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Othello's Daughter

Northwestern featured in New Yorker article on the legacy of actor Ira Aldridge

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August 19, 2013

Northwestern University’s extensive Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections played a role in a recent article in the The New Yorker examining racial attitudes and individuals starting to break "the color barrier" in the 19th century.

The article focuses on members of the Aldridge family, whose talents at acting, music and opera singing helped them blaze trails at a time of profound racism in Europe and America.

The Ira Aldridge Collection, housed at Northwestern’s library of special collections, consists of materials relating to the famed 19th African-American tragedian Ira Aldridge, as well as members of his family including the opera singer Luranah Aldridge and the singer, composer and music teacher Amanda Aldridge.

Ira Aldridge’s career was chiefly based in Europe, where he had tremendous success touring as Othello and in other roles.  The collection includes photographs, correspondence, contemporary news clippings, music manuscripts, legal documents and memorabilia, including a belt Aldridge wore in some performances as Othello.

Most of the collection was acquired in 1974 from Aldridge scholar and collector Edward Scobie, with later additions to the collection received as a gift from Owen Mortimer, another Aldridge scholar.

Read the entire New Yorker article.