• Identification00064609
  • TitleDescriptive inventory for the Auditorium Theatre Council (Chicago, Ill.) records, ca. 1893-1982 (inclusive), 1960-1982 (bulk)
  • PublisherChicago Historical Society
  • Language
    • English.
    • English
  • RepositoryChicago History Museum Research Center 1601 North Clark Street Chicago, IL 60614-6038
  • OriginationAuditorium Theatre Council (Chicago, Ill.) Spachner, Beatrice
  • Date
    • 1893-1982
    • 1960-1982
  • Physical Description
    • 2.75 linear feet (8 boxes)
    • 4 volumes
    • 2 other (tubes)
  • LocationMSS Lot A

For audio recording listening purposes, it is necessary to use a copy, not the original (and to have a listening copy made if one is not available).

Copyright may be retained by the creators of items, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law, unless otherwise noted.

Most materials were a gift of the Auditorium Theatre Council (accession #: 1971.20). One folder of executive board meeting minutes was a gift of Robert J. Ahrens (accession #: M1982.0055).

Auditorium Theatre Council records (Chicago History Museum) plus a detailed description, date, and box/folder number of a specific item.

The collection contains correspondence, clippings, by-laws, minutes, articles, programs and other records of the Auditorium Theatre Council primarily from the administrative papers (1960-1978) of Beatrice Spachner (Mrs. John V. Spachner), chairman of the Auditorium Theatre Council. Topics include administration and restoration of the Auditorium Theatre, policy-making by the executive board, press and advertisement, productions, financials, and relationship to Roosevelt University. Materials include designs for the theatre’s renovation (1963), New York City Ballet production posters (ca. 1979), and a small amount of black and white photos. Also included are four scrapbooks of newspaper clippings for production seasons (late 1960s), one featuring color photographs of performers in the World's Columbian Exposition's "America" pageant (1893), and four audio recordings: "Bettina Cossak," "Toccatas and Flourishes," "Benny," and "Roy Clayborn."

The Auditorium Theatre (56 East Congress St., Chicago, Illinois) was designed by architects Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan in 1886, with Frank Lloyd Wright as one of the hired draftsmen. The Theatre opened in 1889 and hosted the "America" pageant during the 1893 World’s Columbia Exposition and housed the Chicago Opera Company from 1910-1929.

The Auditorium Theatre closed in 1941. In 1942, it was reopened by the city of Chicago as a Servicemen’s Center. Roosevelt University acquired the building in 1946, but the Theatre remained closed until 1960 when Beatrice T. Spachner established the Auditorium Theatre Council to raise funds for its restoration and reopening, also serving as its chair. In addition to Spachner, Council members included Robert Ahrens, Mrs. Laird Bell, Eric Kohler, Edward H. Bennett, Jr., and architect Harry Weese. Weese was hired to conduct the Theatre’s restoration. The Auditorium Theatre reopened in 1967 with New York City Ballet’s performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. The Theatre obtained National Historic Landmark status in 1975 and Chicago landmark status in 1976.

Related materials at Chicago History Museum, Research Center, include the Robert J. Ahrens papers.

  • Subject
    • Building management -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 20th century
    • Historic buildings -- Conservation and restoration -- Illinois -- Chicago
    • Historic buildings -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 20th century
    • Theaters -- Illinois -- Chicago -- 20th century
    • World's Columbian Exposition (1893 : Chicago, Ill.)
  • Names
    • Spachner, Beatrice--Archives
    • Auditorium Theatre Council (Chicago, Ill.) -- Archives
    • Auditorium Theater (Chicago, Ill.)
    • Chicago Auditorium Building (Chicago, Ill.)
    • Roosevelt University -- Buildings
  • Geographic Coverage
    • Chicago (Ill.) -- Buildings, structures, etc. -- 20th century
    • Chicago (Ill.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century
    • Chicago (Ill.) -- Social conditions -- 20th century

The collection is arranged in three series.

Series 1. Beatrice Spachner papers, ca. 1960-1982 (box 1-3)

This series consists of Mrs. Spachner's papers from her time as chairman of the Auditorium Theatre Council including various notebooks, personal files, correspondence, and administrative files related to the restoration of the theatre and actions undertaken by the organization's board of trustees.

Series 2. Published Material, ca. 1960-1978 (box 2, 4-5)

This series consists of published material, primarily dance, theatre, and arts focused periodicals as well as publications produced by Roosevelt University. The series includes both full editions of periodicals as well newspaper clippings. Of note is a feature on Beatrice Spachner in Midwest: The Magazine of the Chicago Sun Times from November 6, 1966.

Series 3. Productions and Theatre Building, 1893, ca. 1960-1979 (box 5-8, roll 1-2, volume 1-4)

This series consists of show programs, advertisements/posters, black and white photographs, four oversize bound scrapbooks, and four vinyl audio records. It includes drafts of the Auditorium Theatre renovation: a ground plan dated 1963 and several undated drafting transparencies.