Yet another significant Chicago institution is in the midst of celebrating their 125th anniversary: the John and Frances Glessner House and Museum, located at 1800 South Prairie Avenue in Chicago. The Glessners were perhaps the most significant early supporters of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and also close personal friends of our first two music directors, Theodore Thomas and Frederick Stock.

Bruno Steindel - Glessner doll collection

Bruno Steindel, principal cello of the Orchestra from 1891 until 1918, as depicted by Frances Glessner Lee in 1913.

On January 1, 1913, Frances Glessner Lee presented her mother with a unique and memorable birthday gift: a meticulously crafted model of the members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. With Frederick Stock’s permission, Lee attended numerous rehearsals in order to sketch the individual musicians. She spent months creating the model and used Viennese bisque dolls, customized with appropriate hair and instrument. Stock also contributed, writing out the music parts for each stand. And on January 17, 1913, the Glessners welcomed the entire orchestra to their home for dinner and an opportunity to view the model.

To celebrate the house’s 125th year as well as the centennial of the doll collection, on January 16, Glessner House Executive Director and Curator William Tyre will give a lecture on the Glessners and their lifelong support of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. There will also be an opportunity to view the doll collection, which will be on loan from the Rosenthal Archives through February 24.

The details:

The Glessners and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Wednesday January 16, 2013, at 7:00 p.m.
$10 per person / $8 for members (the dinner is already sold out)
R.S.V.P. to (312) 326-1480
Glessner House Museum Coach House

Join us!

Chicago Symphony Orchestra in miniature

The miniature orchestra in January 1913, shortly after it was presented to Frances Glessner by her daughter Frances Glessner Lee (Chicago Daily News photo)

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