National Negro Opera Company Collection 1879-1997 (bulk 1930-1962)


National Negro Opera Company Collection 1879-1997 (bulk 1930-1962)

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. The collection contains materials and records related to the company and to Dawson. It includes correspondence, administrative and financial records, photographs, programs, promotional and publicity materials, scrapbooks, clippings, address books, notebooks, costumes, music, and books. In addition, the collection contains materials related to opera singer La Julia Rhea, who performed with the company, and Walter M. Dawson, Mary Cardwell Dawson's husband, who worked for the company.

11,250 items; 68 containers; 39 linear feet



SNAC Resource ID: 6357930

Library of Congress. Music Division

Related Entities

There are 20 Entities related to this resource.

Anderson, Marian, 1897-1993 (person)

Marian Anderson was born on February 27, 1897 (although throughout much of her life she gave her birth date as February 17, 1902) in south Philadelphia. Her father, John Berkley Anderson, sold ice and coal and her mother Annie Delilah Rucker Anderson was a former schoolmistress. She was the oldest of three sisters. She began singing when she was six, in the church choir, and by eight had become a regular substitute, filling in for absent sopranos, tenors and even bass. She was presented in one c...

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Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962 (person)

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Rhea, La Julia (person)

Rahn, Muriel (person)

National Association of Negro Musicians (U.S.) (corporateBody)

Brice, Carol, 1916-1985 (person)

Prattis, Percival Leroy, 1895-1980 (person)

Percival Leroy (P. L.) Prattis was born on April 27, 1895 in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the only son of Alexander and Ella (Spraggins) Prattis. He attended grade school at the Christiansburg Industrial Institute in Cambria (now Christiansburg), Virginia, from 1908 to 1912. For further education, he attended the Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in Hampton, Virginia, from 1912 to 1915. He later graduated in 1916 from the Ferris Institute, which was a pre...

Dawson, Walter M. (person)

Campbell, Dick, 1903-1994 (person)

National Negro Opera Company (U.S.) (corporateBody)

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...

Nickerson, Camille (person)

African American musician, composer, and music faculty member, Howard University (1926-1962); b. 1888; d. 1982. From the description of Papers, ca. 1927-ca. 1970. (Moorland-Spingarn Resource Center). WorldCat record id: 70939778 1888 March 30 Born in New Orleans, Louisiana to William Joseph and Julie Ellen Nickerson. n.d. Graduated High School...

Dawson, Mary Cardwell, 1894-1962 (person)

Opera director, concert singer, teacher, conductor and impresario, Dawson was the founder, president and general manager of the National Negro Opera Company. Formed in 1941 due to Dawson's concern regarding the lack of opportunity for Afro-Americans in opera because of racial discrimination, for over 20 years the Company presented such productions as Verdi's Aida and La Traviata, and C.C. White's Ouanga. Among the featured opera singers were Minto Cato, Lillian Evanti, Muriel Rahn, Edward Boatne...

White, Clarence Cameron (person)

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Duncan, Todd (person)

Robert Todd Duncan was born February 12, 1903, in Danville, Kentucky to John and Lettie Duncan. Music was a part of his life from an early age. His mother, a music teacher, began giving him piano lessons when he was five. Duncan credited the discovery of his vocal talent to a later piano teacher and it eventually replaced piano as his instrument of choice. At the age of 17, Duncan attended a Roland Hayes concert in Louisville, Kentucky. According to Duncan, he was so moved by the pe...

Dett, R. Nathaniel, 1882-1943 (person)

African-American composer. From the description of Papers [microform], 1913-1943. (Oberlin College Library). WorldCat record id: 41711378 Originally composed for piano, 1921. First performance of 3rd movement only by Percy Grainger as pianist. This version 1922. Received the Harmon Foundation Award.--Cf. Fleisher Collection. From the description of Enchantment : a romantic suite / R. Nathaniel Dett. [c1922] (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 4...

McFerrin, Robert, 1921-2006 (person)

Cato, Minto, 1900-1979 (person)

Evanti, Lillian, 1890-1967 (person)

Lillian Evanti (born Lillian Evans on August 12, 1890) was an African-American soprano and composer of several songs. She received her musical education at Howard University and had additional vocal training in France and Italy. She toured widely throughout the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and South America, winning much critical acclaim for her opera performances. She died on December 6, 1967. From the description of Collection, [1925]-1963. (Columbia College Chicago). Worl...

National Negro Opera Foundation (U.S.) (corporateBody)