- Odetta, 1930-2008
- Physical description
- 18 linear feet (18 record cartons)
- Preferred Citation
- Odetta papers, 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.
The Odetta Papers document her career as a folk singer and entertainer. The collection includes contracts, sheet music, correspondence, press materials, programs, flyers, posters, itineraries, travel documents, financial records, record company and management records, and clippings.
Folk singer Odetta (née Odetta Holmes, aka Odetta Felious) is one of the best-known African-American folk singers in the United States. Born in Alabama and raised in Los Angeles, Odetta was trained for a classical and operatic career at Los Angeles City College when a visit to a San Francisco coffee house featuring folk music awakened an interest in the young singer. Following a long engagement at the Tin Angel in San Francisco, she was booked at The Blue Angel in New York City where she was embraced by the Greenwich Village folk community. Shortly thereafter she appeared with Harry Belafonte at Carnegie Hall and with Pete Seeger at Town Hall.
Odetta is credited as being an important figure in the American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s, and was a formative influence on artists such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Janis Joplin. She has recorded over thirty albums, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts in 1999, and was nominated for a Grammy award for her album, "Gonna Let It Shine" in 2007.
Source of acquisition
Gift, Odetta, 1998
- African American women entertainers
- African American women musicians
- African American women singers
- Black author
- Folk music -- United States
- Folk singers -- United States
- Human rights workers -- United States
- Musicians -- United States
- Women composers -- United States
- Women singers -- United States
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
All requests subject to limitations noted in divisional policies on reproduction