The Entertainers collection depicts African American vaudevillians and later performers including comedians, magicians, and circus performers from the 19th century through the 1990s.The collection mainly consists of studio and publicity portraits of individuals and groups many of which are inscribed. Images of performers from the 1960s to the 1990s are limited. Among the other photograph collections containing images of performers are the Helen Armstead-Johnson Photograph Collection and the Portrait collection, which also include musicians, vocalists, and actors.The Vaudevillians series (ca. 1890s-ca. 1930s) consists of studio and publicity portraits of individuals and groups. Some performers are in blackface and most of the individuals are identified. Some photos are inscribed to vaudevillian Stella Johnson of Stompy and Stella. Johnson is depicted in individual portraits as well as with her partner Stompy. Other vaudevillians depicted in the collection include Arthur Bryson, Ernest Hogan, Billy Kersands, Flournoy Miller, Abbie Mitchell and musical/comedy group Butterbeans & Susie (Jodie and Sofie Edwards).The General series (1930s-1990s) consists of studio and publicity portraits of mainly male entertainers, and to a lesser extent, females, and groups. Some images document performances in Harlem, New York theaters and nightclubs such as the Apollo Theatre and the Cotton Club. Among the performers depicted are Franklyn Ajaye, Bill Cobbs, Nipsey Russell and musical/comedy groups Coke & Poke, Freddie & Flo, and Patterson & Jackson. Also included is a group portrait of The Frogs, an African American theatrical organization.
Content: Some photographs bear photographer's or photography studio's handstamp on verso and/or blind stamp on recto; some images bear photographer's signature or photography studio's name printed on recto. Some photographs bear handwritten notations and/or typewritten or printed captions on verso. Some items bear handwritten or printed captions on recto; some items are autographed or inscribed. Some publicity portraits have resumes or press releases attached to verso. Two photos have partial vaudeville contracts attached. A few items are scrapbook pages; two pages have photos are affixed to both sides. Some photographs are cropped. Some items are in need of conservation. Includes a few composite photographs and photomontages.
Extent: 296 items (.9 cu. ft., 4 boxes)
Extent: 15 photographic prints :gelatin silver, b&w ;36 x 28 cm.
Extent: 228 photographic prints :gelatin silver, b&w ;26 x 21 cm. and smaller.
Extent: 46 photographic prints :gelatin silver, b&w ;18 x 15 cm. and smaller.
Extent: 7 photomechanical prints :halftone, b&w ;34 x 25 cm. and smaller.