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San Francisco Public Library Performing Artists Photograph Collection
SFP 87  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance
  • Related Materials
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement

  • Title: San Francisco Public Library Performing Artists Photograph Collection
    Date (bulk): 1890 - 1950
    Identifier/Call Number: SFP 87
    Creator: Fredricks, Jessica M.
    Creator: Oppenheimer, Selby C.
    Physical Description: 3 boxes (2.75 linear ft.)
    Contributing Institution: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
    100 Larkin Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 557-4567
    info@sfpl.org
    Abstract: The San Francisco Public Library Performing Artists Photograph Collection consists of 1,670 photographic prints from 1890 to 1950 collected by the Music Department of the San Francisco Public Library. This artificial collection of publicity photographs and performing artists’ portraits was originally assembled by San Francisco Public Library’s Music Department head librarian Jessica Fredricks as a collection of autographs. In addition to these, the Music Department incorporated photographs dedicated to and donated by Selby Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer was a local impresario and once the managing director of the Opera House. Many of the photographs are autographed – with dedications to the San Francisco Public Library, Jessica Fredricks, and/or Selby Oppenheimer. Fredricks and Oppenheimer collected the photographs between 1917 and 1950. The artificial collection includes portraits of conductors, opera singers, instrumentalists, dancers, directors and composers.
    Physical Location: The collection is stored onsite.
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English.

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center's Photo Desk hours.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish from photographs must be submitted in writing to the Photo Curator. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], San Francisco Public Library Performing Artists Photograph Collection (SFP 87), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

    Provenance

    Gift. 2014.

    Related Materials

    Researchers are encouraged to see also the Musicians' Letters Autograph Collection (1880-1966) in San Francisco Public Library's Art, Music and Recreation Center.

    Biography

    Jessica Fredricks (1887 – 1979) was head of San Francisco Public Library’s Music Department 1917–1950.
    Jessica Fredricks was born on September 29, 1887. Largely self-taught, her formal education consisting of only three months of high school and summer coursework on library reference work at the University of California. In 1916 she began working as a substitute librarian at the San Francisco Public Library, despite lacking the prerequisite high school diploma. Because of her musical background and her experience teaching piano, she was asked upon the opening of the new Main Library in 1917 to head the Music Department. She strove to make the Library's Music Department a part of the City's musical life. During her career, Fredricks wrote the book California Composers: Biographical Notes (1934) and various articles for Pacific Coast Musical Review, Musical West and other music publications. Upon retiring from her job in 1950, she moved to Mexico and lived nearly 30 more active years.
    Selby C. Oppenheimer (1879 – 1941) was a well-known San Francisco impresario and managing director of the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House and Veteran’s Building.
    Oppenheimer was a San Francisco native. In their home, Mr. and Mrs. Selby Oppenheimer had a Steinway baby grand piano which had over 400 autographs on its interior by the contemporary world’s greatest musicians who visited San Francisco. The couple began collecting the autographs in the early 1920s.

    Scope and Content

    The San Francisco Public Library Performing Artists Photograph Collection consists of 1,670 photographic prints from 1890 to 1950 collected by the Music Department of the San Francisco Public Library. This artificial collection of publicity photographs and performing artists’ portraits was originally assembled by San Francisco Public Library’s Music Department head librarian Jessica Fredricks as a collection of autographs. In addition to these, the Music Department incorporated photographs dedicated to and donated by Selby Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer was a local impresario and once the managing director of the Opera House. Many of the photographs are autographed – with dedications to the San Francisco Public Library, Jessica Fredricks, and/or Selby Oppenheimer. Fredricks and Oppenheimer collected the photographs between 1917 and 1950. The artificial collection includes portraits of conductors, opera singers, instrumentalists, dancers, directors and composers. Most of these performing artists visited San Francisco for performance dates. There are a significant amount of photographs of Yehudi Menuhin, la Argentina, Anna Case, Feodor Chaliapin, Ruth Draper, Florence Easton, Ossip and Clara Gabrilowitsch, Galli-Curci, Frieda Hempel, Harald Krentzberg, Josef Lhevinne, Grace Moore, Sigrid Onegin, Rosa Ponselle, Elizabeth Rethberg, Ruth St. Dennis, and Laurence Tibbett. The majority of the photographs have the photographer or photo studio noted on the backside of the photograph. Noted San Francisco photography studios represented in the collection include Hartsook, Gabriel Moulin and Romaine Studios. In addition to the San Francisco photography studios, there are a significant amount of photographs by the following photographers and photo studios - Apeda Studio, Bain News, G. Maillard Kesslere, Lumiere Studio, Moffett Studio, Herman Mishkin, Underwood and Underwood, and White Studios. Geographic locations of the portrait studios include New York, Cuba, San Francisco, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Kansas City.

    Arrangement

    Photographs are arranged alphabetically by performing artist's last name. Some performing artists may have more than one photograph.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Performing arts.
    Entertainers.
    Entertainers -- Portraits.
    Photographic prints, 1890-1900.
    Photographic prints -- 1900-1910.
    Photographic prints -- 1910-1920.
    Photographic prints, 1920-1930.
    Photographic prints, 1930-1940
    Photographic prints, 1940-1950
    Portrait photographs
    Publicity photographs
    Fredricks, Jessica M.
    Oppenheimer, Selby C.