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Johns Hopkins University Josephine Baker collection

 Collection
Identifier: MS-0725
Josephine Baker (1906-1975) was an American-born French dancer, singer, and actress who came to be known in various circles as the "Black Pearl," "Bronze Venus" and even the "Creole Goddess". Baker was the first black woman to star in a major motion picture, Zouzou (1934) and to become a world-famous entertainer. The collection contains 27 unique pieces: ephemeral books, promotional flyers and vintage black-and-white photos (primarily movie stills). When not otherwise stated, the ephemera are of U.S. origin. The other pieces are from France, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and even Iceland (an example of her worldwide fame in the 1930s). The materials span from 1927 to circa 1970.

Dates

  • 1927-approximately 1970

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Extent

0.167 Cubic Feet (25 oversize folders)

Biographical / Historical

Josephine Baker (1906-1975) was an American-born French dancer, singer, and actress who came to be known in various circles as the "Black Pearl," "Bronze Venus" and even the "Creole Goddess". Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine Baker became a citizen of France in 1937. She was fluent in both English and French. Baker was the first black woman to star in a major motion picture, Zouzou (1934) and to become a world-famous entertainer. Baker refused to perform for segregated audiences in the United States and is noted for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. She was also known for assisting the French Resistance during World War II, and received the French military honor, the Croix de Guerre and was made a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur by General Charles de Gaulle. She passed away in 1975, having spent her last years performing in retrospectives that celebrated her half-century career in entertainment.

Scope and Contents

The collection contains 27 unique pieces: ephemeral books, promotional flyers and vintage black-and-white photos (primarily movie stills). It documents every decade of her career – on stage, in film, in cabarets, in concert, in recording studios, on radio, and on television. When not otherwise stated, the ephemera listed below are of U.S. origin. The other pieces are from France, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and even Iceland (an example of her worldwide fame in the 1930s). Subsequent Scope and Content notes in the file level are derived from dealer descriptions.

Arrangement

The collection is organized into folders, ordered chronologically by year and grouped by the title of a work or a description of an activity associated with Baker. The folder titles came with the acquisition of the collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased from George Robert Minkoff, Inc. Rare Books in 2014.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in October 2015 by Annie Tang.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA