Rosa Parks: In Music

Today marks the opening of a new exhibition at the Library of Congress dedicated to civil rights activist Rosa Parks. “Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words” draws from material in the Library’s Rosa Parks Collection to tell the life story of this remarkable woman, including her early life and activism, the Montgomery bus boycott, the […]

Allen Toussaint’s Treasures Found in L.A. Swapmeet

In 2007, the Library presented back-to-back concerts with two quintessential New Orleans pianists Henry Butler and Allen Toussaint. Mr. Toussaint was in the news recently because his legacy studio recordings, long thought lost in the flood from Hurricane Katrina, turned up at a swap meet in Torrance, California. Toussaint wrote, arranged and produced many hits […]

Thinking About Eric Dolphy On His Birthday

He was only 36 when he died in Berlin in 1964, but the gifted, avant-garde innovator Eric Dolphy (June 20, 1928-June 29, 1964) helped change the landscape for jazz improvisers through his collaborations with John Coltrane, Gunther Schuller, Charles Mingus and his own projects. He was a multi-instrumentalist who found his distinctive voice on alto […]

Alvin Ailey and the Black Experience

The following is a guest blog post from Dance Curator Libby Smigel and Howard University intern Jacquelyn Chin: The Music Division was selected to host one of the Library’s three spring internships from Howard University. Dance archivist Libby Smigel is working with Jacquelyn Chin on the Division’s Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation collection.  A senior psychology […]

William P. Gottlieb’s Celebration of Women

William P Gottlieb was a music journalist and photographer whose byline appeared in The Washington Post, Downbeat and Record Changer from 1938-1948. He taught himself to use a speed graphic camera and began to shoot musicians to illustrate his articles. The Library purchased his collection in 1995 and scanned all his prints and negatives, now […]

Mary Cardwell Dawson: First Lady of Opera

The following is a guest post from Music Reference Specialist Sam Perryman. Some people know that the Music Division is home to the National Negro Opera Company Collection. They also know that, while it’s not the first African American opera company, it was one of the largest.  It was founded and managed by Mary Lucinda […]

Remembering Lil Hardin Armstrong

Sunday February 3 gives us the opportunity to remember one of the first important songwriters in jazz, Lillian Hardin Armstrong. She was born on that day in 1898 in Memphis and may be best known as Louis Armstrong’s second wife and writer of some of his enduring classics, such as “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue,” which […]