MS 134 Amphion Club Collection

Summary Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection
Amphion Club.
Amphion Club Collection
MS 134
Date [inclusive]
0.5 Linear feet (1 box)
The Amphion Club, founded in 1892, was instrumental in bringing internationally-recognized performing artists to San Diego. This collection includes Club and performance records.

Preferred Citation

Amphion Club Collection, MS 134, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

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Biographical / Historical Notes

Founded in 1892, the Amphion Club was a powerful force in the development of the San Diego music scene. According to the club constitution, the organization’s primary goal was to increase the musical knowledge of its members and to elevate the musical tastes of the community. The membership paid dues, and club income was used to sponsor events. Initially, meetings and performances by local musicians were held in the homes of club members, but membership quickly grew, and soon the club began hosting concerts at local venues and attracting artists from around the world. The Amphion Club succeeded in bringing internationally renowned classical performers to San Diego by offering them a full audience and handsome compensation. Among these artists were pianists Sergei Rachmaninoff and Ignace Paderewski, contralto Marian Anderson, dancer Anna Pavlova, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Carrie Jacobs Bond, and Italian soprano Amelita Galli-Curci. The main venues associated with the Amphion Club were the Isis Theater, Spreckels Theater, Russ Auditorium, Savoy Theatre and the Orpheum Theatre. For many years, performances were available only to members and their guests, but in 1930, the club began selling tickets to the general public. The organization finally dissolved in 1948, due to increasing competition in San Diego’s concert scene.

Gertrude Gilbert (d. 1947) was the long-standing club president (1907-1908; 1911-1946) and a key figure in the musical and cultural movements of the city. Another key figure was Mrs. Jessie “Brownie” Buker (b. 1874, d. 1972), who is the probable compiler of much of this collection. Mrs. Buker was secretary-treasurer of the club from 1918-1948. Born in Illinois, she came to San Diego in 1912 and was married to Benjamin A. Buker. Jessie Buker was instrumental in the success of the Amphion Club and in the growth of the arts and culture in San Diego. Aside from her work with the Amphion Club, Mrs. Buker was a concert manager for Los Angeles impresario L.A. Behymer, worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and was a member of the Altrusa Club and the San Diego Retirement Association.

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Scope and Content

The collection consists of items pertaining to the Amphion Club. Administrative documents in the collection include information on Club history, taxes, and membership, including a certificate awarded to Jessie T. Buker for 25 years of service. A number of yearbooks chronicle Club activities and performances. There are also a number of newspaper clippings reporting on Club activities and Club-hosted musical performances. The collection also encompasses the musical performances hosted by the Club. This includes brochures and programs for series and individual performances, as well as records of artists and venues.

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Items in the collection are arranged by subject.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection July 13, 2011

1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

Immediate Source of Acquistion

Much of the collection appears to have been compiled by Mrs. B.A. Buker. At least part of the collection was donated by Mrs. B.A. Buker in 1970. The visitor’s book was donated by the Wednesday Club in 1978.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Jennifer Ho on July 13, 2011.

Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials

Scrapbooks were previously separated from the collection and are located in SB 38. The four scrapbooks with dates ranging from 1892-1948. One scrapbook contains club yearbooks, newspaper clippings and event programs. The other three scrapbooks are composed of magazine clippings, generally from Musical America.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Altrusa Club (San Diego, Calif.).
  • Amphion Club.
  • Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • Orpheum Theatre.
  • Russ Theatre.
  • Savoy Theatre.
  • Spreckels Theatre.

Geographic Name(s)

  • San Diego (Calif.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Anderson, Marian, 1897-1993
  • Buker, Jessie T.
  • Galli-Curci, Amelita, 1882-1963
  • Gilbert, Gertrude
  • Gogorza, Emilio de, 1872-1949
  • Jacobs-Bond, Carrie, 1862-1946
  • Menuhin, Yehudi, 1916-1999
  • Onegin, Sigrid, 1889-1943
  • Paderewski, Ignace Jan, 1860-1941
  • Pons, Lily, 1898-1976
  • Rachmaninoff, Sergei, 1873-1943


  • Concerts
  • Music
  • Opera
  • Women — Societies and clubs

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Collection Inventory

Club history, 1933–1948 1:1
Club administrative tax to goverment, 1928 January-1948 March 1:2
Yearbooks and membership, 1908-1943 and undated


Certificate awarded to Jessie T. Buker for 25 years of service to the Club, October 1943 (encapsulated and in Oversize Collections D2).

Amphion Club visitors book, 1908–1909 1:4
Newspaper clippings, 1920 April 15–1948 January 15 and undated 1:5
Annual season concerts advance notices, 1893–1944 1:6
Concert announcements, 1920-1947 1:7
Concert programs, 1894-1924 1:8
Concert programs, 1925-1931 1:9
Concert programs, 1932-1940 1:10
Concert programs, 1941-1948 1:11
Annual Club courses and series, 1910–1947


Annual listings of planned coures and series for Club members, including artist name and cost. Total yearly costs listed for some years.

Information on Altrusa Club founding in 1929 and inital members.

Annual Club courses and series, 1910-1948

Scope and Content:

Annual listings of planned coures and series for Club members, including artist name and cost. Total yearly costs listed for some years.

Data on Amphion artists and concerts, 1918–1948


Lists include concert date, theatre, artist, and accompanists.

Artist and performance index cards, 1919–1948


249 cards in alphabetical order, containing artist name, type of performer, venue name and Amphion performance date.

Venue information, 1941 April 29 and undated


Thank you letter to Orpheum Theater manager, April 29, 1941.

Regional venue capacity chart.

Miscellanea, 1917 January 1-1963 January 23


Invitation to banquet in honor of President G.A. Davidson by the Directors of the Panama California International Exposition, January 1, 1917.

Information sheet on Polyphonia A capella Choir, December 8, 1936 and April 13, 1937.

Altrusa Club charter members list, 1929-1945 and “Altrusa Information Program to Build,” January 23, 1963.


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