An extensive collection of advertisements, club cards, ephemera, and invitations publicizing venues and events at entertainment clubs and venues in New York City, New York, New Jersey, and Florida. The materials make use of a variety of graphic arts styles.
Scope and Contents:
The collection is rich in examples of the graphic arts and event advertising in the era before the prevalence of the internet. Marketing tactics, use of urban space, and entertainment offerings may be gleaned from this material. The venues represented catered to homosexual and heterosexual patrons, some being exclusively gay or straight, but many catered to both communities of all ethnic groups. Venues may be represented by one item or many.
The collection is organized into three series.
Series 1: Venue Advertisements and Invitations, 1983-2004, undated. This series contains advertisements, invitations, and posters for nightclubs, dance clubs, restaurants, and musical and comedy events located in Manhattan and the boroughs of New York City. There is minimal material relating to clubs located in New Jersey and Florida. The nightclubs include large and small venues, mainstream as well as "fringe" clubs, clubs catering predominately to African-American, Latino, gay and lesbian communities, and venues featuring other types of music and entertainment (both adult and mainstream) in addition to disco styles, like jazz, hip-hop, and popular music.
Series 2: Correspondence and Personal, 1988-2000, undated. This series contains a small amount of correspondence and personal material for David H. Rockwell, his family, and unidentified others. Within this series are letters, cards, postcards, and business related materials.
Series 3: Other Advertisments and Ephemera, 1983-2002, undated. This series contains material related to special themed events, art openings, restaurant events, and a variety of specialized "happenings" as well as private parties and birthdays. There are also advertisements for dance studios, records, stores, and theaters.
The collection is organized in three series.
Series 1: Venue Advertisements and Invitations, 1983-2004, undated
Series 2: Correspondence and Personal, 1988-2000, undated
Series 3: Other Advertisements and Ephemera, 1983-2002, undated
Biographical / Historical:
These invitations were collected by the donor, David H. Rockwell. He also was responsible for printing many of them. Rockwell was resident in Manhattan during the time many of these invitations were created. He describes the invitations and his collecting, "Disco invitations are generally printed on heavy paper and can vary in size from 2x3 inches to 8x12 inches to full size posters. They are extremely colorful, and have very artistic graphics. They were often themed (Model's Ball, New Year's Eve, Drag Nights), or invited you to a celebrity's birthday bash. They were very prominent in New York City during the '80s and '90s, and were sent to exclusive mailing lists to announce the day, date, time, place and prices for all the differnt parties and dances held every night at New York's discos: Studio 54, Xenon, Magique, Danceteria, Limelight, The Palladium, Webster Hall, Underground and The Tunnel-over a hunderd clubs in all. The art on the invites was either created by some of Manhattan's most talented graphic artists, or those employed by the clubs. My role was to print 5000 or 10,000 lots of these invites, often five or six lots a day. I thought they were so cool I kept samples of many, were mailed many more (yes, I went to the parties and survived), and collected many others from 'invitation shelves' at Manhattan records shops, video rental stores, etc.".
The New York City club scene reached a zenith over the three decades following the 1970s emergence of disco music. The blossoming of what has been termed "club culture" followed the upheavals and advancements of the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement, the Stonewall Riots, Vietnam War and other cultural touchstones. During the 1980s and 1990s clubs regularly opened and closed as public patronage waxed and waned. On occasions clubs would close and reopen under a new name and/or location. Some clubs were notorious gathering places for the drug culture of the late twentieth century. The emergence of HIV/AIDS and a general decline in dance and music venues as an agent for dating and socializing, in part due to the internet, spelled the demise of many of the venues represented here. Many well-known New York clubs are represented in this collection.
Clubs catering to a variety of musical tastes, ethnic and social groups, as well as restaurants and adult oriented clubs used club cards, postcards, mailings, hand-outs and what are generically known as flyers to advertise their particular offerings. The graphic arts used in these various advertisements not only imparted the necessary information about the event or place but reflected the personality of the club. They also provided a venue for a variety of graphic designers to utilize their talents in formats both large and small. This phenomenon was recently explored in the 2015 exhibition, "The Last Party," curated by the author Anthony Haden-Guest at WhiteBox in New York City.
Materials in the Archives Center
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana (AC0060)
Archives Center Collection of Business Americana (AC40404)
The Shamrock Bar: Photographs and Interviews (AC0857)
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Collection (AC1146)
John-Manuel Andriote Hot Stuff: A Brief History of Disco Collection (AC1184)
DC Cowboys Dance Company Records (AC1312)
Corbett Reynolds Papers (AC1390)
Collection donated by David Hadley Rockwell in 2015.
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.
John-Manuel Andriote interviewed several individuals and entertainers involved with the disco era for his book, Hot Stuff: A Brief History of Disco. This collection contains his interview tapes, transcripts, and materials related to the research and writing of his book.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of interviews and material collected by Andriote in researching and writing his book, Hot Stuff: A Brief History of Disco, published by HarperCollins in 2001. Included are recorded and transcribed interviews that Andriote conducted with entertainers and others involved in the disco era. The transcribed interviews do not include the interview with Victor Omelcenko and Carl Uruski. The creator's original order and topic designations were maintained: span dates reflect the dates of the materials contained within the folder.
Collection is arranged in three series.
Series 1, Audio Materials, 1977-1999
Subseries 1, Original Interview Audio Cassettes, 1998-1999
Subseries 2, Transcripts of Interviews, 1999
Subseries 3, Soundtracks and Original Soundtrack and Music Compact Discs, 1977-1998
Series 2, Hot Stuff: A Brief History of Disco Bound Galley, Manuscript Draft, and Correspondence, 1999-2001
Series 3, Collected Reference Material, 1976-2001
Biographical / Historical:
In the introduction to his book, Hot Stuff: A Brief History of Disco, John-Manuel Andriote writes about disco's popularity during its heyday in the late 1970s and its continuing popularity: "For everyone, getting down was the only thing that mattered on a Saturday night… One of the unique social forces of disco, in fact, was its ability to bring together gay and straight, black and white, like no other popular music before it. People of all colors and orientations united in the name of Fun... It seems safe to say that after two decades of 'just say no'-- to drugs, unsafe sex, cigarettes, and cholesterol -- a lot of restless people are ready for the 'good times' that disco helped to create and celebrate. It's clear that millions of people throughout the world still agree that the music whose only purpose was to get your spirits up and to help you get down is the only music for dancing."  Hot Stuff chronicles disco from its beginnings through it reemergence in the late 1990s.
Andriote, John-Manuel, Hot Stuff: A Brief History of Disco, pages 1-4, New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2001.
AC1146 Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender (LGBT) Collection, 1953-2010; AC1128 John-Manuel Andriote Victory Deferred Collection, 1901-2008; AC0491 Ernie Smith Jazz Film Collection; Researcher may also be interested in the American Music Collections.
This collection was donated by John-Manuel Andriote in 2009.
The collection is open for research use.
Physical Access: Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audio-visual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an "as needed" basis, as resources allow.
Technical Access: Do not use original materials when available on reference video or audio tapes.
Copyright held by donor. Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply. All duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by Archives Center staff.