Dr. Theodore Shell Collection of Duke Ellington Ephemera, 1933-1990, #502
Dr. Theodore Shell (1915- ), dentist, "amateur" photographer and Ellington enthusiast, was born in Rahweh, New Jersey. He graduated from Shaw University in 1937 with a degree in science and chemistry, and he served five years in the U.S. Army's chemical warfare service during World War II in the European Theatre. In 1950 he received his dentistry degree from Howard University and began a practice in Washington D.C. Dr. Shell also held the position of Clinical Professor of Dentistry for 43 years at Howard. He retired in 1993.
Dr. Shell first became interested in Ellington's music in 1952. He
and Maurice Lawrence, a fellow member of the Omega Psi Phi National
Fraternity, founded a Duke Ellington Club in 1956, and it eventually
became Chapter 90 of the Ellington Society by 1962. Other founding
members of this chapter include Grant Wright, Terrell Allen, and Juanita
Jackson. Over the course of his activities with the Ellington Society,
Dr. Shell had the privilege of meeting with Duke Ellington on numerous
occasions, the first time being in 1964, and in 1971 he hosted
Ellington's 72nd birthday party in his own home. Currently, Dr. Shell is
serving as president of the organization. Click here
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Revised: January 5, 2000