Scope and arrangement
The Florence Mills Papers spans the years, 1896-1974, with the bulk of material encompassing the years, 1923 -1927. The collection reflects her life as a world renowned entertainer, and is divided into two series: PERSONAL and PROFESSIONAL PAPERS. Included are letters, contracts, programs, fan mail, clippings and a scrapbook.
The Florence Mills collection is arranged in two series:
The PERSONAL PAPERS, 1896-1967 (bulk dates 1922-1927) series, consists of biographical information, letters, 1922-1927, and miscellaneous materials. The Letters contained in the file include an invitation for Mills to judge a Charleston dance competition as well as an appreciation letter for her participation in a street fair benefiting crippled children. The miscellaneous file contains receipts for charitable donations by Mills, calling cards, invitations and a ticket to a performance of Plantation Revue.
The PROFESSIONAL PAPERS, 1921-1974 (bulk dates 1921-1929) series, documents Mills' performance history. The series is divided into four subseries which includes Letters, Professional Files and Printed Material. Within the Letters subseries are many messages of support and good wishes via telegrams which Mills received from fans, friends, fellow performers and others, among them Arthur F. Lyons, Hazel Coles and Maude Russell. The Professional Files contain contracts for Shuffle Along, 1921 and Plantation Revue, 1922. Printed Materials include programs for Mills' performances nationally and abroad, as well as a souvenir program for the Florence Mills Memorial Fund, 1927 and clippings.
The Scrapbook primarily contains clippings, bulk dates 1921-1927. The clippings feature Mills' professional (national and international) and personal life. Several caricatures of Mills can also be found in the scrapbook. A few clippings feature Ulysses S. Thompson, Mills' husband and fellow performer.