Guide to the Soul Train Awards Records

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.1223
Creators:
Soul Train Holdings, LLC
Dates:
1987 - 2004
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
1 Cubic foot
1 box
Repository:
The collection consists of printed materials, including programs, press kits, prints, slides and posters from various award presentations given by the syndicated television program Soul Train from 1987 to 2004. These include the Soul Train Music Awards, Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards, Soul Train Comedy Awards, and Soul Train Divas and Kings.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection consists of printed materials, including programs and press kits, and photographic prints, slides and posters from various award presentations given by Soul Train. These include the "Soul Train" Music Awards, "Soul Train" Lady of Soul Awards, "Soul Train" Comedy Awards, "Soul Train" Divas and Kings.
Series 1, Award Programs, 1987-2004, is subdivided into five subseries: Subseries 1, Soul Train Award Programs, 1987-2004; Subseries 2, Lady of Soul Award Programs, 1995-2003; Subseries 3, Christmas StarFest, 1998-1999, 2003; Subseries 4, Comedy Awards Program, 1993.
Subseries 1, Soul Train Award Programs, 1987-2004, consists of printed programs and press kits for the annual awards event, held each year in Los Angeles, California. The press kits contain biographies for the award recipients, press releases, publicity prints and slides of award recipients. The prints and slides were assembled by Tribune Entertainment Company. In 1995, there was a twenty-fifth anniversary Hall of Fame Special. The history of the "Soul Train" story is chronicled in this 1995 anniversary program.
Subseries 2, Lady of Soul Award Programs, 1995-2003, consists of printed programs, prints, slides, and press kits with biographies and press releases honoring great women in the world of entertainment. The Lady of Soul Awards was the first-ever show format specially designed to honor female entertainers.
Subseries 3, Christmas StarFest, 1998-1999, 2003, consists of printed advertisements and press kits for "Soul Train" Christmas Starfest, a television special of major music stars. The press kits contain biographies, publicity prints, and slides of entertainers who participated.
Subseries 4, Comedy Awards Program, 1993, consists of two programs for the first annual "Soul Train" Comedy Awards. The 1993 debut was the only time the show was produced.
Subseries 5, Divas and Kings Program, 2000, consists of print advertisements for a special Soul Train thirtieth anniversary special featuring performances by a variety of entertainers.
Series 2, Posters, 1989, consists of two posters from the 1989 Soul Train Awards honoring Michael Jackson.
Series 3, Ephemera, 1990, 2001, consists of a tribune Entertainment Company publication, That's Entertainment from 1990 and newspaper clippings about Soul Train creator, Don Cornelius, Los Angeles Times, 2001.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into three series.
Series 1, Award Programs, 1987-2004
Subseries 1, Soul Train Award Programs, 1987-2004
Subseries 2, Lady of Soul Award Programs, 1995-2003
Subseries 3, Christmas Starfest, 1998-1999, 2003
Subseries 4, Comedy Award Program, 1993
Subseries 5, Divas and Kings Program, 2000
Series 2, Posters, 1989
Series 3, Ephemera, 1990, 2001

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Soul Train, was the longest-running syndicated television series in American history. Don Cornelius, a former disc jockey, created "Soul Train" in 1970 for the Chicago television station WCIU and served as its writer, producer and host. When it became a local sensation, he moved the show to Los Angeles and began broadcasting nationally in 1971, beginning a thirty-five year run in syndication. Soul Train presented rhythm and blues, soul, and hip hop performers, though sometimes funk, jazz, disco, and gospel artists were featured.
Born on Chicago's South Side on September 27, 1936, Cornelius had an early craving to go into broadcasting. He graduated from DuSable High School in 1954, served in the Marine Corps and then returned to Chicago to marry Delores Harrison. They had two sons, Anthony and Raymond. In 1966, Cornelius gave up a career selling insurance and cars to take a three-month broadcast course. He landed a job as a substitute disc jockey at WVON in Chicago and later as a sports anchor on the television program "A Black's View of the News." He produced the "Soul Train" pilot with four-hundred dollars of his own money, taking the title from a road show he had created for local high schools. Cornelius stepped down as host of the "Soul Train" in 1993, but the show continued to air for another decade with guest hosts presiding. In 2001, Cornelius married Viktoria Chapman, but divorced her in 2009.
In 2008, Cornelius sold the "Soul Train" franchise and the archives to a subsidiary of Vibe Holdings LLC. Over 1,117 episodes were produced. The musical artists who performed on "Soul Train" included many of the greatest African American performers of the last decades--Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, James Brown, the Jackson Five--and many Motown acts. Over its long history, the show primarily featured performances by rhythm and blues, soul, and hip hop artists, although funk, jazz, disco, and gospel artist also appeared. While most of these artists were African American, in later years the show featured some white performers such as Elton John and David Bowie. Singer Gino Vanelli was the first to integrate the show, in 1975, when Cornelius invited him to board the train to sing his hit, "People Gotta Move."
Cornelius also produced a number of award shows and annual specials, including the Soul Train Music Awards, the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards, and the Soul Train Christmas Starfest. African American performers were predominantly featured in these shows and they served as a welcome counterpoint in the black musical community to what were perceived of as white-dominated award programs.

Administration
Processing Information
Processed by Alison Oswald, archivist, 2012.
Author
Alison Oswald.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated by Soul Train Holdings, LLC, through Kenard Gibbs, CEO on August 12, 2011.

Bibliography
Bibliography
McKinley, James C. "Don Cornelius, 'Soul Train' Creator, Is Dead at 75," New York Times, February 1, 2012.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research.
Preferred Citation
Soul Train Music Awards Records, 1987-2004, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Related Materials
Materials Held at Other Organizations
Library of Congress Copyright Office
Complete documentary sets of each "as broadcast" episode in DigiBeta or 1/2" VHS format and written transcriptions. "Soul Train" deposited this material at the Library of Congress Copyright Office in 2001.

Appraisal
Appraisal
Archives Center staff examined over 280 cubic feet of material that consisted of business records with footage in video and digital formats, show transcripts, technical information for each episode, contracts, and slides. These materials were not acquired.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Programs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Soul musicians Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Soul music Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Posters Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
African American music -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rhythm and blues music Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Award presentations Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Press releases Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Articles Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives