Scope and arrangement
The Ivan Black Papers primarily document the publicity work Black did on behalf of nightclubs in New York and the musicians and comedians who worked there, providing a detailed look at several key venues and the artists appearing in them from the 1940s to the 1970s. The largest portion of the collection is client and subject files containing mainly press releases and newspaper and magazine clippings, but also including promotional flyers, concert and stage programs and correspondence. The collection also contains a large section of photographs, mostly publicity headshots but also some performance and candid photos; and a set of published scores of stock musical arrangements.
Major venues documented in the client/subject files include the Café Society Uptown and Downtown, the Five Spot, the Village Gate and Gregory’s. Papers for each club include performance schedules, promotional material and correspondence. Artists with significant content in the files include Zero Mostel, Hazel Scott, Thelonious Monk, Miriam Makeba, Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, Erroll Garner, Jimmy Savo, Nina Simone, Brooks Kerr and Arch Oboler, among many others. The paper files also contain much documentation of Broadway and Off-Broadway stage and radio productions, including Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris, The Adventures Of The Thin Man, and Anna Lucasta.
Black’s interest in social justice and political causes is revealed by documentation of his work for the Works Progress Administration, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and the Congress On Racial Equality. His interest in the visual arts is documented by files for artists such as Lumen Martin Winter, Catharine Barjansky and Jo Anne Schneider, among others.
The Ivan Black papers are arranged in four series:
- 1927-1979 and undated37 boxes
This series comprises the paper portion of the collection, and consists of the files Black kept on his clients and, occasionally, on subjects of interest to him. The bulk of these papers consists of press releases, promotional literature and flyers, and newspaper and magazine clippings that were the direct results of Black’s work. Some files contain correspondence with newspaper reporters and listings editors, or with nightclub owners and managers. Direct correspondence with artists is rare. Some files contain screenplays or manuscripts, sometimes with no other accompanying correspondence; these are filed by authors’ names.
- 1887-1978 and undated14 boxes
With a few exceptions, the photographs in this series were separated from folders in series I. Many subjects and clients in series I therefore have parallel sub-series and folders in this series. Most of the photographs are publicity headshots. Some folders contain performance or candid photographs, as well as contact sheets, and, in a few cases, negatives.
- 1926-19452 boxes
The scores in this series are all published stock dance arrangements for jazz big band with violins. All contain markings indicating they were rehearsed or performed. They do not indicate which musician or band used the arrangements. Dates are taken from copyright information and may be inaccurate. The arrangements are of songs popular in the mid-1940s, such as Body And Soul, Honk Kong Blues, How Deep Is The Ocean and It Might As Well Be Spring. More such arrangements, without markings, are in Separated Material.
- 1942-1969 and undated2 boxes
Most of this series consists of oversized photographs, with divisions for people and productions. The Ornette Coleman and Larry Adler folders contain several large images, some mounted. The Coleman folder features images of the musician with each of his three instruments (alto saxophone, trumpet and violin). Among the productions, Anna Lucasta contains the most images. The last folder in the series, Promotional Material and Personal Papers, includes performance programs and flyers, proofs of album cover art, an honorary Doctorate in humor for Zero Mostel from City College of New York, and enlargements of newspaper clippings.