University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Max Adler Collection 1922-1952

© 2016 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Adler, Max. Collection




0.25 linear feet (1 box)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Max Adler (1866–1952) was an Illinois-born executive, concert violinist, and philanthropist. This collection is primarily composed of Adler’s correspondence. Also included are a few pieces of ephemera, including a photograph of German violinist Emanuel Wirth and lists of works relating to English composer Harold Warner.

Information on Use


The collection is open for research.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Adler, Max. Collection, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Max Adler (May 12, 1866 – November 4, 1952) was an executive, concert violinist, and philanthropist. Born in Elgin, Illinois, to German-Jewish immigrants, Adler spent his youth in Elgin. Early in his adult life, Adler was a concert violinist. This collection has a strong focus on this area of his life. After marrying Sophie Rosenwald, sister of Chicago philanthropist and businessman Julius Rosenwald, Adler left music to become a vice president of Sears Roebuck & Co., as Rosenwald’s family controlled the company. Adler retired from the business in 1928 and focused his efforts on philanthropy. Among his many endeavors, Adler is best known for his role in the founding of the first planetarium in the United States, the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. Adler died at the age of 86 on November 6, 1952.

Scope Note

The Max Adler Collection contains correspondence and ephemera. The first three folders of the collection contain Adler’s correspondence with English composer Harry Warner; his widow, Rosie Warner; and the Russian-American cellist, Gregor Piatigorsky. Each folder is arranged in chronological order, with the exception of a letter from Tyler & Co., which requests confirmation of a commission given to Warner by Adler for an original violin composition. This letter has been placed at the beginning of the collection to offer context for the correspondence that follow. Topics discussed in the letters include the commission itself, the personal lives of the Adlers and Warners, the war effort and its effects.

Folder 4 contains emphemera, including a photograph of Adler's music instructor (1884-1888), Emanuel Werth, a German violinist and violist, bank notes, a brief correspondence regarding the sale of a violin and song lists. The items in this folder are related to the correspondence between Adler and the Warners.

The collection was previously part of the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection.

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Subject Headings


Box 1   Folder 1

Correspondence, Max Adler and Harry Warner, 1941-1952

Box 1   Folder 2

Correspondence, Max Adler and Rosie Warner, 1945-1952

Box 1   Folder 3

Correspondence, Max Adler and Gregor Piatigorsky, 1939-1946

Box 1   Folder 4

Varied Ephemera, Max Adler, Harry Warner, Rosie Warner, 1922-1945