American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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The Black Patti

The Black Patti
The Black Patti,
Mme. M. Sissieretta Jones:
The Greatest Singer of Her Race
Metropolitan Printing Company,
New York: 1899
Color lithograph
Prints & Photographs Division
Copyright deposit (155.2)

A remarkable soprano voice and a commanding presence won personal success for Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones (1869-1933). The decorations she wears in this 1899 poster testify to her professional triumphs. In 1892, she performed at the White House for President Benjamin Harrison and in London before the Prince of Wales. Jones was known as "The Black Patti," a reference to the celebrated Italian soprano Adelina Patti. She performed in opera houses and on the vaudeville stage throughout her career, and her success there helped African Americans gain acceptance as serious artists.

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