Can’t tell the players without

Here’s something to while away your entire day: while trying to track down a quotation source, I stumbled across the fact that Google Books includes, for some reason, three runs of Boston Symphony Orchestra programs from the 1910-11, 1917-18, and 1918-19 seasons. You could be diligent and read all the Philip Hale program notes, but me? I’m too busy perusing vintage ads. The Roland Hayes recital above (with special guest Harry T. Burleigh—I absolutely would have been in line for tickets to that one) dates from 1917. The two below come from the 1918-19 programs, amidst a plethora of ads pitching housewares to returning soldiers.

And here’s a couple from the 1910 season—first, accessories for the well-dressed concertgoer:

And finally, commercial launderers and longtime BSO program-book advertisers Lewandos:

Yes, their corporate image is a cat scrubbing baby chicks in a washtub and then pinning them up by their wings to dry. Stare at that long enough, and the advent of Expressionism starts to make a lot more sense, doesn’t it?


  1. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and a bird pinned to a wire is worth even more? Bird on a wire? It’s an…interesting ad campaign, I’ll give them that.

  2. Yvonne: the link works for me, but you can also just put this in the Google Books search box: inauthor:”Boston Symphony Orchestra”

  3. If you’re wondering why these are in Google Book, it means that there’s a library with a scanning agreement that has bound copies of these years of programs.I have some programs and other ephemera from Dame Eva Turner’s career, and the ads always fascinate me. If only I had a scanner!

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