Johns Hopkins University Billie Holiday collection
The Johns Hopkins University Billie Holiday collection is an artificially assembled collection with manuscript material chosen by the curators of Special Collections, dating from approximately 1949 to 1993. The collection contains seven serials publications which feature images of Holiday, articles about her life and death, and selections of her own writing. The collection also includes a set of trading cards featuring Holiday, and a tribute CD-ROM created by the Baltimore City Paper celebrating Holiday. These items were created both during Holiday's life and after her death in 1959. Please see file descriptions for additional descriptive information on these materials.
- Creation: 1949-1993 and undated
- Johns Hopkins University (Collector, Organization)
- Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967 (Author, Person)
- Baltimore City Paper (Publisher, Organization)
- Show Magazine, Inc. (Publisher, Organization)
- Literary Enterprises, Inc. (Publisher, Organization)
- Kansas Magazine Publishing Association (Organization)
- Greenleaf Publishing Company (Publisher, Organization)
- Dufty, William, 1916-2002 (Author, Person)
- Maher Publications (Publisher, Organization)
- Zone Productions (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.
This collection is open for use. A preservation copy of the CD-ROM has been created. Please contact Special Collections for access to the CD-ROM files.
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.
Biographical / Historical
Billie Holiday, birth name Elinore Harris, was an American jazz and blues singer born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 7, 1915. Known as Eleanora, she and her mother used her maternal grandfather’s surname, Fagan, for a time. Her father was Clarence Holiday, also a professional musician.
Holiday grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and moved to New York City in 1928 where she began singing in nightclubs in Harlem. She adapted her professional name, "Billie," from movie actress Billie Dove. In 1933, Holiday made her first recordings; susbsequent recordings two years later brought her widespread recognition. Holiday’s recordings between 1936 and 1942 marked the peak years of her career. During this period she was often associated with saxophonist Lester Young, her friend and music partner who nicknamed her “Lady Day.”
Holiday was arrested for narcotics possession in 1947 and sentenced to a serve a year at Alderson Federal Prison Camp in West Virginia. Unable to obtain a cabaret license to work in New York City, Holiday nonetheless played New York’s Carnegie Hall ten days after her release in March 1948. She continued to perform in clubs outside of New York City, and made several tours during her later years.
Among the songs associated with her are “Strange Fruit,” "God Bless the Child," "The Man I love," “Fine and Mellow,” “Billie’s Blues,” and “I Wished on the Moon.” She wrote an autobiography titled Lady Sings the Blues in 1956 with American writer William Dufty. Holiday died on July 17,1959 in New York City.
Source: Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Billie Holiday." Encyclopædia Britannica. July 13, 2018. Accessed October 29, 2018. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Billie-Holiday.
Biographical / Historical
This is an artificially assembled collection of materials purchased and selected by the curators of Special Collections. Please see the file descriptions for biographical or historical information regarding specific items.
.623 Gigabytes (Extent of CD-ROM.)
0.55 Cubic Feet (1 legal half-size document box, 1 flat box)
Language of Materials
The Johns Hopkins University Billie Holiday collection is an artificially assembled collection with manuscript material chosen by the curators of Special Collections, dating from approximately 1949 to 1993. The collection features eleven items related to the life, career, and death of jazz singer Billie Holiday, 1915-1959. Holiday, or "Lady Day," was known for her disctinct vocal delivery and had a profound influence on jazz and blues music.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection consists of purchases from various antiquarian dealers and booksellers. Please contact Special Collections for information regarding individual items.
Processed by Kristen Diehl in October 2018. Additional processing by Deyane Moses and Bria Warren in 2021 and Sam Bessen in 2023.
- Holiday, Billie, 1915-1959 (Person)
- Sandtown Children of Praise Choir (Baltimore, Md.) (Organization)
- Ross, Diana, 1944-.... (Person)
Genre / Form
- collecting cards
- electronic records (digital records)
- magazines (periodicals)
- serials (publications)
- Guide to the Johns Hopkins University Billie Holiday collection
- Kristen Diehl
- 2018 October
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
Part of the Special Collections Repository
The Sheridan Libraries
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA