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Painting of Duke Ellington

Depicted:
Ellington, Duke  Search this
Maker:
Ellington, Gaye  Search this
Physical Description:
canvas (overall material)
wood (overall material)
paint (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 41 in x 40 in x 5 in; 104.14 cm x 101.6 cm x 12.7 cm
Object Name:
painting
Date made:
1985
Subject:
Jazz  Search this
African American  Search this
ID Number:
1989.0369.444
Accession number:
1989.0369
Catalog number:
1989.0369.444
See more items in:
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Popular Entertainment
Art
Highlights from the Culture and the Arts Collection
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_1201271

Duke Ellington

Artist:
Peter Hurd, 22 Feb 1904 - Jul 1984  Search this
Sitter:
Duke Ellington, 29 Apr 1899 - 24 May 1974  Search this
Medium:
Tempera on board
Dimensions:
Board: 48.3 x 34.3cm (19 x 13 1/2")
Frame: 65.4 x 51.8 x 3.8cm (25 3/4 x 20 3/8 x 1 1/2")
Culture:
Duke Ellington: American\African American  Search this
Type:
Painting
Date:
1956
Topic:
Music\Musical instrument\Piano  Search this
Personal Attribute\Facial Hair\Mustache  Search this
Home Furnishings\Curtain  Search this
Costume\Dress Accessory\Tie\Necktie  Search this
Duke Ellington: Male  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Composer  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Pianist  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Jazz  Search this
Duke Ellington: Presidential Medal of Freedom  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
Object number:
NPG.78.TC353
Restrictions & Rights:
© Peter Hurd
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_NPG.78.TC353

Duke Ellington

Artist:
Philippe Halsman, 1906 - 1979  Search this
Sitter:
Duke Ellington, 29 Apr 1899 - 24 May 1974  Search this
Medium:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
27.4cm x 34.8cm (10 13/16" x 13 11/16"), Image
Culture:
Duke Ellington: American\African American  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Date:
1967
Topic:
Music\Musical instrument\Piano  Search this
Equipment\Sound Devices\Microphone  Search this
Music\Sheet music  Search this
Music\Musical instrument\Drum  Search this
Interior\Studio\Recording  Search this
Duke Ellington: Male  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Composer  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Pianist  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Jazz  Search this
Duke Ellington: Presidential Medal of Freedom  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of George R. Rinhart
Object number:
S/NPG.77.199
Restrictions & Rights:
© Philippe Halsman Archive
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_S_NPG.77.199

Duke Ellington

Artist:
Herman Leonard, 1923 - 2010  Search this
Sitter:
Duke Ellington, 29 Apr 1899 - 24 May 1974  Search this
Medium:
Selenium-toned gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
Image: 40.6 × 32cm (16 × 12 5/8")
Sheet: 50.6 × 40.5cm (19 15/16 × 15 15/16")
Frame: 71.8 × 56.5 × 3.8 cm (28 1/4 × 22 1/4 × 1 1/2")
Culture:
Duke Ellington: American\African American  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Place:
France\Île-de-France\Ville de Paris, Départment de\Paris
Date:
1956 (printed 1998)
Topic:
Interior  Search this
Music\Musical instrument\Piano  Search this
Duke Ellington: Male  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Composer  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Pianist  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Jazz  Search this
Duke Ellington: Presidential Medal of Freedom  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number:
NPG.2014.111.9
Restrictions & Rights:
© Herman Leonard Photography LLC
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_NPG.2014.111.9

Bust of Duke Ellington

Depicted:
Ellington, Duke  Search this
Maker:
Dwight, Ed  Search this
Physical Description:
bronze (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 19 in x 29 in x 28 in; 48.26 cm x 73.66 cm x 71.12 cm
Object Name:
sculpture
Place made:
United States: Colorado, Denver
Date made:
1988
Subject:
Jazz  Search this
African American  Search this
Credit Line:
Calvin B. and Marilyn B. Gross
ID Number:
1993.0032.01
Catalog number:
1993.0032.01
Accession number:
1993.0032
See more items in:
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Art
Highlights from the Culture and the Arts Collection
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_607473

Duke Ellington

Artist:
William Paul Gottlieb, 28 Jan 1917 - 23 Apr 2006  Search this
Sitter:
Duke Ellington, 29 Apr 1899 - 24 May 1974  Search this
Medium:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
Image: 34.1 x 26.7 cm (13 7/16 x 10 1/2")
Sheet: 35.3 x 27.9 cm (13 7/8 x 11")
Mat: 71.1 x 55.9 cm (28 x 22")
Culture:
Duke Ellington: American\African American  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Date:
c. 1946 (printed 1991)
Topic:
Costume  Search this
Music\Musical instrument\Piano  Search this
Printed Material\Document  Search this
Artwork\Photograph  Search this
Container\Bottle  Search this
Home Furnishings\Mirror  Search this
Interior\Dressing room  Search this
Music\Sheet music  Search this
Duke Ellington: Male  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Composer  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Pianist  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Jazz  Search this
Duke Ellington: Presidential Medal of Freedom  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number:
NPG.92.58
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_NPG.92.58

Duke Ellington

Title:
God is Love
Artist:
Tony Bennett, born 3 Aug 1926  Search this
Sitter:
Duke Ellington, 29 Apr 1899 - 24 May 1974  Search this
Medium:
Watercolor and graphite on paper
Dimensions:
Sheet: 36 x 51 cm (14 3/16 x 20 1/16")
Mat: 55.9 x 71.1 cm (22 x 28")
Culture:
Duke Ellington: American\African American  Search this
Type:
Drawing
Date:
c. 1993
Topic:
Nature & Environment\Plant\Flower\Rose  Search this
Duke Ellington: Male  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Composer  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Pianist  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Jazz  Search this
Duke Ellington: Presidential Medal of Freedom  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Tony Bennett
Object number:
S/NPG.2008.99
Restrictions & Rights:
Deed of Gift transfers copyright to NPG
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_S_NPG.2008.99

22c Duke Ellington single

Title:
Scott Catalogue USA 2211
Depicts:
Duke Ellington, American, 1899 - 1974  Search this
Medium:
paper; ink (multicolored); adhesive / photogravure
Type:
Postage Stamps
Place:
United States of America
Date:
April 29, 1986
Topic:
Music & Musicians  Search this
Black Heritage  Search this
Credit line:
Copyright United States Postal Service. All rights reserved.
Object number:
1999.2004.482
See more items in:
National Postal Museum Collection
Data Source:
National Postal Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npm_1999.2004.482

Presidential Medal of Freedom, given to Duke Ellington

User:
Ellington, Duke  Search this
Measurements:
overall: 7 1/2 in x 8 in; 19.05 cm x 20.32 cm
overall: 2 in x 7 1/4 in x 8 1/4 in; 5.08 cm x 18.415 cm x 20.955 cm
Object Name:
medal
Date made:
1969
ID Number:
1989.0369.345
Accession number:
1989.0369
Catalog number:
1989.0369.345
See more items in:
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_1200130
Additional Online Media:

Duke Ellington - Roxbury, Mass. - 1970

Photograph by:
Robert Houston, American, born 1935  Search this
Subject of:
Duke Ellington, American, 1899 - 1974  Search this
Medium:
digital
Dimensions:
H x W: 13036pixels × 10274pixels
Type:
portraits
digital images
Place depicted:
Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States, North and Central America
Date:
1970
Topic:
African American  Search this
Jazz (Music)  Search this
Photography  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Robert and Greta Houston
Object number:
2014.116.26
Restrictions & Rights:
© Robert Houston
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Classification:
Media Arts-Photography
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmaahc_2014.116.26

Duke Ellington's Greatest Hits

Distributed by:
Reprise Records, American, founded 1960  Search this
Recorded by:
Duke Ellington, American, 1899 - 1974  Search this
Owned by:
Ginger Smock, American, 1920 - 1995  Search this
Medium:
vinyl, ink on paper
Dimensions:
H x W (album jacket): 12 5/16 × 12 5/16 in. (31.3 × 31.3 cm)
Diameter (record): 12 in. (30.5 cm)
Type:
long-playing records
Date:
1967
Topic:
African American  Search this
Composers (Musicians)  Search this
Conductors (Musicians)  Search this
Instrumentalists (Musicians)  Search this
Jazz (Music)  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, Gift of Lydia Samuel Bennett
Object number:
2016.161.3.10ab
Restrictions & Rights:
Unknown - Restrictions Possible
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Classification:
Media Arts-Audio Recordings
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmaahc_2016.161.3.10ab
Additional Online Media:

Letter to the Musicians' Protective Association from Duke Ellington

Written by:
Duke Ellington, American, 1899 - 1974  Search this
Received by:
American Federation of Musicians, founded 1896  Search this
Medium:
ink on paper
Dimensions:
H x W: 11 x 8 1/2 in. (27.9 x 21.6 cm)
Type:
business letters
Place depicted:
Los Angeles, California, United States, North and Central America
Date:
May 10, 1942
Topic:
African American  Search this
Business  Search this
Correspondence  Search this
Jazz (Music)  Search this
Justice  Search this
Labor  Search this
Law  Search this
Musicians  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Object number:
2011.57.32ab
Restrictions & Rights:
No Known Copyright Restrictions
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Classification:
Documents and Published Materials
Exhibition:
Musical Crossroads
On View:
NMAAHC (1400 Constitution Ave NW), National Mall Location, Culture/Fourth Floor, 4 053
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmaahc_2011.57.32ab
Additional Online Media:

Duke Ellington Conducting

Collection Collector:
Musical History, Division of (NMAH, SI)  Search this
Collection Creator:
Ellington, Duke, 1899-1974  Search this
Container:
Box 6, Folder 1
Box 19, Folder 10
Box 22, Folder 10
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
The collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Copyright restrictions. Consult the Archives Center at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.

Paul Ellington, executor, is represented by:

Richard J.J. Scarola, Scarola Ellis LLP, 888 Seventh Avenue, 45th Floor, New York, New York 10106. Telephone (212) 757-0007 x 235; Fax (212) 757-0469; email: rjjs@selaw.com; www.selaw.com; www.ourlawfirm.com.
Collection Citation:
Duke Ellington Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Duke Ellington Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0301-ref51010

Duke Ellington, Dizzie Gillespie, Buck Clayton and Max Kaminsky

Artist:
Gjon Mili, 28 Nov 1904 - 14 Feb 1984  Search this
Sitter:
Duke Ellington, 29 Apr 1899 - 24 May 1974  Search this
Dizzy Gillespie, 21 Oct 1917 - 6 Jan 1993  Search this
Buck Clayton, 12 Nov 1911 - 8 Dec 1991  Search this
Max Kaminsky, 1908 - 6 Sep 1994  Search this
Medium:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
Image/Sheet: 26.9 x 33.9cm (10 9/16 x 13 3/8")
Mat: 40.6 x 55.9cm (16 x 22")
Culture:
Duke Ellington: American\African American  Search this
Dizzy Gillespie: American\African American  Search this
Buck Clayton: American\African American  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Place:
United States\New York\Kings\New York
Date:
1944
Topic:
Music\Musical instrument\Piano  Search this
Costume\Dress Accessory\Eyeglasses  Search this
Equipment\Sound Devices\Microphone  Search this
Interior\Studio  Search this
Music\Musical instrument\Trumpet  Search this
Music\Musical instrument\Trombone  Search this
Music\Musical instrument\Saxophone  Search this
Music\Musical instrument\Drum  Search this
Music\Musical instrument\Bass  Search this
Music\Musical instrument\Clarinet  Search this
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Seating\Chair\Folding chair  Search this
Duke Ellington: Male  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Composer  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Pianist  Search this
Duke Ellington: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Jazz  Search this
Duke Ellington: Presidential Medal of Freedom  Search this
Dizzy Gillespie: Male  Search this
Dizzy Gillespie: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Jazz  Search this
Dizzy Gillespie: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Horn\Trumpet  Search this
Buck Clayton: Male  Search this
Buck Clayton: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Composer  Search this
Buck Clayton: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Jazz  Search this
Buck Clayton: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Horn\Trumpet  Search this
Buck Clayton: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Arranger  Search this
Max Kaminsky: Male  Search this
Max Kaminsky: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Jazz  Search this
Max Kaminsky: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Horn\Trumpet  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number:
NPG.95.98
Restrictions & Rights:
© Gjon Mili/TimePix
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_NPG.95.98

Ellington, Duke; Paris, 1960

Collection Creator:
Leonard, Herman, 1923-2010  Search this
Collection Source:
Musical History, Division of (NMAH, SI)  Search this
Extent:
1 contact sheet (8 1/2" x 11")
Container:
Box 1, Folder 7A
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
The Archives Center does not own the rights to the Leonard photographs. All requests for permission to use these photographs for non‑museum purposes must be addressed directly to Herman Leonard at (504) 286‑2444.
Collection Citation:
Herman Leonard Photographic Collection, 1948-1993, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Herman Leonard Photographic Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0445-ref22

Duke Ellington celebrates 25th anniversary in show business, c. 1952

Photograph by:
Steve Jackson Jr., 1923 - 1999  Search this
Subject of:
Duke Ellington, American, 1899 - 1974  Search this
Unidentified Woman or Women  Search this
Jimbo's Bop City, American, 1950 - 1965  Search this
Medium:
silver and photographic gelatin on photographic paper
Dimensions:
H x W (image): 8 × 10 in. (20.3 × 25.4 cm)
Type:
gelatin silver prints
Place depicted:
Fillmore, San Francisco, California, United States, North and Central America
Date:
ca. 1952
Topic:
African American  Search this
Bebop (Music)  Search this
Entertainers  Search this
Jazz (Music)  Search this
Nightlife  Search this
Singers (Musicians)  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Mary E. Jackson, Posthumously and Linda A. Jackson
Object number:
2016.117.8
Restrictions & Rights:
© Linda A. Jackson
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Classification:
Media Arts-Photography
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmaahc_2016.117.8
Additional Online Media:

Duke Ellington with Bop City patrons, c. mid 1950s

Photograph by:
Steve Jackson Jr., 1923 - 1999  Search this
Subject of:
Duke Ellington, American, 1899 - 1974  Search this
Unidentified Woman or Women  Search this
Jimbo's Bop City, American, 1950 - 1965  Search this
Medium:
silver and photographic gelatin on photographic paper
Dimensions:
H x W (image): 7 1/2 × 9 7/16 in. (19 × 24 cm)
H x W (sheet): 8 × 9 15/16 in. (20.3 × 25.3 cm)
Type:
gelatin silver prints
Place depicted:
Fillmore, San Francisco, California, United States, North and Central America
Date:
ca. 1955
Topic:
African American  Search this
Bebop (Music)  Search this
Entertainers  Search this
Jazz (Music)  Search this
Music  Search this
Nightlife  Search this
Singers (Musicians)  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Mary E. Jackson, Posthumously and Linda A. Jackson
Object number:
2016.117.9
Restrictions & Rights:
© Linda A. Jackson
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Classification:
Media Arts-Photography
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmaahc_2016.117.9
Additional Online Media:

Duke Ellington Collection

Collector:
Musical History, Division of (NMAH, SI)  Search this
Musical History, Division of (NMAH, SI)  Search this
Creator:
Ellington, Duke, 1899-1974  Search this
Names:
Duke Ellington Orchestra  Search this
Washingtonians, The.  Search this
Ellington, Mercer Kennedy, 1919-1996 ((musician))  Search this
Strayhorn, Billy (William Thomas), 1915-1967  Search this
Extent:
400 cubic feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Place:
New York (N.Y.) -- 20th century
Harlem (New York, N.Y.) -- 20th century
Washington (D.C.) -- 20th century
Date:
1903 - 1989
Summary:
The collection documents Duke Ellington's career primarily through orchestrations (scores and parts), music manuscripts, lead sheets, transcriptions, and sheet music. It also includes concert posters, concert programs, television, radio, motion picture and musical theater scripts, business records, correspondence, awards, as well as audiotapes, audiodiscs, photographs, tour itineraries, newspaper clippings, magazines, caricatures, paintings, and scrapbooks.
Scope and Contents:
Dating approximately from the time Duke Ellington permanently moved to New York City in 1923 to the time the material was transferred to the Smithsonian Institution in 1988, the bulk of the material in the Duke Ellington Collection is dated from 1934-1974 and comprises sound recordings, original music manuscripts and published sheet music, hand-written notes, correspondence, business records, photographs, scrapbooks, news clippings, concert programs, posters, pamphlets, books and other ephemera. These materials document Ellington's contributions as composer, musician, orchestra leader, and an ambassador of American music and culture abroad. In addition, the materials paint a picture of the life of a big band maintained for fifty years and open a unique window through which to view an evolving American society.

The approximate four hundred cubic feet of archival materials have been processed and organized into sixteen series arranged by type of material. Several of the series have been divided into subseries allowing additional organization to describe the content of the material. For example, Series 6, Sound Recordings, is divided into four subseries: Radio and Television Interviews, Concert Performances, Studio Dates and Non-Ellington Recordings. Each series has its own scope and content note describing the material and arrangement (for example; Series 10, Magazines and Newspaper Articles, is organized into two groups, foreign and domestic, and arranged chronologically within each group). A container list provides folder titles and box numbers.

The bulk of the material is located in Series 1, Music Manuscripts, and consists of compositions and arrangements by Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and other composers. Series 6, Sound Recordings also provides a record of the performance of many of these compositions. The materials in Series 2, Performances and Programs, Series 3, Business Records, Series 8, Scrapbooks, Series 9, Newspaper Clippings, Series 11, Publicity and Series 12, Posters provide documentation of specific performances by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra. Ellington was a spontaneous and prolific composer as evidenced by music, lyrical thoughts, and themes for extended works and plays captured on letterhead stationery in Series 3, Business Records, in the margin notes of individual books and pamphlets in Series 14, Religious Materials and Series 15, Books, and in the hand-written notes in Series 5, Personal Correspondence and Notes.

During its fifty-year lifespan, Duke Ellington and His Orchestra were billed under various names including The Washingtonians, The Harlem Footwarmers and The Jungle Band. The soloists were informally called "the band", and Series 3 includes salary statements, IOU's, receipts and ephemera relating to individual band members. Series 1, Music Manuscripts contains the soloists' parts and includes "band books" of several soloists (for example; Harry Carney and Johnny Hodges) and numerous music manuscripts of Billy Strayhorn. The changing role of Strayhorn from arranger hired in 1938 to Ellington's main collaborator and composer of many well-known titles for Duke Ellington and His Orchestra including "Take The A' Train" and "Satin Doll" can be traced in these music manuscripts. Series 7, Photographs and Series 2, Performances and Programs contain many images of the band members and Strayhorn. This Collection also documents the business history of Duke Ellington and His Orchestra. Series 3, Business Records contains correspondence on letterhead stationery and Series 11, Publicity contains promotional material from the various booking agencies, professional companies, and public relations firms that managed the Orchestra.

The materials in the Duke Ellington Collection provide insight into public and institutional attitudes towards African Americans in mid-twentieth-century America. The business records in Series 3 beginning in 1938 and published sheet music in Series 1 depict Duke Ellington's progression from an African-American musician who needed "legitimization" by a white publisher, Irving Mills, to a businessmen who established his own companies including Tempo Music and Duke Ellington, Incorporated to control his copyright and financial affairs. Programs from the segregated Cotton Club in Series 2, Performances And Programs and contracts with no-segregation clauses in Series 3: Business Records further illustrate racial policies and practices in this time period. The public shift in perception of Duke Ellington from a leader of an exotic "Jungle Band" in the 1930s to a recipient of the Congressional Medal Of Freedom in 1970 is evidenced in Series 2, Performances And Programs, Series 12, Posters, Series 7, Photographs and Series 13, Awards. Reviews and articles reflecting Ellington's evolving status are also documented in Series 8, Newspaper Clippings, Series 9, Scrapbooks, Series 10, Newspaper and Magazine Articles.

The materials in the Duke Ellington Collection reflect rapid technological changes in American society from 1923-1982. Sound recordings in Series 6 range from 78 phonograph records of three minutes duration manufactured for play on Victrolas in monaural sound to long-playing (LP) phonograph records produced for stereo record players. Television scripts in Series 4, programs in Series 2 and music manuscripts (for example, Drum Is A Woman) in Series 1 demonstrate how the development of television as a means of mass communication spread the Orchestra's sound to a wider audience. The availability of commercial air travel enabled the Ellington Orchestra to extend their international performances from Europe to other continents including tours to Asia, Africa, South America and Australia and archival material from these tours is included in every series.

Series 4, Scripts and Transcripts and Series 6, Audio Recordings contain scripts and radio performances promoting the sale of United States War bonds during World War II, and Series 7, Photographs includes many images of Duke Ellington and His Orchestra's performances for military personnel revealing the impact of historic events on Duke Ellington and His Orchestra. Series 2: Programs and Performances, Series 9, Newspaper clippings and Series 8, Scrapbooks document the 1963 Far East tour aborted as a result of President John F. Kennedy's assassination.

The Duke Ellington Collection contains works by numerous twentieth-century music, literature, and art luminaries. Series 1, Music Manuscripts contains original music manuscripts of William Grant Still, Eubie Blake, Mary Lou Williams, and others. Series 4, Scripts and Transcripts contains a play by Langston Hughes, and Series 12, Posters contains many original artworks.
Arrangement:
Series 1: Music Manuscripts, circa 1930-1981, undated

Series 2: Performances and Programs, 1933-1973, undated

Series 3: Business Records, 1938-1988

Series 4: Scripts and Transcripts, 1937-1970

Series 5: Personal Correspondence and Notes, 1941-1974, undated

Series 6: Sound Recordings, 1927-1974

Series 7: Photographs, 1924-1972, undated

Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1931-1973

Series 9: Newspaper Clippings, 1939-1973, undated

Series 10: Magazine Articles and Newspaper Clippings, 1940-1974

Series 11: Publicity, 1935-1988

Series 12: Posters and Oversize Graphics, 1933-1989, undated

Series 13: Awards, 1939-1982

Series 14: Religious Material, 1928-1974

Series 15: Books, 1903-1980

Series 16: Miscellaneous, 1940-1974
Biographical / Historical:
A native of Washington, DC, Edward Kennedy Ellington was born on April 29, 1899. Edward was raised in a middle-class home in the Northwest section of Washington described by his sister Ruth--younger by sixteen years--as a "house full of love." Ellington himself wrote that his father J.E. (James Edward) raised his family "as though he were a millionaire" but Edward was especially devoted to his mother, Daisy Kennedy Ellington. In 1969, thirty-four years after his mother's death, Ellington accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom with these words, "There is nowhere else I would rather be tonight but in my mother's arms." Both his parents played the piano and Ellington began piano lessons at the age of seven, but like many boys he was easily distracted by baseball.

In his early teens, Ellington sneaked into Washington clubs and performance halls where he was exposed to ragtime musicians, including James P. Johnson, and where he met people from all walks of life. He returned in earnest to his piano studies, and at age fourteen wrote his first composition, "Soda Fountain Rag" also known as "Poodle Dog Rag." Ellington was earning income from playing music at seventeen years of age, and around this time he earned the sobriquet "Duke" for his sartorial splendor and regal air. On July 2, 1918, he married a high school sweetheart, Edna Thompson; their only child, Mercer Kennedy Ellington, was born on March 11, 1919. Duke Ellington spent the first twenty-four years of his life in Washington's culturally thriving Negro community. In this vibrant atmosphere he was inspired to be a composer and learned to take pride in his African-American heritage.

Ellington moved to New York City in 1923 to join and eventually lead a small group of transplanted Washington musicians called "The Washingtonians," which included future Ellington band members, Sonny Greer, Otto Hardwicke and "Bubber" Miley. Between 1923 and 1927, the group played at the Club Kentucky on Broadway and the ensemble increased from a quintet to a ten-piece orchestra. With stride pianist Willie "The Lion" Smith as his unofficial guide, Ellington soon became part of New York's music scene; Smith proved to be a long-lasting influence on Duke's composing and arranging direction. At the Club Kentucky, Ellington came under the tutelage of another legendary stride pianist, "Fats" Waller. Waller, a protege of Johnson and Smith, played solos during the band's breaks and also tutored Ellington who began to show progress in his compositions. In November 1924, Duke made his publishing and recording debut with "Choo Choo (I Got To Hurry Home)" released on the Blu-Disc label. In 1925, he contributed two songs to Chocolate Kiddies, an all-black revue which introduced European audiences to black American styles and performers. By this time Ellington's family, Edna and Mercer, had joined him in New York City. The couple separated in the late 1920's, but they never divorced or reconciled.

Ellington's achievements as a composer and bandleader began to attract national attention while he worked at the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York City, from 1927 to 1932. The orchestra developed a distinctive sound that displayed the non-traditional voicings of Ellington's arrangements and featured the unique talents of the individual soloists. Ellington integrated his soloists' exotic-sounding trombone growls and wah-wahs, their high-squealed trumpets, their sultry saxophone blues licks and Harlem's street rhythms into his arrangements. In the promotional material of the Cotton Club, the band was often billed as "Duke Ellington and His Jungle Band." With the success of compositions like "Mood Indigo," and an increasing number of recordings and national radio broadcasts from the Cotton Club, the band's reputation soared.

The ten years from 1932 to 1942 are considered by some major critics to represent the "golden age" for the Ellington Orchestra, but it represents just one of their creative peaks. These years did bring an influx of extraordinary new talent to the band including Jimmy Blanton on double bass, Ben Webster on tenor saxophone, and Ray Nance on trumpet, violin and vocals. During this ten year span Ellington composed several of his best known short works, including "Concerto For Cootie," "Ko-Ko," "Cotton Tail," "In A Sentimental Mood," and Jump For Joy, his first full-length musical stage revue.

Most notably, 1938 marked the arrival of Billy Strayhorn. While a teenager in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Strayhorn had already written "Lush Life," "Something To Live For" and a musical, Fantastic Rhythm. Ellington was initially impressed with Strayhorn's lyrics but realized long before Billy's composition "Take the A' Train" became the band's theme song in 1942 that Strayhorn's talents were not limited to penning clever lyrics. By 1942, "Swee' Pea" had become arranger, composer, second pianist, collaborator, and as Duke described him, "my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brain waves in his head, and his in mine." Many Ellington/Strayhorn songs have entered the jazz canon, and their extended works are still being discovered and studied today. Strayhorn remained with the Ellington Organization until his death on May 30, 1967.

Ellington had often hinted of a work in progress depicting the struggle of blacks in America. The original script, Boola, debuted in Carnegie Hall in November of 1943, retitled Black, Brown and Beige. The performance met with mixed reviews, and although Ellington often returned to Carnegie Hall the piece was never recorded in a studio, and after 1944 was never performed in entirety again by the Ellington Orchestra. Nonetheless, it is now considered a milestone in jazz composition.

After World War II the mood and musical tastes of the country shifted and hard times befell big bands, but Ellington kept his band together. The band was not always financially self-sufficient and during the lean times Ellington used his songwriting royalties to meet the soloists' salaries. One could assign to Ellington the altruistic motive of loyalty to his sidemen, but another motivation may have been his compositional style which was rooted in hearing his music in the formative stage come alive in rehearsal. "The band was his instrument," Billy Strayhorn said, and no Ellington composition was complete until he heard the orchestra play it. Then he could fine tune his compositions, omit and augment passages, or weave a soloist's contribution into the structure of the tune.

In 1956, the American public rediscovered Duke and the band at the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island. The searing performances of tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves on "Diminuendo and Crescendo In Blue," his premiere soloist, alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges on "Jeep's Blues", and the crowd's ecstatic reaction have become jazz legend. Later that year Duke landed on the cover of Time magazine. Although Ellington had previously written music for film and television (including the short film, Black and Tan Fantasy in 1929) it wasn't until 1959 that Otto Preminger asked him to score music for his mainstream film, Anatomy of a Murder, starring Jimmy Stewart. Paris Blues in 1961, featuring box-office stars Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier in roles as American jazz musicians in Paris, followed.

Ellington's first performance overseas was in England in 1933, but the 1960s brought extensive overseas tours including diplomatic tours sponsored by the State Department. Ellington and Strayhorn composed exquisite extended works reflecting the sights and sounds of their travels, including the Far East Suite, 1966. They wrote homages to their classical influences; in 1963, they adapted Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and celebrated Shakespeare's works with the suite Such Sweet Thunder in 1957. With Ella Fitzgerald, they continued the Norman Granz Songbook Series. Ellington also began to flex his considerable pianist skills and recorded albums with John Coltrane (1963), Coleman Hawkins (1963), Frank Sinatra, and Money Jungle (1963) with Charles Mingus and Max Roach. The First Sacred Concert debuted in San Francisco's Grace Cathedral in 1965. In his final years, Ellington's thoughts turned to spiritual themes and he added a Second (1968) and Third (1973) Concert of Sacred Music to his compositions.

In his lifetime, Duke received numerous awards and honors including the highest honor bestowed on an American civilian, the Congressional Medal Of Freedom. In 1965, Ellington was recommended for a Pulitzer Prize to honor his forty years of contribution to music but the recommendation was rejected by the board. Most likely he was disappointed, but his response at the age of sixty-six was, "Fate is being kind to me. Fate doesn't want me to be famous too young."

Ellington never rested on his laurels or stopped composing. Whenever he was asked to name his favorite compositions his characteristic reply was "the next five coming up," but to please his loyal fans Ellington always featured some of his standards in every performance. Even on his deathbed, he was composing the opera buffo called Queenie Pie.

Duke Ellington died on May 24, 1974 at seventy-five years of age. His funeral was held in New York's Cathedral of St. John The Divine; he was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery. His long-time companion Beatrice "Evie" Ellis was buried beside him after her death in 1976. He was survived by his only child, Mercer Kennedy Ellington, who not only took up the baton to lead the Duke Ellington Orchestra but assumed the task of caring for his father's papers and his legacy to the nation. Mercer Ellington died in Copenhagan, Denmark on February 8, 1996, at the age of seventy-six. Ruth Ellington Boatwright died in New York on March 6, 2004, at the age of eighty-eight. Both Mercer and Ruth were responsible for shepherding the documents and artifacts that celebrate Duke Ellington's genius and creative life to their current home in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

William H. Quealy Collection of Duke Ellington Recordings (AC0296)

Rutgers University Collection of Radio Interviews about Duke Ellington (AC0328)

Duke Ellington Oral History Project (AC0368)

Duke Ellington Collection of Ephemera and realated Audiovisual Materials (AC0386)

Annual International Conference of the Duke Ellington Study Group Proceedings (AC0385)

Robert Udkoff Collection of Duke Ellington Ephemera (AC0388)

Frank Driggs Collection of Duke Ellington Photographic Prints (AC0389)

New York Chapter of the Duke Ellington Society Collection (AC390)

Earl Okin Collection of Duke Ellington Ephemera (AC0391)

William Russo Transcription and Arrangement of Duke Ellington's First Concert of Sacred Music (AC0406)

Ruth Ellington Collection of Duke Ellington Materials (AC0415)

Music manuscripts in the Ruth Ellington Collection complement the music manuscripts found in the Duke Ellington Collection.

Carter Harman Collection of Interviews with Duke Ellington (AC0422)

Betty McGettigan Collection of Duke Ellington Memorabilia (AC0494)

Dr. Theodore Shell Collection of Duke Ellington Ephemera (AC0502)

Edward and Gaye Ellington Collection of Duke Ellington Materials (AC0704)

Andrew Homzy Collection of Duke Ellington Stock Music Arrangements (AC0740)

John Gensel Collection of Duke Ellington Materials (AC0763)

Al Celley Collection of Duke Ellington Materials (AC1240)

Materials at Other Organizations

Institute of Jazz Studies

Websites

Billy Strayhorn Website

Duke Ellington Society
Separated Materials:
Artifacts related to this collection are in the Division of Culture and the Arts and include trophies, plaques, and medals. See accessions: 1989.0369; 1991.0808; 1993.0032; and 1999.0148.
Provenance:
The collection was purchased through an appropriation of Congress in 1988.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Copyright restrictions. Consult the Archives Center at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.

Paul Ellington, executor, is represented by:

Richard J.J. Scarola, Scarola Ellis LLP, 888 Seventh Avenue, 45th Floor, New York, New York 10106. Telephone (212) 757-0007 x 235; Fax (212) 757-0469; email: rjjs@selaw.com; www.selaw.com; www.ourlawfirm.com.
Topic:
Big bands  Search this
Pianists  Search this
Composers -- 20th century  Search this
Bandsmen -- 20th century  Search this
Jazz -- 20th century -- United States  Search this
Musicians -- 20th century  Search this
Music -- Performance  Search this
African American entertainers -- 20th century  Search this
African Americans -- History  Search this
Popular music -- 20th century -- United States  Search this
Music -- 20th century -- United States  Search this
African American musicians  Search this
Genre/Form:
Phonograph records
Papers
Photographic prints
Posters
Sound recordings
Scrapbooks -- 20th century
Music -- Manuscripts
Clippings
Awards
Audiotapes
Citation:
Duke Ellington Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0301
See more items in:
Duke Ellington Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0301
Additional Online Media:

[Duke Ellington portrait : black-and-white photoprint], 1969

Creator:
Bachrach, Fabian 1917-2010  Search this
Subject:
Ellington, Duke 1899-1974  Search this
Physical description:
Silver gelatin on paper
7 items : photoprints, 10" x 8"
Culture:
African Americans  Search this
Type:
Publicity photographs
Photographs
Date:
1969
20th century
1960-1970
Topic:
Musicians  Search this
Composers  Search this
African American composers  Search this
Local number:
AC0301-0000028.tif (AC Scan No.)
Restrictions & Rights:
Unrestricted research access on site
Copyright probably retained by studio
See more items in:
Duke Ellington Collection Photographs (Series 7), ca. 1924-1972
Data Source:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_285506

Hamlet [music manuscript.]

Composer:
Ellington, Duke 1899-1974  Search this
Uniform title:
Hamlet (Legendary character)  Search this
Physical description:
Ink and pencil on paper
1 item
Type:
Manuscripts
Holographs
Date:
1957
20th century
Topic:
Mental illness  Search this
Music  Search this
Local number:
AC0301-0000006.tif (AC Scan No.)
Restrictions & Rights:
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment
Copyright probably retained by creator or publisher
See more items in:
Duke Ellington Collection Music Manuscripts (Series 1), ca. 1930-1981
Data Source:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_285424

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