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Re: [RedHotJazz] Ivie Anderson

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  • Hec Hancock
    The original instructions have been lost and I have no way of contacting my grouup. Even so I could t resist ing jumping in regards to Ivie Anderson. I saw
    Message 1 of 6 , May 31, 2008
      The original instructions have been lost and I have no way of contacting my grouup. Even so I could't resist ing jumping in regards to Ivie Anderson. I saw her perform with the Duke at Sweet's Ballroom in Oakland in 1940 and was greatly immpressed. How could you not be with Duke's collection of stars - Johnny Hodges, Jimmy Blanton, Sonny Greer, Juan Tizol, Rex Stewart, Cootie Williams, Sam Nanton, Barney Bigardet al.

      Ivie left the band in 1942 largely because of her chronic asthma to open a resturant in LA, the Chicken Shack.. The asthma led to her premature death at 44.

      Earlier in her career she had been a singer with Anson Weeks at the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco. Dancin' with Anson. Weeks. thanks to radio exposusre on KFRC, was an instittuion on the West Coast. A good hotel band - but not jazz. Weeks was in an auto accident in 1941 and out of the music business untl the a six year stint ast the SF's Palace Hotel in the 60s.

      The Mark Hopkins, named for the president of the Central Pacific Railway and one of "Big Fouur" Hopkins, Huntingston, Stanford and McKay - is very upscale. During the Bib Band era used to bring in bands into the famed Peacock Court. such as Benny Goodmen and Bob Crosby and the Bobcats.


      You are correc about her birthplace - Gilroy not Gibson.

      Bob Eagle <prof_hi_jinx@...> wrote:
      Or, to paraphrase the bard, "any other family name would smell as sweet".

      For a famous singer, Ivie Anderson's biography is sadly dilapidated.

      I've found only 4 official records in which she is mentioned, and there are a number of discrepancies. Perhaps someone has her application for SSN?

      The earliest known official record dates from as late as 1928, when she returned to California from Australia after the infamous and prematurely terminated Sonny Clay tour, when the dark powers of white racism overcame what should have been a wonderful artistic tour. The Australian authorities became disturbed by mention of unruly parties involving the soubrettes of the dancing troupe, and the possibility that these undisciplined black hussies might lead the (formerly) clean-living Ozzie boys astray.

      Ivie is shown as "Johnson (Anderson), Ivie", and as being married, so presumably Johnson is a married name. She was living at Berkeley. The 1928 record shows her birth place as Gilroy (Santa Clara County), California, which agrees with most sources these days.

      Incidentally, the records I've seen support 10 July 1904 as the birth date, rather than 1905, as I think is favored by Neil Slaven.

      The next record is the 1930 census, in which she appears as Ivie Anderson, but her birthplace (and that of her parents) is shown as Oklahoma. She was with her (apparently maternal) grandmother, Frances Jones, et al. Ivie's occupation was given as “Club Entertainer, Sings & Dances”.

      The third record is the passenger list of the Ellington band's return in 1939 from Europe. She is listed as Ivie Anderson with the 1904 birth date, but her birthplace is shown as Gibson, California. Gibson is in Shasta County.

      Finally, her California death certificate (1949) shows her as Ivie Anderson Collins. It gives her father's family name as Smith and her mother's as Jones [the latter according with her (maternal) grandmother's name in the 1930 census].

      Despite this plethora of (some very common) family names, no other known official records seem to relate to her.

      There seem to be *no* black entries for Ivie (or Ivy) of whatever family name in California in 1910 (whether in Santa Clara County or Shasta County or otherwise), so Gilroy or Gibson, or whatever, seems to be an accident of birth.

      But Oklahoma offers no obvious better prospects. We need inspiration to be able to delve further.

      And, anyway, how should we understand the causes of the discrepancies? Does Gilroy migrate to Gibson only by handwriting reading error? Did Frances Jones think that, because she came from Oklahoma, therefore ultimately everyone else in this family also did? Or was the informant, whoever it was, pulling the census taker's leg?

      Under the hit-and-miss method of US census-taking, many people were missed at each census date, but (especially with females) it can also be that people don't appear because of some change of family name. And then there are age or origin discrepancies, etc.

      Finally, a google throws up the notion that Ivie sang with Anson Weeks' band at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, apparently an upmarket place in San Francisco, sometime in the late 1920s. Would this be the first time a black singer was featured with a white band in live performance in the US?


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