Collection consists of one letter and six music manuscripts by James H. "Eubie" Blake.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of one handwritten letter by Eubie Blake to Professor John Garvey, director of the University of Illinois Jazz Band, dated August 3, 1969. There are five undated manuscripts in Blake's hand of his arangements for the songs Manda, Poor Archie, Brittwood Rag, March of the Senegalese, and the W.C. Handy song, Yellow Dog Blues. In the letter Blake requests that Garvey, when playing any of these songs (for which he enclosed the manuscripts,) please mention his (Blake's) name as the arranger.
In the letter Blake also mentions Here Tis, but that manuscript was not included in this donation.
Collection is arranged in one series.
Series 1: Letter and Music Manuscripts, 1969
Biographical / Historical:
James Herbert "Eubie" Blake, noted ragtime pianist, was born February 7, 1883 in Baltimore, Maryland. Some government records show his birth year as 1887. His parents Emily "Emma" Johnston and James Sumner Blake had formerly been enslaved. Blake was their only child to live to maturity. Blake learned to play the pump organ and the piano while still a young child. Blake began his career as a pianist, songwriter, and arranger in 1915 in Baltimore playing piano in Aggie Shelton's bordello. He formed a songwritng partnership with Noble Sissle in 1915. In 1921, their musical Shuffle Along became a hit on Broadway and ran for fourteen months. Blake's career spanned his entire life. Perhaps his most recognizable song, I'm Just Wild About Harry, is considered a standard of the American musical canon. His life was the subject of the Broadway musical, Eubie, that premiered in 1978.
Blake married twice first to Avis Elizabeth Cecelia Lee (1881-1939) the daughter of Lawrence and Florence Lee. After her death from tuberculosis in March 1939, Blake married Marion Gant Tyler (1896-1982), widow of Willie Tyler, violinist, and daughter of James H. Gant and Nattie Thomas, on December 27, 1945 in Norfolk, Virginia. Marion acted as his business manager until her death.
Blake died in Brooklyn, New York, on 1983 February 12. He and Marion are both buried in Cypress Hills Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.
The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, page 114. Death certificate for Avis Blake, dated 1939, New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949," database Family Search, accessed July 5, 2019
Certificate of Marriage for James Hubert Blake and Marion Louise Gant, dated 1945 December 27, Virginia Marriage Certificates, 1936-1988, Family Search, accessed July 5, 2019
Donated to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution by Lawrence Dwyer in 2016.
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.
Floyd Levin was a Los Angeles textile manufacturer who turned his passion for jazz into a second career as an influential jazz journalist and historian. The collection consists of research materials including biographical files. In addition, there are numerous photographs that were taken and collected by Levin.
Scope and Contents:
Research materials on jazz, jazz artists, jazz festivals and jazz organizations compiled by Levin over several decades. The richest portion is the series of biographical files on jazz artists, with emphasis on lesser known but influential artists, and includes such things as obituaries, memorial programs, press releases, concert programs, and newsletters. Photographs are also widely found in this series, many of them inscribed to, or taken with Levin and his wife Lucille, as well as posters, recordings, letters and other correspondence, awards and plaques, Levin's writings, business cards, newspaper articles, advertisements, and miscellaneous ephemeral items. Artists who are strongly represented include one-time Ellington Orchestra clarinetist "Barney" (Albany Leon) Bigard, who was a close personal friend of the Levins and whose personal papers are in the collection; Louis Armstrong; "Jelly Roll" (Ferdinand Lemott) Morton; "Wild" Bill Davison; "Duke" (Edward Kennedy) Ellington; Joe Darensbourg; Edward Bertram "Montudie" Garland; "Kid" (Edward) Ory; "Eubie" (James Herbert) Blake; and "Rosy" (James) McHargue.
The collection is divided into ten series.
Series 1, Personal Papers, 1920-2010, undated
Series 2, Correspondence, 1948-2006, undated
Series 3, Research Materials, 1914-2006, undated
Series 4, Writings, 1949-2006, undated
Series 5, Artists Files, 1880-2010, undated
Subseries 5.1, General Materials, 1880-2010, undated
Subseries 5.2, Obituaries, 1941-2004
Subseries 5.3, Interviews, 1969-2001
Series 6, Subject Files, 1916-2004, undated
Series 7, General Materials, 1908-2006, undated
Series 8, Jazz Organizations and Publications, 1943-2010, undated
Series 9, Photographs, 1939-2001, undated
Series 10, Audiovisual Materials, 1964-1997, undated
Floyd Levin (1922 - 2007) was a Los Angeles textile manufacturer who turned his passion for jazz into a second, contemporaneous, career as an influential jazz journalist and historian. His numerous reviews, profiles, and articles were published in magazines such as Down Beat, Jazz Journal International, Metronome, and American Rag. He also authored Classic Jazz: A Personal View of the Music and the Musicians (University of California Press, 2000), which –like his articles – chronicled his first-hand encounters with countless jazz musicians. In 1949, he co-founded the Southern California Hot Jazz Society, the second-oldest jazz appreciation club in the country. Levin led the drive to create the Louis Armstrong Park and statue in New Orleans in the 1970s. During his career, he conducted scores of oral history interviews with jazz musicians, which he donated to NMAH and to Tulane University's jazz archive. He received several awards for his work, including the Leonard Feather Communicator Award, given annually by the Los Angeles Jazz Society. Levin died in 2007.
Donated to the Archives Center in 2011 by Floyd Levin's widow, Lucille Levin.
The collection is open for research. Only reference copies of audiovisual materials may be used.
Reproduction restricted due to copyright or trademark. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.