In the late 19th century the Philharmonic welcomed many Germans, echoing the waves of German immigrants moving to New York at this time. The newly-arrived Philharmonic musicians were not only colleagues but became like an extended family, helping each other adjust to life in America. The process of becoming a U.S. citizen, although easier than today, still took several years and could not be done alone.
Bassist Ludwig Manoly came to the United States from Austria in 1876, joining the New York Philharmonic in 1879. In 1880 he submitted his Declaration of Intention to become a U.S. citizen—an official document requiring him to renounce allegiance to the Austrian Empire. This put him on a three-year waiting list to file for citizenship, which he did in 1886. As a witness he asked his Philharmonic colleague, trumpeter Frederick Dietz, to accompany him to court and testify to his “good moral character.”
Manoly remained in the Philharmonic until 1927. Highlights of his career included performing the world premiere of Dvorak’s New World Symphony in 1893, cutting the Philharmonic’s first recording of this work in 1917, and served under music director Gustav Mahler in the 1909-10 and 1910-11 seasons. Ludwig Manoly’s tradition lives on through his students, including Herman Reinshagen, his stand partner of many years and who taught current Philharmonic bassist Orin O’Brien, who joined the orchestra in 1966.
– New York Philharmonic Archives