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Ella Fitzgerald

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Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald, New York, N.Y., ca. Nov. 1946

Gottlieb, William P. Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald, New York, N.Y., ca. Nov. United States, 1946. Photograph. William P. Gottlieb Collection, Library of Congress. https://www.loc.gov/item/gottlieb.02871/

Getting Started

Begin your research by brainstorming keywords - the words and phrases you’ll use to search for books, articles, websites, government documents, and other resources. These may include names of people and places or historical concepts like eras and movements. A librarian can suggest “subject headings” to find the most relevant resources.

Example Keywords & Catalog Subject Headings

Ella Fitzgerald
Jazz
African American women
Jazz musicians
History of jazz
Harlem Renaissance
Black Arts movement

Genealogy, African American and Western History Resources

The Western History & Genealogy department focuses on Colorado and the West. These materials do not check out, but are available to view on Floor 5 of the Central Library.

The Blair Caldwell African American Research Library archives and reference collection contain primary and secondary source materials about African Americans who helped shape the West. These materials do not check out, but are available to view at the Blair Caldwell library. Email askblaircaldwell@denverlibrary.org or call 720-865-2401 for more information.

Database/Online Resources

Library databases are online collections of information, organized for research. Databases contain articles, eBooks, images, maps, primary sources and more. If you don’t have a library card, register online for immediate access to these resources.The following recommended databases are available on our Research and Teen Social Studies pages.

U.S. History (Gale in Context)

Provides a complete overview of our nation’s past that covers the most-studied events, decades, conflicts, wars, political and cultural movements, and people from reference sources, full-text magazines, academic journals, news articles, primary source documents, images, videos, audio files and links to vetted web sites.

Available in library or with library card.

Readers' Guide Retrospective: 1890-1982

Provides indexing of over three million articles from more than 550 leading magazines including full coverage of the original print volumes of Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature. This resource offers researchers access to information about history, culture and seminal developments across nearly a century.

Contact Reference Services for electronic article scans: 720-865-1363.

Prospector: Materials from Other Colorado and Wyoming Libraries

​​As a Denver Public Library customer, you can also borrow materials from other libraries in Colorado and Wyoming. Use Prospector to request materials that DPL does not own.

Internet Sources

Before using information you find on the internet for assignments and research, it is important to establish that the information comes from a reliable and appropriate source. The following websites, from government, academic and nonprofit organizations, have been evaluated for authority, accuracy, content and currency.

This Library of Congress source provides an overview of Ella Fitzgerald's life and her influence on jazz music and the Black Arts movement. The page describes the Ella Fitzgerald collection available exclusively on site at the Library of Congress Music Division, which includes hundreds of primary sources, original sheet music, vocal performance contracts, and more.
This blog post from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History provides a few key documents that demonstrate Ella Fitzgerald's role in breaking down racial barriers with her music. Includes primary sources.
This blog post from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History discusses Ella Fitzgerald's humanitarian legacy. Includes primary sources.
The Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives (SOVA) provides a comprehensive finding aid of official documents, ephemera, audio recordings, photographs, and other materials pertinent to the vocalist's career and impact on breaking down racial barriers in music.

Contact the Reference Services department for help with your research project