Skip to main content

Elbert L. Carpenter Collection of Minnesota Orchestra

Identifier: PA012D

Scope and Content Note

Included in this collection are memorabilia relating to Carpenter’s time with the Orchestra and following. Items include books and pamphlets; photographs autographed to members of the family; and letters written to Elbert, his wife, Florence, their son Leonard, and his wife Geraldine.

Highlights of the collection are the three documents from 1903 that include the incorporation document of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, a solicitation letter to potential Orchestra guarantors, and a guaranty to Oberhoffer’s orchestra. Letters from M.S.O. conductors, Mitropoulos and Ormandy, demonstrate their great affection for Elbert and Florence.


  • Creation: 1903-74

Language of Materials


Restrictions on Access

The collection is open and available for use by researchers in the Andersen Library Reading Room.

Restrictions on Use

Many of the materials in this collection are in the public domain. Copyright on other items was not transferred to the archives.

Biographical Note

Elbert L. Carpenterwas the President of the Minnesota Orchestral Associationfrom 1905-1945 and along with first music director, Emil Oberhoffer, was responsible for the establishment and steady development of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Carpenter spent his youth in Clinton, Iowa and early in his life developed a love of music. He became a successful lumberman in Minneapolis and it "was to him that everyone looked when stringent times in the world of work, trade and finance brought stringent times to the world of music. He never failed to respond with both financial support and ingenious plans for getting the Symphony through the storm of every depression." [Minneapolis Labor Review, 22 March 1945, page 8]

A thorough discussion of the development of the Orchestra and Carpenter's role can be found in John K. Sherman's 1952 book, Music and Maestros: The Story of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra.


1 box


The collection includes historic documents from the Orchestra; books, pamphlets, clippings; photographs of conductors autographed to the Carpenters; letters and telegrams.

Organization of the Collection

The collection is organized into the following series:

  1. Historic documents of the Orchestra, 1903-37
  2. Books, pamphlets, clippings, 1904-74
  3. Photographs, 1923-56
  4. Letters and telegrams, 1944-66

Physical Location

Zone B, R5, D5, S16


The collection was donated to the Orchestra and transferred to the archives in the 1980s.

Processing Information

The collection was processed and the finding aid written by Leslie Czechowski in June 2001.

Elbert L. Carpenter Collection of Minnesota Orchestra
Finding aid created by Leslie Czechowski
30 May 2003
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Performing Arts Archives Collecting Area