Skip to main content

Josephine Baker papers

Identifier: Manuscript Collection No. 955

Scope and Content Note

The Josephine Baker papers consist of approximately 1,200 letters, four press books, news clippings, sheet music, a collection of material related to Les Milandes (the home in the south of France that she established for children adopted from throughout the world), and 13 original posters drawn by hand for her and for her village of Milandes. There are approximately 80 letters with her second husband, Jo Bouillon, and correspondence with lawyers and friends concerning her separation from the orchestra leader. The collection also includes correspondence with a variety of personalities; an artist's file containing agreements with theatre and television directors; fan mail, including many letters from those seeking funds, and thirteen original hand-drawn posters. These materials were found in the home at Les Milandes that she was forced to abandon in 1967.


  • 1938-1968

Language of Materials

Materials in English and French.

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Biographical Note

Josephine Baker (1906-1975), African American performer, dancer, and silent film star. Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, she performed in Paris, New York, Africa, and the Middle East, and was a crusader for racial equality.


2 linear feet (4 boxes); 3 oversized papers folders (OP); 4 oversized bound volumes (OBV)


Papers of African American entertainer Josephine Baker, including correspondence, fan mail, press books, sheet music, newspaper clippings, and thirteen original hand-drawn posters.

Arrangement Note

Arranged by record type.

Custodial History

Purchased from dealer, provenance unknown.


Purchased from Marcel Joly, 2003. Additions were purchased from David Schulson Autographs in 2011.

Appraisal Note

Acquired by Curator of African American Collections, Randall Burkett, as part of the Rose Library's holdings in African American culture and history.


File name: baker955.doc


Susan Potts McDonald, August 2013.

File name: baker955.doc

This finding aid may include language that is offensive or harmful. Please refer to the Rose Library's harmful language statement for more information about why such language may appear and ongoing efforts to remediate racist, ableist, sexist, homophobic, euphemistic and other oppressive language. If you are concerned about language used in this finding aid, please contact us at

Josephine Baker papers, 1931-1968
Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University
November 19, 2007
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • January 8, 2015: Finding aid revised to include enhanced metadata tagging.

Repository Details

Part of the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library Repository

540 Asbury Circle
Atlanta Georgia 30322 United States