The Marian Anderson Papers: A Life in Sound

Material Description

In choosing the five series for digitization, the Curators have selected materials of high research value which build on previous Penn Libraries Marian Anderson digital initiatives, like the digitization of the 4,464 Anderson Photographs (Ms. Coll. 198) which are accessible freely online. Content identified to be digitized include her non-commercial audio recordings, among which are her interviews with Harry Taubman recorded in 1955-56. The interviews served as the basis for her autobiography My Lord, What a Morning, which Taubman ghost wrote for Ms. Anderson. However, the typed transcripts provide additional insight into the singer’s life and career. Anderson’s comprehensive collection of musical programs illustrates the geographical and musical range of her 1200 plus performances between 1916 and 1965. In addition the audio tapes include four decades of home recordings which have never been available to the public. Her programs record her repertoire, the places, and the venues where she performed. While spending much of her professional life on tour, her diaries and notebooks document her daily life as a concert singer and the residual joys and tribulations of touring. Of particular note is the fact that in her diaries, Anderson, who loved to cook, recorded a number of recipes in her diaries which will attract, certainly, culinary interest. Finally, her scrapbooks, which begin in the 1930s illustrate in detail virtually many of her performances thus scholars can measure the her reception and the extent of her fame. With these materials in hand, one can create an unrivaled daily chronicle of Marian Anderson’s life.

Year Added:



University of Pennsylvania Libraries


Mr. David McKnight
University of Pennsylvania Libraries

Date Range

1916 - 1916

Geographic Scope

An artist of international repute, Marian Anderson gave concerts and recitals on five continents (Asia, Africa, North and South America, Europe and Australia) during her six decade long career. Thus the materials selected for digitization enable a researcher to trace Anderson’s performing career from the local to around the globe.


  • 1919 Mixed Archival Collections