Columbia College Chicago

Other Collections

Particularly strong are the audio and video collections about the Garifuna of Belize, including ethnographic footage donated by documentary film makers Andrea Leland and Kathy Berger and by ethnomusicologist Oliver Greene, which make the CBMR a major center for the study of this culture.

ASA/GSA Collection of "Bo Diddley Track" program materials
American Society on Aging/Gerontological Society of America

Collection, dated 1993–2009 and undated, consisting of sound and video recordings, meeting materials, photographs, and posters for a program track at the two major gerontological societies in the United States, honoring elderly blues musicians.

2 boxes + 4 outsize folders

Donations by Suzanne Flandreau, 1993, and by John N. Migliaccio, 1994–2010.
More donations are expected from upcoming programs.

Institutional note:

In 1993, two gerontologists and blues lovers, Michael Marcus and John Migliaccio, decided that there should be sessions at meetings of the two major gerontological societies, the American Society on Aging (ASA) and the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), to recognize elderly blues musicians and to present them and their concerns. The Bo Diddley program track was named for the major musician who was the presenter at the second session, in San Francisco, in 1994. A committee of blues fans among the gerontologists has attempted to keep the track going at one or both societies since 1993 by locating local musicians in the cities where each meeting was held and inviting them to talk at the session. Often the daytime session is followed by an evening concert in a blues club.

Scope note:

Materials from each year are varied, and no materials exist for some years. Sometimes the sessions are recorded by the official recording company for the meeting; sometimes the recordings are made by attendees representing the organizers of the program track; sometimes no recordings were made. After 2003, some sessions have posters printed at the primary printer for blues concert posters, Hatch Show Print in Nashville.

Musicians presented at the sessions include Sunnyland Slim, Charles Walton, Bo Diddley, Miss Lavelle White, Mama Laura Mae Gross, Earl Gaines, Roscoe Shelton, Clifford Curry, Robert “H-Bomb” Ferguson, “Weepin' Willie” Robinson, Wylie Trass, Eddie “Bluesmaster” Watson, Deacon Jones, David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Mary Lane, Tommy Brown, and Sandra Hall.

Gospel Music Collection

The CBMR Library has made a serious effort to collect sheet music by gospel music composers. Approximately 625 titles, including individual songs and song collections, are catalogued in the CBMR database, which can be searched from the main Library & Archives page. You can also find information about performers in the clippings and programs file indexed there.

Some of the archival collections, including the James Furman papers and the Sue Cassidy Clark papers, contain information on gospel music and gospel performers, including recorded interviews, photographs, correspondence and writings. Gospel music recordings are part of the Ronald Stone collection (LPs), and there are about 500 LPs in the general gospel music collection that you can search on the sound recordings page.

Many books, dissertations and other publications including magazines like Score/Gospel Today (1991–2005), Rejoice (1987–1994), Gospel Synergy and Gospel Chicago Style, are always available in the CBMR Reading Room for your use. The Center is open Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm. Reference librarians are on hand in person, by phone or via e-mail to assist you with any questions or research needs you may have.

De Paur Chorus Materials Collection

Sound recordings, photographs, and ephemera documenting the De Paur Chorus and its activities, primarily during the early 1950s.

1 box sound recordings (7 analog sound discs)
1 box ephemera and photographs.

Photographs donated by Joseph S. Lewis. Sound recordings donated by William Longstreet (2006) and Diane Smith (2008). Ephemera donated by Frances T. Matlock (2004).

Biographical/Historical note:

Leonard de Paur (1914–1998) received his musical education at Columbia University and the Institute of Musical Arts. In 1932, he became the associate conductor of the Hall Johnson Choir, and in 1936 he became the director of the New York City Negro Unit of the Federal Theatre. In 1942, de Paur joined the armed forces and was soon assigned as the musical director of the Army Air Force show, “Winged Victory.”

In the meantime, four members of the 372nd Regiment—Charles Ernie, Tommy Harris, Allen Ferguson, and Sidney Greenard—began singing together, and this group soon expanded into a glee club that provided entertainment for fellow GIs. In 1944, de Paur was assigned to direct the group, which took part in war bond rallies and radio programs. The group continued after the war and was renamed the De Paur Infantry Chorus (and subsequently, the De Paur Chorus). Touring the globe, the Chorus went on to become one of the leading choral groups in the United States and throughout the world until its disbandment in 1957.

The group's repertoire included spirituals, songs of World War II, folk songs of other countries, and religious choral works. Perhaps the greatest contribution of the Chorus was the dignity and skill with which it presented the music of African Americans. De Paur reorganized the De Paur Chorus again in 1963, and this group toured extensively until 1969. De Paur received numerous awards for his contributions to music during his life. He is widely recognized as a significant figure in male choral music, as well as in African-American history and culture.

Scope note:

This collection of materials related to the De Paur Chorus is small and includes just two concert programs (with several autographs) and one clipping, but the photographs are more complete. The sound recordings reflect the variety found in their repertoire and have gone out of print. These materials complement other archival holdings highlighting African-American concert composers (both score and research collections), military music directors (see the Alton Augustus Adams Sr. papers), and the study of spirituals and work songs (see the Dena Epstein papers, among others).

For a sample list of the types of songs the Chorus recorded, see the ad that appeared in the program book in 1953:

Photographs from the Collection

Below are photographs from the collection featuring the chorus and of some of its individual members. Click on the photos on this page to view an enlarged photo with a caption.