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Herbert Marshall collection of Paul Robeson


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Adminstrative Information

Detailed Description


Music Scores

Oversized Materials

Standing Volumes

Herbert Marshall collection of Paul Robeson, 1934-1974 | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

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Collection Overview

Title: Herbert Marshall collection of Paul Robeson, 1934-1974Add to your cart.

ID: 1/3/MSS 137

Primary Creator: Robeson, Paul, (1898-1976)

Other Creators: Marshall, Herbert, (1906-1991)

Extent: 3.0 Boxes

Arrangement: Arranged alphabetically by author.

Subjects: African American actors, Robeson, Paul, 1898-1976.

Forms of Material: Clippings (information artifacts), Correspondence., Manuscripts for publication., Photographs, Playbills, Scores., Screenplays.

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection consists largely of playscripts and screenplays including "Show Boat," "Stevedore,"  "John Henry," and "Porgy," in which Robeson played leading roles.  There are also two musical scores in the collection, one of which is for Show Boat. Also included is one folder of correspondence, two manuscripts concerning Robeson, a playbill from Plant in the Sun, and a publicity poster from The Proud Valley. Photographs and newsclippings complete the boxed material.  Robeson"s personal library comprising seventy-three volumes includes an annotated copy of Othello and many of the books bear his signature or that of his wife, Eslanda Goode Robeson.

Biographical Note

Born in 1898, Paul Robeson grew up in Princeton, New Jersey. At seventeen, he was given a scholarship to Rutgers University, where he received an unprecedented twelve major letters in four years and was his class valedictorian. After graduating he went on to Columbia University Law School. Racial strife ended Robeson's career as a lawyer early.

Returning to his love of public speaking, Robeson began to find work as an actor, and discovered his incredible singing talent with songs such as his trademark "Ol' Man River,". While his fame grew in the United States, he became equally well-loved internationally. He spoke fifteen languages, and performed benefits throughout the world for causes of social justice. He was admired and befriended by both the general public and prominent personalities, including Eleanor Roosevelt, W.E.B. Du Bois, Joe Louis, Pablo Neruda, Lena Horne, and Harry Truman.

During the 1940s, Robeson's black nationalist and anti-colonialist activities brought him to the attention of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Despite his contributions as an entertainer to the Allied forces during World War II, Robeson was singled out as a major threat to American democracy. Every attempt was made to silence and discredit him, and in 1950 his passport was revoked. It was eight years before his passport was reinstated, and though he tried to revive his career, the years of hardship had taken their toll. He was admitted to a hospital in London, where he was administered continued shock treatments. When Robeson returned to the United States in 1963, he  retired to Philadelphia and lived in seclusion until his death in 1976.

Subject/Index Terms

African American actors
Robeson, Paul, 1898-1976.

Administrative Information

Repository: Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Access Restrictions: Unrestricted access.

Use Restrictions: To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the World Wide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult Special Collections Research Center to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.

Preferred Citation: [Item], Herbert Marshall collection of Paul Robeson, Special Collections Research Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Scripts],
[Series 2: Music Scores],
[Series 3: Oversized Materials],
[Series 4: Standing Volumes],

Series 2: Music ScoresAdd to your cart.
Box 3Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Kennedy, Jimmy and Michael Carr. Deep Desert from JerichoAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Kern, Jerome. Show Boat, through page 92Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Kern, Jerome. Show Boat, Pages 93-188Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Kern, Jerome. Show Boat, Pages 189-266Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Correspondence: 1934-1974, UndatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: ManuscriptsAdd to your cart.

"Paul Robeson in Light of Contemporary Black Consciousness," by George R. Pope, June 7, 1972, 14 pp.

untitled, by [Herbert Marshall?], 8 pp.

Folder 14: Printed matterAdd to your cart.

Subscription flyer from the Theatre Union advertising Stevedore, 1934-1935

Playbill from Plant in the Sun, Unity Theatre, ca. 1938

Advertising flyer concerning the National Paul Robeson Conference, Dec. 2, 1956

"Greetings on 60th Birthday"

"Salute to Paul Robeson, A Cultural Celebration of his 75th Birthday"

[see also oversize folder for poster from The Proud Valley]

Folder 15: Photographs (Xerox) [originals removed to Photograph Collection]Add to your cart.

2 of Robeson

1 of Robeson, Marshall and Fredda Brillant

4 from The Proud Valley

Folder 16: NewsclippingsAdd to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Scripts],
[Series 2: Music Scores],
[Series 3: Oversized Materials],
[Series 4: Standing Volumes],

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