National Negro Opera Company (U.S.)

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The National Negro Opera Company was managed and directed by its founder, Mary Cardwell Dawson (1894-1962). The company was founded in 1941. In the late 1940s, Mrs. Dawson moved to Washington, D.C., which then became the center of company activities. There were active chapters in Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Pittsburgh, and Red Bank, New Jersey. In 1950, the National Negro Opera Foundation was incorporated to help raise funds to sustain the company. The company ceased operations with Mrs. Dawson's death in 1962.

From the description of National Negro Opera Company collection, 1931-1989 (bulk 1941-1962). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 71129911

The National Negro Opera Company was founded in 1941 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by Mary Cardwell Dawson, musician and founder of the Cardwell School of Music. The companion National Negro Opera Foundation was established in 1950 in Washington, DC.

From the description of National Negro Opera Company collection, 1940-1961. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702150751

From the description of National Negro Opera Company collection, 1940-1961. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 81538858

Agency Sketch

The National Negro Opera Company, the first African-American opera company in the United States, was founded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1941, by Mary Cardwell Dawson (born February 14, 1894, in Madison, North Carolina; died March 19, 1962). Ms. Dawson graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music in June 1925, then did post-graduate work at the Chicago Musical College, and in New York and Boston. She began her professional career giving private voice lessons at the Cardwell School of Music, in Homestead, Pennsylvania, which she founded in 1927. She staged and directed the opera Romeo and Juliet at Carnegie Music Hall, in Pittsburgh (1926-1927) followed by the operetta The Merry Milk Maids, which she staged at nearby Schenley High School, in 1930. Mary Cardwell Dawson appeared as a soloist at the Century of Progress (World's Fair), Chicago, in 1933. That same year she organized the Cardwell Dawson Choir, made up of students at her school. The ensemble began a series of annual concerts in 1934, gradually developing into a prize-winning ensemble in the late 1930s. They won the Sun-Telegraph (Harvey Gaul) Award for Musical Excellance in both 1937 and 1938. The Cardwell Dawson Choir accepted invitations to appear at the Chicago and New York World's Fairs in the late 1930s. Seven years later, on May 27, 1944, the Choir received a first place award in the Nationalist Class of the Western Pennsylvania Choral Festival. Ms. Dawson served as president of the National Association of Negro Musicians (hereafter referred to as the NANM) from 1939 to 1941, and was chairman of the association's opera committee.

Ms. Dawson launched the National Negro Opera Company (hereafter referred to as the NNOC) at the NANM annual convention, in August 1941. The NNOC was incorporated in the state of Illinois in 1942 with the stated purpose of "affording for the Negro the opportunity for the fullest expression in cultural development." The first operatic production was a performance of Verdi's Aida, presented at Pittsburgh's Syria Masque, on August 29, 1941. The stars in the first production included La Julia Rhea (as Aida), Minto Cato, Carol Brice, Robert McFerrin, and Lillian Evanti. After two years of various struggles and disappointments, the NNOC began to experience more consistant success, beginning with the August 29, 1943 performance of Verdi's La Traviata, performed at the Watergate, in Washington, D.C. - the stage being an anchored floating barge. The next year, on March 29, 1944, after successful performances in Chicago and Pittsburgh, the company staged La Traviata at New York City's Madison Square Garden, to enthusiastic crowds. The NNOC presented several musical spectaculars and operatic performances at Carnegie Hall and at Town Hall in New York, including such programs as "A Music and Dance Festival" (October 5, 1947), "An Afternoon of Stars" (April 3, 1948), and a performance of R. Nathaniel Dett's The Ordering of Moses, presented on June 15, 1951. In addition to regular offerings of operatic productions and occasional large-scale New York concerts, there were many solo recitals that featured Mary Cardwell Dawson or prominant soloists of the NNOC--concerts that were often billed as benefit concerts for the NNOC. The NNOC also sponsored nine annual music festivals between July 19, 1947 and August 27, 1955 at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. These annual events consisted of bands, drill teams, dance groups, choruses, instrumental and vocal soloists - with appearances by well-known celebrities such as Noble Sissle and W. C. Handy, both of whom appeared at the August 7, 1948 event. Clark Griffith, owner of the Washington Senators baseball team, donated use of Griffith Stadium for these annual events without charging any fees.

The NNOC was active between 1941 and 1962 (the year of Dawson's death), producing operas in several cities, such as Washington, D.C., New York City and Chicago, in addition to productions staged in Pittsburgh. In the early 1940s, Ms. Dawson moved to Washington, D.C., which then became the center of the NNOC's activities. Active Opera Guilds (city chapters) were established in Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Pittsburgh, Red Bank, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. The National Negro Opera Foundation (hereafter NNOF) was incorporated in Washington, D.C. on March 31, 1950 to help raise funds to sustain the NNOC. Ms. Dawson served as director and general manager of the company from the founding of the company until her death on March 19, 1962.

The NNOC's repertoire during the years 1941-1960 consisted mainly of six operas and one oratorio ( The Ordering of Moses, arranged in operatic format by Ms. Dawson for operatic presentation). In addition to The Ordering of Moses, the operatic repertoire included Carmen (Bizet), Faust (Gounod), Aida (Verdi), La Traviata (Verdi), Il Trovatore (Verdi), and Ouanga (Clarence Cameron White).

The company reached its peak with performances of Clarence Cameron White's opera Ouanga presented in a concert version with ballet, at the Metropolitan Opera House, on May 27, 1956. The Met performance actually represented four premieres. It was the first time that the opera Ouanga had been staged in New York. Secondly, it was the first time an outside company had staged an operatic production using the Met's stage and facilities. Thirdly, it was the first opera ever presented at the Met by an African-American opera company, and lastly, it was the first time that an opera by an African-American composer (White) and librettist (John Frederick Matheus) had been performed at the Met. Four months later, on September 29, 1956, the NNOC gave another successful performance of Ouanga at New York City's Carnegie Hall.

The NNOC remained active through 1960, but the number of events gradually diminished, ceasing with Ms. Dawson's death in 1962.

The following section presents a chronological list of selected musical events and productions by the National Negro Opera Company and earlier events performed by ensembles in which Mary Cardwell Dawson was involved.

  • 1926, Mar. 26: Mary L. Cardwell gave pianoforte and voice recital at Bethleham Baptist Church, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1929, Nov. 22: Cardwell Dawson accompanied tenor Claudius James Broadfield at a recital at Wilmerding Christian Association, Wilmerding, Pa.
  • 1930, May 6: Cardwell Dawson and her Concert Company gave a recital at Schenley High School, Pittsburgh Pa.
  • 1930, June 30: Pupils of Mary Cardwell Dawson gave the sixth annual recital at Rodman Street Baptist Church, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1932, Apr. 28: The Merry Milkmaids, an operetta in two acts by C. H. Gabriel, performed at Schenley High School (Mary Cardwell Dawson directed)
  • 1932, May 27: The Merry Milkmaids performed at Carnegie Library, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Mary Cardwell Dawson directed)
  • 1933, June 8: Cardwell School of Music concert at Herron Hill Junior High School Auditorium, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1933, July 11: "The Heavenly Road: A beautiful religious pageant sermon in song" staged and directed by Dawson at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1933, Dec. 15: Artist Programme at Carron Street Baptist Church, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1933, Dec. 29: Saengerfest, presented by the Pittsburgh branch of the National Association of Negro Musicians, at Irene Kaufmann Settlement, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1934, Aug. 26 - 30 : Convention of the National Association of Negro Musicians, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1935, Nov. 29: Cardwell School of Music Choir and Clairton Community Choral recital, Clairton High School, Clairton, Pa.
  • 1937, May 27: Third annual concert of the Cardwell Dawson Choir, Carnegie Music Hall, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1937, June 17: All Star Recital given by the Outstanding Artists of the Cardwell School of Music, Carron Street Baptist Church, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1938, Mar. 31: Fourth annual concert of the Cardwell Dawson Choir, Carnegie Music Hall, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1938, May 19: Cardwell Dawson Choir performed at Greenburg High School Auditorium
  • 1938, July 31 - Aug. 4 : Pittsburgh branch of the National Association of Negro Musicians observed National Music Week
  • 1938, Sept. 15: Mary Cardwell Dawson recital, John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1939, Mar. 23: Fifth annual concert of the Cardwell Dawson Choir, Carnegie Music Hall, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1939, May 26: Benefit concert by the Cardwell Dawson Choir, Carnegie Music Hall, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1940, Apr. 2: Sixth annual concert of the Cardwell Dawson Choir, Carnegie Music Hall, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1941, May 9: Cardwell Dawson Choir performed R. Nathaniel Dett's The Ordering of Moses at seventh annual spring concert, Carnegie Music Hall, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1941, May 27: Cardwell Dawson Choir performed R. Nathaniel Dett's The Ordering of Moses, Carnegie Music Hall, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1941, Aug. 5: Night of Opera at Wendell Phillips High School Auditorium (Chicago Campaign Committee of the National Negro Opera Company)
  • 1941, Aug. 18: Night of Opera at Wendell Phillips High School Auditorium (Chicago Campaign Committee of the National Negro Opera Company)
  • 1941, Aug. 24 - 29 : National Association of Negro Musician's 21st annual convention, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1941, Aug. 29: Cardwell Dawson School of Music and Pittsburgh Branch of the National Association of Negro Musicians presented Aida, Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1941, Oct. 30: Mary Cardwell Dawson presented Aida, Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1942, June 5: Mary Cardwell Dawson, soprano and her Special Octette gave recital, Senior High School Auditorium, Uniontown, Pa.
  • 1942, Oct. 10 - 11 : Chicago Negro Opera Guild performed Aida, Civic Opera House, Chicago, Ill.
  • 1943, Jan. 24: Inaugural program, Wendell Phillips High School, Chicago
  • 1943, Mar. 25: Benefit midnight show, presented stars and artists of the cast of Porgy and Bess, Leo Weil School, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1943, Apr. 18: National Negro Opera Company, Inc. Official mass meeting, Schenley High School, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1943, Aug. 28: La Traviata, Watergate, Washington, D.C.
  • 1943, Oct. 26: La Traviata, Civic Opera House, Chicago
  • 1944, Jan. 25: La Traviata, Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1944, Mar. 29: La Traviata, Madison Square Garden, New York City
  • 1944, July 29: Faust, Watergate, Washington, D.C.
  • 1944, Aug. 26: Aida, Coliseum, Chicago
  • 1944, Oct. 15: Aida, Uline Arena, Washington, D.C. (rescheduled from July 30 and then Sept. 17)
  • 1944, Dec. 24: New York Campaign Committee of the National Negro Opera Company sponsored third of a series of "pleasant Sunday afternoon musicals," Church of Christ, New York
  • 1944, Dec. 31: New York Campaign Committee of the National Negro Opera Company sponsored fourth of a series of "pleasant Sunday afternoon musicals," Salem M.E. Church, New York
  • 1945, Jan. 7: New York chapter of the National Negro Opera Company presented Grand Concert, St. Marks M.E. Church, New York
  • 1945, June 28: National Negro Opera Company sponsored Battle of Song: a Citywide Vocal Contest, Salem M.E. Church, New York
  • 1945, Oct. 21 - 27 : First Annual National Negro Opera Meet & Exhibit, Headquarters, YMCA with special events at various downtown locations, New York
  • 1946, Apr. 28: Chicago Opera Guild presented The Ordering of Moses, Eighth Street Theatre
  • 1946, June 30: Mary Cardwell Dawson singers with augmented chorus of over 100 performed The Ordering of Moses, Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1947, Feb. 28: Mary Cardwell Dawson recital, Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, Washington, D.C.
  • 1947, July 19: First Annual Music and Dance Festival, Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C.
  • 1947, Oct. 5: New York Opera Guild of the National Negro Opera Company sponsored First Annual Music and Dance Festival, Carnegie Hall, New York
  • 1947, Nov. 30: Chicago Opera Guild presented Mary Cardwell Dawson recital, Wendell Phillips High School
  • 1948, Feb. 25: Mary Cardwell Dawson recital, Carnegie Music Hall, Pittsburgh, Pa. (benefit for National Negro Opera Company)
  • 1948, Apr. 3: New York, Newark and Washington Guilds of the National Negro Opera Company sponsored "An Afternoon of Stars," Carnegie Hall, New York
  • 1948, Apr. 30: Mary Cardwell Dawson recital, Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, Washington, D.C.
  • 1948, June 24: The Chicago Negro Opera Guild in concert, New Friendship Baptist Church, Chicago
  • 1948, Aug. 1 - 7 : National Negro Opera Meet and Exhibit, multiple locations, Washington, D.C.
  • 1948, Aug. 7: Second Annual Spectacular Music Festival, Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C.
  • 1948, Nov. 19: John Anglin, tenor in concert with Mary Cardwell Dawson, piano, Asbury Methodist Church, Washington, D.C. (Benefit Opera Fund)
  • 1949, Feb. 10: Washington Opera Guild sponsored Pre-Valentine Benefit Dance, Lincoln Colonnade, Washington, D.C.
  • 1949, Apr. 30: Aida, National Guard Armory, Washington, D.C.
  • 1949, Aug. 21 - 26 : Third Annual Opera Meet and Exhibit, multiple locations in Washington, D.C.
  • 1949, Aug. 26: Third Annual Gala Music Festival, Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C.
  • 1949, Nov. 4: "Mary Cardwell Dawson Presents her Program of Musical Gems," Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, Washington, D.C.
  • 1949, Nov. 27: Bertha M. Bragg, soprano and Mary Cardwell Dawson, piano, John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church, Washington, D.C. (Benefit Recital)
  • 1950, Mar. 31: National Negro Opera Foundation received charter and incorporated in the District of Columbia
  • 1950, Apr. 9: First Annual Easter Fashion Parade and Symposium, John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church, Washington, D.C.
  • 1950, May 19: A Night at the Opera, Howard Theatre, Washington, D.C.
  • 1950, July 28: The Ordering of Moses, Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C. (fourth annual presentation)
  • 1950, Oct. 1: Chicago Negro Opera Guild presented Opera Festival, Kimball Hall, Chicago
  • 1950, Nov. 20: The Ordering of Moses, Shiloh Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.
  • 1951, Feb. 25: The Ordering of Moses, Allegany High School Auditorium, Cumberland, Maryland
  • 1951, Mar. 24: Second Annual Easter Fashion Parade, Washington, D.C.
  • 1951, June 15: The Ordering of Moses, Carnegie Hall, New York
  • 1951, Sept. 30: Fifth Annual Music festival, Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C.
  • 1952, Feb. 3: National Negro Opera Company and Chicago Negro Opera Guild sponsored Galaxy of Stars - an afternoon of opera (pre-opera benefit), Metropolitian Community Church, Chicago
  • 1952, Mar. 29: National Negro Opera Company and Chicago Negro Opera Guild sponsored Faust, Civic Opera, Chicago
  • 1952, Aug. 15: Sixth Annual Music Festival presented Faust, Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C.
  • 1952, Sept. 14: Aida, Convention Hall, 178th Armory, Chicago
  • 1952, Oct. 19: National Negro Opera Foundation and the Washington Opera Guild presented Court of Famous Characters (excerpts from Aida, Faust, Naughty Marietta, Il Trovatore and The Ordering of Moses), Turner Memorial A.M.E. Church, Washington, D.C.
  • 1952, Nov. 20: National Negro Opera Foundation and the Washington Opera Guild sponsored Pre-Thanksgiving Dance (benefit), Convention Hall, 178th Armory, Chicago
  • 1953, Jan. 9: Court of Famous Characters (excerpts from Aida, Faust, Naughty Marietta, Il Trovatore and The Ordering of Moses), Turner Memorial A.M.E. Church, Washington, D.C.
  • 1953, Mar. 27 - 30 : National Negro Opera Foundation opera meet, National Council House of Negro Women, Washington, D.C.
  • 1953, Apr. 20: Court of Famous Characters: Parade of Kings and Queens, excerpts from the great operas, and biblical scenes from The Ordering of Moses, Metropolitan Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.
  • 1953, July 25: Seventh Annual Gala Music Festival, Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C.
  • 1954, Feb. 18: National Negro Opera Foundation provided music for the Tuesday Evening Club of Social Workers, Inc. in celebration of Negro History Week, Dunbar Hotel, Washington, D.C.
  • 1954, Mar. 14: Pittsburgh Opera Guild presented Pre-opera benefit, with Ben Mitchell Morris, tenor, Mass Ballet ensemble, and fashion display of the National Negro Opera Company's European costumes, Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1954, Mar. 24: Ben Morris, in concert, Metropolitian A.M.E. Church, Washington, D.C.
  • 1954, Aug. 4: National Negro Opera Foundation, honoring the National Association of Colored Women, sponsored Eighth Annual Gala Music Festival, Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C.
  • 1954, Oct. 9: Aida, Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1954, Dec. 3: Pittsburgh Opera Guild Benefit, Follies of 1954, Schenley High School, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1955, Jan. 16: Chicago Negro Opera Guild presented scenes from Carmen, Aida, Faust and La Traviata, Wendell Phillips High School, Chicago
  • 1955, May 28: National Negro Opera Foundation sponsored First Annual Benefit Banquet Ball, Hotel New Yorker, New York
  • 1955, Aug. 27: Court of Famous Characters, Ninth Annual Music Festival, Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C.
  • 1955, Sept. 12: New York Guild of National Negro Opera Foundation presented first concert of a new series: "Series of Concerts of Thrilling Voices," Salem Methodist Church, Social Hall, New York
  • 1955, Oct. 30: Mass meeting, National Negro Opera Foundation presented its Cleveland Opera Guild, Cory Methodist Church
  • 1956, May 27: National Negro Opera Foundation, in cooperation with the New York Opera Guild presented Ouanga, Haitian opera, in English, Metropolitan Opera House, New York
  • 1956, Sept. 27 - 30 : National Negro Opera Foundation, in cooperation with the New York Opera Guild presented Ouanga, Haitian opera, in English, Carnegie Hall, New York
  • 1956, Nov. 4: The Chicago Opera Guild honored Mme. Mary Cardwell Dawson, Chicago
  • 1956, Dec. 7: National Negro Opera Foundation presented Evelyn Greene, in concert, Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, Washington, D.C.
  • 1956, Dec. 16: The Ordering of Moses, Union Congregational Church, New York
  • 1957, Jan. 10: The Ordering of Moses, Parent-Teacher Association of Abyssinian Baptist Church of New York City
  • 1957, Feb. 10: First annual historical & musical tea, dedicated to celebrated Negro composers, National Federation of Colored Women's Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
  • 1957, Apr. 17: The Ordering of Moses, Faith Temple Church of God in Christ, Main Auditorium, New York
  • 1957, Apr. 21: Spring Operama and Easter Parade, Bethel A.M.E. Church, Chicago
  • 1957, May 5: The Ordering of Moses, Hillhouse High School, New Haven, Conn.
  • 1957, May 26: New York Opera Guild presented A Sunday Night Musical, Theresa Hotel, Skyline Room, New York
  • 1957, June 16: Chicago Opera Guild sponsored Evelyn Greene concert, Olivet Baptist Church, Chicago
  • 1957, Aug. 24: Washington Opera Guild Benefit "An Evening on the Lawn," 1256 Kearny Street, N.E., Washington, D.C.
  • 1957, Sept. 20: Georgia Club of the Metropolitan Baptist Church sponsored The Ordering of Moses, Metropolitan Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.
  • 1957, Nov. 22: The Ordering of Moses, Lawson Religious and Civic Center, New York
  • 1958, Feb. 16: The Ordering of Moses, Convent Avenue Baptist Church, New York
  • 1958, Feb. 23: A Historical & Musical Tea, in observance of National Brotherhood Week, National Federation of Colored Women's Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
  • 1958, Mar. 28: Calvary Baptist Church Sunday School sponsored The Ordering of Moses, River Street School Auditorium, Red Bank, New Jersey
  • 1958, May 23: Bethesda Baptist Church sponsored The Ordering of Moses, Concord Baptist Church, Brooklyn, New York
  • 1958, July 13: Friends of the New York Opera Guild Committee sponsored The Ordering of Moses, Bedford Avenue YMCA, Brooklyn, New York
  • 1958, Aug. 26: Grand Lodge Convention Committee of the Elks I.B.O.E. of W. sponsored The Ordering of Moses, Metropolitan Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.
  • 1958, Nov. 1: The Washington D.C. Women's Committee, Mary Cardwell Dawson, and the National Negro Opera Foundation presented "An Informal Afternoon Gathering," 1601 R Street, N.W., Washington, D.C
  • 1958, Nov. 20: G. Dewey Robinson Boosters Club sponsored "Fashions Aboard the Luxury Liner," Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, Washington, D.C.
  • 1959, Jan. 25: Washington Opera Guild sponsored "Fashions Aboard the Luxury Liner," Casino Royal, Washington, D.C.
  • 1959, June 20: Board of Governors of the National Negro Opera Foundation sponsored "An Opera Luncheon," Sheraton-Park Hotel, Washington, D.C.
  • 1959, Aug. 30: Chicago Opera Guild presented Grand Opera Interlude, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Gentry, Chicago
  • 1959, Nov. 11: Benefit dinner, 2610 3rd Street N.E., Washington, D.C. (private residence)
  • 1960, Feb. 14: National Negro Opera Foundation presented The Ordering of Moses, in cooperation with the Association of Negro Life and History, Lisner Auditorium, Washington, D.C.
  • 1960, Sept. 11: Chicago Negro Opera Guild presented Opera Festival, Dunbar High School Auditorium, Chicago
  • 1960, Nov. 18: Evelyn Greene, in concert, Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, Washington, D.C. (sponsored by the Metropolitian A.M.E. Church's Pastor's Aid and Hospitality Clubs)
  • 1960, Dec. 2: National Negro Opera Foundation and Washington Guild presented 1960 Spectacular Fashions in Couturere Parisienne, Metropolitian A.M.E. Church, Washington, D.C.
  • 1961, Feb. 19: National Negro Opera Foundation and Chicago Opera Guild held reception honoring Mary Cardwell Dawson, and presented Chicago Sustaining Committee, Palmer House, Chicago
  • 1961, Apr. 23: Washington Youth Opera Guild held "Talented Tots to Teens" fashion musicale and dance show, Jewish Community Center, Washington, D.C.
  • 1961, June 3 - 4 : National Negro Opera Foundation, in cooperation New York, Washington, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Chicago Opera Guilds held two-day opera meet, Statler Hotel, Washington, D.C.
  • 1961, July 16: The Ordering of Moses performed at a benefit performance for National Negro Opera Company and Chicago Opera Guild, Dunbar High School Auditorium, Chicago
  • 1962, Mar. 19: Mary Cardwell Dawson died, Washington, D.C.
  • 1962, May 17: New York Guild Opera Workshop performed The Bohemian Girl, Beulah Wesleyan Auditorium, New York
  • 1962, Oct. 7: Chicago Negro Opera Guild performed in Opera Festival, Dunbar High School Auditorium
  • 1965, Sept. 19: Chicago Opera Guild performed concertized excerpts from Aida, Faust, Il Travatore and Masked Ball, McCormack Place, Chicago (in memory of Mary Cardwell Dawson)
  • 1994, May 25: Dedication of an official historical marker commemorating the National Negro Opera Company at the site of the old Cardwell School of Music, 7101 Apple Street, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • 1997, July 27: Tribute to Madame Mary Cardwell Dawson and the National Negro Opera Company, Carnegie Library of Homestead Music Hall, Pittsburgh, Pa.

From the guide to the National Negro Opera Company Collection, 1879-1997, (bulk 1930-1962), (Music Division Library of Congress)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf White, Clarence Cameron, 1880-1960. Clarence Cameron White collection, 1872-1965 (bulk, 1930-1960). Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University
creatorOf National Negro Opera Company (U.S.). National Negro Opera Company collection, 1931-1989 (bulk 1941-1962). Library of Congress
creatorOf National Negro Opera Company. Collection, 1956-1962. American Periodical Series I
referencedIn Johnson, Helen A. Helen Armstead-Johnson miscellaneous theater collections, 1831-1993. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Mary Cardwell Dawson papers, 1937-1984 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
creatorOf National Negro Opera Company. National Negro Opera Company collection, 1940-1961. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Helen Armstead-Johnson miscellaneous theater collections, 1831-1993 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
creatorOf National Negro Opera Company Collection, 1879-1997, (bulk 1930-1962) Library of Congress. Music Division
creatorOf National Negro Opera Company. Correspondence with Marian Anderson, 1958. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf National Negro Opera Company. National Negro Opera Company collection, 1940-1961. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Dawson, Mary Cardwell, 1894-1962. Mary Cardwell Dawson papers, 1937-1984. New York Public Library System, NYPL
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Anderson, Marian, 1897-1993 person
correspondedWith Bethune, Mary McLeod, 1875-1955 person
associatedWith Boatwright, McHenry, 1928-1994. person
associatedWith Brice, Carol, 1916-1985 person
correspondedWith Campbell, Dick, 1903-1994 person
associatedWith Cato, Minto, 1900-1979 person
associatedWith Dawson, Mary Cardwell, 1894-1962 person
associatedWith Dawson, Walter M. person
associatedWith Dett, R. Nathaniel, 1882-1943 person
associatedWith Duncan, John B. person
correspondedWith Duncan, Todd person
associatedWith Evanti, Lillian, 1890-1967 person
associatedWith Ferebee, Dorothy Boulding, d. 1980. person
associatedWith Johnson, Helen A. person
associatedWith King, Juanita. person
correspondedWith McFerrin, Robert, 1921-2006 person
associatedWith National Association of Negro Musicians (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith National Negro Opera Foundation (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Nickerson, Camille. person
correspondedWith Prattis, Percival Leroy, 1895-1980 person
correspondedWith Rahn, Muriel person
associatedWith Rhea, La Julia. person
correspondedWith Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962 person
correspondedWith White, Clarence Cameron, 1880-1960 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States
United States
Subject
African American musicians
African American singers--Photographs
Opera--United States--20th century
Opera companies
African Americans--Music--History and criticism
Opera
Opera--20th century
Opera companies--United States
Opera--Production and direction
Music--Manuscripts
African Americans--Music
African American singers
African Americans in the performing arts
Opera producers and directors--United States
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Active 1931

Active 1989

Americans

English

Information

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