[X502-F] Shirley J. Smith Collection, Falls Church, Virginia
This February 1923 letter from Edison to J. L. Gottlieb requests assistance in securing "a conductor for a small orchestra and also for experimental purposes." Before electric recording technology supplanted acoustic recording, it was extremely difficult to record a full orchestra. Edison experimented extensively on this problem, and this letter appears to have been written in connection with one of these experiments.
Jacques L. Gottlieb (1888-1946), the father-in-law of the present owner, was born in the town of Suwalki, which is now part of Poland but was then part of the Russian Empire. Gottlieb came to the United States as a child and graduated from the Institute of Musical Art (later the Juilliard School of Music). He played with the New York Symphony Orchestra as a violinist and later founded his own orchestra, the Neighborhood Symphony Orchestra, which gave performances at Battery Park, Washington Square, and other outdoor locations. For many years, he was also director of the East Side House Settlement Music School and served as district music director for the USO and the Jewish Welfare Board. He was noted for his belief in the social significance of music and its appeal as a universal language.
Shirley J. Smith Collection, Falls Church, Virginia