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Ada "Bricktop" Smith papers, 1926-1983.
- 7 lin. ft.
The Ada "Bricktop" Smith DuConge Papers, 1920s-1984, primarily document the latter part of Bricktop's life and career. The Papers consist of letters and cards, daily planners and address books, notes on religious thoughts and other subjects, financial papers, sheet music, and news clippings. The diaries range from the 1920s to 1983 and in some instances serve as daily planners and account books. The volumes hold information pertaining to both herpersonal and professional life. The earliest letters date from the 1950s, after she moved to Rome. Primarily they are from people Bricktop worked with during her career including Jack Jordan, James Haskins, Hugh Shannon, David Hanna, and Earl Blackwell. Additionally, there are promotional materials that relate to her career as an entertainer, e.g. fliers, programs; invitations, among them two from Bricktop's in Paris in 1937; letters from broadcasting agencies; magazines noting her appearance dates; and news clippings that include featured stories about Bricktop in arts, entertainment and society columns.
Internationally known cabaret personality Bricktop, was born Ada Beatrice Queen Victoria Louise Virginia Smith in Alderson, West Virginia in 1894. Nicknamed "Bricktop" for her red hair, she began her career as an entertainer at the age of 16, performing on the vaudeville circuit with Flournoy Miller and Aubrey Lyles in McCabe's Georgia Troubadours minstrel show, then later with the Oma Crosby Trio, and the Panama Trio with Florence Mills and Cora Green. She also performed in saloons in Chicago such as the Roy Jones' saloon and Cabaret de Champion, also known as Café Champ owned by boxer Jack Johnson, and in Harlem at Barron's Exclusive Club and Connie's Inn. Bricktop wenton to own her own nightclubs in Paris (1920s and 30s), Mexico City (1940s), and Rome (1950s). Towards the end of her career she made appearances on radio broadcasts, performed at various establishments such as The Club Tangoin Chicago, and introduced Josephine Baker for her "come-back" engagement at Carnegie Hall in 1973. She co-authored"Bricktop" (1983), her autobiography, with James Haskins.
Controlled Access Terms
- Bricktop, 1894-1984.
- Bricktop, 1894-1984 -- Diaries.
- African American entertainers.
- African Americans in the performing arts.
- African American singers.
- Women singers -- United States.
- African American businesspeople.
- Music-halls (Variety-theaters, cabarets, etc.) -- France.
Additional Creator Names
- Jordan, Jack, 1929-
- Haskins, James, 1941-2005.
- Shannon, Hugh.
- Blackwell, Earl.