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 majority of the material in the Benny Carter Collection is dated from the late 1920s through the later half of the 1990s. Donated to the Smithsonian Institution in December, 2000, the bulk of the collection is comprised of original music manuscripts (full scores and parts), band books, and published sheet music from Benny Carter's prolific care...
Papers documenting Cheatham's career as a jazz trumpeter. The papers include passports, appointment and address books; photographs, both personal and professional; a transcript of an interview of Cheatham; sheet music, including parts for various instruments; home movies from Cheatham's travels; awards and certificates; printed material including posters, programs, clippings.
Ella Fitzgerald, often called the "First Lady of Song," was one of the 20th century's most important musical performers. The collection reflects her career and personal life through photographs, audio recordings, and manuscript materials.
The collection documents Duke Ellington's career primarily through orchestrations (scores and parts), music manuscripts, lead sheets, transcriptions, and sheet music. It also includes concert posters, concert programs, television, radio, motion picture and musical theater scripts, business records, correspondence, awards, as well as audiotapes, audiodiscs, photographs, tour itineraries, newspaper clippings, magazines, caricatures, paintings, and scrapbooks.
The collection consists of materials relating to the creation and operation of the restaurant chain known as the Coon Chicken Inn.
Duncan Schiedt (1921-2014) was a jazz scholar, writer, photographer, film maker, researcher and pianist. He authored four books relating to jazz history. Many of his photographs and articles were featured in magazines, periodicals and documentaries. Schiedt also collected the work of other photographers on the subject of jazz. The collection primarily consists of photographs created by or collected by Mr. Schiedt.
Sam DeVincent loved music and art and began collecting sheet music with lithographs at an early age. Series 4: Songwriters: A "songwriter" for this series is defined as a composer, a lyricist, or both. An overview to the entire DeVincent collection is available here: Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music.
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.
The collection documents Gabler's involvement in the recording industry and the evolution of Commodore Records. The documentation begins with the Commodore Radio Shop through its evolution to Commodore Music Shop. The collection also includes the beginnings of the Commodore record label and information detailing Gabler's 30 years as staff producer and later Vice-President in Charge of Artists and Repertoire at Decca Records (1941-1974). There is a small collection of black and white photographs chronicling the early years at the Commodore Music Shop, as well as jam sessions, often held at Jimmy Ryan's on 52nd Street. The collection also includes a vast array of audio recordings (mainly audiodiscs).