The Library
 

Music Archives

Printable version (opens in a separate window)

THE DAVID J. PUTTERMAN AND
PARK AVENUE SYNAGOGUE MUSIC COLLECTIONS

AT THE LIBRARY OF THE JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
arranged and described by ELIOTT KAHN, D.M.A.,
2002

Table of Contents

PROVENANCE
BIOGRAPHICAL STATEMENT
THE DAVID J. PUTTERMAN MUSIC COLLECTION: COLLECTION DESCRIPTION
THE PARK AVENUE SYNAGOGUE MUSIC COLLECTION: COLLECTION DESCRIPTION
SERIES LIST (Search JTS Library catalog for bibliographic records: http://catalog.jtsa.edu
SERIES DESCRIPTION
BOX LIST


See Caption Below

Enlarge Image

Image: Photo. Leonard Bernstein (left), Cantor David J. Puterman and Max Helfman. Premiere of Bernstein's "Hashkivenu" at the Park Avenue Synagogue, May 11, 1945. (Box 11)

PROVENANCE

Cantor David J. Putterman began donating music to the newly-founded Cantors Institute as early as 1952. According to inventory lists in his hand (Box 3, folder 1), he donated one hundred seventy-three items — primarily published services and anthologies by European and Russian cantor/composers — to the CI between October 1952 and March 1955. These formed the core collection of the Cantors Institute Library, which later became The Jewish Theological Seminary's Sabin Family Music Library.

The above scores are not part of this finding aid. The first section of the finding aid (The David J. Putterman Music Collection) is primarily concerned with David J. Putterman's music manuscript collection, now housed in the J.T.S. Library's Rare Book Room. Putterman probably donated the bulk of these manuscripts in April 1970, the date indicated on a sheet of paper found with them. Many of these bound cantors' books, chorus part books and loose manuscripts, ca. 1874-19—, were found in a file cabinet in the Seminary's attic by the Ratner Center Archives staff in 1992. Due to several years of improper storage much of the highly acidic sheet music paper had turned brittle, and many of the manuscripts had to be professionally de-molded as well. Other parts of Putterman's manuscript collection were being stored in cabinets in the Sabin Family Music Library. Finally, another small group of manuscript scores and archival material from the original 1970 donation was found in the H.L. Miller Cantorial School (formerly the Cantors Institute) in 2002, and donated to the library in April of that year.

An additional small collection of Putterman's manuscripts, with archival material relating to the Park Avenue Synagogue's commissioning series, had been donated to the Library in 1997. These items were given to Rabbi Morton Leifman for safekeeping by Putterman's eldest son Zev, before his death in 1996. Upon retiring as Dean of the Cantorial School, Rabbi Leifman generously donated these items to the Seminary Library to insure their preservation and access.

The remainder — and bulk — of David Putterman's music scores, recordings and papers was donated by him to the Park Avenue Synagogue before his death in 1979. This is the material that was subsequently presented by the Park Avenue Synagogue to the Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary on April 11, 2000, and will be separately described in the second section of the finding aid (The Park Avenue Synagogue Music Collection).

Note: All musical scores, recordings and published books may be accessed through the JTS Library Catalog (Search under "Putterman, David J." or "Park Avenue Synagogue" or title)

top of page


See Caption Below

Enlarge Image

Poster. Little Pal = Kadishl Mains / David Putterman, Tenor, ca. 1928. (Box 12)

BIOGRAPHICAL STATEMENT

David J. Putterman was perhaps the most influential American cantor of his generation. He was born aboard an immigrant ship en route to New York City on either May 29 or August 27, 1900. (The confusion in birth dates results from changes made by Putterman himself for eligibility for an insurance policy; Putterman's son Alan is the source of this and additional family information.) The Putterman family hailed from Antapol, a town in Belorussia. Although he grew up in New York City, due to the enormous Jewish immigration to the United States around this time, Putterman received a traditional, Eastern European/Russian cantorial education. He attended the Yeshiva of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan as well as other private Hebrew schools, and studied hazzanut and nusah hatefilah (repertoire and cantorial modes and melodies) with Professor A. Gann, Cantor Zeidel Rovner and cantor/conductor/composer Zavel Zilberts. Putterman later studied music theory with composers Max Helfman and Frederick Jacobi, and liturgy with Professor Ismar Elbogen. He received his secular education from Eastern District High School, Brooklyn, N.Y., Enron Prep School and at Pace Evening School and Pace Institute, all in New York City.

As a boy Putterman sang in synagogue choirs and was an alto soloist in the choirs of world-renowned cantors Josef Rosenblatt, Gershon Sirota and Zeidel Rovner. By this time, they had all settled in New York City. He made his first public appearance at the age of eight. Putterman probably studied voice during his teen years with a Professor F. Pagano. He began his career as a hazzan "before his eighteenth birthday," ca. 1918. During the nineteen-twenties he had a successful recording and concert career, singing Yiddish and cantorial music on the Victor, Brunswick and Vocalion labels. He also sang in prestigious venues such as New York's Carnegie, Aeolian and Town Halls. For much of his adult life he would continue vocal coaching with Professor L.A. Espinal.

During the nineteen-thirties Putterman sang under the name of Alan Roberts on a daily, fifteen-minute, commercial radio program. (His son Alan's middle name is Robert.) After suffering a gall bladder attack brought on by overwork, he quit radio in 1938. David Putterman served his first full-time congregation, Temple Israel of Washington Heights, from 1921-1933. In 1933 both he and Rabbi Milton Steinberg were jointly offered to lead New York's Park Avenue Synagogue towards a more traditional Jewish form of worship. By the time of Rabbi Steinberg's premature death in 1950, they had succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, transforming Park Avenue into one of the beacons for America's Conservative Jewish movement. David Putterman remained at the Park Avenue Synagogue until his retirement in 1976.

David Putterman's three major career accomplishments made a profound impact on America's cantorate as well as the music of the American synagogue. Briefly, these were: initiating and heading, from 1943-1976, an annual series for the commissioning of contemporary synagogue music for the Park Avenue Synagogue; instigating the founding of the first professional organization for full-time Conservative cantors, the Cantors Assembly, in 1947; and spearheading the establishment of the Cantors Institute and Seminary College of Jewish Music at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1952.

In his comments on the occasion of his fortieth anniversary at the Park Avenue Synagogue, David Putterman stated that both he and Rabbi Steinberg had mutually agreed in 1933 that neither would accept the position without the other. Rabbi Steinberg had been a pupil of Dr. Mordechai Kaplan — the founder of Judaism's Reconstructionist movement — and he accorded Cantor Putterman great freedom in choosing music for the religious service. In 1943 Putterman initiated a Sabbath eve service that contained newly-composed synagogue music by several prominent American composers. Save for 1954-1955, this annual contemporary service was to remain under Putterman's stewardship until 1976. The annual Park Ave. Synagogue "Sabbath Eve Service of Liturgical Music by Contemporary Composers" was a major musical event that filled the 1100 seat sanctuary with some of New York's most respected musicians, both Jewish and non-Jewish. From 1943-1949, anthem-like settings of individual Sabbath prayers were created by composers as prestigious as Darius Milhaud, Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Weill, Paul Ben-Haim and Lukas Foss. From 1950 on, complete Sabbath services were set by, among others, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, David Diamond, Isidore Freed, Yehudi Wyner, David Amram, Lazar Weiner and Miriam Gideon. Most of the individual prayer settings were first published by G. Schirmer in the 1951 collection, Synagogue Music by Contemporary Composers. Several were later published by the Cantors Assembly in Mizmor L'David: An Anthology of Synagogue Music, 1979. Also on his fortieth anniversary, Putterman stated his raison d'etre for commissioning this new music: "This music was never intended to displace the best elements of our traditional musical heritage... but rather that it might add to its enrichment."

See Caption Below

Enlarge Image

Letter. Darius Milhaud to David J. Putterman, agreeing to compose prayer setting for Park Avenue Synagogue. California, 1943. (Box 11)

Perhaps because he was raised as an American, David Putterman recognized early in his career the importance of "Americanizing" not just the music of the synagogue, but also the status and education of America's hazzanim. Putterman had long petitioned the Conservative movement and the Jewish Theological Seminary, respectively, to endorse and establish a professional cantors' organization as well as an academy for the training of full-time cantors. In 1944 Putterman began working as consultant on cantorial placement for the United Synagogue of America. At the time the United Synagogue was the organization of congregations belonging to the Conservative movement. By January 1947, at Putterman's instigation, the United Synagogue had created a new Department of Music with Putterman as its head. Before the year was out the Cantors Assembly was born, a professional placement and benefits organization for full-time cantors. Five years later, with $25,000.00 pledged from Cantors Assembly members, the Cantors Institute and Seminary College of Jewish Music at The Jewish Theological Seminary became the second academic institutions to train cantors and grant degrees in Jewish music in the United States. Though assisted by others, it was Putterman's vision and drive that brought all of these valuable institutions into existence. In 1952 David J. Putterman was referred to as "the spiritual father of the Cantors Institute" by Seminary Chancelor Dr. Louis Finkelstein. The Cantors Assembly celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 1997.

David J. Putterman married the former Amy B. Racoosin on November 1, 1927. They had two sons, William Zev (1928-1996) and Alan Robert (1933-). Putterman's wife Amy became ill with a brain tumor in 1954 and died in May 1955. This would account for the missing annual contemporary music services from these years. In late 1957 Putterman married his former sister-in-law, Rea Cohen Racoosin. He served as the first Executive Vice-President of the Cantors Assembly from 1947-1959, and received that organization's first Kavod Award in 1960. In 1969 he was cited by The Jewish Theological Seminary for his twenty-five years as featured soloist on the radio and television broadcast, The Eternal Light — which was presented by NBC in cooperation with the Seminary. Putterman was also awarded a special citation of merit in 1973 by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for his groundbreaking work commissioning new synagogue music. David J. Putterman died in New York City on October 10, 1979. His surviving son, Alan, lives in Valley Village, California.

Note: biographical information comes from the Park Avenue Synagogue Collection and from the following sources:

"35th Anniversary of Hazzan David J. Putterman with the Park Ave. Synagogue." Booklet from sound recording, 33 rpm, 2 disks. NY: Men's Club Park Ave. Synagogue. PAS-35-1. 1968.

Cook, Joan. "David Putterman, A Retired Cantor." The New York Times, 12 October 1979, [Obituary].

Fliegel, Hyman J. Zavel Zilberts: His Life and Works. NY: Bnai Zion Foundation, 1971.

Nadel, Pamela Susan.Conservative Judaism in America. NY: Greenwood Press, 1988.

Pessaroff, Sam. "Commissioning Contemporary Composers to Write for the Synagogue: The Historical contribution of Hazzan David Putterman." Journal of Synagogue Music 7, 4 (October 1977): 7-14.

Putterman, Alan R. Telephone conversations with cataloguer. Valley Village, California, 17 April, 1997, 20 November, 2001, 6 December 2001.

Putterman, Joshua A. Electronic mails to cataloguer. 4 December 2001, 8 December 2001.

Rosenbaum, Samuel. "Meet your Officers." The Cantors Voice 5 (December 1952): 7.

Who's Who in the East 1930. Washington, D.C.: Mayflower Publishing Company, 1930.

Wohlberg, Max. "The Prayers of David....Are Ended." Journal of Synagogue Music 10

(July 1980): 3-9.

Related Collections:

Samuel Rosenbaum Collection

Irene Heskes Collection

top of page


See Caption Below

Enlarge Image

Holograph score from cantor's book. Hanerot Halalu / Sulem Miara. (Note violin introduction.) Konin, [Ukraine], ca. 1874. (M2186.M52S901 [It.1])

THE DAVID J. PUTTERMAN MUSIC COLLECTION

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION:

The David J. Putterman Music Collection at the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary consists primarily of cantorial music manuscripts from Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, and the United States, ca. 1874-19—; some holographs and manuscripts of twentieth-century American synagogue music, ca. 1925-1968; photos and archival material pertaining to American Jewish composers, ca. 1920-1952; and a few magazine and journal articles about Jewish music, 1969-1970. Also included are published music items that were either edited, composed or arranged by Putterman, ca. 1951-1979.

David Putterman was an avid collector of hazzanut (cantorial repertoire) and during the course of his life he had either acquired or been given several cantors' music manuscript collections. The Putterman cantorial manuscripts in the library's possession are either hard-bound cantors' books, chorus part books or loose manuscripts, 1874-19—. All of them have been organized and catalogued as separate synagogue music collections. (The generic title "Synagogue music collection" is combined with the manuscripts' liturgical function to provide access to the library's liturgical music manuscripts: i.e. Synagogue music collection, Sabbath, Festivals.) Highlights within Putterman's cantorial music manuscript collections include:

The M. Lublinsky Manuscript Collection (M2186.L82S901–M2186.L82S904; M2186.N475H5)
Lublinsky appears to have been a hazzan in a German-speaking country. None of his manuscript cantor's books are dated, but stylistically they appear to be from around 1900. Most of the compositions appear to be his own, and are often multiple settings of the same prayer for (medium-voice) cantor and (SATB) choir. For example, there are thirty-four different settings of the Sabbath prayer Av harochamim shokhayn meromim (Synagogue music collection, Sabbath, Festivals, M2186.L82S902). Only one of his manuscript books contains several works by other composers (Synagogue music collection, entire liturgical year, M2186.N475H5).

 The Sulem Miara Manuscript Collection (M2186.M52S901–M2186.M52S908)
Sulem Miara appears to have begun his career as hazzan, composer and violinist around 1874 in the small Polish town of Konin. His earliest cantor's books date from around this time (M2186.M52S901–M2186.M52S902), and are written for solo cantor, a cappella chorus and what appears to be violin. It is possible that Miara accompanied himself on the violin prior to services on less solemn festivals. In addition, there is a manuscript book in Miara's hand for "Hazan, Sanger and Bass" or "Meshorerim" (Synagogue Music Collection, Sabbath, High Holidays, M2186.M52S9012) that is written in an earlier, eighteenth-century, three-part style. From around 1880-1890 Miara was employed as hazzan and shokhet (cantor and ritual slaughterer) in Kovel (Kowal), whose approximately 9,000 Jews made up about half of this Ukrainian town's population. His music from this period includes solo cantorial recitatives as well as pieces for cantor and (SATB) a cappella choir. The Miara Collection also contains several professionally copied manuscript prayer settings by nineteenth-century hazzan/composers Nissan Blumenthal and Wolf Shestapol. Although found within the Miara books, these possibly might not have been part of the original collection (Synagogue Music Collection, Miscellaneous, Sketchbooks, M2186.M52S907).

The Naftali Tiger Manuscript Collection (M2186.T53S901–M 2186.T53S902)
According to a biography written by his granddaughter (inserted into Synagogue Music Collection, Sabbath, M2186.T53S901), Naftali Tiger was born in 1855 in Galicia. He held his first cantorial post in Tarnow, Polish Galicia, ca. 1880-1885. From 1886-1907 he was cantor in Karlsbad, German Bohemia. Two N. Tiger synagogue music collections — one bound — consist almost entirely of his own religious compositions for high solo voice with organ, ca. 1880-1907. All of his other original compositions were probably lost during the Holocaust. Tiger was renowned for his strong, high baritone voice. He died in Vienna in 1902, en route to Congregation Emanu-el in New York City to serve as their new cantor.

Additional noteworthy cantorial manuscripts collected by Putterman include: a Friday Evening Service (M2186.S94F7) and other compositions by Putterman's predecessor at Park Ave. Synagogue, Cantor Abraham Sukoenig, 1914-1932 (Synagogue Music Collection, Miscellaneous, M2186.P87S905); a few synagogue pieces arranged for orchestra or chamber instruments, and a holograph score entitled "Adon olam l'Rosh ha-Shana," arranged and signed by nineteenth-century American synagogue composer Alois Kaiser, (Synagogue Music Collection, High Holidays, Miscellaneous, M2186.P87S906).

A separate, smaller group of music manuscripts and archival material is connected with the Park Avenue Synagogue's annual contemporary music services. These materials had been donated to the library in 1997 by Rabbi Morton Leifman. (See Provenance). They contain some manuscript scores of early Park Avenue Synagogue commissions, most notably a two-page holograph revision for Leonard Bernstein's Hashkivenu, signed by the composer, 1945 (ML96.B48H3 1945); a signed holograph of David Diamond's Mah tovu, 1944 (M2187.D5M3 1944); and black-line prints in the composer's hand of Darius Milhaud's Borechu and Shema Yisrael, 1944 (M2187.M54B6 1944). The archival material includes three composer photos, one of them of Bernstein at the Park Avenue Synagogue, 1945; and a 1943 letter from composer Arnold Schoenberg discussing the possibility of writing a piece for the annual Sabbath service. (He never did.) Although this archival material clearly belongs with the Park Avenue Synagogue Music Collection (see "Contemporary Service," Boxes 7-9), because it was donated separately to the J.T.S. Library, it is stored in a separate location (Box 3, folder 1).

Also within this group — though not related to the Park Avenue Collection — are two holograph scores, B'Rosh Ha-Shana (M2187.Z5B7) and M'loch (M2187.Z5M6), signed by composer Zavel Zilberts. These compositions probably date from the 1920s, when Zilberts was Putterman's choir director at Temple Israel in Washington Heights. Along with several other Zilberts' manuscripts not from this collection, these two were edited by Putterman and published in Mizmor L'David: An Anthology of Synagogue Music, 1979.

Note: All musical scores, recordings and published books may be accessed through the JTS Library Catalog (Search under "Putterman, David J." or "Park Avenue Synagogue" or title)

top of page


See Caption Below

Enlarge Image

Letter. Kurt Weill to David J. Putterman, agreeing to compose prayer setting for Park Avenue Synagogue. (Note selection of "Kiddush.") New York, 1946. (Box 11)

THE PARK AVENUE SYNAGOGUE MUSIC COLLECTION

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION:

The Park Avenue Synagogue Music Collection at the Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary consists of the papers of David J. Putterman that pertain to both his own professional career and that as the synagogue's cantor. The papers contain catalogues and lists of Jewish music; correspondence; programs; promotional posters and brochures; bulletins; photographs; notes for lectures; typescripts of radio plays; administrative records; and awards and citations, ca. 1920-1979. There are manuscript and published music scores for Sabbath, Festival and High Holiday use, as well as much published music and some manuscript scores collected by Putterman, ca. 1910-1979. In addition, there are many commercially-released cantorial recordings collected by Putterman (78 RPM), including those from his own early professional recording career, 1921-1938. There are also unique sound disk recordings (78, 33 RPM) of Putterman's Jewish radio broadcasts, before, during and after World War II, 1938-1950.

A large portion of the collection relates to Cantor Putterman's annual organization of the Park Avenue Synagogue's Sabbath Eve Service of Liturgical Music by Contemporary Composers. There appears to be a complete set of scores for all of the commissioned anthems and services — most in manuscript, black-line print format. There is also a reasonable amount of correspondence between Putterman and the participating composers as well as several promotional photos and manuscript composer biographies. Finally, there are archival sound disc and reel-to-reel tape recordings made of many of the annual services, 1956-1975.

top of page



SERIES LIST

I. ARCHIVAL MATERIAL, ca. 1920-1979

  1. Subject Files, David J. Putterman, ca. 1920-1979
  2. Subject Files, Park Avenue Synagogue, 1928-1979
  3. Nusah/Repertoire

II. MUSIC SCORES, ca. 1910-1976

  1. Manuscripts
    1. Anthems (Individual prayer settings)
    2. Services
    3. Synagogue Music Collections
  2. Published Music

III. SOUND RECORDINGS, 1921-1976

  1. Sound discs (78 and 33 RPM), 1921-1976
  2. Reel tapes (3 3/4 and 7 1/ 2 ips), 1957-1975

top of page


See Caption Below

Enlarge Image

Recording. High Holiday greetings to U.S. Armed Forces / Rabbi Philip S. Bernstein assisted by Cantor David J. Putterman. [s.l.], ca. 1945. (REC 1574)

SERIES DESCRIPTION

I. Archival Material, ca. 1920-1979

Note: Most subject file titles are by Putterman. Additional bracketed words or titles have been added by cataloguer.

A. Subject Files, David J. Putterman, ca. 1920-1979

Boxes 1-2; Box 3, folders 2-8; Boxes 4-5; Box 12 (Oversize)

These subject files relate mainly to Putterman's personal and professional activities outside of the Park Avenue Synagogue, although there is frequent overlap with his role there as cantor. There are several catalogues from early Jewish music publishing concerns, 1932-1960 (Box 1, folders 4-10), as well as lists of music available from independent composer/publishers, 1945-1957 (Box 3, folder 4). There is correspondence arranged chronologically, 1933; 1939-1940; bulk 1942-1954, some of it personal or congratulatory, and some related to Putterman's activities on behalf of various organizations or as a cantorial soloist (Box 2, folders 1-14). A few of these letters are photocopies, with the original removed and placed with other noteworthy letters (Box 11). Among these are: Putterman's letter of appointment to the post of cantor at the Park Avenue Synagogue, 1933 (Box 2, folder 1), and a letter from Cantor Hugo (Chayim) Adler on behalf of German-Jewish musicologist/composer Arno Nadel, who remained trapped in Berlin in 1939 (Box 2, folder 2). Nadel was later killed in Auschwitz in 1943.

Other highlights contained within these subject files are: typescripts of radio programs that Putterman appeared on as a soloist, most notably, The Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto, 1943, and the Passover drama, The Bitter Herb, 1947, both radio plays by Morton Wishengrad (Box 5, folder 1); a large collection of programs from New York's Jewish musical concert life during a particularly fertile period, 1939-1964 (Box 4, folders 4-12); many of the minutes from meetings held by the National Jewish Music Council, 1945-1959; bulk 1945-1948 (Box 4, folder 1); and correspondence about the publication of the anthology, Synagogue Music by Contemporary Composers, 1946-1951 (Box 5, folder 6). Also of special interest are the set of papers detailing Putterman's work with the United Synagogue of America. These document the founding of the Cantors Assembly and, inevitably, the Cantors Institute, 1944-1948; 1952 (Box 5, folder 11).

Finally, the oversized Box 12 contains some of Putterman's awards and citations. It also contains Putterman's personal scrapbook, kept together for reasons of preservation. Scrapbook highlights include: a large folded concert poster (30 x 21”) with a photo of the young cantor, 1921; programs from concerts featuring Putterman with Zavel Zilberts at Town Hall, 1925, and with a constellation of celebrity cantors at Carnegie Hall, 1925; promotional posters for Brunswick and Vocalion records featuring Putterman's photo, 1928 and 1929, respectively; and a 108 page catalogue of Victor Records' Hebrew and Yiddish recordings, 1927.

B. Subject Files, Park Avenue Synagogue, 1928-1979

Boxes 6-11; Box 13

The folders within this sub-series revolve specifically around David Putterman's activities as cantor of the Park Avenue Synagogue. There are administrative files for Confirmation services and Bar Mitzvah students; Programs from special services held at Park Avenue, 1938-1973 (Box 13, folders 6-7); as well as services and lectures held "In observance of Jewish Music Month," 1946-1965 (Box 9, folders 11-14). Of special note is a Program from a charity "Musicale" given by the synagogue on April 1, 1928. It is autographed by all the performers, including Madame Elizabeth Rethberg, soprano of the Metropolitan Opera (Box 13, folder 3).

The archival material pertaining to the annual contemporary music services provides a first-hand account of the care and energy and that went into their organization. For example, there are stencils that contain the mailing addresses of everyone on the annual mailing list (Box 10). Putterman maintained organizational files for each year there was a service, 1943-1953; 1956-1976 (Box 6, folders 14-17; Boxes 7-8; Box 9, folders 1-10). Among other things, these contain annual programs; correspondence with composers, conductors and publishers; and promotional items such as composer photographs, biographies and press releases. Some highlights are: carbon copies of letters sent by Putterman to composers Igor Stravinsky, Paul Hindemith, Marc Blitzstein and others, requesting Jewish liturgical pieces — with a cordial, non-affirmative response from Paul Hindemith, 1947 (Box 7, folder 1); several autograph letters from composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco regarding the composition and premiere performance of his Sacred Service for the Sabbath Eve, 1950 (Box 7, folder 4); correspondence with composer David Diamond regarding the premiere performance of his Sacred Service for the Sabbath Eve, 1951 (Box 7, folder 5); a typescript of the speech given by Putterman on the occasion of his fortieth anniversary with the Park Avenue Synagogue, 1973 (Box 9, folder 7; see also TAPE 576); and a typescript of "We Have Given," a playlet by Leo Rosten presented at Park Avenue's celebration of the United States Bicentennial, 1976 (Box 9, folder 10). A complete run of programs for all of the annual services given under Putterman's leadership, 1943-1976, may be found in Box 13, folder 4.

Some photo and correspondence highlights from the annual contemporary services had originally been framed and placed on the walls in the choir room at the Park Avenue Synagogue. These have been set aside and stored with similarly noteworthy letters selected by this cataloguer (Box 11). Among these items are: a signed photograph of Leonard Bernstein, 1945; and autographed letters from composers Hugo (Chayim) Adler, 1939, Darius Milhaud, 1943, David Diamond, 1943, 1965, Arnold Schoenberg, 1943, 1950, Kurt Weill, 1946, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, 1943, 1950, William Grant Still, 1952, 1963, Paul Ben-Haim, 1952, David Amram, 1961, and Miriam Gideon, 1974.

C. Nusah/Jewish Repertoire

Boxes 14-19

This sub-series includes material collected by Puttermanthat he may have used as cantorial repertoire (Nusah) for services or other Jewish events and occasions. Most of the items had originally been organized into folders by Putterman; this integrity has been preserved. The manuscript scores contained in Box 14 were apparently once used on the NBC Radio program, The Eternal Light, 1946-1948. These include the incidental music by Max Helfman to the Passover drama, The Bitter Herb, 1947, and some scores by composers Abraham Ellstein and Morris Mamorsky. There are Hava Nashir songbooks used by the Cantors Assembly at their annual conventions, 1962-1974 (Box 15); manuscript and published works organized by Putterman for possible use during special festivals, services and holidays (Boxes 16-17); and music for the Psalms and Pilgrimage Festivals, respectively, with many hand-copied manuscripts (Boxes 18-19), including some by Putterman's predecessor at Park Avenue, Cantor Abraham Sukoenig, 1914-1932 (Box 18).

II. MUSIC SCORES, ca. 1910-1976

A. Manuscripts

1. Anthems (Individual prayer settings)
2. Services
3. Synagogue Music Collections

These manuscript scores from the Park Avenue Synagogue may be roughly divided into three distinct categories: 1. Anthems, or individual prayer settings usually commissioned for the special annual Sabbath services, 1943-1972, bulk 1943-1949; 2. Complete services usually commissioned or compiled for the special annual Sabbath services, 1950-1976; 3. "Synagogue Music Collections" organized by either Putterman or this cataloguer to provide collection-level access to his numerous liturgical music manuscripts.

The anthems for the annual services are primarily in black-line print format — either in the composer's or a copyist's hand. As previously mentioned, many of the commissioned anthems were first published in the 1951 collection, Synagogue Music by Contemporary Composers, and the majority of the remaining scores were published in Mizmor L'David: An Anthology of Synagogue Music, 1979. There are also a few additional manuscript scores collected by Putterman that were not a part of the commissioning series. Among these is a manuscript setting of "Weschomru" by Munich's Oberkantor Emanuel Kirschner, which appears to be in his hand, ca. 1932. In 1950, Putterman changed the format of the annual services by presenting the world premiere of Sacred Service for the Sabbath Eve by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. From this time until Miriam Gideon's Shirat Miriam leShabbat in 1974, the annual services would be commissioned from one composer alone. Because a large number of these services were neither published nor commercially recorded, the Park Avenue Synagogue Music Collection is an extremely rich resource of twentieth-century American synagogue music. For example, the collection's three different performance versions of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's unpublished Sacred Service, 1950, 1966, 1975, together constitute a complete version of the score. The only other known complete score of this unpublished work is with Castelnuovo-Tedesco's papers at the Library of Congress.

The majority of the Synagogue Music Collections are comprised of manuscripts, either arranged or copied by Putterman for regular Sabbath, Festival or High Holiday use. These collections may also contain some published scores as well. All were organized together by Putterman according to liturgical function and probably best represent what the music for worship sounded like during his tenure at Park Avenue Synagogue. There are also Synagogue Music Collections collected but not created by Putterman. Among these, of note, are the small, bound collection of manuscripts belonging to "Herrn Kantor L.M. Schneider, Wilna" (Synagogue music collection, Psalms, miscellaneous, ca. 1910, ML96.S36 S901), and the two collections of manuscripts by Cantor Hugo (Chayim) Adler (Synagogue music collection, Passover, miscellaneous, 1943-1947, M2186.A35S903; and Synagogue music collection, High Holidays, 1939-1955, M2186.A35S904).

Note: All musical scores, recordings and published books may be accessed through the JTS Library Catalog (Search under "Putterman, David J." or "Park Avenue Synagogue" or title.

B. Published Music

A small number of the published music items in this category are anthems that were part of the contemporary commissioning series. Putterman must have used the published versions of these scores — frequently from New York's Transcontinental Music Corporation — for performance at the annual services. These scores usually have multiple copies that were needed for choir members.

The rest of the published music is sheet music. Frequently only one or two copies of each item, this was music that Putterman either performed or contemplated performing during his lifetime. Although much of this sheet music has been catalogued, because of the enormous amount that Putterman had collected — approximately 4-5 feet — most of it must remain uncatalogued until a future date. All of the uncatalogued sheet music is stored near the catalogued Park Avenue manuscript scores in the Restricted section on the library's third floor.

Note: All musical scores, recordings and published books may be accessed through the JTS Library Catalog (Search under "Putterman, David J." or "Park Avenue Synagogue" or title.

III. Sound Recordings, 1921-1976

A. Sound discs (78 and 33 RPM), 1921-1976

David Putterman collected 78 RPM recordings of such renowned early twentieth-century cantors as Josef Rosenblatt, Gershon Sirota and Berele Chagy. Because they are duplicates of copies already owned by the J.T.S. Library, most of these commercially released recordings have not been catalogued. These uncatalogued 78 RPM recordings are stored next to the other uncatalogued Park Avenue items in the library's Restricted section.

The commercially released 78 RPM sound disks that have been catalogued include Putterman's own recordings on the Victor, Vocalion and Brunswick labels, 1926-1938. There are also some scarce recordings of Cantors J. Shlisky, S. Kwartin and M. Kusevitsky, 1921-194-?. The recording of Berlin's Cantor Manfred Lewandowski singing Schir Hamaloth and Kidusch was released on the Semer label in 1935, during the Nazi era.

The archival 78 and 33 RPM recordings are important aural documents of American Jewry's unique contribution to the Second World War. Putterman was at the forefront of this effort, singing on several radio broadcasts that reached Jewish servicemen overseas. There is a recording of "Jewish Services" broadcast over NBC Radio for servicemen stationed without a Jewish chaplain, 1942-1945 (REC 1592). Also of historical importance are the recordings of the Passover drama The Bitter Herb, 1947 (REC 1576; See Box 14 for score), and "Rabbi [Philip S.] Bernstein delivers a High Holyday greeting to men and women of the Jewish faith in the Armed Services," ca. 1945 (REC 1574).

Finally, there are three archival 33 RPM recordings of Park Avenue's Annual Service of New Liturgical Music by Contemporary Composers. These are of the services composed by Frederick Jacobi, 1956 (REC 1579), Sholom Secunda, 1959 (REC 1580) and Reuven Kosakoff, 1960 (REC 1581).

B. Reel tapes (3 3/4 and 7 1/ 2 ips), 1957-1975

The reel-to-reel audio tapes also document the annual contemporary music services. There are recordings of several complete services — with the attendant prayers, sermon and music — from Reuven Kosakoff's Lichvod Shabbat in 1960 (TAPE 564) until the (third) repetition of Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Sacred Service in 1975 (TAPE 580).Other tape-recorded items worthy of mention are: Putterman's remarks on the occasion of his fortieth anniversary at Park Avenue, 1973 (TAPE 576); his class at the Cantors Institute, "Practical Hazzanut," which consisted of nine lectures about the role of the contemporary Hazzan, ca. 1970 (TAPE 583); and a lecture on "The Renaissance of Jewish Music in America," given at the Park Avenue Synagogue by composer/musicologist A.W. Binder on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, 1965 (TAPE 567).

Note: All musical scores, published books and recordings may be accessed through the JTS Library Catalog (Search under "Putterman, David J." or "Park Avenue Synagogue" or title.

top of page


ARCHIVAL BOX LIST
    A. SUBJECT FILES, DAVID J. PUTTERMAN, ca. 1920-1979
BOX FOLDER(S) DESCRIPTION
1 1 Awards committee, 1947-1948
  2 Bookings, [Putterman's], 1947-1948
  3 Bookings, [Putterman's], 1949-1952
  4 [Catalogues], Behrmann's, 1937-1941
  5 [Catalogues, Bloch], 1932-1953
  6 [Catalogues], Hatikvah (Roskin), ca. 1941
  7 [Catalogues], Metro, ca. 1940
  8 [Catalogues, miscellaneous], 1930-1960
  9 [Catalogues], Schirmer, ca. 1940
  10 [Catalogues], Transcontinental, ca. 1938-1958
  11 Columbia University, concert, liturgical music, 1949
  12 [Condolence letters to Mrs. Putterman], 1979
  13 [David J. Putterman Collection, J.T.S., magazine and journal articles], 1969-1970
2 1 [Correspondence], 1933
  2 [Correspondence], 1939-1940
  3 Correspondence, 1942
  4 Correspondence, 1943
  5 Correspondence, 1944
  6 Correspondence, 1945
  7 Correspondence, 1946
  8 Correspondence, 1947
  9 Correspondence, 1948
  10 Correspondence with Gradenwitz [re: Israeli contemporary service], 1948-1950
  11 Correspondence, 1949
  12 Correspondence, 1950-1952
  13 Correspondence, 1953
  14 Correspondence, 1954
3 1 [David J. Putterman Collection, J.T.S., photos, letter, misc.], ca. 1920-1952
  2 Educational [materials], 1940-1950
  3 Eternal Light [radio program], 1944-1950
  4 [Jewish] Music, miscellaneous lists, [bibliographies], 1945-1957
  5 [Jewish] Music, notes, articles, lecture outlines, ca. 1933-1960
  6 Jewish music for adult services, 1952-1955
  7 Lending music library in Tel Aviv, 1948-1951
  8 [Mizmor l'David, publication of], 1977-1979
4 1 [National] Jewish Music Council, 1945-1959; bulk 1945-1948
  2 Oneg Shabbat [for United Synagogue Sabbath], ca. 1949
  3 ["Practical Hazzanut" lectures, transcript], ca. 1970
  4 [Programs, Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York ], 1941-1953
  5 [Programs, Festival of Jewish Arts, NYC], 1940-1946
  6 [Programs, Jewish music events], 1939-1949
  7 [Programs, Jewish music events], 1950-1964
  8 [Programs, Jewish Music Forum, NYC], 1945-1950
  9 [Programs, Jewish Music Forum, NYC], 1951-1961
  10 [Programs, Temple Emanuel, Worcester, Mass. ], 1942-1955
  11 [Programs, Temple Israel, Lawrence, N.Y. ], 1954-1963
  12 [Programs, Zilberts Choral Society], 1940-1948
5 1 Radio broadcasts, 1938-1955
  2 Reconstructionist [movement], 1944-1945
  3 Recording material, 1939-1948
  4 Society for the Advancement of Jewish Liturgical Music, 1946-1947
  5 [Song sheet masters], n.d.
  6 Synagoue Music [by Contemporary Composers], publication of, 1946-1951
  7 Talks and papers [on Jewish music], n.d.
  8 Television, [WPIX], 1949
  9 [Television], WPIX TV, 1952
  10 [Typescripts of presentations], ca. 1952
  11 United Synagogue of America, 1944-1948; 1952
  12 [Workman's Circle, Yiddish ephemera], 1940-1964
12   [Oversized Scrapbook, Awards, Citations, David J. Putterman], 1921-1968
      B. SUBJECT FILES, PARK AVENUE SYNAGOGUE, 1928-1979
BOX FOLDER(S) DESCRIPTION
6 1 [Adult education], 1951-1953
  2 [Autograph lists of High Holiday services], 1938-1951
  3 [Autograph lists of Sabbath and Festival services], ca. 1940-1950
  4 Bar Mitzvah [students], 1939-1953
  5 Bar Mitzvah [students], 1950-1954
  6 [Bulletins], 1952-1973
  7 Certificates, n.d.
  8 Choir, [payment invoices], 1949-1962
  9 Chorus group, 1942
  10 Committee on Adult Education, 1942-1958
  11 Confirmation, [1947-]1948
  12 Confirmation, 1949[-1950]
  13 Confirmation, 1951[-1960]
  14 [Contemporary service], Special music service, March 19, 1943
  15 [Contemporary service], Special music service, March 10, 1944
  16 [Contemporary service], Special music service, May 11, 1945
  17 Contemporary service, 1946
7 1 Contemporary service, 1947
  2 Contemporary service, 1948
  3 Contemporary service, 1949
  4 Contemporary service, 1950
  5 Contemporary service, 1951
  6 Contemporary service, 1952
  7 Contemporary service, 1953
  8 Contemporary service, 1956
  9 Contemporary service, 1957
  10 Contemporary service, 1958
8 1 Contemporary service, 1959
  2 [Contemporary service], 16 th annual ... Fri[day], May 13, 1960
  3 [Contemporary service], 17 th Contemporary service, 1961
  4 [Contemporary service], 18 th annual ... 1962
  5 [Contemporary service], 19 th annual ... 1963
  6 [Contemporary service], 20 th annual ... 1964
  7 [Contemporary service], 21 st annual ... 1965
  8 [Contemporary service], 22 nd annual ... 1966
  9 [Contemporary service], 23 rd annual ... 1967
9 1 [Contemporary service], 24 th annual ... 1968
  2 [Contemporary service, 24 th annual], 35 th Anniversary letters, telegrams, 1968
  3 [Contemporary service], 25 th annual ... 1969
  4 [Contemporary service], 26 th annual ... 1970
  5 [Contemporary service], 27 th annual ... 1971
  6 [Contemporary service], 28 th annual ... 1972
  7 [Contemporary service], 29 th annual ... May 4, 1973
  8 [Contemporary service], 30 th annual ... May 3, 1974
  9 [Contemporary service], 31 st annual ... Friday, May 2, 1975
  10 [Contemporary service], 32 nd annual ... Bicentennial celebration, May 7, 1976
  11 [In observance of Jewish Music Month, programs], 1946-1957
  12 [In observance of Jewish Music Month, Lazare Saminsky, 75 th Birthday], 1958
  13 [In observance of Jewish Music Month, Eric Werner, lecture], 1959
  14 [In observance of Jewish Music Month, programs, essays], 1959-1965
BOX FOLDER(S) DESCRIPTION
10 1 [Stencils for Contemporary Service mailing list, undersized], ca. 1943-1976
11 1 [Correspondence, photo highlights, Park Ave. Synagogue Coll.], 1933-1974
12 1 (See Subject Files, David J. Putterman, above)
13 1 [Miscellaneous correspondence, promotional materials], 1954-1976
  2 [Press releases, Contemporary service], 1965-1966
  3 [Program of Musicale, autographed], 1928
  4 [Programs, Contemporary service, complete], 1943-1976
  5 [Programs, Contemporary service, incomplete], 1943-1976; 1979
  6 [Programs], Special services, 1938-1954
  7 [Programs], Special services, 1958-1973
  8 Reports on P.A.S. Torah scrolls, 1950
  9 Ritual Committee, 1947-1950
  10 School Board, 1945-1948
    C. NUSAH/REPERTOIRE
14 1 [The Eternal Light, radio program], 1946-1948
15 1 [Hava Nashir songbooks], 1962-1974
16 1 [Memorial service, Zionist, Holocaust, Shavuot, Passover, Tu B'shvat]
17 1 [Purim, Hannukah]
18 1 [Psalms, Miscellaneous Sabbath]
19 1 [Sh'losh Regalim (Pilgrimage Festivals)]

top of page