Harry T. Burleigh

From the Spiritual to the Harlem Renaissance

 

Chapter 12: Wife and Family of the "Eminent Baritone"

 


 
Figure 1
 
  Figure 1: Alston Waters Burleigh at Malden School near London, England, circa 1910—page 198. His mother placed him at the Malden School when they returned to London in 1909, after Burleigh's successful appearances before English royalty and nobility in 1908. After placing Alston at the Malden School, Louise appeared in music halls as Princess Redfeather. Photo courtesy of the Burleigh family.  


 
Figure 2
 
  Figure 2: Louise Alston Burleigh and her dialect verse, "Poppin the Question"— page 199. From Louise's scrapbooks. Clipping courtesy of the Burleigh family.  


 
Figure 3
 
  Figure 3: Louise Alston Burleigh becomes Ojibway Princess Nadonis, circa 1919—page 203. She later added "Shawa" to her name, possibly to support her claim to have been born in Michigan, when she learned that one of the Ottawa bands called the northern part of the lower Michigan peninsula "Shawa." Photograph courtesy of the Burleigh family.  


 
Figure 4
 
  Figure 4: Poster advertising the Princess Nadonis Indians—page 204. Louise's partner, Albert Lowe, a Winnebago, is Chief White Eagle. According to Louise's description, the pianist, Richenda Wanikpiwega, is from the Oneida nation. The fourth member of the group, Wanetah Fawn is a singer whose nation is unidentified. Photograph of the poster courtesy of the Burleigh family.  


 
Figure 5
 
  Figure 5: Princess Nadonis Shawa in war bonnet—page 206. If Native American women didn't traditionally wear war bonnets, neither the Princess nor her audiences were aware of that fact or cared.... Photograph courtesy of the Burleigh family.  


 
Figure 6
 
  Figure 6: Princess Nadonis Shawa poster—page 206. After Albert Lowe, Chief White Eagle, left the Princess and married an Indian woman, she continued as a solo performer. Her appearances continued to win praise at lyceums and school assemblies. Photograph of the poster courtesy of the Burleigh family.  


 
Figure 7
 
  Figure 7: The Princess with her grandson, Harry T. Burleigh II, as papoose, on a visit to Washington, D.C.—page 207. Photograph courtesy of the Burleigh family.  


 
Figure 8
 
  Figure 8: The Princess continued wearing a war bonnet in her appearances—page 206. Photograph courtesy of the Burleigh family.  


 
Figure 9
 
  Figure 9: Ray Farley, Louise Alston Burleigh's half-sister, who died in a skating accident in New York City in 1919—page 207. In her honor, Louise wrote a poem, and her brother-in-law, Harry T. Burleigh, wrote the song "In the Great Somewhere," to lyrics by Harold Robé. Photograph courtesy of the Burleigh family.  


 
Figure 10
 
  Figure 10: Cover—"In the Great Somewhere" (1919)—page 207—Burleigh wrote this in honor of Ray Farley, who died in 1919.  


 
Figure 11
 
  Figure 11: Burleigh at the piano in his Bronx apartment—page 208. Photo courtesy of the Burleigh family.  


 
Figure 12
 
  Figure 12: Elderly Burleigh with manuscript and pen, 1940s—page 208. Photo courtesy of the Burleigh family.  


 
Figure 13
 
  Figure 13: Elzie Elmendorf, Burleigh's half-brother—page 209. Elzie's daughter, Grace Elmendorf Blackwell, her Uncle Harry and her father were closer than many blood brothers. Elzie was Burleigh's business manager. Photograph courtesy of the Burleigh family.  


 
Figure 14
 
  Figure 14: Grace Elmendorf Blackwell in 2004—page 211. She was very close to her Uncle Harry during the last years of his life. Well into her nineties, she has shared generously of her memories. She is the last of Burleigh's family to have been born in Erie; her parents returned to Erie to close up the family home after Burleigh's brother Reginald died in 1921 at age 57, and Grace was born while they were in there. Photograph by Jean E. Snyder.  


 
Figure 15
 
  Figure 15: Grace Blackwell with students with whom she shared memories of her Uncle Harry—page 211. Photograph courtesy of Grace Blackwell.  


 
Figure 16
 
  Figure 16: Alston Waters Burleigh with his father, Harry T. Burleigh, in Europe in 1925—page 213. Burleigh arranged for Alston to study with Nadia Boulanger during their European sojourn.  

 

 

 

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