Wilson in 2003. Pamela Mae Gochenour, Lynda Phillips Kachurek, and Maria Anne Korte in 2005. Updated by Lisa Rickey to reflect additions, January 2024; and to reflect minor housing rearrangements, April 2024.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2016 September: Kaitlyn Griffith and Toni Vanden Bos revised inventory and updated finding aid according to DACs.
  • 2018 September: Lisa Rickey and Alyssa Stark revised inventory.
  • 2023 July: Toni Vanden Bos reprocessed and rehoused Series III Photographs.
  • 2024 January: Lisa Rickey reprocessed and rehoused Series VIII: Audiovisual, including adding approximately 11 LF of previously unlisted items to the inventory.
  • 2024 April: Lisa Rickey revised physical arrangement of Programs and Concert Events series for more efficient housing and eliminating most of the "A/B" box identifiers.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA