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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Andrews Family Opera Company Papers, 1849-1977

Page address:

Minnesota State University, Mankato,
Memorial Library, Southern Minnesota Historical Center
Andrews Family Opera Company. Papers, 1842-1976.
SMHC Manuscript Collection 1285

Andrews Family Opera Company. Papers, 1849-1976. SMHC Manuscript Collection 1285. 1 microfilm reel; 35mm.


This collection contains published and unpublished articles about the opera company, a family record book, and three scrapbooks. Biographical and genealogical information, photographs and news clippings are all included.

Historical Note:

The Andrews Family Opera Company [Troupe] was founded by the family of John Redding Andrews, a Methodist minister who left Russellville, IL in 1865 to settle in St. Peter, Minnesota, with his wife and children.

The Company started as a traveling family vocal troupe in 1875. They added a cornet band and Swiss bells to their performance before emerging as an opera company in 1884. The company was a pioneer in their productions of Grand Opera in English. Their performances, which were moderately priced, were seen primarily in small towns and cities throughout the Midwest, but they did travel to other parts of the county to perform.

The troupe disbanded in 1901. It was speculated that the large chain companies were gaining control of the major theaters throughout the country. This made it difficult to acquire theater space for smaller independent groups like the Andrews'.

Scope and Content:

The articles included in the collection were written primarily by Cornelia Andrews DuBois and are focused on the history of the Andrews Family Opera Company.

The volumes in the collection consist of a family record book and three scrapbooks. The family record book contains genealogical and biographical information on various members of the Andrews family. John Redding Andrews and his son John Wesley Andrews compiled it. The scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings, programs, photographs, and other memorabilia pertaining to the concert tours of the Andrews Family Opera Company. Many of the clippings include biographical information as well as reviews of performances. Florence Andrews Clayton compiled the two earliest scrapbooks and Nellie Andrews Hazelrigg compiled the last scrapbook.


There are no restrictions on use of this collection for research purposes. The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property and libel laws as they apply.

Collection Citation:

Andrews Family Opera Company. Papers, 1849-1976. SMHC Manuscript Collection 1285, Southern Minnesota Historical Center, Memorial Library, Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Related Collections:

It has been determined that this collection is also available at the Minnesota Historical Society. The Albert B. Sweet and Family Papers also at MHS contain additional information about the Andrews family.

LCSH Subject Headings:

Andrews family.
Andrews, John Redding.
Andrews, John Wesley.
Clayton, Florence Andrews.
Dubois, Cornelia Andrews.
Hazelrigg, Nellie Andrews.
Saint Peter (Minn.)

SMHC Manuscript Collection 1285


Published Articles


DuBois, Cornelia Andrews. “The Andrews Family: Minnesota’s Operatic Pioneers.” Showcase, vol 7, no 3. (Nov 5-Nov 23, 1975): 100-103.


DuBois, Cornelia Andrews. “The Andrews: The Saga of a Pioneering Family who Barnstormed with Opera through America’s Hinterlands.” Opera News, vol 49, no. 23 (June 1976): 19-21.


DuBois, Cornelia Andrews. “Opera on Wheels.” Gopher Reader, (1958): 119-121.


DuBois, Cornelia Andrews. “Operatic Pioneers: The Story of the Andrews Family.” Minnesota History, vol. 33, no. 8 (Winter 1953): 317-325.


Unpublished Articles


DuBois, Cornelia Andrews. “From Band Wagon to Opera House: The Story of the Andrews Family.” Ca. 1977.


Schultz, Ferdinand Peter. “The Andrews Family: Up From the Frontier in Music and Opera, ca. 1941. Minnesota Historical Society.




Volume 1. Family Record Book, 1842-1893.


Volume 2. Scrapbook, 1879-1901.


Volume 3. Scrapbook, 1888-1932.


Volume 4. Scrapbook, 1889-1952.