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Ernie Smith Jazz Film Collection

Performer:
Basie, Count, 1904-  Search this
Webster, Ben  Search this
Armstrong, Louis, 1901-1971  Search this
Ellington, Duke, 1899-1974  Search this
Fitzgerald, Ella, 1917-1996  Search this
Goodman, Benny (Benjamin David), 1909-1986  Search this
Jamal, Ahmad, 1930-  Search this
Robinson, Bill, 1878-1949  Search this
Davis, Miles  Search this
Collector:
Smith, Ernie  Search this
Names:
Apollo Theatre (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Extent:
30 Cubic feet (352 film reels , 16 mm)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Motion pictures (visual works)
Place:
Harlem (New York, N.Y.) -- 20th century
Date:
1894-1979
Summary:
More than 300 reels of 16mm black and white and color film, silent and sound, fiction and documentary motion picture film documenting jazz and related musical performances, social and popular dance styles and performances, jazz musicians, performance locales, and documentation of African-American popular culture. A list of featured performers in the collection is shown below. The films are frequently compilations produced by Smith for lectures.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of 352 reels of 16mm motion picture film. Most of the film is 16mm black and white and sound (composite optical track print), although a few titles are silent or in color. The collection is comprised of compilation reels created by Ernie Smith to accompany his lectures, topical compilation reels created by Ernie Smith, compilation reels created by the Archives Center, and single title reels. The Archives Center produced master and reference video copies using a wet-gate telecine film-to-tape transfer system. Titles were often combined to allow for increased ease of handling, storage, and duplication.

The collection is strongest in the areas of jazz dance styles including Lindy Hop and tap, overviews of jazz musical performers and styles; specific jazz musicians and performers including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Woody Herman, Artie Shaw, Bob Crosby, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Jack Teagarden as well as a wide range of female vocalists; and documentation of the New York jazz and club scene. The collection includes feature films and excerpts from feature films, Soundies and other film shorts, television kinescopes, and documentary films.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into one series and is not arranged in accordance with standard archival procedures. The breadth of the collection and the existence of so many multiple topic and/or performer compilation reels made it impossible to impose traditional archival series order. Therefore, each reel is described at the item level in the container list.
Biographical / Historical:
Ernie Smith began collecting jazz-related film in 1955. He wrote the entry about jazz film in the "Grove Dictionary of Jazz," and worked with Marshall Stearns on the book "Jazz Dance."
Ernest (Ernie) Smith began collecting jazz and jazz dance films during the mid-1950s. An Art Director for a New York advertising agency, Smith had a long-standing interest in jazz and jazz dance that began during his youth in Pittsburgh, Pa. Early on, Smith discovered that jazz music was best appreciated while dancing. He became an accomplished Lindy Hopper, frequenting both white and African American ballrooms.

His job at the advertising agency supported Smith's two passions - painting and jazz dance and music. Smith was also a film enthusiast so, in 1954, after taking a jazz class at the New School taught by Marshall Stearns, a leading jazz scholar, he began collecting examples of jazz and jazz dance on film. In the process of creating his film collection, Smith became one of the leading authorities on jazz and jazz dance films. He collaborated with Stearns on the 1964 book Jazz Dance, compiling the book's jazz dance film listing. He also wrote the extensive entry on jazz film for the 1988 edition of New Grove Dictionary of Jazz .

Smith built his film collection by identifying films of potential interest and acquiring them through trade and purchase. He created lecture reels on specific topics -- the history of jazz, social dance, tap dance, Duke Ellington, Lindy Hop -- and presented lecture/screenings nationally and internationally. He also provided footage for numerous documentaries and maintained active relationships with filmmakers, other film collectors, jazz scholars, the swing dance community, and musicians.

Ernie Smith donated his film collection to the Archives Center in 1993. He continues to lecture and participate in swing dance activities, but he devotes the majority of his time to painting and related artistic pursuits.
Provenance:
The Archives Center acquired the collection from Ernie Smith in 1993.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but the films are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Rights:
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.
Topic:
Tap dancing -- 1930-1970  Search this
Motion pictures and music -- 1930-1970  Search this
Dancing in motion pictures, television, etc. -- 1930-1970  Search this
Television and music -- 1930-1970  Search this
Jazz -- 20th century -- United States  Search this
Jazz musicians -- 1930-1970  Search this
Jazz dance -- 1930-1970  Search this
African Americans in the performing arts -- 1930-1970  Search this
Genre/Form:
Motion pictures (visual works) -- 20th century
Citation:
Ernie Smith Jazz Film Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0491
See more items in:
Ernie Smith Jazz Film Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0491

Creative America. [Text by John F. Kennedy, and others. Photos. by Magnum

Author:
Kennedy, John F (John Fitzgerald) 1917-1963  Search this
Magnum Photos, inc  Search this
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (U.S.)  Search this
Physical description:
127 p. illus. (part col.) ports. (part col.) 29 cm
Type:
Pictorial works
Place:
United States
Date:
1962
[c1962]
Topic:
Performing arts  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Intellectual life  Search this
Call number:
E169.1 .C91
NX60 .C912
E169.1.C91
NX60.C912
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_121966

Street sights : ICA street sights, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, May 1-18, 1980 / windows, Colette ... [et al.] ; performances, Tina Girouard, Pat Oleszko ; ICA in transit, Julie Jensen ... [et al.]

Author:
Marincola, Paula  Search this
University of Pennsylvania Institute of Contemporary Art  Search this
Physical description:
25 p. : ill. ; 28 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
Pennsylvania
Philadelphia
Date:
1980
C1980
20th century
Topic:
Performance art  Search this
Show windows--Exhibitions  Search this
Street art--Exhibitions  Search this
Arts, Modern--Exhibitions  Search this
Call number:
NX511.P35 S8X
NX511.P35S8X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_142519

The University of Wisconsin arts resources personnel

Title:
Arts resources personnel
Author:
University of Wisconsin Arts Council  Search this
Physical description:
v. 23 cm
Type:
Directories
Place:
Wisconsin
Date:
1968
Topic:
Art  Search this
Performing arts  Search this
Call number:
NX26.W82 A1
NX26.W82A1
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_157784

The Journal of arts management and law

Title:
Arts
Author:
Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation  Search this
Physical description:
v. ; 23 cm
Type:
Periodicals
Place:
United States
Date:
1982
Cl982-1992
Topic:
Performing arts  Search this
Performing arts--Law and legislation  Search this
Call number:
PN2000.P47X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_385962

Action art : a bibliography of artists' performance from futurism to fluxus and beyond / compiled by John Gray

Author:
Gray, John 1962-  Search this
Physical description:
xiv, 343 p. ; 23 cm
Type:
Bibliography
Date:
1993
20th century
Topic:
Performance art  Search this
Arts, Modern  Search this
Call number:
Z5936.P47 G73 1993X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_468037

Out of actions : between performance and the object, 1949-1979 / organized by Paul Schimmel ; with essays by Kristine Stiles ... [et al.]

Author:
Schimmel, Paul  Search this
Stiles, Kristine  Search this
Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, Calif.)  Search this
Physical description:
407 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 31 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
1998
20th century
Topic:
Performance art--Themes, motives  Search this
Performance art--Influence  Search this
Action in art  Search this
Arts, Modern  Search this
Call number:
NX456.5.P38 S35 1998X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_545866

Rose Garrard : archiving my own history : documentation of works, 1969-1994

Title:
Archiving my own history
Author:
Garrard, Rose 1946-  Search this
Cornerhouse (Gallery : Manchester, England)  Search this
Minories  Search this
Mead Gallery  Search this
South London Art Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Garrard, Rose 1946-  Search this
Physical description:
83 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 27 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
England
Date:
1994
20th century
Topic:
Art, English  Search this
Performance art  Search this
Feminism and art  Search this
Call number:
N40.1.G2365 C6 1994
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_564598

Drehpunkt 1930 / hrsg. von Hans Wichmann

Title:
Turning point 1930
Tournant de 1930
Author:
Munich (Germany) BMW-Museum  Search this
Physical description:
2 v. ill. ; 30 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
1979
20th century
Topic:
Civilization, Modern  Search this
Performing arts--History  Search this
Call number:
NX.430.G42.D74
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_640670

Pittsburgh Biennial : [catalog]

Title:
Biennial
Author:
Pittsburgh Biennial  Search this
Pittsburgh Center for the Arts  Search this
Subject:
Pittsburgh Biennial  Search this
Physical description:
v. : ill. ; 28 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Catalogs
Place:
Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh
Date:
19uu
20th century
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Modernism (Art)  Search this
Performance art  Search this
Call number:
N6487.P57 P577
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_656622

Awards and Recognition

Collection Creator:
Boatwright, Ruth Ellington, 1914-2004  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1936-1989
Scope and Contents:
Documents the awards given to Duke Ellington, as well as tributes, commemorations, and honors granted after his death. Included among these materials are Washington, DC's Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts, a memorial service program from Trinity Church in the City of New York, the White House Medal of Freedom, a commemorative stamp, a grammy, honorary degrees from Columbia and Brown Universities, and an honorary citizenship award from Niigata City in Japan. The materials are arranged in chronological order.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction. Copyright restrictions exist. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Ruth Ellington Collection, 1923-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0415, Series 5
See more items in:
Ruth Ellington Collection of Duke Ellington Materials
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0415-ref2816

Announcement for Black artists showcase: a tribute to Bob Thompson

Subject:
Thompson, Bob (Robert Louis)  Search this
Type:
Printed Materials
Date:
1967 February 28
Topic:
African American artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)18825
See more items in:
Bob Thompson papers, 1949-2005
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_18825
Online Media:

Esther Rolick in her studio

Photographer:
Hsu, William  Search this
Subject:
Rolick, Esther G.  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Date:
1968
Topic:
Artists at or with their work  Search this
Artists' studios  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)3967
See more items in:
Esther G. Rolick papers, 1940-1985
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_3967
Online Media:

Esther Rolick teaching art class

Photographer:
Hsu, William  Search this
Subject:
Rolick, Esther G.  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Date:
1968
Topic:
Artists' studios  Search this
Art--Study and teaching  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)3968
See more items in:
Esther G. Rolick papers, 1940-1985
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_3968
Online Media:

Abril Lamarque performing magic tricks

Subject:
Lamarque, Abril  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Date:
circa 1960
Topic:
Magicians  Search this
Performing arts  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)14420
See more items in:
Abril Lamarque papers, 1883-2001, bulk 1904-1999
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_14420

Claes Oldenburg's Store Days

Photographer:
McElroy, Robert R.  Search this
Subject:
Oldenburg, Claes  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Date:
1962 Feb. 23
Topic:
Performance art  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)508
See more items in:
Ellen Hulda Johnson papers, 1872-2018
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_508

Caroline Lerner at Allan Kaprow's Tree Happening on George Segal's farm

Subject:
Goldsmith, Caroline Lerner  Search this
Kaprow, Allan  Search this
Tree Happening  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Date:
1963 May 19
Topic:
Happening (Art)  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)9305
See more items in:
Caroline Lerner Goldsmith papers relating to Allan Kaprow, 1963-1984
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_9305

Allan Kaprow at George Segal's farm

Subject:
Kaprow, Allan  Search this
Tree Happening  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Date:
1963 May 19
Topic:
Happening (Art)  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)9306
See more items in:
Caroline Lerner Goldsmith papers relating to Allan Kaprow, 1963-1984
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_9306

Children on hay bales at Allan Kaprow's Tree Happening

Subject:
Kaprow, Allan  Search this
Tree Happening  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Date:
1963 May 19
Topic:
Happening (Art)  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)9307
See more items in:
Caroline Lerner Goldsmith papers relating to Allan Kaprow, 1963-1984
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_9307

Participants in Allan Kaprow's Tree Happening on George Segal's farm

Subject:
Kaprow, Allan  Search this
Tree Happening  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Date:
1963 May 19
Topic:
Happening (Art)  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)9309
See more items in:
Caroline Lerner Goldsmith papers relating to Allan Kaprow, 1963-1984
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_9309

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