Graves, Denyce (1963- )

The Denyce Graves collection includes correspondence, personal memorabilia, printed materials, professional materials, legal materials, financial materials, film and video, audio materials, photographs, medical records, and other items.

Collected correspondence consists of cards, faxes, invitations, emails, and fan mails, dated mainly between 1985 and 2011. Many letters celebrate Graves’ performances (particularly in Carmen), while others concern projects such as Denyce Graves, Breaking the Rules. Notables include George W. Bush, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Ted Kennedy.

Memorabilia in the collection includes numerous items regarding Graves’ wedding to David Perry; two castanets used in productions of Carmen; a clay facial mask cast; a Governor’s Award for the Arts Nomination; a certificate of participation; a pennant from the Hopewell Baptist Church; an Oberlin class transcript; a notice of Dean’s List honor; and a graduation cap. Of special note are grade school essays regarding Carmen.

The collection includes a wide range of printed materials—clippings, promotional fliers, booklets, programs, playbills, stage bills, and more (1980s-2010s)—that tell the story of Graves’ career. Among many notable events and productions, materials pertaining to Graves’ White House visit, “9/11 Ten Years Later: An Evening of Remembrance and Reflection,” and "MLK: A Monumental Life" stand out as particularly special items.

Professional materials, primarily subject files, include press kits, schedules, itineraries, and informational and promotional packets. Collected materials document Graves’ prolific performance career and include items pertaining to productions, appearances, and events across the world. A breadth of personal files is also present, containing travel information, contacts, bank information, interview requests, apartment information, faxes, and more. Subjects range from the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority to the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, from PBS royalties to New York nail salons.

Collected legal materials include contracts for many of Graves’ 1990s performances in venues across North America. 

Collected financial materials consist of checks, deposit slips, invoices, receipts, account statements, tax documents, and travel vouchers (1988-95).

Film and video in the collection include an array of VHS cassettes, which document various TV appearances, awards, performances, and events. Notables include the 2001 Glamour Women of the Year Awards, an appearance on Larry King, and performances from the National Cathedral, Oprah, Carmen, Concert of the Americas, and Sesame Streets. Also present are beta cassettes and The Romantic Hours (DVD).

Audio materials captured on compact discs include titles such as  "A Cathedral Christmas," "Angels Watching Over Me," "The Lost Days," and "Voci di Donna," among others. Other CDs feature Graves and fellow opera singers. Miscellaneous tapes (some pertaining to voice lessons) are included, as well.

The collection includes black and white and color headshots; Graves in Carmen costume; and a photo of Graves’ dog. Publicity photographs (digital reprints and negatives) and various performance photographs (captured on slides, negatives, and digital reprints) constitute additional materials.

Also included in the collection are x-rays of David Perry’s lungs and stomach, an x-ray of Graves’ foot, and a photograph from a throat endoscopy.

Miscellaneous materials include three notebooks (1986-94), assorted musical scores, and a scrapbook containing testimonial letters presented to Graves at the Distinguished Washingtonian Award Dinner. Notables include Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Anthony A. Williams, Placido Domingo, and Leonard Slatkin.

Notable Figures
1. Graves, Denyce
Associated Subjects
1. Women's Studies Collections -- Music and Dance Subject Guide
2. African American Collections -- Music Subject Guide
3. Music Collections Subject Guide
4. Opera Subject Guide
5. Helen Deutsch Research Section