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Armstead-Johnson Foundation for Theater Research records, 1974-1994.
- 3.2 lin. ft.
The Armstead-Johnson Foundation for Theater Research records document the activities of the Foundation including the administration, research requests, exhibition planning, and collection development.
The Administration series, 1974-1989, consists of minutes of board meetings and correspondence. There is also background information Dr. Johnson assembled for publicity purposes. Financial records include correspondence pertaining to the foundations and organizations solicited by the Foundation.
The subjects discussed in the correspondence series, 1974-1993, include Dr. Johnson's television and radio appearances, requests for assistance from researchers working on African-American theater history, complimentaryletters, speaking engagements, requests from universities and libraries for Dr. Johnson to create exhibitions and for loans of items to exhibitions sponsored by other institutions, and correspondence with theatrical personalities who donated collections to the Foundation.
The Exhibition series, 1974-1994, documents the Foundation's exhibitions in the mid-Atlantic states and inVienna, beginning with a 1975 group show in Washington, D.C. and continuing to November 1994 with an exhibition held at the Queens Borough Public Library.
The Collection series, 1974-1990, documents the manner in which Dr. Johnson acquired collections for the Foundation, either by soliciting donations or by negotiating the purchase of items. There are also lists ofmaterials including photographs owned by the Foundation in1975.
The Armstead-Johnson Foundation for Theater Research was established in 1974 by theater historian Helen Armstead-Johnson for the purpose of collecting, preserving, documenting and exhibiting the history of African-Americancontributions to the American stage. The Foundation was supported financially by Dr. Johnson from her university salary, lectures and exhibition fees, and with a few smallgrants and modest private donations.
Theatrical history from slavery to the 1980's is represented in the collection. Most of the items were acquired through donations, although Dr. Johnson also purchased some material and gathered contemporary articlesto supplement older material. Among the materials which were collected by the Foundation are correspondence, scripts, programs, production files, rare books and pamphlets, posters, broadsides, contracts, scrapbooks, costumes and costume designs, playbills, musical instruments, family memorabilia, photographs, phonograph records, taped interviews with well-known entertainers, newsclippings and trophies.
The Foundation was housed adjacent to Dr. Johnson's apartment in the Hotel Chelsea in Manhattan. There, she put together a small museum in 1975 for the display of some of the objects she had collected. When the museum closed to the public after a few years, Dr. Johnson promoted the objectives of the Foundation through the preparation of exhibitions using the material she had collected. The exhibits traveled to a variety of venues over the twenty year period between 1975 and 1993 exposingthousands of people to the history of blacks in the performing arts.
Controlled Access Terms
- Johnson, Helen A.
- Armstead-Johnson Foundation for Theater Research.
- Museums -- New York (State) -- New York.
- Museum exhibits.
- Museum directors -- New York (State) -- New York.
- Museums -- Acquisitions -- New York (State) -- New York.
- Traveling exhibitions.
- Fund raising.
- Theater -- History -- 19th century.
- Theater -- History -- 20th century.
- African American theater.
- Theater -- United States -- Exhibitions.
Additional Creator Names
- Johnson, Helen A.
- Schomburg NEH Blacks on Stage: African-American Theater Arts Collections Project.