- Des Verney, Bertha
- Call number
- Sc MG 449
- Physical description
- .46 linear feet (2 boxes)
- Preferred Citation
- [Item], Bertha Des Verney papers, Sc MG 449, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library
- Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
- Access to materials
- Advance notice required. Request access to this collection.
Bertha Des Verney was a pianist, composer, arranger, writer, singer, playwright, concert promoter, and music teacher. The Bertha Des Verney papers include programs and flyers for musical events that she was involved in, annotated musical texts, scripts, holograph music of her arrangements and compositions, correspondence, and news clippings. From the Washington Music School there are reports, financial records, and a history of the school (1931). Material for the National Association of Negro Musicians includes programs for conventions. The collection also includes two scrapbooks, one of which contains news clippings and programs for musical concerts, primarily featuring African-American artists (1929-1957). The second scrapbook contains news clippings about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and other noteworthy events in the Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson families, as well as obituaries of a number of black personalities, and some musical programs (1936, 1959-1974). There are also a few letters in the collection.
Bertha Des Verney was an African American pianist, composer/arranger, singer, playwright, concert promoter, and music teacher, who devoted much of her time to church and community activities. Des Verney joined Harlem's Mother A.M.E. Zion Church in 1919 and for more than forty years served as the director of several of its choirs and was president of the church's Dramatic Club. Among other educational responsibilities, she was director of the Washington Music School in Albany, New York in the 1930s. Des Verney was a member of the National Association of Negro Musicians, serving as president in 1964. She also organized the Ministers of Music and Drama League, which honored performing artists. She died in 1975 in New York City.
Source of acquisition
Donated in 1977.
Compiled by Janice Quinter, 2010. Finding aid edited and adapted to digital form by Kay Menick in 2016.
Photographs transferred to Photographs and Prints Division. Audiotapes, videotapes and films transferred to Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division. Books and magazines transferred to General Research and Reference Division.
- Ministers of Music and Drama League (New York, N.Y.)
- Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (New York, N.Y.)
- National Association of Negro Musicians (U.S.)
- Washington Music School (Albany, N.Y.)
- African American music teachers
- African American musicians
- African American singers
- African American women composers
- African Americans -- Music
- African Americans in the performing arts
- Arrangers (Musicians) -- United States -- 20th century
Using the collection
LocationSchomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10037-1801
Access to materialsAdvance notice required. Request access to this collection.
Conditions Governing Use
Information on copyright available from repository.