Scope and arrangement
The Asadata Dafora (Horton) Papers, 1933-1963 reflect his active and successful career and provide insight into the significance of his art. The papers are divided into seven files: Personal Papers; Correspondence: Agreements and Contracts: Typescripts; Sheet Music; Programs; and Newspaper Clippings. The collection mirrors a continuing interest in Africana that extended beyond the scope of his career.
The Asadata Dafora papers are arranged in eight series:
The file consists of a manuscript autobiographical sketch written after he returned to Sierra Leone (1960), printed and typescript promotional releases for a performance at Jacob's Pillow, a Certificate of Appreciation from the African Academy of Arts and Research and a list of members of his dance company.
The file contains letters addressed to Dafora from friends, business associates and promotional agents. Of particular note are letters from Orson Welles, concerning a plan to film “Heart of Darkness,” and Eleanor Roosevelt, commenting on a performance of the Grand African Dance Festival. The outgoing letters concern Dafora's arrangemnts for rehearsal space and personal matters to friends in Sierra Leone. A small number of third-party letters are filed in chronological order with the incoming correspondence. The letters provide background for the various performances and tours and show his popularity with diverse audiences.
The folder of AGREEMENTS AND CONTRACTS, 1939-1956, documents his involvement with the National Concert and Artists Corporation and his itinerary with them, his contracts with Coronet Attractions and the African Academy of Arts and Research, along with some ephemera.
- 1944, n.d.
The file is comprised of complete and incomplete drafts of plays andd performances. Mimeographed copies have been included with the typescripts, which are largely undated.
The folder contains printed scores as well as three manuscript compositions entitled “Awo-Wo,” “Shar-Shar-Kolo,” (two versions), and “Gui Fo.”
The file traces Dafora's career as dancer and artist. In addition to programs, the folders contain announcements and promotional releases which provide additional biographical information. It is interesting to note that in his performance at Mother A.M.E. Zion Church, on January 26, 1931, he was featured as a “lyric tenor from Sierra Leone.” This is the only document that refers to his early singing career after his arrival in Harlem. Dated items are filed chronologically. Considerable undated material, arranged by title of performance, follows the chronological sequence.
The file consists mostly of reviews of Dafora's performances providing both critical and interpretive information. The clippings are filed in chronological order with undated clippings at the end of the folder. All the clippings have been photoduplicated.