About The E. Azalia Hackley Collection

Madame Hackley The E. Azalia Hackley Collection was created in 1943 by a gift of material to the Detroit Public Library from the Detroit Musicians Association, a branch of the National Association of Negro Musicians. The Hackley was the first archive to document the contributions of Blacks to the performing arts.

This collection of sheet music from the Hackley consists of over 600 pieces of 19th and 20th century sheet music published between 1799 and 1922. Song themes cover early 19th century plantation life in the American South, the Civil War period, including abolitionism, emancipation and Reconstruction, early 20th century popular music, and the stereotypical themes associated with black face minstrelsy. The minstrel songs of Detroit born composer Harry Von Tilzer are largely represented, as well as the songs of African American and Detroit based composers Fred Stone and Harry P. Guy. Other African American composers include: James Bland, Ernest Hogan, Cecil Mack, Shelton Brooks, Will Marion Cook, Bob Cole, James Reese Europe, Creamer & Layton, Williams & Walker, and W.C. Handy. Piano music of marches, quadrilles and other dances are also included.

The original sheet music covers, in some cases as interesting and as telling as the music itself, document perspectives and accepted beliefs in America's past and are to be remembered and placed in historical context.

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The Detroit Public Library presents these documents as part of the record of the past. These primary historical documents reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. The Detroit Public Library and DALNET do not endorse the views expressed in these collections, which may contain materials offensive to some readers.

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