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Author Cooper, Opal, 1889?-1974.
Title Opal Cooper collection, 1915-1974.
Location Call No. Status Message
 Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives  Box 1    AVAILABLE  USE IN LIBRARY
 Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives  Box 2    AVAILABLE  USE IN LIBRARY
 Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives  Box 3    AVAILABLE  USE IN LIBRARY
 Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives  Box 4    AVAILABLE  USE IN LIBRARY


Description 1.4 lin. ft. (1 archival box, 3 flat boxes)
Collection organized in two series: I. Personal Papers, 1930-1974; II. Professional Papers, 1901-1954.
Summary The records contain personal and professional papers comprised of biographical materials, letters, writings, programs, music, a scrapbook and miscellaneous items. The Personal Papers consist of various forms of identification, letters and an obituary, among other items.
The professional papers illuminate Cooper's career as a musician in Paris and New York. His writings include a composition notebook of lyrics, in addition to other skits, lyrics and notes. The programs included are for the play "The Rider of Dreams," the musical "Marie Galante," and Cooper's appearance at the Hotel Taj Mahal in India in 1936. The bulk of the collection is sheet music, most of which is music performed by Cooper. The black composers represented in this subseries include Will Marion Cook, W. C. Handy, Eubie Blake, J. Rosamond Johnson, Duke Ellington, Lew Brown, Ray Henderson, Fleecie Moore, Arthur Porter, Antione "Fats" Domino, and Nat King Cole. The scrapbook features numerous reviews of Cooper performances ranging from the mid 1915s to the 1930s.
Note Photographs transferred to the Photographs and Prints Division.
Biography Opal Cooper was a singer, pianist and actor who performed in the United States and parts of Europe during the 1920s and 1930s. He first appeared in the musical comedy "Darkydom" at the Lafayette Theatre in Harlem, New York in 1915 and in the play "The Rider of Dreams" in 1917. Following his United States Army service in World War II, Cooper remained in Europe and from 1920 to 1939, "Ole" Cooper, as he was sometimes known, worked as a singer and musician in various theaters and restaurants in Paris, other parts of Europe, and in India.
Cooper returned to the United States in the early 1940s and resumed his career performing in clubs in New York City and in Hartsdale, New York. He performed with a number of bands during his career including the James Reese Europe's Octette of Singers and Players, the Five Red Devils, and the International Four.
Indexes Finding aid available.
Linking Entry Forms part: of Helen Armstead-Johnson Theater Collection.
Subject Cooper, Opal, 1889?-1974.
Johnson, Helen A.
Helen Armstead-Johnson Collection.
African American actors.
African American in the performing arts.
African American composers.
African American musicians.
African American entertainers.
African American singers.
Genre/Form Sheet music.
Added Author Cooper, Opal, 1889?-1974.
Johnson, Helen A.
Donor/Sponsor Schomburg NEH Blacks on Stage: African-American Theater Arts Collections Project.