Series 5: Personal Correspondence and Notes, 1941-1974 (2.1 cu. ft., 5 DB) includes personal letters, cards, postcards, and invitations sent to Ellington by celebrities, fans, dignitaries, friends, and colleagues between 1941 and 1974. The majority of the correspondence was received by Duke Ellington on his 70th and 75th birthdays, and during his final illness in 1974. Correspondents of particular interest include four U.S. presidents and their First Ladies, foreign and domestic dignitaries, and contemporary television personalities, editors, and critics. Prominent musicians, composers and singers such as W.C. Handy, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald are represented among the letters and telegrams. There is also a long letter by a former school teacher.
Notes written by Ellington that document his thoughts on jazz music, musicians, and history are among the most significant items. The hand-written and typed notes include lyrics to sacred and secular songs, and draft manuscripts and chronologies for his book, Music Is My Mistress. Included among these notes are performances and recording itineraries and tune lists. Most of these notes are found in boxes five and six. Of further interest in this series are the Ellington Christmas cards, renowned for their original poetry and artwork and unique presentation of the season's greetings.
The records are arranged chronologically. Undated materials have been placed at the end of the series. The personal letters of Father Gerald Pocock have been separated from the rest of the correspondence materials and restricted at the request of the author to protect his privacy. These records will become available to researchers in the year 2000.
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