Minstrel show performance collection

Abstract

The Minstrel Show Collection (undated; 0.02 cubic feet; 5 items) comprises a glass slide, a program, a postcard, a photo, and a poster.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Minstrel show performance collection
Date
undated
Extent
0.02 Cubic feet
Subjects
African American history
Minstrel shows
Minstrels
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Dominique Luster
Preferred Citation
2013ms0867 : [identification of item], Minstrel Show Collection, undated, University of Kentucky Special Collections.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Minstrelsy was an American form of theatrical entertainment stretching from the 1830s through the 1950s and 1960s that sought to characterize African Americans as unintelligent and buffoonish. Minstrel companies varied in size and toured the country performing on small stages and in large opera houses. Consisting of comedy, dancing, and music, performances were known by their unique use of white actors in blackface. The performances pre-dated Vaudeville shows by parodying traditional theater, but often included a final scene in which actors reminisced on plantation life and other aspects of slavery. After the Civil War, theater minstrelsy was on the decline, which lead to the formation of new troupes that featured African-American men in blackface and all-women groups. Minstrel shows also made their way to radio, and later, television and film, notably with such shows as Amos 'n Andy. Minstrel shows were notable for creating stock characters that later stereotyped African Americans, such as the Mammy or Jezebel. These stereotypes found their way into more popular and mainstream forms of entertainment throughout the 20th century.
Minstrelsy, American. Oxford Music Online, 2010. Thomas L. Riis, Minstrelsy and Theatrical Miscegenation in The Oxford Handbook of The American Musical, ed. Raymond Knapp et al. (Oxford: Oxford Universiy Press, 201), 65-80.
Scope and Content
The Minstrel Show Collection (undated; 0.02 cubic feet; 5 items) comprises three paper-format and two image-format items primarily documenting the minstrel performer Grovner (Gov.) H. Bowen, as well as two minstrel companies: Al G. Field's Minstrels productions (postcard, glass slide, and program) and the J.A. Coburn Minstrel Company (poster). The composite photograph shows Gov. Bowen in blackface and normal dress (OS-11, folder 1). The poster describes Gov. Bowen as The Kentucky Whirlwind. Although the items in this collection are undated, it is likely they date from after the Civil War.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access note Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
Property rights reside with the University of Kentucky. The University of Kentucky holds the copyright for materials created in the course of business by University of Kentucky employees. Copyright for all other materials has not been assigned to the University of Kentucky. For information about permission to reproduce or publish, please contact Special Collections.

Contents of the Collection

Glass slide from Al G. Field's Minstrels show, undated

  • Box MS-35, Folder 1, Item 1
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Program for Al G. Field's Minstrels show, undated

  • Box MS-35, Folder 1, Item 2
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Postcard from Al G. Field's Minstrels show, undated

  • Box MS-35, Folder 1, Item 3
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Photograph, undated

  • Box OS-11, Folder 1
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Poster advertisement for the J. A. Coburn Minstrel Company, undated

  • Folder 1
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Researchers are required to have an SCRC Researcher Account in order to request or order digital copies of materials. Research Account set-up and use instructions can be found at: http://libguides.uky.edu/SCRCaccount

If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

Researchers are required to have an SCRC Researcher Account in order to request or order digital copies of materials. Research Account set-up and use instructions can be found at: http://libguides.uky.edu/SCRCaccount

If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

Requests

No items have been requested.