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Alois Havrilla papers

 Collection 0174-MMC
Alois Havrilla was a radio announcer and singer, most notably for NBC in the 1930s. Havrilla's background was in music and he announced for musical programs as well as other genres. The Alois Havrilla papers is a collection of correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, sheet music, scripts, newspaper clippings, and scrapbooks covering the singing and announcing career of Alois Havrilla. The collection ranges in date from 1893 to 1965, with the bulk of the material dating from the 1920s to 1930s.

Dates

  • 1893-1965
  • Majority of material found within 1920s-1930s

Use and Access to Collection

There are no restricted files in this collection.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials page for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Extent

5.75 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Alois Havrilla Papers is a collection of correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, sheet music, scripts, newspaper clippings, and scrapbooks covering the singing and announcing career of Alois Havrilla. The collection ranges in date from 1893 to 1965, with the bulk of the material dating from the 1920s to 1930s.

Biography

Alois Havrilla was born in PreŇ°ov, Slovakia (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) in 1891. He and his family came to America in the middle 1890s and settled in the Slovak community in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In 1898, he began learning English by singing in the choir in the Trinity Episcopal Church and from then to 1927, he had a very active singing career.

It was as a singer that Havrilla made his first appearances on radio in 1924. His first appearance on radio was as a baritone during a performance of the Bridgeport Oratorio Society at Carnegie Hall that was broadcast over WEAF on April 30. Havrilla broadcast over WEAF in his own solo concert two months later. His first work as an announcer came when he announced the audition show for May Singhi Breen and Peter DeRose for WJZ. His radio career almost began with this audition show; he was offered a more permanent announcing job at WJZ. However, he turned down the offer because it would have required him to go to WRC in Washington for training, taking him away from his commitments in the New York City area.

Havrilla's radio career truly began in 1927 and continued until his death in 1952. Over that 25 year period, he announced and sang on more than 100 programs for NBC. The types of programs he announced ranged from comedy programs like Jack Benny (1933-1934) and Amos 'n' Andy (1933-1934) to dramas like the Coward Comfort Hour (1927), the Biblical Dramas (1928), and Dangerous Paradise (1933-1935) to informational programs like Laws that Safeguard Society (1932), Town Meeting on the Air (1935), and Strange as it Seems (1939-1940) to quiz shows like Double or Nothing (1940).

But Havrilla's greatest love was still music, and the majority of the programs he announced reflected this interest. He announced such sophisticated musical programs as the National Grand Opera (1927, 1933), Puccini Operas (1929-1930), Atwater Kent (1931), and the Voice of Firestone (1931-1936). He put his experience as a music teacher to use on Music in the Air (1931) and Keys to Happiness (1931-1932), two programs designed to teach music over the air. He even announced for many of the popular singers and musicians of the time, including the Pickens Sisters (1932), Fred Waring (1935-1936), Paul Whiteman (1936), and Frank Parker (1937).

The highlight of Havrilla's radio career came in 1935 when he was awarded a Diction Medal by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Havrilla died December 7, 1952.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in twelve series:
Series 1
Biographical Material
Series 2
Clippings
Series 3
Correspondence
Series 4
Manuscripts-"Radio's Age of Adventure"
Series 5
Notes
Series 6
Promotional Material
Series 7
Scripts
Series 8
Sketches
Series 9
Speeches
Series 10
Scrapbooks
Series 11
Music
Series 12
Instructional Materials

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The Alois Havrilla papers were given to the Library of American Broadcasting by Constance Havrilla of New York City. Constance Havrilla is the daughter of Alois and Marion M. Havrilla. The collection was donated sporadically, beginning in 1973 and ending with the final items in 1988.

Processing Information

Materials were placed into acid-free folders and put into acid-free boxes.
Title
Guide to the Alois Havrilla papers
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Michael Henry
Date
1994-08
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742
301-405-9212