The Springfield Symphony Orchestra had a casual beginning with a few community volunteers who enjoyed playing string instruments. They organized and disbanded several times during the 1940s. In 1948 a formal organization was incorporated. Five years later a professional director/conductor was hired. Harry Farbman took the wand in 1952. He at the time was also the Associate Conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and brought some professional musicians into the orchestra from St. Louis. Ill-health caused Farbman to resign 28 years later.
Kenneth Kiesler was brought in in 1981 and made the Symphony a fully professional organization. Some of the musicians came from other states. Performances were also held in Bloomington-Normal and for special occasions the orchestra itself traveled out of state. The orchestra reorganized and changed its name to the Illinois Symphony Orchestra in 1993.
The collection consists of minutes 1967-1969, repertoire lists 1962-1964, promotional materials 1950-2009, programs 1920-2001, and newspaper clippings 1950-1969 for the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and Springfield Youth Symphony spring concert programs 1967-1968.