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African American Musicians Photograph Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Title: African American Musicians Photograph Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1950s-1960s
Quantity: .25 linear feet
Abstract: Photographs of various African American musicians, singers and performers from the 1950s and 1960s.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

During the mid-20th century, there was increasingly widespread popularity of various forms of African American music, resulting in previously unrecognized African American artists and musicians being brought into mainstream media. Many groups and individual musicians became commercial successes in the genres of jazz, rhythm and blues, and within the newly developing genre of rock and roll. There was also increased popularity of hard blues in the 1950s, as well as doo-wop, a style involving different vocal parts, simple lyrics and little to no instrumentation. In 1959, the creation of Motown Records allowed many African American artists to achieve mainstream success through a new style of soul music infused with pop elements, cementing the importance and influence of African Americans in the development of music style and history.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The African American Musicians Photograph Collection consists of 76 professional head shots and photographs of various African American musicians, performers and singers that were primarily active during the 1950s and 1960s.

There are also advertising biographies about Bobby Bland, Donald Byrd and Eddie Kendricks alongside their respective photographs.

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Arrangement of the Collection

The photographs have no particular arrangement and were kept in their original order. A number of musicians' photographs can be found throughout the collection.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Benton, Brook.
Bland, Bobby.
Byrd, Bobby, 1934-2007.
Byrd, Donald.
Dunham, Katherine.
Forrest, Jimmy, 1920-1980.
Hampton, Slide.
Harris, Tony (Vocalist)
Hines, Doris 1923-2015.
Hutcherson, LeVern.
Irwin, Big Dee, -1995.
Kendricks, Eddie.
Little Walter, 1930-1968.
Patterson, Tom (Entertainer)
Scott, Jimmy, 1925-2014.
Tex, Joe, 1933-1982.
Til, Sonny, -1981.
Verdell, Jackie.
Ward, Billy.
Watson, Johnny, 1867-1963.
Williams, Larry, 1935-1980.
Williams, Otis.
Wilson, Jackie.

Corporate Bodies

Hearts of Stone (Musical group)
Ruby and the Romantics (Musical group)
Slide Hampton Quartet.
V.I.P.'s (Vocal group)
Village Soul Choir (Vocal group)
Wanderers (Vocal group)


African American musicians.
African American singers.
Blues musicians.
Jazz musicians.

Genres and Forms




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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

African American Musicians Photograph Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchased, 2015.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: MCI
Date: 22 June 2016
Revision history:

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Oversize 1 Photographs - African American Musicians circa 1950s-1960s

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