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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Delilah Jackson papers

Repository: Emory University. Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Collection Description (CRHP): This series of audiovisual materials includes oral history interviews, as well as short films ("Soundies") from the 1930s and 1940s. The interviews are conducted by Delilah Jackson and include a wide range of interviewees, from former Cotton Club dancers to Billie Holiday's first husband. Many of the interviews were conducted over the phone, and some are as short as a few minutes. The interviews are not dated, though most of the interviewees have been identified. Because of significant periods of silence and gaps in the interviews, they could not be placed in any order. The content of the interviews include anecdotes about the entertainers' experiences in Harlem and their reflections on the history of Black entertainment, racism, and life in the 1930s-1950s.

Collection Description (Extant): The collection contains materials related to the history of African American dance, theater, and music, particularly from the Harlem vaudeville era. The papers include personal correspondence, scrapbooks, subject files on individual performers, photographs, scripts, programs, oral history interviews, short films, and the records of Delilah Jackson's organization, the Black Patti Foundation. There are some early photographs from the turn of the twentieth century, but the bulk of the photographs date from the 1920s through the 1940s. Of particular note are the rare photographs of little known vaudeville performers, dancers, and singing groups. The oral history interviews are also a very notable part of the collection. There are over 300 recorded interviews with Cotton Club dancers, singers, musicians, photographers, and other performers who recall the culture of Harlem and their own experiences as Black performers over the years.

Access Copy Note: Use copies have not been made for all of the motion picture film in this series. Researchers must contact MARBL in advance for access to these materials.

Date(s): 1852-2001

Existing IDs: Manuscript Collection No. 923

Extent: 40.75 linear ft. (69 boxes) and 64 oversized papers (OP)

Finding Aid URL: External Link

Language: English

Interviewees: Wilhelmina Adams, Gordon Anderson, Joe Attles, Lorenzo Fuller, Jim Hatch, Lorenzo Tucker, Harry Watkins, Jean Bach, Mae Barnes, Etta Moten Barnett, Clyde Bernhardt, Paul Black, Albert Gibson, Russell Bowe, Ada "Bricktop" Smith, John Claude Baker, Betty Brisbane, Ralph Brown, Sue Brown, Mary Bruce, John W. Bubbles, Jacque Butler, Jack Butler, Clarence Carter, Helen Clark, Consuella, Ralph Cooper, Cousin Ida, Willie Covan, Clarisse Cumbo, Johnny Hudgins, Marion Cumbo, Clarence Curtis, Hy Curtis, Bessie Dudley, Eva Jessye, Ruby Dallas, Jimmy Daniels, Garfield Dawson, Demus Dean, Bill Dillard, Dorothy Donegan, Barclay Draper, Ruby Riley, Eddie Durham, Jimmy Lanceford, Marion Egbert, Charles Cook, Bill Eison, Edwina Evelyn, Pop Gates, Eddie Green, Sonny Greer, Johnny Grimes, Alfredo Gustar, Edna Mae Harris, Al Hibbler, Johnny Hudgins, Revella Hughes, Howard Johnson, Jonah Jones, Helena Justa, Andy Kirk, Comanche Lewis, Chickie Martin, Jimmy Monroe, Julia Moses, Lucia Moses, Margot Webb, Mitchell Parrish, Isabel Powell, Thelma Prince, Maxine Sullivan, Ram Ramirez, Leonard Reed, Ellsworth Reynolds, Dottie Rhodes, Ruby Richards, Walter Richardson, Frank Roman, Ted Ross, Dolly Ross, Maude Russell, Ethel Shepard, Leroy Simms, Morgan Smith, Marvin Smith, Tondaleyo, Ulysses S. Thompson, Earl Warren, Benny Waters, Charles Walker, Tom Whaley, Louis Williams, Sandy Williams, Sam Wooding, Lillian Yuen

Rights (Extant): Commerical films located in the audiovisual series may not be reproduced.


African American actors
African American arts
African American entertainers
African American musicians
New York (N.Y.)


Sound recordings


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   May 15, 2015
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