The Opera Guild of Southern Arizona was conceived in 1957 by Ruth Booth who moved to Arizona that year. Finding no musical organizations dedicated to the promotion and expansion of opera in the area, Ms. Booth obtained the support of the Metropolitan Opera Guild in New York in her efforts to form a guild in Tucson. The charter meeting was held on April 13, 1958, with the stated aim of stimulating interest in and advancing the appreciation of opera as well as encouraging participation and bringing opera performances to audiences of all ages in Southern Arizona. The Opera Guild corporate in 1960 and continues its annual sponsorship of Metropolitan and San Francisco opera company auditions, student matinees, and a variety of fund-raising events intended to support community opera in Tucson. The Guild holds four to six regular board meetings annually.
The bulk of the Opera Guild of Southern Arizona records pertains to the its annual activities, especially promotional, educational and fund-raising events. Monthly bulletins, scrapbooks and yearbooks document the many activities of the guild: opera previews, luncheons, dinners, sponsorship of opera students, scholarships, loans and grants, underwriting of annual Metropolitan and San Francisco opera auditions, aid to groups producing opera, and sponsorship of free matinees for school students.
News clippings and photographs also document these varied activities. Organizational records include board minutes, financial statements, and a history of the guild's development. Additional materials are expected in the future.