Unusual Surprise Acquiring Addition to Anna Fay Herron Bush Papers

After spending over thirty years in the archives profession this Sousa archivist is rarely surprised by the things I encounter when acquiring new collections of personal papers and historical music instruments for the University’s Sousa Archives and Center for American Music.  However, on Tuesday morning as I was packing up an exciting addition of correspondence, postcards, and photographs documenting Anna Fay Herron’s time performing as the oboist with the Bohumir Kryl Women’s Symphony Orchestra of Chicago in 1945 (pictured in the bottom set of images), her daughter and I found a box containing fruitcake that had been sent by Anna’s aunt, Sarah Charity Kuhl Wallace (pictured middle right), to her brother, John Carey Kuhl (pictured middle left), during the last months of World War I.  By the time the fruitcake had finally arrived where John had been stationed in Europe, he had already returned state-side and the fruitcake was eventually forwarded back to Sarah and her sister.  According to Anna’s daughter the family had been told about this story for many years but no one thought that the cake had actually survived the round-trip postage.  As you can see from the top photograph, the fruitcake did survive the round trip as well as an additional one hundred years stored in a box that held carefully wrapped loaves that clearly had been soaked in alcohol to help preserve them.  The writing on the box tells the rest of the story behind this fruitcake adventure, and Anna’s candid photographs and the postcards that she sent to her parents describing her travels with the Kryl Orchestra provide some exceptional documentation of Bohumir Kryl’s work with this nearly forgotten ensemble from Chicago, Illinois.

For more information about Anna Fay Herron Bush and her work as a public school music teacher before and after her travels with the Kryl Orchestra, visit the collection finding aid at https://archives.library.illinois.edu/archon/index.php?p=collections/findingaid&id=11554. This new addition of materials will be processed later this fall.

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