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Auditorium Theater programs

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Auditorium

Scope and Content of the Collection

Programs and other materials regarding performances and events held at the Auditorium Theater from 1888-1938. The item from 1888 is a Republican National Convention typed list of candidates; the Convention was held in the Auditorium before the building was even completed. The bulk of the programs are for the Apollo Musical Club, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Opera Association (later called the Chicago Civic Opera Company). There are also programs and souvenir books from smaller musical and theatrical companies, both within Chicago and touring from elsewhere. There are some programs from both World's Fairs (1893 Columbian Exposition; 1933 Century of Progress), as well as a few announcements and programs for political and social events (conventions, labor rallies, etc.)


  • Creation: 1888-1938



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Auditorium Theater programs are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Auditorium Theater programs are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

History of The Auditorium Theater

Downtown Chicago theater and National Historic Landmark.

Ferdinand Peck, Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler began plans for the Auditorium Building in 1886 and on October 5, 1887, the cornerstone was laid. The Auditorium Theatre opened in 1889 and was immediately acclaimed as one of the most beautiful and functional theatres in the world. Its architectural integrity and perfect acoustics were internationally recognized. It was often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world.

For several years, the Auditorium Theatre, hotel and office block were used and profitable. The theatre was the first home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (originally called The Chicago Orchestra) and the Chicago Civic Opera Company. Concerts, recitals, lectures, charity balls, social gatherings and sporting events took place in the theatre.

In 1893 new hotels were built all over the city for the guests of the World’s Fair. Many of these new hotels included bathrooms in every room, making the Auditorium Hotel one of the last European-Style hotels built in the city. The common bathroom made the Auditorium Hotel less desirable to the elite guests. In 1904 the Symphony moved to a new smaller home, Orchestra Hall, and the Chicago Opera Company moved to the Civic Opera House in 1929. In the early 1930s, estimates were taken to demolish the building, but the cost of the demolition was more than the land was worth. [Source: Auditorium Theatre website, August 2009]

The Auditorium Theater is currently owned by Roosevelt University.


8.6 Linear Feet (17 boxes)


Programs and other materials for events taking place in the early years at Chicago's Auditorium Theater. Envisioned as a world-class theater and opera house by Chicago impresario Ferdinand Peck, the Adler and Sullivan-designed Auditorium opened in 1889 on the corner of Congress and Michigan Avenue.


Programs arranged chronologically. The first two boxes contain programs and other materials that were previously undated. Most of these materials have now been assigned dates, and are listed as "previously undated" on the inventory.

Collection Stack Location

1 4 1



Other Format Available

A microfilm of the programs is available in the Library, 2nd floor (General Collections Department), Microfilm # 122.

Processed by

Elinor Dahmer, 2009.

Inventory of the Auditorium Theater programs, 1888-1938
Alison Hinderliter
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 7/28/2011: Revisions, additions, and updates were made.

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States