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Guide to the Ernst Bacon Papers, 1933-1986
Special Collections M0906  
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The majority of the collection relates to Bacon's tenure as the first San Francisco Director of the Federal Music Project, Works Progress Administration, 1935-1937. Included are correspondence (personal and professional), official project documents, concert programs, articles concerning the SFFMP, internal memoranda, and a variety of ancilliary material. Much of the correspondence and many documents record the conflict between Bacon and the State Director at the time, Harlè Jervis, and Bacon's subsequent dismissal as director. (87-039) Included in the collection is some of Bacon's personal correspondence from another source. This portion includes letters received by Bacon from the writers Janet Lewis and Henry Cowell, as well as Cowell's wife, Sidney, 1938-1986. (87-007 and 87-019) Additionally, the collection includes several scripts and musical scores from the musical comedy "Take Your Choice," written by Bacon, Phil Mathias, and Raisch Stoll. The musical debuted on December 2, 1936, and was originally performed by the San Francisco Federal Music Project, with Bacon directing the musical aspects of the show. (87-071)
Ernst Bacon was born in 1898 in Chicago, but moved to the San Francisco area in the 1920s and soon occupied a prominent role in the musical life of Northern California. Under his directorship, the San Francisco Federal Music Project achieved widespread popular acclaim, as the papers in the collection attest. Many Bay Area citizens and reporters supported Bacon in his conflict with the State and National Directors of the Federal Music Project. Bacon left San Francisco in 1938, the year following his dismissal, and proceeded to teach, compose, and direct in the East, receiving much critical acclaim. He returned to San Francisco in the 1960s and lived in the Bay Area for the remainder of his life.
1.25 linear ft.
Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.