Scope and arrangement
The papers, consisting of miscellaneous correspondence received, personal miscellany, notes, essays and autobiographical writings, reflect the career of Bernard Katz as an advertising executive in New York City; and his avocational interests as a researcher and writer on Black history, American jazz and other subjects.
The Bernard Katz papers are arranged in four series:
The correspondence, which is arranged chronologically in the period 1943, 1946, 1950 (and undated) consists mainly of miscellaneous letters received by Mr. Katz from friends, acquaintances and librarians. There are also a few drafts of outgoing letters. The correspondence relates to his book on early Negro music, his researches on Shakespeare, and miscellaneous personal matters. Included is a letter (undated) from the noted American artist, Stephen Longstreet. There is a separate file of letters (1970) addressed to his wife, Phyllis Brownstone Katz, which express condolences on the death of Bernard Katz.
The personal miscellany includes papers (1936-40) relating to the advertising department of Hearns department store; personal notes; a snapshot of Bernard and Phyllis Katz; and a humorous vignette ("The Return of Mr. Squidge"), handwritten and illustrated by Mr. Katz, which was intended apparently for a young nephew and niece.
The series consists of holograph and typewritten notes (and printed matter) on the history of jazz, Negro music, slavery and slave songs, William Shakespeare, and black regiments in the Spanish-American War.
The writings consist of manuscript and typescript drafts of autobiographical writings and of essays on miscellaneous subjects including American jazz, William Shakespeare, and on black regiments in the Spanish-American War. The autobiographical writings include Mr. Katz's reminiscences of his boyhood in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn where he encountered theatrical and vaudeville personalities; and humorous accounts of tricks and gags played by office-mates upon one another when business was slack in the advertising field during the "middle years" of the Great Depression.
The printed ephemera reflect the advertising career of Bernard Katz. Included are copies of printed advertisements, brochures, and flyers for merchandise offered by retail stores and other commercial establishments. There are also a few pencil sketches on tracing paper.