Scrapbook contains articles and ephemera relating to an African American troupe of thirty five minstrels who performed in the Pacific Northwestern United States.
Scope and Contents:
The scrapbook offers documentation of the troupe's activities dating from 1876-1909 in the Pacific Northwestern United States. It contains articles, ticket stubs, newspaper and magazine clippings and programs. Also included are brief biographical sketches of Billy Williams, the contortionist, and Harry Gillam, the "Hebrew acrobat," and an article about the managers of the Up To Date minstrels, J. Edward George and G. E. Hart. In addition, there are business cards from other minstrel performing groups including, Cissel and Mines and Oliver and Gilliam, with accompanying pictures. There are loose materials which were probably once part of the scrapbook, including programs and letterhead stationery. There are also photographs of the troupe taken in Missouri in 1900 standing outside a train car as they travelled from one location to another. The materials are arranged first by type and then in chronological order.
The collection is arranged in one series.
Biographical / Historical:
George and Hart's Up To Date Georgia Minstrels were an African American troupe of thirty-five entertainers about whom this scrapbook was created. In 1901, these minstrels were described as "the only colored show running for thirty years." The troupe, which began circa 1866, was billed as "the most popular" troupe of performers from California to Montana to Washington to New Mexico to Colorado to Minnesota. They performed standard minstrel acts and included a contortionist, an acrobatic act, and a male impersonator. This form of theater entertainment was used by African American dramatic performers for consistent employment with reasonable wages. The Up To Date Georgia Minstrels were said to have been the "highest paid" performers in the area, making five to fifteen dollars a week. The troupe was managed by George Hart.
The material was donated to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History by the San Diego Historical Society on March 11, 1997. The Society has no further information about the scrapbook which was outside the scope of its collecting policy.
Collection is open for research.
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.