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Margaret Alden Biddle Scrapbook, 1910-1917

By Finding aid prepared by Trevor Sandgathe

Collection Overview

Title: Margaret Alden Biddle Scrapbook, 1910-1917

Predominant Dates: 1914-1916

ID: MSS Biddle

Primary Creator: Parker, Margaret Biddle (1898-)

Extent: 0.25 cubic feet. More info below.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Margaret Alden Biddle Scrapbook is comprised of materials assembled by Margaret Biddle during her teenage years in Portland, Oregon between 1910 and 1917 and includes programs, playbills, and newspaper clippings documenting music, dance and theater performances, film showings, and lectures in Portland; souvenirs from a 1910 cruise to Holland and Norway, the 1914 Pendleton Round-Up, and the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco; and several drawings and photographs. This scrapbook has been digitized to PDF and is available upon patron request or in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center Reading Room.

Scope and Content Notes

This item has been digitized to PDF and is available upon patron request or in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center Reading Room.

The Margaret Alden Biddle Scrapbook is comprised predominately of materials relating to music, dance, and theater performances held in Portland, Oregon between 1914 and 1917. Included are programs and playbills, reviews, advertisements, and images clipped from newspapers. In the mid-1910s Biddle attended numerous dramatic productions from professional touring companies such as the Lambardi Grand Opera Company, the Liebler Company, the Chicago Grand Opera Company, the Whitney Opera Company, the Stratford-Upon-Avon Players, the Drama League of America, and the Pavlova Imperial Ballet Russe. Performances included numerous productions of Shakespeare's work (Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, King John); well known operas and literary dramas (Carmen, Lucia di Lammermoor, Madame Butterfly, Little Women); and contemporary works (The Chocolate Soldier, Disraeli, Shameen Dhu, Excuse Me, Peg O' My Heart, The Firefly, The Poor Little Rich Girl, Quality Street, Milestones, Kitty MacKay). Many of these performances featured renowned actors (E. H. Sothern, Margaret Anglin, William Faversham, and Johnston Forbes-Robertson) and dancers (Anna Pavlova, Adeline Genee, Ruth St. Denis).

Biddle also attended performances featuring world-class musical ensembles (the New York Symphony Orchestra and the Barrere Ensemble of Wind Instruments), vocalists (Emilio de Gogorza, Geraldine Farrar, John McCormack, Johanna Gadski, Maggie Teyte, Olive Fremstad, Alma Gluck, Clara Clemens, Teresa Carreno), and instrumentalists (Efrem Zimbalist, Constance Piper, Eugene Ysaye, Fritz Kreisler, Jean Gerardy, Mischa Elman, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, Rudolph Ganz). Of particular note is a series of programs for the Portland Symphony Orchestra (1912-1916) and the Portland Museum of Art's chamber music series (1914-1915). These events were held at many of the most popular venues in Portland including the Baker Theater, Christensen's Hall, the Mac Dowell Club, the Portland Museum of Art, the Orpheum Theater, the Multnomah Hotel, and even the Portland Masonic Temple. However most of the performances attended by Biddle were held at the Heilig Theater, one of the city's newest and most respected performing arts theaters, located on the corner of Broadway and Taylor Street in downtown Portland.

Other Portland-area events represented in the scrapbook include a lecture by Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan, motion picture showings (George Kleine's Quo Vadis, Capt. Scott and Animal Life in the Antarctic, Lyman Howe's Travel Festival), and several local productions including Maxtla: An Aztec Pantomime from the School of the Portland Art Association and a dance performance by the pupils of Edith Varney held at the Eleventh Street Playhouse. Also included is ephemera from several performances in which the Biddle family participated: Margaret Alden Biddle portrayed Jane Bennett in a 1914 production of Pride and Prejudice by the dramatic class of Miss Catlin's School; her brother, Billy Biddle, performed a piano recital at the Multnomah Hotel; and Mrs. Margaret Biddle is listed as a patron of Reed College's production of Everywoman's Road.

Many of the playbills and programs present in this collection include numerous local area advertisements for retailers, restaurants, and service providers and offer a snapshot of the advertising environment in 1910s Portland. Also included are newspaper clippings and advertisements for concerts and theatrical events not attended by Biddle.

The Biddle Scrapbook also contains a miniature scrapbook, also created by Margaret Biddle, titled "On board S.S. "Arabic". The scrapbook dates from a 1910 voyage to Norway and Holland, and is filled with images of the Arabic, scenes from northern Europe, and a menu and music program from the ship. Also included is an official souvenir program from the 1914 Round-Up in Pendleton, Oregon; a souvenir packet from J. Forbes-Robertson's "Farewell to America" tour; and items from the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, including an official view book, an organ recital program, a camera license, a postcard from the Steamship "Great Northern", and programs from productions of Iphigenia in Aulis at the University of California and The Birth of a Nation at the Cort Theatre in San Francisco. The scrapbook also contains two photographs of three unidentified young women; several sketches, newsclippings pertaining to a car accident involving violinist Susie Fennell Pipes; and numerous clippings featuring famous artwork and historical figures.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Margaret Alden Biddle was born to Margaret and William Shepard Biddle in 1898 in Portland, Oregon. During her teen years, she was a pupil at Miss Catlin's School and an active theater-goer, attending numerous performances in the Portland area. In 1916, she enrolled in the University of Oregon where she was a member of the university symphony. Biddle wed noted architect Jamieson Kirkwood Parker in 1923 and the couple had three children. She was a member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), a board member of the Oregon Roadside Council, a fourth-generation Portlander, and descendent of Thomas Frazar, the founder of the first Unitarian church in Portland. Margaret Alden Biddle Parker died April 8, 1987 in Milwaukie, Oregon.

The Heilig Theatre, designed by E. W. Houghton, opened in 1910 and was managed by Calvin Heilig. It seated 1,500 people and, for a time, was Portland's premiere performing arts theater. In 1929, the theater transitioned to cinema and was operated as a movie theater until 1990. The building was demolished in 1997.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 2 photographs; 1 box

Statement on Access: The collection is open for research.

Related Materials:

The OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center holds numerous scrapbooks dating from the early 1900s including the Winfred M. Atwood Scrapbook (MSS Atwood), the William Harling Davolt Scrapbook and Photographs (MSS Davolt), the A. Isabella Downs Scrapbook (MSS Downs), the A. Freeman Mason Scrapbook (MSS Mason), and the Leslie Miller Scrapbook (MSS Miller). Other materials relating to the performing arts include the C.B. Mitchell University Theater Scrapbooks (MSS Mitchell), the Alice Fisher Community Drama Class Scrapbook (MSS FisherA), the University Theatre Photographs (P 112), the University Theatre Records (RG 180), and the Milagro (Miracle Theatre Group) Records (MSS Milagro)

The Oregon Historical Society holds additional content relating to the Biddle and Parker families including oral histories recorded with Margaret Biddle in 1975, 1978, and 1984; the Biddle Family Photographs Collection; the Louise Linthicum Photograph Album on Smith College and Mountaineering; correspondence between Rosa Frazar Burrell and Margaret Alden Burrell; the Jamieson Parker Papers; and the First Unitarian Church Exhibit: Architecture of Jamieson Parker Photographs.

Preferred Citation: Margaret Alden Biddle Scrapbook (MSS Biddle), Oregon State University Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.


Parker, Margaret Biddle (1898-)

People, Places, and Topics

Catlin School
Concert programs--Oregon.
Forbes-Robertson, Johnston, Sir, 1853-1937
Heilig Theatre (Portland, Or.)
Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915 : San Francisco, Calif.)
Parker, Margaret Biddle, 1898-
Pendleton Round-Up
Performing arts--Oregon--Portland.
Pipes, Susie Fennell, 1883-1950
Portland Symphony Orchestra (Portland, Or.)

Forms of Material

Concert programs.
Photographic prints.
Theater programs.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.