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Marian Anderson Collection

Marian Anderson (1897-1993) was world-renowned as a contralto. She also challenged racial barriers in the United States. Her dramatic open-air concert at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, after she was banned from singing in Constitution Hall, was delivered to 75,000 listeners. She was the first African American to sing at the Metropolitan Opera in 1955.

Portrait photograph of Marian Anderson looking to her left

The Marian Anderson Collection includes Anderson's personal papers--including letters, music scores, programs, photographs, and sound recordings--and affiliated materials, along with additional donations to the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. All of these collections are housed in the Kislak Center.

In 2020, the Penn Libraries launched a new digital portal providing online access to important portions of the Marian Anderson Collection: Discovering Marian Anderson through the Collections at the University of Pennsylvania Library.

Collection Overview and Information for Researchers

Researchers should be aware that materials by and relating to Marian Anderson are cataloged in a number of different collections. Following is a separation list.

Note: links are provided either to archival finding aids or to search results in the Franklin catalog.

Accordion List


Portrait photograph of Marian Anderson looking to her left
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Marian Anderson, Vienna, 1935, photograph by Lotte Meitner-Graf, Ms. Coll. 198, 3.26.2

Image of Marian Anderson-Carnegie Hall-Concert program 1944-12-18.jpg
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Concert program, Marian Anderson at Carnegie Hall, New York, December 18, 1944, Marian Anderson Papers

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