Calloway, Cab (1907-1994)

The Cab Calloway collection consists of manuscripts, musical scores, scrapbooks, printed material, photographs, and correspondence.

Manuscripts in the collection include drafts, notes, and interviews regarding Calloway’s autobiography Of Minnie the Moocher and Me, written with Bryant Rollins (Crowell, 1976). The interviews are especially notable, as they are unexpurgated transcriptions of recorded talks with Cab Calloway (and other members of the Calloway family), Milt Hinton, Benny Payne, Alex Peebles, Charlie Buchanan (manager), and others. The collection also contains a manuscript for “Rhythm Shorts Presents: Cab Calloway in ‘Don’t Be a Joe’,” a script by Hal Seeger.

The musical scores consist of an extensive collection of charts used by Calloway and his band for various performances. Each title includes the parts for several instruments in the ensemble, including trombone, trumpet, saxophone, piano, drums, bass, clarinet, and guitar (although all are not always present for every title). They are mostly holograph, with some printed. Titles include Calloway’s signature song “Minnie the Moocher,” as well as several other original songs by Calloway and various other jazz songs. Also present is a traveling case used to store the carts while on the road.

Scrapbooks in the collection consist of six scrapbooks pertaining to the Cotton Club, assembled by Harry Sobel (1929-1939); and fourteen scrapbooks of reviews and publicity regarding Calloway and his band (1931-1948). Other scrapbooks include an album of clippings about Calloway’s tour of Europe in 1934; two albums of clippings about Calloway’s radio shows Quizzacle (1941-1942) and Quizz (1943); an album of clippings and reviews regarding Calloway’s film appearances in Stormy Weather and Sensations of 1944 ; and an album of photographs.

Printed material in the collection includes numerous clippings about Calloway and his band, including many from the New York Times (1930s-1974); publicity material for the band, including posters and flyers; band schedules and song lists; various magazines; “The New Cab Calloway Hepster’s Dictionary” (1944); and other items.

Photographs in the collection consist of prints and contact sheets of Calloway, as well as publicity photos of various people who performed with Calloway’s band.

Correspondence in the collection includes several letters to or about Calloway, dating from 1942 to 1974, and a few letters to various members of Calloway’s band (1951).

Notable Figures
1. Calloway, Cab, 1907-1994
Associated Subjects
1. African American Collections -- Music Subject Guide
2. Music Collections Subject Guide
3. Radio Subject Guide