Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1937-1979 ( 28 cu. ft.; 77 .5 Flt B, 16 rolls microfilm) consists of seventy-seven scrapbooks containing domestic and international newspaper clippings and magazine articles compiled by Burrelle's Press Clipping Bureau for the Ellington organization between 1931 and 1973. The news clippings include announcements of Ellington performances and jazz festivals, performance and record reviews, information on Ellington's foreign and domestic tours, discussions of Ellington's composition style and his management of the Ellington Orchestra, music popularity polls, obituaries, tributes, and essays concerning the social issues of importance to Ellington. In addition, there are advertisements, programs, invitations, itineraries, letters and telegrams.
As Ellington's performing career progressed, the scrapbooks document a change in the press from simple announcements of concerts and record releases to longer and more laudatory articles praising Ellington's activities and his music, beliefs, and lifestyle. Taken as a whole, the bound and unbound clippings in series 8 and 9 provide insight into the growth of Ellington's popularity and social status, as well as the changing musical, social, political, and racial dynamics of the United States after World War II.
The scrapbooks are arranged chronologically by the beginning span date of each volume. Most volumes cover only a few months while others span several years. Overlapping dates generally occur because the articles were compiled and mounted in the scrapbooks in the order they were received by Burrelle's, without regard to time lags incurred due to location of origin and frequency of publication. Volume numbers refer to individual bound collections of mounted clippings. Each microfilm roll covers several scrapbook volumes.
Of interest are articles documenting the boycott and cancellation of an Ellington concert by the local chapter of the NAACP in Richmond, Virginia, in February, 1951 (vol. 14), Mercer Ellington's musical career (vol. 33), Ellington's 70th birthday party and presidential concert at the Nixon White House (vol. 60), the premiere of The River at the new Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. (vol. 71), foreign press coverage of the Ellington Orchestra's international tours, including those to Europe (vols. 1, 4, 15, 18-21, 28, 45), the Middle East (vols. 31-32), South American (vol. 55), Southeast Asia (vol. 64), and the Soviet Union (vol. 71), articles written by Ellington (vol. 2), the New Yorker three-part series on Ellington (vol. 8), Ellington's views on segregation (vols. 14, 23-24), the Sacred Music concerts (vols.39, 48-52), and the tribute to Ellington, "Duke Ellington . . . We Love You Madly" (vols. 76-77).
Mounted congratulatory letters addressed to Ellington commemorating the tenth anniversary of his premiere at the Cotton Club are in volume 45. Among them, are letters from Chick Webb, Helen Oakley, Glenn Burrs, Andre Kostelanetz, Victor Young, Cab Colloway, Ferde Grofe, Louis Armstrong, Xavier Cugat, Rudy Vallee, George Frazier, Sammy Kaye, Irving Mills, W.C. Handy, Abel Green, Joe Higgins, and M.H. Orodenker.
Volume 29 contains unbound, mounted clippings that have not been microfilmed.
Please consult the reference archivist for information regarding their use.
Due to the fragile condition of the scrapbooks, microfilm copies are available for interlibrary loan or use in the National Museum Of American History Branch Library (catalog number: mfm 1174, rolls 1-16). Phone #202-633-3865
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