(Program from 1933)
As I was searching through my mother’s scrapbook and keepsakes, I came across an old program that was in my mother’s possession. This was the 1st program of which she was in at the Town Hall. My mother was always a part of a singing group or Choir when she was growing up. She was from a long-line of Singers and musicians in her family.
(According to Wikpedia) The Town Hall opened January 12, 1921, and was for the purpose of bringing forthe information of Political Education. The Town Hall was built by The League for Political Education, whose fight for passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution led them to commission the building of a meeting space where people of every rank and station could be educated on the important issues of the day. The space, which became The Town Hall, was designed by the renowned architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White, to reflect the democratic principles of the League. To this end, box seats were not included in the theater’s design, and every effort was made to ensure that there were no seats with an obstructed view. This design principle gave birth to The Town Hall’s long-standing mantra: “Not a bad seat in the house.”
Since The Town Hall (also known as simply Town Hall) opened its doors on January 12, 1921, it has not only become a meeting place for educational programs, gatherings of activists, and host for controversial speakers (such as the American advocate of birth control Margaret Sanger, who was arrested and carried off The Town Hall stage on November 13, 1921, for attempting to speak to a mixed-sex audience about contraception), but as one of New York City’s premiere performance spaces for music, dance, and other performing arts. While the lecture series and courses on political and non-political subjects sponsored by the League continued to be held there, The Town Hall quickly established a reputation as an arts center during the first fifteen years of its existence.
The Town Hall has also had a long association with the promotion of poetry in the United States, which predates Edna St. Vincent Millay’s public poetry reading debut at the Hall in 1928. The Hall has retained a close association with poets and poetry that continues to this day.
There is not a wealth of information on the Town Hall on the internet, so this will be one of the places I will go to on my trip to New York. I called to see if there were archives of the Town Hall and I was refered to the Lincoln Center of Performing arts. I was informed that the archives are located at the New York Public Library in the Theatre Division on 65th and Broadway, on the 2nd Floor directly across from the Metropolitan Opera. When I heard of the location, I was so there in spirit as I have heard so much about Marian Anderson and her singing debut at the Metropolitan Opera on January 7, 1955. She was the first African American to sing on that stage…Oh how I feel the chills and goose bumps!!!
(How The Town Hall Looks Today)
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