Scope and arrangement
The Sidney Easton Collection spans the years, 1913-1980, and partially documents aspects of Easton's long and varied career in show business.
The Sidney Easton papers are arranged in four series:
PERSONAL and PROFESSIONAL PAPERS, 1913-1983, n.d., contains Easton's marriage license to Sarah Dooley, his first wife. Other materials in this series are a small amount of career related documents including advertisements for Easton and Howell that appear to have been taken from a scrapbook. This file also includes three programs, one featuring Easton and Howell in Quebec, Canada. The clippings contain information about Easton's performances and activities. There is also a file of sheet and manuscript music written by others that Easton probably performed. Included here are two copies of sheet music for the Alex Rogers and Bert Williams' classic "Nobody," autographed by Eva Jessye. In addition, there are two pieces of manuscriptSidney Easton - page 3
music of "Judge Roy Hyde" by Sheldon Brooks, Jr. and Edgar J. Hayes, and "I'm Taking Back All Those Clothes" by Sheldon Brooks, Jr. and Clarence Muse. There is also a list of all the performers with whom Easton had some association over the span of fifty years in show business.
The Miscellaneous file contains letters from Easton's second wife, Harriet to Helen Armstead-Johnson regarding Sidney Easton's papers. This file also contains printed materials. Of interest is a scrapbook, 1928-1934, n.d., essentially containing numerous reviews of performances by Easton and Howell, Easton and Easton, Easton and Stewart, and Easton and Baby Goins Joyce in the late 1920s and early 1930s. In addition, there is a souvenir program from the S.S. Haiti, aboard which he sailed to Haiti to film a sequence of Drums of the Night, and an article on C. Luckeyth "Lucky" Roberts, one of Easton's songwriting contemporaries, by George S. Schuyler.
WRITINGS, 1920-1950, n.d., series is divided into four subseries: Autobiography, Play Scripts, Other Writings and Music. These subseries represent the different genres of Easton's work. The Autobiography file, c.1966, contains Easton's 316-page typescript memoir. There is also a 30-page synopsis of the autobiography.
The Play Scripts, n.d., subseries includes the plays Lifeboat #13, Miss Trudie Fair, The Obliging Burglar, Shanty Car and the playlet She Never Heard of the Blues.
In the Other Writings, n.d., file there are monologues, short stories, skits and television scripts, in addition to a partial list of songs written by Easton.
The Music, 1920, 1932, 1950, n.d., subseries consists of both manuscript and sheet music. There is manuscript music for "Shanty Car," parts of the songs "Rhythm of Song," "I Ain't Poor No More," "Enjoy Yourself," and a few untitled pieces. Also found here are a number of pieces of sheet music written by Easton including "Who's Dat Says 'Who's Dat," "When the Melon's Ripe in Dixie, That's When I'm Coming Home," and a book of sheet music,"Ten Original Jazz Tunes," all of which were written by Easton.
LEGAL, 1944-1947, n.d., series documents Easton's claim against Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. It contains correspondence between Easton and his lawyers B. Leo Schwartz and Charles S. Rosenschein, an affidavit given by Easton, settlement documents pertaining to the case, and clippings. In addition there are two versions of Lifeboat, a manuscript by John Steinbeck and a screenplay by Jo Swerling. Easton's Lifeboat #13 can be found in the WRITINGS series.
HELEN ARMSTEAD-JOHNSON NOTES, n.d., contains notes Johnson kept while researching Easton and her communications with his wife, Harriet.