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Milward Adams photograph collection [OFFSITE]

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Adams

Scope and Content of the Collection

STORED OFFSITE – Contact for access.

129 black and white photographs of statesmen, orators, lecturers, musicians, singers, composers, and conductors, autographed to Milward Adams and mounted on boards. The boards have been compiled into ten oversize boxes, the spine titles of which are "Autographed Portraits of Celebrated Persons - The Milward Adams Photograph Collection." In some instances two photographs are mounted on one board.

Prominent persons in the collection include presidents Grover Cleveland, William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt; composer-conductors Richard Strauss, John Philip Sousa and Theodore Thomas; and performers Ernestine Schumann-Heink, Emma Calvé, Ignace Jan Paderewski, and Enrico Caruso.


  • Creation: approximately 1890-1910



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

STORED OFFSITE – Contact for access.

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Milward Adams photograph collection is 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

Biography of Milward Adams

Chicago classical music series manager, and manager of the Auditorium Theater from 1889 to 1910.

Milward Adams was born in Kentucky in 1857, and came to Chicago in 1870 to work as an errand boy for Wilson Brothers Clothiers. He became associated with the manager of Chicago's Central Music Hall, George B. Carpenter, who also managed lectures and concerts series. Adams worked for Carpenter and started at the bottom, sweeping up after shows and manning the ticket window. After Carpenter's death he began to manage the Central Music Hall as well as several musical series, including the Theodore Thomas Summer Garden Concerts and the Mapleson Operatic Festival. Beginning in 1889 he began managing the Auditorium Theater and its varied series of operas, recitals, and lectures. He was also the first manager of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under conductor Theodore Thomas, from 1891 to 1894. Adams retired from managing the Auditorium in 1910, and died Jun. 18, 1923.

Adams's career as theater manager allowed him access to many lecturers and artists, some of whom (like Theodore Thomas) became close friends. Adams had autographed photographs of these people mounted on the walls of his office at the Auditorium.


25 Linear Feet (10 oversize boxes)


STORED OFFSITE – Contact for access. Collection of portraits of statesmen, orators, lecturers, musicians, singers, composers, and conductors collected by and autographed to Milward Adams, manager of Chicago's Auditorium Theater from 1889 to 1910.


Photographs arranged in original order (mostly but not completely alphabetically).

Collection Stack Location

CRL (Offsite): N3R066, Bay 7


Gift, Milward Adams, 1910.

Processed by

Elinor Dahmer, 2010.

Inventory of the Milward Adams photograph collection, approximately 1890-1910
Alison Hinderliter
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

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

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States