Yolande Oglesby Theater Programs and Kitty Cheatham Papers, 1900-1970
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Brief Description:

Consists of personal papers including one piece of sheet music and two photographs belonging to Kitty Cheatham. Also includes concert programs and theater playbills collected by Kitty Cheatham between 1917-1920 and Yolande Oglesby between 1930 and 1970. There is no clear distinction, other than the birth dates and death dates of the two women, between the body of programs and playbills so they remain interfilled as one collection of programs. The concert programs and theatre playbills come from theaters and concert halls in Boston, New York, Paris, Chicago, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Atlanta, and Denver.

Of particular note are Vaudeville and Ziegfeld Follies programs featuring Eddie Cantor, W. C. Fields, Ed Wynn, Al Jolson, Rudee Vallee, and Ethel Merman.  In addition there are premieres and early off-broadway runs of musicals and opera-musicals by Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein, Frank Loesser, Lew Brown, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, Sigmund Romberg, Victor Herbert, George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, Gian Carlo Menotti, Kurt Weill, Marc Blitzstein, Leonard Bernstein, and Meredith Wilson.  The film premiere programs include Le Miracle des Loups (1924) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962), and the stage plays includes premieres of new works by Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Dubose Heyward, Eugene O'Neil, and George S. Kaufman.  Many of these stage play and musical premiers feature such actors as Lionel Barrymore, Ethel Barrymore, Walter Hampden, Helen Hayes, Ed Wynn, Fred Astair, George Cohen, Paul Robeson, Ethel Waters, Boris Karloff, and Christopher Plummer.  The dance programs include performances by Ballet Russ, Shawn, Uday Shankar, and Veloz and Yolande; and the fine art music programs feature performances by Serge Kousevitsky, Serge Rachmaninoff, Jascha Heifetz, Fritz Kreisler, Yehudi Menuhin, and Moriz Rosenthal.

See also 35/3/68, Box 3, Folder 41, "Yolande Oglesby".

Held at:
The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music
236 Harding Band Building
1103 South 6th Street
Champaign, IL 61820 6223
Phone: 217-244-93093
Fax: 217-244-8695
Email: schwrtzs [at] illinois.edu
Record Series Number: 12/9/119
Created by: Oglesby, Yolande (1917-2012), Cheatham, Kitty (1864-1946)
Volume: 1.75 cubic feet
Acquired: 11/19/1996. December 20, 1996.
Arrangement: Arranged alphabetically by city and alphabetically by theater or subject therein, with personal papers at the beginning.
Biographical Note for Oglesby, Yolande (1917-2012) :

Yolande Oglesby (1917-2012) was born in Chicago Illinois on January 13, 1917. She was the daughter of Frederick Wainwright Perkins, a wealthy architect from Chicago, and Yolande Vandeveer Perkins, whose family descended from the Vandeveer Family (one of the first families to settle in New Netherlands). At the age of 2, her family retired to the country in Morrisonville, Illinois. While her father continued his architectural practice in Morrisonville, he also co-owned a sugar plantation in Cuba with his brother that he managed from abroad. At the age of 4, the family moved to Boston. Her sister Emily, who was four years older than Yolande, enrolled in the Brimmer School near Boston College. Outside of school, the girls were raised by a governess and rarely saw their parents. At the age of 6, her father sent both sisters to the Lebec boarding school in Paris, France. At the age of 12, her father died and her mother transferred the girls to a boarding school in Sheffield, England for the remainder of the school year. At Age 13, the girls moved back to Boston where they attended Windsor School. Oglesby seems to have participated in school plays around this time, which may have later inspired her love for theatrical and musical productions later in life. The Great Depression seems not to have affected the family's lavish lifestyle, Oglesby claims that she never needed to work for a living and that her mother purchased several acres of land in Illinois during the Depression. They even spent several summers away from Boston in order to ride horses at their ranch in Wyoming during the Depression. After graduating high school, Oglesby did not enroll in college, but instead moved to New York City. Throughout the 1930s and 40s, Oglesby traveled exstensively as is noted by the location and dates of the concert programs and theatre playbills after 1930.

Oglesby was married three times during her life. At age 25, she married Tom Ponting, the two were divorced soon after they were wed. In 1943, she married, Dick Oglesby, with whom she had two children. The two were divorced by the late 1940s. After moving to Florida in the early 1950s, she married Mark Lasswell, with whom she had one child. After an unhappy and abusive marriage, the two divorced in 1953. Sometime after the 1960s, she moved back to her family's estate in Morrisonville, Illinois. Oglesby died in 2012.

Throughout her life, Oglesby attended numerous theatrical, musical, and dance programs in theatres around the world. Although it is unclear how she came to be in the possession of Kitty Cheatham's personal materials, it seems she not only collected programs attended by Cheatham but also amassed her own collection of theater programs.

Subject Index
Boston, Massachusetts
Chicago, Illinois
Concert Programs
Depression, 1929 United States
Musical Repertoires
New York
Theater orchestra music
Theatrical Productions
Vaudeville songs -- United States
Vocal Music
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
French [fre]
Italian [ita]
Acquisition Notes: Yolande Olgesby  Gift
Related Materials:

See 35/3/68, Box 3, Folder 41, "Yolande Oglesby" contains original control file created by MPAL.

See also Kitty Cheatham Personal Papers at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville. http://tsla.tnsosfiles.com.s3.amazonaws.com/history/manuscripts/findingaids/CHEATHAM_KITTY_PAPERS_1892-1946.pdf

Related to Yolande Oglesby, see the Frederick Wainwright Perkins Papers at the University of Illinois, Illinois History and Lincoln Collections: https://www.library.illinois.edu/ihx/archon/?p=collections/controlcard&id=851

As well as the Oral History of Yolande Oglesby, located at the University of Illinois at Springfield: http://www.idaillinois.org/cdm/ref/collection/uis/id/4752

For Theatre Programs related to Chicago Theatres see: https://www.chipublib.org/fa-chicago-theater-collection-historic-programs/

For Theatre Programs related to Boston and New York see: https://guides.library.harvard.edu/htc AND https://collections.mcny.org/Explore/Highlights/Broadway%20Productions/