According to the 25th anniversary program, the Society was organized on March 22, 1873. The first certificate of incorporation was confirmed by the courts on June 14, 1875. At board meetings on May 28 and June 4, 1891 it was reported that a request to amend that certificate by increasing the number of directors from 19 to 45 had been returned from Albany because there was no original certificate on file. The board noted that the original certificate had been filed in New York City and implied it would not be found. (It had been filed during the Tweed reign.) Since so many of the original signers had died in the intervening years, it was decided to apply for a new certificate. The following was typed from an official photostat of that certificate. Because it was handwritten, some of the names may have been misread, although most were cross-checked against other sources.
Marie Gangemi, Oct. 29, 1991
State of New York
City and County of New York } ss:
We, the undersigned, citizens of the United States, and citizens of and residents within the State of New York, and being of full age, do hereby associate ourselves together and form a Society, pursuant to the provisions of and Act of the Legislature of the State of New York, entitled "An Act for the incorporation of Benevolent, Charitable, Scientific and Missionary Societies," passed on April 12 1848, and of the several Acts extending and amending the said Act, and in compliance with the requirements of said Acts, do hereby certify as follows, that is to say,
First: the corporate name of this Society shall be "The Oratorio Society of New York."
Second: The object for which said Society is formed shall be the promotion and cultivation of Choral Music, both sacred and secular, by the study and public performance of works of this class.
Third: the number of Directors who shall manage the affairs of said Society shall be forty-five and the names of the Directors of the first year are as follows, all of said Directors being of full age and citizens of the United States and of the State of New York and residents within this State, viz.--Charles H. Adams, John W. Aiken, Addison F. Andrews, Marshall Ayres, John H. Beach, George F. Bingham, John Crosby Brown, M. Bayard Brown, Silas B. Brownwell, Andrew Carnegie, William Clark, Frederick H. Comstock, Frank H. Damrosch, Walter J. Damrosch, John Parker Davis, Frederick S. Dennis, Cleveland H. Dodge, Frank E. Draper, Charles R. Flint, E. Francis Hyde, Clarence M. Hyde, Edward H. Janes, J. Herbert Johnston, Adrian H. Joline, John S. Kennedy, Stephen M. Knevals, Henry E. Malin, J. Crawford McGreery, Leone Margules, Henry W. Poor, John Dyneley Prince, James A. Punderford, Morris Reno, Charles H. Ropes, Henry Seligman, Lemuel Skidmore, Charles S. Smith, W. R. Starck, R. B. Symington, George Taylor, WIlliam H. Terhune, Samuel Thomas. William Burnet Tuthill, Hartwell A. Wilkins and J. Hood Wright.
Fourth: The City and County in the State of New York in which the business of said Society is to be conducted, and in which the principal office of said Society shall be located, are the City and County of New York.
In Witness Whereof, we have herewith set our hands and seals at the City of New York, this fourth day of June, in the year one thousand eight hundred and ninety-one.