Sophie Tucker scrapbooks and other material
Scope and Contents
The Sophie Tucker scrapbook collection contains scrapbooks compiled by Tucker and her assistants from the years 1957 until her death in 1966. Tucker meticulously kept scrapbooks spanning fifty years through her entertainment career, and this collection contains the materials from the end of this collection. The scrapbooks contain pieces pertaining to Tucker's professional and personal life during this time, including newspaper clippings, interviews, photographs, and correspondence, all attached to scrapbook pages. Tucker saved numerous greeting cards from various birthdays and holidays, as well as telegrams and letters. Her correspondence reveals her personal and public life--Tucker received messages from everyone from presidents to ordinary fans. Other correspondence materials include message of thanks for her many charitable works and donations, including for her contributions to Brandeis (she even received letters of thanks from Brandeis' first president, Abram Sachar) and the Brandeis National Committee. The materials collected here show Tucker's public image at the end of her life. Special Collections also holds some of Tucker's personal books, and an audio recording of Tucker.
- Tucker, Sophie, 1884-1966 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Access to the collection is in accordance with the policies of the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University. Please contact the department for more information.
Conditions Governing Use
Requests to reproduce or publish material from the collection should be directed to the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University.
Biographical or Historical Information
Singer, actress, and comedian Sophie Tucker, often called the “Last of the Red Hot Mamas,” was born in Russia in 1886 as Sonya Kalish. She and her family immigrated to the United States soon after her birth, and changed their name to Abuza. The family then moved to Connecticut and opened a kosher restaurant, where Tucker would first perform for tips. At 17 she married Louis Tuck, whom she would leave shortly after the birth of their son. This was the first of three marriages that would end in divorce for Tucker. Following her divorce, she left her son Albert in the care of her family and moved to New York City seeking a career as an entertainer—it was at this point that she added the “-er” to her married name. She began her career as a vaudeville singer in blackface, but became a larger hit once she abandoned this style. Tucker never lost vaudeville influences, however, and continued performing songs in the same risqué manner of that time, frequently using bawdy lyrics or double entendres, while incorporating the new style, jazz, into her music. Tucker also expanded her career beyond music: she appeared in films; was frequently a television personality, appearing on the popular variety and talk shows of her day; wrote an autobiography; and even hosted her own radio show. In her later years, she supported many charities and organizations, including the founding of Brandeis University, through donating to support the library and funding a chaired professorship in her name in the theater department. Sophie Tucker died in 1966 in New York City, following a career in which she challenged ideas of ethnicity and female sexuality, and became one of the first stars of the twentieth century.
32.50 Linear Feet
21 record center boxes, 8 oversize boxes other_unmapped
Language of Materials
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note