CHACON, RUPERTO MARCO AURELIO                                                          96-053




Physical Description:

1 scrapbook, 1 linear foot



February 1893- July 1918



The manuscript scrapbook is fragile (3/4 leather, marbled boards worn, spine lacking) and researcher handling may be limited.



Purchased from Savoy Books, Lanesborough, Massachusetts, January 1997.


Agency History/biographical sketch:

Ruperto Marco Aurelio Chacon was a Chilean-born guitarist and mandolinist who moved to the United States in the late nineteenth century to capitalize on a surge of interest in the mandolin.  He graduated from the Conservatory of Music in Santiago and, with a group of South American students from Valparaiso ("Estudiantina America"), toured New Haven one summer [circa 1892]. At the New Haven Grand Opera House he made contact with a person who influenced and assisted him in his initial move to the States. He lived in New York City and later in New Haven, Connecticut.  In 1903, Chacon bought a summer residence that he renamed “Chiliway Farm” in Chilson, New York. Chacon, a musician and musical instructor, played mandolin, violin, guitar, and the Spanish instrument bandurria for a variety of functions and had many students.  Chacon married Bertha Marie Hollerith in 1906 and a son, Robert, was born December 1907. In 1912 Chacon bought his first commercial business, and as his success increased, Chacon abandoned music for business endeavors. The date of his death is unknown.


Scope and content:

This scrapbook, compiled by Ruperto Chacon is an autobiographical scrapbook of 60 pages documenting the musical career and personal life of an immigrant musician and musical teacher. It consists of correspondence, concert programs, announcements, reviews, and other items that chronicle the rise and ultimate decline of his musical career.  The scrapbook documents his arrival in this country around 1893, beginning his musical career, developing contacts, opening his studio, and concerts, soirees, recitals, and charity benefits. The first published brochure announces his studio on Fifth Avenue, New York, “Senor Chacon, Professor of Mandolin, Guitar and Bandurria.” The second lists “Professor of Violin, Mandolin and Guitar.” Also included are recommendations and letters from his society patrons, program repertoires, newspaper clippings, telegrams; business cards and vitae; client rosters; commencement, concert, and theater programs, souvenirs, ads, and tickets. Personal memorabilia (resort brochures; church bulletins; wedding and dinner invitations; personal memos; homemade holiday cards, Santa letters, and handwritten verse; poems; passenger roster; photographs; menus) includes Chacon’s courtship and marriage, birth of children, his summer life in upstate New York, WWI, and his increasing business prosperity and eventual abandonment of music. Personal notes and dates are written throughout the scrapbook in Chacon’s hand. About 20% of the correspondence is written in Spanish.


By extension, the scrapbook documents the introduction of the mandolin to American musical life and the decline of its first period of popularity. 



This scrapbook is filed by accession number with other manuscripts in the Manuscript section of the stacks.


Related Materials:

The Center holds other manuscript scrapbooks compiled by performers, musicians, and music business professionals that may be searched through Special Collections finding aids.









[Portions of above text were written by Paul F. Wells for Notes.]

January 2004, LPC