Southern Methodist University

Harriet Bacon MacDonald papers


Creator: MacDonald, Harriet Bacon
Title: Harriet Bacon MacDonald papers
Dates: 1909-1936
Abstract: Harriet Bacon MacDonald organized the performances of notable musical acts from around the world including Sousa and Rachmaninoff among many others in Dallas, Texas. MacDonald was also a teacher of classes in the Dunning Music System. The bulk of the material in this collection was gathered during her time as an impresaria in Dallas, Texas and a teacher of Dunning classes across the United States. The collection includes correspondence, documents, ephemera, programs, published works, photographs, and a scrapbook. Most of the material originates from Dallas, Texas, but there is also material from other states and cities.
Quantity: 4 boxes (6 linear feet)
Language: Material is in English
Repository: Jerry Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

Harriet Bacon MacDonald (1865-1935) was a notable impresaria in Dallas, Texas and teacher of the Dunning system. MacDonald received musical training in her hometown near Boston, Massachusetts where she first studied piano under the tutelage of James M. Tracy. MacDonald became a professional accompanist. She continued her training in Europe and worked with prominent artists. After her studies were completed, she returned to the United States and toured with the Norma Trio and the Constance Balfour Concert Company as an accompanist and impresaria. She came to Dallas, Texas through the Constance Balfour Concert Company and opened a studio in 1910. Soon afterward, she became director of the Schubert-Choral Club and used her connections from Europe to arrange musical acts in Dallas. MacDonald partnered with Mrs. Wesley Porter Mason to manage the performances of influential and well-known artists in Dallas, TX. MacDonald took the Dunning System course in 1915 and became a teacher soon after. Through this position she traveled all over the United States teaching the Dunning System. In 1928, Macdonald’s husband, James R. Saville, became the new lessee of The Circle and renamed it the Showhouse. The theater hosted musical acts managed by MacDonald. In 1931, after being unable to pay for an opera troupe’s performance, along with some other scandals, MacDonald began having financial problems which in turn caused her to go bankrupt and end her career as a manager. MacDonald passed away in 1935 at the age of 70. Her husband, James R. Saville, donated her papers to Southern Methodist University a week after her passing.


“Makers of Dallas Music-No. 6 – Harriet Bacon MacDonald.” Dallas Morning News. December 13, 1925.

“Passing Show – Harriet Bacon MacDonald.” Dallas Morning News. October 12, 1935.

Scope and Contents Note

The Harriet Bacon MacDonald papers include a variety of materials such as correspondence, documents, ephemera, programs, publicity, published works, photographs, and scrapbooks.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into 9 series:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1910-1912
Series 2: Documents, 1931
Series 3: Ephemera, Undated
Series 4: Clubs and Societies, 1916-1936
Series 5: Dance, 1926-1933
Series 6: Music, 1916-1931
Series 7: Theatre, Undated
Series 8: Photographs, 1911-1931
Series 9: Scrapbooks, 1909-1935


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use. Appointment with curatorial staff at Hamon Library is required.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the staff of Jerry Bywaters Special Collections.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Sensitive Material Statement:

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications for which Hamon Library assumes no responsibility.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Subjects (Persons)
MacDonald, Harriet Bacon.
Performing arts – Texas – Dallas – History – 20th century.
Women music teachers – Texas – Dallas.
Impresarios – Texas – Dallas.
Document Types

Related Material

This is one of the collections in the Mary McCord/Edyth Renshaw collection on the performing arts. Related materials are located in the Bywaters Special Collections of the Hamon Arts Library of Southern Methodist University.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Harriet Bacon MacDonald papers, McCord/Renshaw Collection on the Performing Arts, Jerry Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Gift of James R. Saville, 1935

Processing Information

Processed by Carolyn Croley, 2017.

Finding aid written by Carolyn Croley, 2017.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Correspondence, 1910-1912

The correspondence consists of letters, envelopes, and postcards sent to MacDonald. Correspondence of particular note includes a letter from A. Borci about receiving a tenor part.
Box Folder
1 1 Correspondence

Series 2: Documents, 1931

The documents consist of a bill to MacDonald from L.J. Higginbotham Photographic Advertising in Dallas Texas for photographic prints.
Box Folder
1 2 Documents

Series 3: Ephemera, Undated

The ephemera consists of a printed photo of Leo Schultz with description, a tag from The Camera Shop on Elm in Dallas, a note from J.R. Saville (husband of Harriet Bacon MacDonald) that two oil paintings are for sale, and ticket stubs.
Box Folder
1 3 Ephemera

Series 4: Clubs and Societies, 1916-1936

This series includes ephemera, publications, and programs related to the clubs and societies in which MacDonald was a member.
Box Folder
1 4 Dallas Dunning Teachers Club-Ephemera
5 Dallas Dunning Teachers Club-Programs
6 The Music Study Club-Published Works, 1916-1924
7 The Music Study Club-Published Works, 1924-1928
8 The Music Study Club-Published Works, 1928-1932
9 The Music Study Club-Published Works, 1932-1936

Series 5: Dance, 1926-1933

This series includes programs from performances of dancers Ruth Draper, Carola Goya, and Teresina.
Box Folder
1 10 Ruth Draper
11 Carola Goya
12 Teresina

Series 6: Music, 1916-1931

This series includes programs and publicity from the performances MacDonald organized in Dallas. Programs of particular note are from the 1923 performance of Sergei Rachmaninoff.
Box Folder
1 13 Programs
14 Publicity
15 Feodor Chaliapin
16-17 Winifred Christie
18 Clare Clairbert
19 Mischa Elman
20 Geraldine Farrar
21 Amelita Gallie-Curri
22 Mary Garden
23 Walter Gieseking
24 Roland Hayes
25 Jascha Heifetz
26 Ernestine Schumann Heink
27 Josef Hofmann
28 Louise Homer
29 Fritz Kreisler
30 Giovanni Martinelli
31 John McCormack
32 Vladimir de Pachmann
33 Ignace Jan Paderwski
34 Sergei Rachmaninoff

Series 7: Theatre, Undated

This series includes publicity from a performance by Margaret Anglin organized by MacDonald.
Box Folder
1 35 Margaret Anglin

Series 8: Photographs, 1911-1931

This series includes photographs with autographs given by the artists whose performances MacDonald organized, images of Dunning System classes, and clubs and societies in which she was a member. Autograph of particular note is from John Philip Sousa.
Box Folder
P/S 1 1 Photographs
2 Autographs
3 Clubs and Societies- The Music Study Club
4 Dunning System Classes
5 Dunning System Classes- Arkansas
6 Dunning System Classes-Illinois
7 Dunning System Classes-New York
8 Dunning System Classes-Ohio
9 Dunning System Classes-Oklahoma
10 Dunning System Classes-Dallas
11 Dunning System Classes-San Antonio
12 Dance
13 Music
14 Music-Constance Balfour
15 Music-Henri La Bonte
16 Music-Francis de Bourguignon
17 Music-Feodor Chaliapin
18 Music-Julia Claussen
19 Music-Mildred Dilling
20 Music-Geraldine Farrar
21 Music-Frank La Forge
22 Music-Rudolph Ganz
23 Music-Mary Garden
24 Music-Lydia Griffith
25 Music-Frederick Gunster
26 Music-Orville Harrold
27 Music-Barre Hill
28 Music-Caroline Lazzari
29 Music-Liza Lehmann
30 Music-Augusta Lenoka
31 Music-Florence McBeth
32 Music-John McCormack
33 Music-Tamaki Miura
34 Music-Jane Osborn-Hannah
35 Music-Maud Powell
36 Music-Marian Wright Powers
37 Music-Robert Quait
38 Music-The de Resky Singers
39 Music-Mabel Riegelman
40 Music-Homer Samuels
41 Music-Ethelynde Smith
42 Music-John Philip Sousa
43 Music-Albert Spalding
44 Music-Marian Talley
45 Music-Yvonne de Treville
46 Music-Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler
47 Music-The Zoellner Quartet
48 Unidentified
Box Folder
P/S 2 1 Photographs
2 Autographed
3 Dunning System
4 Music-Flonzaley Quartet
5 Music-Stanley H. Forde
6 Music-Amelita Galli-Curri
7 Music-Louise Homer
8 Music-Brabazon Lowther
9 Music-John McCormack
10 Music-Christine Miller
11 Music-Ernestine Schumann-Heink
12 Music-Albert Spalding
13 Music-Aldoph Fazzucht
Flat-Box Folder
1 Paulo M. Gruppe

Series 9: Scrapbooks, 1909-1935

The three scrapbooks consist of clippings and programs from performances of artists MacDonald managed.