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Inventory of the G. Theodore Wichmann Papers, 1904-1966

Descriptive Summary

Abstract: Theodore Wichmann (1886-1966) founded the Charleston Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and taught music lessons in Charleston, South Carolina. This collection includes Wichmann's writings on Mozart, Bizet, Rossini, Beethoven, and Ambroise Thomas, printed programs, and business and personal correspondence for the Orchestra and Wichmann's school music lessons.
Title: G. Theodore Wichmann papers
Creator: Wichmann, G. Theodore, 1886-
Date(s): 1904-1966    
Extent: 2.5 linear feet
(3 document boxes, 1 oversize box)
Repository: Special Collections, College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Phone: (843) 953-8016
Fax: (843) 953-6319
Call Number: Mss 0075
Language of Material: Materials in English

Biographical Note

Theodore Wichmann (1886-1966) graduated from the Chicago Musical College in 1922 and in 1925 he founded the Charleston Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. He organized the Charleston High School Orchestra, the Charleston High School Band, the Public School Orchestra, and the Brass and Reed Choir. He also gave private music lessons.

Collection Overview

The collection consists of four approximately equal parts: writings on music and miscellaneous, correspondence, printed programs, and other materials including ephemera, clippings, receipts, photographs, and an oversize student folio.

The writings include short essays on Mozart, Bizet, Rossini, Beethoven, and Ambroise Thomas. An oversized folio lists private students, the dates of lessons, and payments from 1921-1928. The photographs are of the Symphony Orchestra, students at the Chicago Musical College circa 1922, and teachers at the Musical College. Wichmann's 1922 diploma and a 1942 playbill for the Symphony Orchestra are also oversized.

The correspondence consists mainly of letters from fellow musicians and letters with high praise from numerous supporters of the Symphony Orchestra. The principal correspondents include Carl Strehle, a teacher of harmony from Leipzig, Germany who taught Wichmann; Carl Behr, a conductor writing from Asheville, North Carolina; Donn Mills, conductor of the ballet orchestra in Winnipeg, Canada, and also writing from elsewhere; Herland W. Cleaveland, a music teacher at Taylor University, Upland, Indiana; Louis Levine, a Charleston supporter of the Symphonic Orchestra; and H. Leon Larisey of Meggett, South Carolina, a father determined to help Wichmann turn his reluctant son into a musician. A 1912 letter to the American Federation of Labor details problems encountered in trying to unionize Charleston's musicians (nearly 13 pages).

Most of the printed programs date from 1926-1931 with one from 1940. The earlier programs for performances for the Symphony Orchestra in Hibernian Hall are extensive.

Other materials include ephemera relating to Wichmann and his musical career (1915-1960), clippings regarding the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra (1925-1929), notes and receipts for events and expenses (1924-1928), Philharmonic Society of Charleston photgraphs (1925), Wichmann's Chicago Musical College diploma (1922), and an award given to Wichmann by the Charleston Real Estate Board (1966). Also includes one oversize student folio (1921-1928), which lists Wichmann's private students, lesson dates, and payment schedules.

Collection Arrangement

This collection is arranged in four series. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by author and then by date. Programs are arranged by date.

1.  Writings, undated
2.  Correspondence, 1904, 1912-1965
3.  Programs, 1926-1931, 1940, 1942
4.  Other materials, 1913-1960, undated

Search Terms

The following terms have been used to index this collection in the Library's online catalog. They are grouped by name of person, family, or organization, by topical subject, by place, and by types of material.


    • Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791
    • Bizet, Georges, 1838-1875
    • Rossini, Gioacchino, 1792-1868
    • Beethoven, Ludvig van, 1770-1827
    • Thomas, Ambroise, 1811-1896
    • Wichmann, G. Theodore, 1886-
    • Charleston Symphony Orchestra (Charleston, S.C.)


    • Music--South Carolina--Charleston
    • School music--South Carolina--Charleston


    • Charleston (S.C.)

    Types of Material

    • Theater programs
    • Correspondence
    • Black-and-white photographs
    • Holographs (autographs)
    • Typescripts

    Detailed Description of the Collection

    Close All | Open All

    1. Writings, undated  

    Materials include holographs and typescripts.

    "Symphony in G Minor--Mozart"   box 1 | folder 1

    "Philharnonic Concert"   box 1 | folder 2

    "Philharmonic Concert" notes and draft   box 1 | folder 3

    "Ambroise Thomas and his Opera of Mignon"   box 1 | folder 4

    "The Development of the Symphony"   box 1 | folder 5

    "The Carmen Suite"   box 1 | folder 6

    "Rossini Operas"   box 1 | folder 7

    "Ludwig von Beethoven"   box 1 | folder 8

    "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart"   box 1 | folder 9

    2. Correspondence, 1904, 1912-1965  

    Includes holographs and typescripts.

    Barry, E.M., 1912 December 19   box 2 | folder 1

    Written to the American Federation of Labor regarding the unionization of Charleston's musicians.

    Behr, Carl, 1925 January 27   box 2 | folder 2

    Cleaveland, Harland W., 1922 October 24   box 2 | folder 3

    Larisey, H. Leon, 1909 October 19   box 2 | folder 4

    Levine, Louis, 1924-1928   box 2 | folder 5

    7 letters.

    Mills, Donn, 1963-1964   box 2 | folder 6

    4 letters.

    Strehle, C.A., 1904 September 2   box 2 | folder 7

    Also includes a recital program for Cleaveland's performance at Taylor University, 1922 October 11.

    Unknown, 1904 April 20   box 2 | folder 8

    Wishing Wichmann a happy 18th birthday. Signed "George Nick Fitt[en?], Chris Fitt[en?], Midget, Lulu and George T. Also Tom Cat. Also the Cracker Boxes."

    Personal thank yous, 1921-1927, 1941, 1944   box 2 | folder 9

    Business thank yous, 1922-1929, 1947-1965   box 2 | folder 10

    For performances, donations, and a small number of other topics.

    Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, 1925-1930   box 2 | folder 11

    Includes letters sent with payments for season tickets.

    General business correspondence, 1925-1930, 1945   box 2 | folder 12

    Regarding payment for lessons, scheduling for the orchestra, praise for his professional work.

    Charleston High School Band and Orchestra notes and correspondence, 1928-1931, 1948   box 2 | folder 13

    Posthumous, 1966   box 2 | folder 14

    Contains letter to Mrs. Wichmann from William H. McDaniel, president of the Charleston Rebel Honor Band Parents' Association and a program from a memorial concert for Wichmann.

    3. Programs, 1926-1931, 1940, 1942  

    Primarily programs for the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of Charleston, with one for a concert Wichmann conducted for the Charleston Public School Orchestra (1926).

    Miscellaneous, 1924 March [1?], undated   box 3 | folder 1

    Includes typescript programs for "Concert Program Sunday night 6.30 to 9.30 Francis Marion Hotel" and "Wichman's Symphony Orchestra."

    Charleston Public School Orchestra, 1926 May 20   box 3 | folder 2

    Annotated programs, Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra   box 3 | folder 3

    Include brief notes for Wichmann, possibly regarding performers' payment.

    Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, 1926-1927   box 3 | folder 4

    Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, 1927-1928   box 3 | folder 5

    Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, 1928-1929   box 3 | folder 6

    Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, 1930-1931   box 3 | folder 7

    Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, 1940   box 3 | folder 8

    Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, 1925-1928 and related   box 3 | folder 9

    Water damaged programs for Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra (1925-1928), Charleston Musical Society, and Memminger High School (1926).

    Playbill, Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, 1942 April 27   box 4

    Advertised as the final concert of the season.

    4. Other materials, 1913-1960, undated  

    Ephemera, 1915-1960   box 1 | folder 10

    Envelopes, voter registration certificates, Charleston Lodge memorial service programs, blank Wichmann's Orchestra letterhead, and a small number of other items.

    Clippings, 1925-1929, undated   box 1 | folder 11

    Primarily about the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra.

    Notes and receipts, 1924-1928   box 1 | folder 12

    Miscellaneous handwritten expense notes and receipts for use of the Music Hall Art Club, programs, music books, and instrument parts.

    Photograph of Philharmonic Society of Charleston, original   box 4

    Original 1925 photograph.

    Photograph of Philharmonic Society of Charleston, reproduction   box 1 | folder 13

    1998 reproduction of original 1925 photograph and an annotated photocopy.

    Photographs, undated   box 1 | folder 14

    Includes photographs of Harold B. Maryott and Max Fischel.

    Recommendation, [19]13 February 14   box 1 | folder 15

    Letter from The St. John by C.R. Fegus, Mgr., recommending the Wichmann Orchestra after their performance at the St. John Hotel.

    Wichmann diploma, Chicago Musical College, 1922 August 8   box 4

    Award, Charleston Real Estate Board, 1966 May 26   box 4

    Distingushed service award given to Wichmann posthumously.

    Student folio, 1921-1928   box 4

    Lists Wichmann's private students, the dates of lessons, and payments.

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions

    This collection is open for research.

    Copyright Notice

    The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

    The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], G. Theodore Wichmann papers, College of Charleston Libraries, Charleston, SC, USA.

    Acquisitions Information

    Donated by Emily Peterson Deluca, March 1998.

    Processing Information

    Originally processed by Special Collections staff, date unknown.

    Reprocessed by Cara McHugh, March 2013.

    Encoded by Cara McHugh, March 2013.

    Reviewed and uploaded by Martha McTear, April 2013.

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