History of Macon’s Douglass Theatre online

October 13, 2005 – 1:10 PM

Douglass Theatre history goes online at the Digital Library of Georgia

In the Roaring Twenties, legendary blues singers Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Ida Cox performed live at Macon’s Douglass Theatre, as did the famous vaudeville comedy team Butterbeans and Susie. Silent movies by pioneering film maker Oscar Micheaux played on the silver screen at the Douglass Theatre. Now internet users can explore this remarkable entertainment story online through GALILEO’s Digital Library of Georgia in The Blues, Black Vaudeville, and the Silver Screen, 1912-1930s: Selections from the Records of Macon’s Douglass Theatre, at http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/douglass. The new web site incorporates digitized versions of original Douglass historical records housed at the Middle Georgia Archives at the Washington Memorial Library of the Middle Georgia Regional Library System. Georgia HomePLACE (Providing Library and Archives Collections Electronically) encouraged this collaborative digitization project, supported with Federal LSTA funds administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Georgia Public Library Service, a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

The Blues, Black Vaudeville, and the Silver Screen, 1912-1930s explores the live performance and motion picture entertainment history of the Douglass Theatre, which thanks to the vision of Charles Henry Douglass, became the preeminent entertainment venue for African Americans in Macon and indeed for much of Georgia outside of Atlanta. The new web site provides information about Douglass himself and the history of his theatrical complex, as well as many fascinating examples of the live performances and movies presented at the Douglass Theatre during its heyday of the 1920s. Today, with the restored Douglass Theatre again in operation, the inspiring legacy of Charles H. Douglass lives on in Macon.

The new The Blues, Black Vaudeville, and the Silver Screen, 1912-1930s site allows visitors to browse the online collection by author, date, document type, item ID, subject, or title. The web site also provides additional resources to help visitors better understand the historical context and significance of the collection: an orientation essay and a finding aid of Douglass business records. The site also provides related links, suggested readings, and related archival materials.

The Blues, Black Vaudeville, and the Silver Screen, 1912-1930s: Selections from the Records of Macon’s Douglass Theatre is part of the Digital Library of Georgia, a GALILEO initiative based at the University of Georgia Libraries. Visit the Digital Library of Georgia, your gateway to Georgia’s history and culture online, at http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu. The recently redesigned web site includes improved searching and browsing capabilities for its own online collections as well as the ability to find online resources at many related institutions across the state (and beyond). Access is free to the public and no password is required.

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