Special Collections and Archives
researched by Music Librarian Christopher Popa
There are two institutions with important Cab Calloway items.
The first is the Mugar Memorial Library at Boston University in Boston, MA, which acquired their holdings in 1976 from Calloway himself, thanks to the efforts of Library Director, Dr. Howard B. Gotlieb.
"Cab Calloway occupies a unique place in the musical life of this country and that is why he is collected here," Gotlieb explained to me.
Highlights of their collection include materials related to Calloway's autobiography, Of Minnie
the Moocher and Me (New York City: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1976); original Calloway big band scores; and a total of 25 scrapbooks covering Calloway 1931-48 as well as the Cotton Club in New York City 1929-39.
Ned Quist, a Librarian in Baltimore, MD, kindly informed me that Coppin State College, a four-year liberal arts university in Baltimore, also has some special Calloway items.
"What I saw was mostly photos, plaques and awards," Quist reported in 1996.
Indeed, Coppin State's Parlett Longsworth Moore Library is the home of the Cab Calloway Jazz Institute, with a permanent exhibition of memorabilia related to his career on the second floor.
On display are movie and television scripts, about 30 plaques and awards, three scrapbooks of family photographs, about 90 framed photographs, framed posters and album covers, and more.
Most of the pieces were donated to the College by Calloway himself.
Other memorabilia, such as the 1940s Columbia Records leaflet shown below, with a caricature of Calloway on its cover, is in the hands of private collectors.
"Calloway, Cab," in The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, p.10.
Howard Gotlieb. Letter to author, Dec. 6, 1995.
The Inventory of the Cab Calloway Collection, Boston University Libraries.
Ned Quist. E-mail to author, Jan. 16, 1996.