The papers of historian Henry P. Whitehead measure 156.91 linear feet and date from 1843 to 2010 (bulk 1945-1986). The collection documents Whitehead's careers, as well as his family and personal life. The collection also includes the personal papers of Tomlinson D. Todd, Elizabeth B. Delaney and the Howard Theatre Foundation. The combined collection is comprised of black theatrical memorabilia; materials relating to civil rights activities in the District of Columbia; and the African American experience in general. Included are playbills, sheet music, admission tickets, newspapers, magazines, books, photographs, clippings, flyers, brochures, pamphlets, sound recordings, research files, and other material.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of historian Henry P. Whitehead measure 156.91 linear feet and date from 1843 to 2010 (bulk 1945-1986). The collection includes the personal papers of Henry P. Whitehead, Tomlinson D. Todd, Elizabeth B. Delaney and the Howard Theatre Foundation. The collection is divided into four series.
Series I focuses on Whitehead and includes papers dating from 1843 to his death in 2011. This series includes biographical material including a large amount of appointment books, identification and membership cards, resumes, certificates, and personal and family material.
There is a limited amount of correspondence, which focuses on his personal relationships with family, friends, and general correspondence relating primarily to his work as a local historian.
Also found within Whitehead's papers are countless records from his time employed by the Washington DC government. Materials include memoranda, notes, research material, handbooks, guides, manuals, affirmative action info and records, affirmative action plans, promotion recommendations, recruitment plans and summaries, personnel files (complaints), civil actions and reports related too Whitehead's 37 years of government employment. It reflects the activities of numerous departments, primarily in regards to employment and affirmative action.
There are also a number of files that document Whitehead's involvement in numerous community organizations. Among the organizations in which Whitehead was involved include U Street Festival, Lincoln Corporation, and the U Street Theater Foundation. The papers of the U Street Foundation document the production and establishment of the annual U Street Festival. The Lincoln Theater Foundation and the U Street Theater Foundation papers document the efforts to reopen the Lincoln Theater. Also included are Whitehead's research on the Lincoln as well as old Lincoln Theatre programs. Additionally found within this series are documents and clippings on the economic development within Washington DC particularly in the Shaw/U Street location.
The majority of this series consists of printed material. Printed material in this series includes books, clippings, magazines, newsletters, newspapers, press releases, sheet music, programs as well as promotional material for several Washington DC theaters and organizations. There is a large quantity of theater programs dating from 1900-1986. The majority of the clippings and magazines are theater related topics, coupled with a miscellaneous selection of clippings on topics that presumably captured Whitehead's attention.
Research, notes and writings include a large amount of scrapbooks compiled by Whitehead of mostly photocopied clippings documenting Washington DC history, African American theater history, and general African American history. Five scrapbooks were compiled by an unknown source and were previously housed in the New York Public Library collection. Two scrapbooks are about general theater history one about Frances Starr and one about Margaret Anglin. There is also one scrapbook pertaiing to Mae Hall. Also included are a large amount of research notes and notebooks along with general miscellaneous notes.
There are several photographs of African Americans in the performing arts as well as images of Washington DC and several unidentified men, women, and children.
Audio recordings include 23 cassette from the Alexandria Church of God.
The remainder of the collection consists of the papers of Tomlinson D. Todd, Elizabeth B. Delaney, and those about the Howard Theatre.
The Howard Theatre papers are arranged in Series II and include documents relating to the Washington DC historic Howard Theatre and date from 1910 to 1986. The papers in this series predominantly document the Howard Theatre Foundation's efforts to reestablish and run the Howard Theatre in which Whitehead was the vice president. Records include business correspondence, founding documents, photographs, memoranda, press releases, member lists, financial records, clippings, and scrapbooks of clippings pertaining to the organization and theatre.
The correspondence in the collection include a handful of letters from the Washington DC government along with individuals and organizations. Also included is a large amount of interoffice memoradums.
Administrative records include lawsuits, resolutions, meeting minutes, grant proposals, press releases, memoranda, member lists, studies and reports.
Financial records include check stubs, receipts, invoices, bank statements, expenses, and contribution lists.
Printed material includes original and photocopied clippings relating to the history and coverage of the foundation activities. Mostly promotional material as flyers, brochures, and press releases along with programs. In particular two 1920 Howard Theatre programs.
The scrapbooks of original and photocopied clippings compiled by Whitehead chronicle the history of the theatre and coverage of the foundation activities.
There are three VHS cassette featuring Whitehead discussing the Howard Theatre. Also found in series 2 are numerous stock investment record books belonging to A.E. Lichtman one of the early managers of the Howard Theatre. In addition early correspondence between Lichtman and the Rex Amusement Company concerning operational management issues of the Howard Theatre.
The Tomlinson D. Todd papers are arranged in Series III and date from 1902-1986 they include organization files, collected printed materials, subject files, and personal papers.
The collection includes materials relating to organizations in which there was a relationship to Todd's work and in which he had an interest primarily during the 1940s and 1950s, organizations include the National Negro Congress (ca, 1946-1947); the Congress for Industrial Organizations (1943-1947); National Council of Negro Women (1947-1949); Committee for Racial Democracy in the Nation's Capital (1947-1948).
The subject files include documents from three of Todd's organizations; Institute on Race Relation, Club Internationale, and his radio program "Americans All". As well as printed material from Todd's alma mater Lincoln University.
The largest subject file is "Americans All" which includes radio scripts as well as audio recording of a few programs and public service announcements. Also found are several black and white photographs of Todd at the radio studio.
Printed materials include newspapers, leaflets, convention proceedings, and flyers, There are a large amount of programs ranging from church worship to convention as well as performance.
Also present is a small amount of personal papers, including resumes, certificates, admission tickets, family documents, and travel ephemera from his all expense paid trip to Nigeria.
There are a few photographs of Todd at functions and with notable individuals as well as some family, friends and travel.
Elizabeth's B. Delaney papers are arranged in Series IV and date from 1874-1973.
The papers primarily document her involvement in four organizations, the Grand Oder of Odd Fellow of Kentucky, the Order Eastern Star Kentucky, the State Federation of Colored Women's Clubs of Kentucky and the National Association of Colored Women. There is a small amount of printed material belonging to her son primarily the Alpha Phi Alpha material and Gospel Choral Sheet Music, and books.
The Scrapbook was complied by Whitehead consisting of photocopied clipping documenting the life of Elizabeth B. Delaney.
This collection is arranged into four series:
Series 1: Henry P. Whitehead papers
Series 2: Howard Theatre
Series 3: Tomlinson D. Todd
Series 4. Elizabeth B. Delaney
Henry Preston Whitehead Jr., was a native of Columbus Ohio. A graduate of Ohio State University, where he also attended law school and was a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Mr. Whitehead discovered Washington's "Black Broadway" in 1940, when he was a soldier in town on a weekend furlough. As he served in the Army in the South Pacific during World War II. Prior to moving to Washington DC Henry P. Whitehead worked for five years as a liquor inspector. Mr. Whitehead moved to Washington D.C. in 1949 and worked for the Post Office before working for the District of Columbia government where he stayed 21 years. He led several equal employment initiatives during the 1960s and 1970s, and was last employed as associate director of the District's Office of Human Rights. In 1980 after putting in 37 years of government service Mr. Whitehead retired.
Mr. Whitehead was an historian who led efforts to restore Washington's U Street cultural corridor and achieved recognition as an authority on and collector of black theatrical memorabilia. Mr. Whitehead worked to promote and preserve the city's rich African American cultural heritage.
Mr. Whitehead, served as the chairman and president for 10 years of the Howard Theater Foundation Inc., which he helped establish. There he led the effort to include Howard Theatre in the National Register of Historic Places.
Similarly he was an active member of the U Street Festival Foundation. He was an adviser to the Kennedy Center, Anacostia Museum, and other Smithsonian Institution units and contributed materials to their exhibitions. He was also a consultant to historical documentaries broadcast on public television and radio, including PBS's "Duke Ellington's Washington." His writings included "Remembering U Street," a book used for annual festivals in the historic area.
Mr. Whitehead was also the founder and board member of the Lincoln Theatre Foundation.
Henry P. Whitehead Jr. died on January 8th 2002 at the age of 84.
Related archival materials in the Institute on Race Relations records in the Anacostia Community Museum Archives.
This collection also contains artifacts catalogued in the ACM Objects collection.
The collection was donated to the Anacostia Community Museum on September 1, 2005 by Michael A. Watkins.
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment: ACMarchives@si.edu.
The Henry P. Whitehead collection is the physical property of the Anacostia Community Museum. Literary and copyright belong to the author/creator or their legal heirs and assigns. Rights to work produced during the normal course of Museum business resides with the Anacostia Community Museum. For further information, and to obtain permission to publish or reproduce, contact the Museum Archives.
Sam DeVincent loved music and art and began collecting sheet music with lithographs at an early age.
Series 3: African-American Music, contains circa 7,800 pieces of sheet music and folios dating from the 1820s to the 1980s; most of the material dates from after 1890.
An overview to the entire DeVincent collection is available here: Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music.
Scope and Contents note:
The African-American series contains circa 7,800 pieces of sheet music and folios dating from the 1820s to the 1980s; most of the material dates from after 1890. Many of the pieces were composed or performed by Afro-American musicians; other pieces were created by white musicians using black musical styles (for example Joseph Lamb's classic ragtime compositions). A large part of the series consists of songs about African-Americans (minstrel show songs), often written in dialect and usually filled with negative stereotypes. Most, but not all, of the composers of this material were white. Subseries 3.1-3.7 are organized by musical genre and arranged by the chronological first appearance of the genre in American popular culture. The last subseries, 3.8, is a composer/performer aggregation including many musical genres but only African-American musicians.
The DeVincent Collection holds a wealth of ragtime material which forms an important part of series 3. There are approximately 530 items of vocal ragtime and approximately 2,800 instrumental ragtime items. The principle composers of ragtime have separate folders and are indexed by name (however, some of their material may be in the general ragtime folders). One of the strengths of the DeVincent ragtime file is its diversity and inclusion of lesser-known figures. Sam DeVincent built the ragtime section with a broad conception of the genre, a conception in keeping with the thinking of the time. Characteristic two-steps, syncopated marches, and some dances from the ragtime dance craze (turkey trots, a few tangos, etc.) are included in the general file indicating the widespread infusion of ragtime rhythms into American popular music during the early 20th century.
A large part of series 3 is organized and indexed by composer or performer; subseries 3.8 is solely organized this way. African-American composers who wrote only ragtime music, such as Scott Joplin, have been kept in subseries 3.6, "ragtime composers and publishers," which includes both black and white musicians.
The jazz holdings in subseries 3.7, "blues and jazz music," are quite small; most of the items are about jazz rather than the creations of jazz musicians. DeVincent organized most of his jazz materials by composer and performer. African-American jazz musicians have been incorporated into subseries 3.8. White jazz musicians are not in series 3. For help in locating jazz material in the DeVincent Collection, see the appendix "Finding Aid to Jazz Sheet Music and Ephemera."
There are four indexes in this register. The first two are for series 3: a Topical Index and a Select Name and Title Index . Following are the two composite indexes which combine the indexes of series 1, 2, and 3. These composite indexes are an important cross-reference tool.
For example, someone doing research on James Reese Europe would naturally start reading the register for series 3. The index to series 3 lists folder 3.8 BB under the heading for Europe. In the composite index, we learn that folder 2.4 XX also has a composition by Europe. Sam DeVincent placed in the Armed Forces file a piece by Europe that he wrote while serving in the Army as director of the 369th Hellfighters Band.
This series is arranged in the following subseries: 3:1 Minstrel Show and Blackface Entertainers; 3:2 Uncle Tom's Cabin; 3:3 African-American Folk-song and Spirituals; 3:4 Songs about African-American/Vocal Ragtime; 3:5 Instrumental and Ragtime Music; 3:6 Ragtime Composers and Publishers; 3:7 Blues and Jazz Music; 3:8 Composers and Performers.
Arranged in 9 subseries.
3.1: Minstrel Shows and Blackface Entertainers
3.2: Uncle Tom's Cabin
3.3: African-American Folk-songs and Spirituals
3.4: Songs about African-American/Vocal Ragtime
3.5: Instrumental and Ragtime Music
3.6: Ragtime Composers and Publishers
3.7: Blues and Jazz Music
3.8: Composers and Performers
Materials in Other Organizations:
Sam DeVincent Collection of American Sheet Music, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
This collection contains duplicates of materials in the Smithsonian collection, as well as materials acquired by Mr. DeVincent after the donation to the Smithsonian. The phonograph records described above were transferred to the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History:
Donald J. Stubblebine Collection of Musical Theater and Motion Picture Sheet Music and Reference Material, 1843-2010 (AC1211)
Forms Part Of:
Series 3: African-American Music forms part of the
Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music
An ongoing, updated list of DeVincent topical series is available via the Smithsonian finding aid portal.
This collection was purchased by the Smithsonian Institution in 1988 from Sam and Nancy Lee DeVincent.
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.
The Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution