Holman, Libby (1904-1971)
Scope:
The Libby Holman collection consists of correspondence, photographs, printed material, audio, memorabilia, and other material. The collection also contains a large section of material pertaining to Alberta Hunter.

Correspondence in the collection is extensive, and includes both personal and professional letters. There are significant amounts of correspondence from Jane and Paul Bowles, Tom Driberg, Roddy McDowall, Teddy Kollek, and Coretta Scott King. The letters from Paul Bowles primarily concern his opera Yerma, which starred Holman; included is a draft of the script, some handwritten notes, an outline, a photograph of Holman with Bowles and Angna Enters, and other items.

Other notable correspondents include Ned Rorem, Russell Baker, Edwin McArthur, Harris Wofford, Eli Wallach, Frith Banbury, Martin Luther King, Jr., Blanche Yurka, Stella Adler, Ralph D. Abernathy, Hubert Long, Marcus Blechman, Abel Meeropol, Gerald Cook, John and Faith Hubley, Anna Roosevelt Halsted, I. F. Stone, Alice B. Toklas, Charles Addams, Ralph Bunche, James B. Cabell, Jasper Deeter, Geraldine Farrar, Kirsten Flagstad, Tamara Geva, Allen Ginsberg, Alan Lomax, Nicholas Ray, Harold Ross, Frank Sinatra, Carl Van Vechten, Josh White, Thornton Wilder, Angus Wilson, Bette Davis, Studs Terkel, Benjamin Spock, Ted Kennedy, and George McGovern. The letters date from the 1940s to ca. 1970.

In addition, there are approximately 200 letters between Holman and her family, as well as several letters, scrapbooks, photographs, and accompanying genealogical records dating back to the 1860s.
 
Photographs in the collection consist of family photos, including photos of Ralph D. Holmes and Christopher S. Reynolds (“Topper”) and their home, Treetops; photos of Holman by Marcus Blechman, Carl Van Vechten, Maurice Seymour, and others, as well as a portrait of Josh White by Marcus Blechman (1943); photos of Holman performing on stage, dated 1920s-1940s; photos of Roddy McDowall, Jennings Perry, Jack Larson, Talullah Bankhead (autographed to Holman), and Holman with Langston Hughes and Josh White at the Stamford, Connecticut Community Center (1944); 80 negatives of Holman, some with Josh White, dated 1930s-1950s; and a photograph of D. H. Lawrence (1929).
 
Printed material in the collection consists of concert programs, including several from performances abroad; clippings (1930s-1960s); reviews; magazines; posters; sheet music, including songs by Paul Bowles and some original arrangements for Holman; and several items regarding a concert for UNICEF in 1965, including clippings, ticket stubs, program, a press release, and photographs, including a photo of Holman with Gloria Vanderbilt and Dorothy Parker at the concert.

Audio recordings in the collection primarily consist of recordings of music in various formats, including long-playing records, reel-to-reel tapes, and cassette tapes, dating from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Albums include The Legendary Libby Holman (1965), including a test pressing of side A; Libby Holman Sings; Libby Holman Sings Blues, Ballads, and Sin Songs; Blues Till Dawn, with Josh White on guitar (Decca 316); two albums made for the Presto Recording Co.; Something to Remember Her By, unreleased recordings from 1954 and 1965 (1974); recordings for Brunswick Records; test pressings for Sonic Recordings Products (Aug. 1965); and several others. Music for Yerma includes reel-to-reels and acetate disks of rehearsals (ca. 1959) and a recording of arias from Yerma for Deryck Waring recordings.

Also present is a proof recording by Frank Sinatra for Capitol Records, Mar. 8, 1956, 45 rpm, labeled “Gray” (side A) and “Blue” (side B). Non-musical recordings in the collection include interviews with Holman by Duncan McDonald, Arlene Francis, and Richard Lamparski (1965-1966); Holman and Dr. John Wexler (1966); two interviews with Holman from 1983; and an album of readings from Shakespeare and Baudelaire by John Carradine, for the Brooke Audio Archives.

Memorabilia in the collection include a pair of gloves belonging to Elizabeth Taylor which she wore on the evening Michael Todd proposed to her, and which Taylor left in Holman’s apartment; a chiffon scarf belonging to Jeanne Eagles; a signed drawing of a female head, by Angna Enters (pencil and pastel, 1967); a Memphis Music Award plaque; and a Smithsonian Performing Arts Certificate of Appreciation.
Other items in the collection include several drafts of stage dialogue between Holman and Josh White, for a performance at the Hedgerow Theatre; the handwritten manuscript for “You and the Night and the Music,” music by Arthur Schwartz, words by Howard Dietz (first performed by Georges Metaxa and Holman in the musical “Revenge with Music”), with notes and markings; song lyrics, including “Frank Sinatra” and “Three Day Pass” by James Shelton; notes, clippings, scripts, concert programs, audio recordings regarding Libby Holman and Her Times, by an unknown person; a VHS video recording of an episode of the television program Mysteries and Scandals featuring Holman, from the E! Network; a scrapbook with clippings, including letters from Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, Ralph David Abernathy, and Jimmy Carter; paintings of Holman; and professional material regarding the World Federation of United Nations Associations Benefit, June 5, 1968, including lighting notes, song lyrics, program notes, programs, and clippings.

Alberta Hunter material in the collection consists of several musical recordings (ca. 1961-1984); numerous photographs; musical scores by Gerald Cook, Alberta Hunter, and both; newspaper articles and magazines about Alberta Hunter (1924, 1964-1984); correspondence, including a letter to Hunter’s family from Jimmy Carter after her death, and a letter from Ed Koch; the text of Ronald Reagan’s salute to Alberta Hunter at a gala tribute (Mar. 1985); invitations to Hunter from Jimmy Carter (1979) and the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts (1979); legal material, including Hunter’s passport (1982); Hunter’s nursing certificate; a short bio of Hunter; and Hunter’s U.S. War Department ID (Sep. 1944).

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Notable Figures
1. Holman, Libby, 1904-1971
Associated Subjects
1. Women's Studies Collections -- Music and Dance Subject Guide
2. Music Collections Subject Guide
3. Theatre and Film Subject Guide
4. LGBT Subject Guide
5. Civil Rights Subject Guide
6. Helen Deutsch Research Section