Research Catalog

John W. Cooper audio and moving image collection.

Title
John W. Cooper audio and moving image collection.
Author
Cooper, John W. (John Walcott), 1873-1966.

Details

Additional Authors
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division.
Found In
Contained in (manifestation) Cooper, John W. (John Walcott), 1873-1966. John W. Cooper collection, 1887-2001.
Subjects
Genre/Form
  • Sound recordings.
  • Video recordings.
Source (note)
  • Joan Maynard
Biography (note)
  • John Walcott Cooper (1873-1966) was a Brooklyn born ventriloquist. From 1886 until about 1890 he was a singer with The Southern Jubilee Singers. Cooper debuted as a ventriloquist in the 1895-1896 theatrical season, and gave his first professional show in 1897. He began touring the minstrel circuit with Richards and Pringles Georgia Minstrels as early as 1901. In addition to ventriloquism, with his first wife, Etta Freeman, a pianist, he told stories in dialect, did fancy paper tearing, freehand drawing, and "mind reading." From the very outset, Cooper wrote his own material and continued to do so throughout his sixty years as a performer, and also designed his scenery. In his earliest skit, "Fun in a Barber Shop," he appeared as a barber in a shop occupied by five "customers," and performed all of the voices. Until the late 1920's, Cooper took his act into the nation's leading vaudeville houses, lodge halls, and private clubs, and was billed as a "clean and wholesome" performer. By the 1930's Cooper introduced the dummy figure Sam Jackson who was carved by the well-known figure maker Theodore Mack, the maker of Edgar Bergen's Charlie McCarthy. Cooper (under the name Hezikiah Jones) and Sam toured the country with "The Major Bowes Original Amateur Hour." During World War II Cooper and Sam toured the United States with the USO camp shows and also performed in veterans hospitals. He played at many private parties and nightclubs including New York's famed Kit Kat and El Morocco Clubs. Well-known and highly regarded by his fellow ventriloquists, he taught the art of ventroloquism to Shari Lewis, creator of "Lamb Chops." Cooper entertained children both in New York City's hospitals and in the homes of wealthy patrons. He retired from show business in 1960, at the age of 86.
Linking Entry (note)
  • Forms part of: John W. Cooper collection, 1887-2001. Papers can be found in the Manuscript & Rare Books Division (Sc MG 743). Photographs can be found in the Photographs and Prints Division. Artifacts can be found in the Art and Artifact Division.
Call Number
Sc MIRS Cooper 2004-35
Author
Cooper, John W. (John Walcott), 1873-1966.
Title
John W. Cooper audio and moving image collection.
Biography
John Walcott Cooper (1873-1966) was a Brooklyn born ventriloquist. From 1886 until about 1890 he was a singer with The Southern Jubilee Singers. Cooper debuted as a ventriloquist in the 1895-1896 theatrical season, and gave his first professional show in 1897. He began touring the minstrel circuit with Richards and Pringles Georgia Minstrels as early as 1901. In addition to ventriloquism, with his first wife, Etta Freeman, a pianist, he told stories in dialect, did fancy paper tearing, freehand drawing, and "mind reading." From the very outset, Cooper wrote his own material and continued to do so throughout his sixty years as a performer, and also designed his scenery. In his earliest skit, "Fun in a Barber Shop," he appeared as a barber in a shop occupied by five "customers," and performed all of the voices. Until the late 1920's, Cooper took his act into the nation's leading vaudeville houses, lodge halls, and private clubs, and was billed as a "clean and wholesome" performer. By the 1930's Cooper introduced the dummy figure Sam Jackson who was carved by the well-known figure maker Theodore Mack, the maker of Edgar Bergen's Charlie McCarthy. Cooper (under the name Hezikiah Jones) and Sam toured the country with "The Major Bowes Original Amateur Hour." During World War II Cooper and Sam toured the United States with the USO camp shows and also performed in veterans hospitals. He played at many private parties and nightclubs including New York's famed Kit Kat and El Morocco Clubs. Well-known and highly regarded by his fellow ventriloquists, he taught the art of ventroloquism to Shari Lewis, creator of "Lamb Chops." Cooper entertained children both in New York City's hospitals and in the homes of wealthy patrons. He retired from show business in 1960, at the age of 86.
Summary
The collection consists of 3 audio recordings and 1 moving image recording relating to his career as a ventriloquist. The holdings are available in the Moving Image and Recorded Sound (MIRS) Division.
Linking Entry
Forms part of: John W. Cooper collection, 1887-2001. Papers can be found in the Manuscript & Rare Books Division (Sc MG 743). Photographs can be found in the Photographs and Prints Division. Artifacts can be found in the Art and Artifact Division.
Added Author
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division.
Found In:
Contained in (manifestation) Cooper, John W. (John Walcott), 1873-1966. John W. Cooper collection, 1887-2001.
Research Call Number
Sc MIRS Cooper 2004-35
Sc MG 743
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