Guide to the Ernst Bacon Papers, 1933-1986

Processed by Special Collections staff; machine-readable finding aid created by Steven Mandeville-Gamble
Department of Special Collections
Green Library
Stanford University Libraries
Stanford, CA 94305-6004
Phone: (650) 725-1022
© 1998
The Board of Trustees of Stanford University. All rights reserved.

Guide to the Ernst Bacon Papers, 1933-1986

Collection number: M0906

Department of Special Collections and University Archives

Stanford University Libraries

Stanford, California

Contact Information

  • Department of Special Collections
  • Green Library
  • Stanford University Libraries
  • Stanford, CA 94305-6004
  • Phone: (650) 725-1022
  • Email:
  • URL:
Processed by:
Special Collections staff
Date Completed:
Encoded by:
Steven Mandeville-Gamble
© 1998 The Board of Trustees of Stanford University. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Ernst Bacon Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1933-1986
Collection number: Special Collections M0906
Creator: Bacon, Ernst, 1898-
Extent: 1.25 linear ft.
Repository: Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
Language: English.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions


Publication Rights

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.


Purchased, 1986 and 1987.

Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item] Ernst Bacon Papers, M0906, Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.


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.

Scope and Content

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)

Access Terms

Allen, Elizabeth.
Bacon, Ernst, 1898-
Berckman, Evelyn.
Bier, Allan.
Bietry-Salinger, Jehanne.
Boulton, Laura.
Clement, Ada.
Cowell, Henry, 1897-1965.
Cowell, Sidney.
Davis, George H.
Elson, Elizabeth.
Erskine, Morse.
Ferrier, Andre.
Fisher, Marjorie M.
Foote, Ralph M.
Frankenstein, Alfred.
Galkovitch, M.G.
Gunn, Glenn Dillard.
Hall, Jessie B.
Hayden, J. Emmet.
Hewes, Harry L.
Hopkins, Harry
Horgan, Paul.
Howell, Ruth.
Jervis, Harle.
Johnson, Mark E.
Jervis, Harle.
Jones, Isabel Morse.
Kasloff, Mischa.
Knight, Lucian W.
Lengyel, Cornel.
Lewis, Janet, 1899-
Liebling, George.
Luening, Ethel.
McAdoo, William Gibbs.
MacDowell, Edward, Mrs.
Mason, Daniel Gregory.
Mathias, Phil.
Moe, Henry Allen.
Morris, Lawrence.
Mullett, George.
Pattison, Lee.
Pazmor, Radiana.
Pettis, Ashley.
Pilling, Roy.
Potter, M.L.
Rodgers, Bernard.
Roosevelt, Franklin D., Mrs.
St. John, Edmunds.
Search, Frederick Preston.
Silva, Giulio.
Sinclair, Upton.
Skonhoft, Steen.
Sokoloff, Nikolai.
Stoll, Raisch.
Sullivan, Noel.
Ussher, Bruno David.
Wadsworth, Ralph G.
Weston, Brett.
Whatmire, W.B.
Williams, H. Glyn.
Wood, Charles Erskine Scott.
Woodward, Ellen S.
Wright, Cedric.
Zam, Maurice.
San Francisco Federal Music Project.
Works Progress Administration.
American literature--20th century.
Music--United States.
Prisoners as artists.
Composers--United States.


Series I: San Francisco Federal Music Project Correspondence (specific sources, 1934-1939) 87-039

Box 1, Folder 1

Bier, Allen

Box 1, Folder 2

Bietry-Salinger, Jehanne

Box 1, Folder 3

Erskine, Morse

Box 1, Folder 4

Ferrier, Andre

Box 1, Folder 5

Fisher, Marjorie

Box 1, Folder 6

Gunn, Glenn Dillard

Box 1, Folder 7

Haley, Mrs. Harry S.

Box 1, Folder 8

Hall, Jessica B.

Box 1, Folder 9

Hayden, J. Emmet

Box 1, Folder 10

Hopkins, Harry

Box 1, Folder 11

Horgan, Paul

Box 1, Folder 12

Jervis, Harle

Box 1, Folder 13

Jones, Isabel M.

Box 1, Folder 14

Luening, Ethel & Otto

Box 1, Folder 15

MacDowell, Mrs. Edward

Box 1, Folder 16

McAdoo, Senator William Gibbs

Box 1, Folder 17

Morris, Lawrence

Box 1, Folder 18

Pilling, Roy C.

Box 1, Folder 19

Roosevelt, Eleanor

Box 1, Folder 20

Search, Frederick Preston

Box 1, Folder 21

Sinclair, Upton

Box 1, Folder 22

Skonhoft, Steen

Box 1, Folder 23

Sokoloff, Nikolai

Box 1, Folder 24

Ussher, Bruno David

Box 1, Folder 25

Wadsworth, Ralph G.

Box 1, Folder 26

Wood, Charles Erskine Scott

Box 1, Folder 27

Woodward, Ellen S.

Box 1, Folder 28

Wright, Cedric


Series II: Ernst Bacon's Correspondence (general, 1933-1939 & n.d.)

Box 1, Folder 29


Box 1, Folder 30

Procuring Cottage at Inverness

Box 1, Folder 31

General (1933-1936)

Box 1, Folder 32

General (1937-1939)

Box 1, Folder 33

General (n.d.)

Box 1, Folder 34

Drafts of letters, by Bacon


Series III: San Francisco Federal Music Project Documents

Box 1, Folder 35

"Project for Employment...," by Bacon & Gaston Usigli (3/34)

Box 1, Folder 36

WPA Request for Approval of Project Unit (9/36)

Box 1, Folder 37

Confidential Salary Lists (10/36)

Box 1, Folder 38

Typical Attendance Record (5/37)

Box 1, Folder 39

Semi-Annual Report on Departmental Activities (6/37)

Box 1, Folder 40

Composers Forum-Laboratory

Box 1, Folder 41

Vocal Department Report

Box 1, Folder 42

Advisory Board

Box 1, Folder 43

Programs and Reviews


Articles About the SFFMP by Bacon and Others

Box 1, Folder 44

"The Federal Music Project," Cornel Lengyel (1937)

Box 1, Folder 45

"Resume of San Francisco Music Project," Bacon (1937)

Box 1, Folder 46

"A Few Facts About the Federal Music Project," Bacon

Box 1, Folder 47

"An Open Letter to the Federal Music Project of California," Bacon (1937)

Box 1, Folder 48

"How is the Music Project Run?," Bacon (1938)

Box 1, Folder 49

"Whispering Wires Need Psychic Powers," Marjorie Fisher (1937)

Box 1, Folder 50

"In General . . . " (n.d.)

Box 1, Folder 51

Drafts of Articles by Bacon

Box 1, Folder 52

Drafts, Completed Articles, etc. by others


Series V: Bacon's Scrapbook of the SFFMP

Box 2, Folder 1


Box 2, Folder 2


Box 2, Folder 3


Box 2, Folder 4


Box 2, Folder 5


Box 2, Folder 6


Box 2, Folder 7


Box 2, Folder 8


Box 2, Folder 9


Box 2, Folder 10


Box 2, Folder 11


Box 2, Folder 12



Series VI: Miscellaneous

Box 2, Folder 13


Box 2, Folder 14

State Symphony Orchestra of South Carolina

Box 2, Folder 15

Paebar Company

Box 2, Folder 16

University of California at Berkeley


Series VII: Correspondence from Other Sources (1938-1986)

Box 2, Folder 17

Cowell, Henry - 87-007

Box 2, Folder 18

Cowell, Sidney - 87-019

Box 2, Folder 19

Lewis, Janet - 87-019


Series VIII: "Take Your Choice" Musical Comedy by Bacon, Mathias, & Stoll, originally performed by SFFMP - 87-071

Box 3, Folder 1

Script (labeled "text")

Box 3, Folder 2


Box 3, Folder 3


Box 3, Folder 4

Score, "music left out of show"

Box 3, Folder 5

Complete Orchestra Score, Act 1

Box 3, Folder 6

Complete Orchestra Score, Act 2