More than 300 reels of 16mm black and white and color film, silent and sound, fiction and documentary motion picture film documenting jazz and related musical performances, social and popular dance styles and performances, jazz musicians, performance locales, and documentation of African-American popular culture. A list of featured performers in the collection is shown below. The films are frequently compilations produced by Smith for lectures.
Sam DeVincent loved music and art and began collecting sheet music with lithographs at an early age. Series 3: African-American Music, contains circa 7,800 pieces of sheet music and folios dating from the 1820s to the 1980s; most of the material dates from after 1890. An overview to the entire DeVincent collection is available here: Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music.
The collection documents the customs and culture of black gospel song and its performance in 19th- and 20th-century America. Dr. Reagon collected photographs, sheet music, and other primary and secondary sources chronicling the development and legacy of this medium, from the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement, from blues to Gospel to classical to jazz. Among the subjects included in this collection are trailblazers such as Charles Tindley, Thomas A. Dorsey, Rosetta Tharpe, Duke Ellington, and Nathaniel Dett. Noted performers are the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the Harmonizing Four, the Hampton University Choir, and the Chick Webb Orchestra.
The papers of painter and printmaker Eldzier Cortor measure 3.1 linear feet and date from circa 1930s to 2015, with the bulk of the papers dating from 1972 to 2015. The papers contain biographical material, correspondence, professional files, exhibition and gallery files, writings, printed material, artwork, and photographs.
Jean Borgatti's collection dates from 1971 to 2003 and was created in Nigeria and Ghana. Much of the collection documents masquerades, shrines, festivals, market scenes, and ceremonies, and includes images of Urhobo, Uzairue, Ishan (Esan), Etsako, and Otuo peoples.
Publicity photographs of musicians and entertainers, mostly jazz musicians, such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie, but including many rock and even a few classical performers. The collection also contains tape recorded radio interviews conducted between 1970 and 2003. In addition there are posters relating to musical performances.
The papers of African American artist and educator Jeff Donaldson measure 12.5 linear feet and date from 1918 to 2005, with the bulk of the records dating from the 1960s to 2005. The collection documents Donaldson's work as a professional artist, his academic career at Howard University, and his leadership role in the Black Arts Movement through biographical material, a small amount of professional and personal correspondence, personal business records, writings by Donaldson and others, research files, artist files, sound recordings of interviews Donaldson conducted with over 40 artists, teaching files, exhibition files, printed material, and photographs. Also found are detailed records of his professional activities and leadership roles in AfriCOBRA, CONFABA, FESTAC, and the Organization of Black American Culture (OBAC), including documentation on the Wall of Respect mural.
The Fletcher and Horace Henderson Collection contains original scores and band books, loose sheet music, both original and published, from both Fletcher and Horace's libraries, playlists, lyrics, photographs, personal papers and correspondences, newspaper clippings, jazz publications, an oral history manuscript of an interview with Horace, audio ta...
The papers of art historian, curator, and educator Patricia Hills measure 23.1 linear feet and date from circa 1900-2015, bulk 1968-2009. Central to this collection are project files documenting professional work that resulted in lectures, publications, exhibitions, art history courses on numerous artists including Alice Neel, Jacob Lawrence, May Stevens, Rudolf Baranik, and John Singer Sargent. These files and files documenting Hills's tenure at the Whitney Museum of American Art include planning documents, research files, correspondence, manuscripts and accompanying publications, as well as other printed materials. The collection also contains correspondence with art historians, artists, curators, and others, notably Lawrence Alloway, Lowery Stokes Sims, Lucy R. Lippard, T.J. Clark, Leon Golub, and Donald Kuspit; professional files documenting grants and residencies awarded and consulting work; artist and subject files; other writings; and printed material. Membership and affiliation records document Hills' service to the profession, including Women's Caucus for Art and the Visual Culture/Art History Caucus of the American Studies Association.
Bobby Short was a singer and pianist whose career spanned seven decades. An interpreter of American popular music, he became a performer in childhood and remained active until his death. He is best known for his more than 35 years as performer-in-residence at the Hotel Carlyle's Café Carlyle in New York City. This collection contains personal papers and photographs as well as business papers, musical materials and photographs relating to Mr. Short's career as a performing artist.