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John Gensel Collection of Duke Ellington Materials

Creator:
Gensel, John  Search this
Morgen, Joe  Search this
Ellington, Duke, 1899-1974  Search this
Names:
Ellington, Duke, 1899-1974  Search this
Extent:
1.5 Cubic feet (5 boxes)
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Clippings
Photographs
Theater programs
Correspondence
Music
Programs
Press releases
Date:
1950-1979
Summary:
Papers relating to Duke Ellington, once owned by Ellington's publicist Joe Morgen: Morgen's correspondence, much of it relating to appearances by Ellington; photographs; some financial records; some music manuscripts of Ellington's; concert and theater programs; a film of Ellington at the White House in 1969 when he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Nixon; and press releases and newspaper and magazine articles.
Scope and Contents note:
The collection consists of material compiled by Joe Morgen as an employee of Duke Ellington from 1957 to 1979. This includes correspondence, some of Morgen=s personal financial records, photographs, magazine articles, and newspaper clippings about Ellington. In addition there are public relations and biographical sketches about Ellington, a 35mm film of Ellington at the White House when he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Nixon, and an acetate reference recording of AAfro-Bossa.@ There are also materials not related to Ellington that include miscellaneous sheet music from the AJudy Garland Show,@ documents for the 1960s program AYouth Wants to Know,@ some 45 rpm commercial and test sound recordings of Mary Lou Williams performing some of her music, broadsides of various jazz musicians printed on black cloth, and other unidentified documents.
Arrangement:
The collection is organized into eleven series:

Series 1: Joe Morgen Correspondence and Personal Papers

Series 2: Photographs, Slides, and Negatives

Series 3: Judy Garland Show Sheet Music

Series 4: Ellington Materials

Series 5: Sound Recordings

Series 6: Biographical and Press Related Materials

Series 7: Programs, Invitations, and Flyers

Series 8: Publications

Series 9: Magazine and Newspaper Clippings

Series 10: Film Reel, Duke Ellington at the White House

Series 11: Miscellaneous
Biographical/Historical note:
Rev. John Garcia Gensel, a Lutheran minister at St. Peter's church in New York City, 1956-1993, was a close confidant and spiritual presence within the New York jazz community. Conducting evening jazz vespers from 1965 until 1993, Gensel was able to develop close ties with New York's jazz musicians and their families. He believed that jazz was the best music for worship because it spoke to the existential nature of the person playing it. Along with conducting his jazz vespers, Gensel also officiated at weddings, baptisms, and funerals for much of the jazz community, including those of Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie. Duke Ellington, a close friend and confidant, dedicated part of his Second Sacred Concert, The Shepard (Who Watches Over the Night Flock) to Gensel.

Joe Morgen, described as a fast talking Broadway-beat publicist, was hired by Ellington in 1957 to manage his public relations. Although he was disliked by Billy Strayhorn and perceived by others as graceless and aggressive, Ellington nonetheless overlooked Morgen's weaknesses. In his memoir Music Is My Mistress Ellington wrote, "I think he does a great job. He is an extraordinary individual, and I always say he is a man who doesn't have the tiniest facet of the devious in his makeup". Regardless of his reputation, Morgen proved highly adept at regaining media attention for Duke Ellington's music through features published in publications such as Look, the New York Times, and Newsweek. Phoebe Jacobs, head of promotion for the Basin Street Nightclub, said, "Joe Morgen made all of that happen. He sold everybody on Ellington." Morgen remained loyal to Ellington long after his death by working with his foundation to produce a benefit show and tribute to Duke to help raise money for the Ellington Cancer Foundation.

Sources

Fuller Up: The Dead Musicians Directory. Rev. John Gensel, 80, Pastor of Jazz Community' www.geocities.com/SoHo/Lofts/7219/revjohngensel.html.

Ellington, Edward Kennedy Duke. Music is My Mistress. New York: Double Day, 1978. 435. Hajdu, David. Lush Life, A Biography of Billy Strayhorn. New York: Farrar, Strauss,& Giroux, 1996. 166-169.
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the Smithsonian Institution in 1993 by John Gensel. The collection was turned over to the Archives Center in October 2000, with the Deed of Gift being signed in January 2001 by Gensel's widow. It is unknown clear how the materials came into the possession of Father Gensel from Joe Morgen.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Genre/Form:
Clippings
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 1950-2000
Theater programs -- 1950-1990
Correspondence -- 1950-2000
Music -- Manuscripts
Programs -- Concerts
Programs
Press releases
Citation:
John Gensel Collection of Duke Ellington Materials, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0763
See more items in:
John Gensel Collection of Duke Ellington Materials
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0763

Playbill for Hair

Published by:
Playbill, American, founded 1884  Search this
Used by:
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, American, founded 1925  Search this
Subject of:
Donnie Burks, American, 1939 - 2008  Search this
Steve Curry  Search this
Ronnie Dyson, American, 1950 - 1990  Search this
Sally Eaton, American, born 1946  Search this
Diane Keaton, American, born 1946  Search this
Barry McGuire, American, born 1935  Search this
Richard Kim Milford, American, 1951 - 1988  Search this
Melba Moore, American, born 1945  Search this
Shelley Plimpton, American, born 1947  Search this
Medium:
ink on paper
Dimensions:
H x W: 9 x 6 in. (22.9 x 15.2 cm)
Type:
theater programs
Place used:
New York City, New York, United States, North and Central America
Date:
1967
Topic:
African American  Search this
Actors  Search this
Broadway Theatre  Search this
Musical Theatre  Search this
Rock and roll (Music)  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Kayla Deigh Owens
Object number:
2011.45.39
Restrictions & Rights:
Playbill used by permission. All rights reserved, Playbill Inc.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Classification:
Memorabilia and Ephemera
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmaahc_2011.45.39

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