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Roland Hayes letters and photographs

 Collection — Container: MS 5064
Call Number: MS 5064

Scope and Contents

This collection contains nine letters dating from 1922-1971 that document Roland Hayes’s friendship and business relationship with Kate Seaman and several other correspondents. Hayes was one of the first African American singers to gain national and international fame, specializing in classical songs as well African American spirituals. Topics include his public performances and plans for production and distribution of recordings. Also included are two photographs.

Five letters are addressed to Kate Seaman, singer and president of the Record Hunter retail chain. These letters discuss performances given by both Seaman and Hayes, as well as an offer from Record Hunter to produce and distribute recordings of Hayes’s music. Other recipients include Mr. Bull, Mr. Marshall, Arthur Knight, and Jerome Maggid, Record Hunter’s General Manager. These letters discuss programs for his concerts, mentioning songs such as Douglas Stewart’s "West Wind," and "O Sleep Why Dost Thou Leave Me” from Handel’s Semele, in addition to the dates and locations of these performances. Also included are further discussions of his recordings for Record Hunter.


  • 1922-1971


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. In most cases, the Boston Public Library does not hold the copyright to the items in our collections. It is the sole responsibility of the user to make their own determination about what types of usage might be permissible under U.S. and international copyright law.


11 Items

Language of Materials



The material is arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from J&J Lubrano Music Antiquarians, November 2010.

Related Materials

Related collections in this library include MS Am. 1655 (1-4) and MS Am. 1288.

Processing Information

This electronic finding aid is transcribed from legacy data. In many cases, transcriptions were not verified against collection materials at the time of transcription. As a result, this finding aid could be incomplete and might only reflect a partial understanding of the material.

Statement on harmful description

Archival description reflects the biases of time periods and cultures in which it was created and may include direct quotations or descriptions that use inappropriate or harmful language. Creator provided descriptions may be maintained in order to preserve the context in which the collection was created and/or used. Legacy description and potentially offensive content may be made available online until a collection can be reprocessed because the access that they provide to primary source materials is uniquely valuable to the research community at large. Our efforts to repair outdated descriptions and to describe our collections more equitably are iterative and ongoing.

Former Title

Collection formerly known as Roland Hayes Papers.

Guide to the Roland Hayes Letters and Photographs
Lauren Pey
2010 November
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2023-07-17: To comply with Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) Version 2019.0.3, Crystal Rodgers, Archivist, adjusted the following field(s): title, finding aid filing title, finding aid date, finding aid author, arrangement note, preferred citation, and related materials, and created the following field(s): EAD ID.

About this library

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