The collection, which dates from the 1980s and measures 1.42 linear feet, was compiled in the course of preparations for the "Black Women: Achievements Against the Odds" exhibit, which was staged at the Anacostia Museum from February 1976 to December 1976. This collection documents the lives and achievements of African American women in a variety of fields, including law, medicine, education, politics, science and the arts. The collection is comprised of documents, magazine and newspaper clippings, correspondence, photocopies, brochures and pamphlets.
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment: ACMarchives@si.edu.
The collection documents the career of Jeni LeGon as a dancer, dance instructor and actress.
Scope and Contents:
Papers documenting LeGon's career as an actress and dancer. The collection includes biographical information; letters; photographs of LeGon, her students, and other dancers with whom she worked, including Bill "Bojangles" Robinson"; her early travel itineraries, schedules and personal calendars; an honorary doctoral degree; programs; advertisements and invitations to dance events; a scrapbook of clippings; and clippings and articles.
The collection is arranged into four series.
Series 1, Early Career, 1930s
Series 2, Materials relating to Movie Performances, 1935-1945
Series 3, Dance Instruction and Performances, 1953-2002
Series 4, Tributes and Awards, 1979-2002
Biographical / Historical:
Jeni LeGon has been credited as being one of the first African-American women to establish a solo career in tap. Born Jennie Bell in Chicago, Illinois she began in musical theater at the age of thirteen. Her long career has allowed her to work with well-known artists including Count Basie, Leonard Reed, Ethel Waters, Al Jolson, Fred Astaire, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and Fats Waller. She died on December 7, 2012 at the age of ninety-six.
The collection was donated by Jeni LeGon in 2002.
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.