The Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library is a place of discovery. All are welcome to visit and explore our unique holdings, whether as a researcher or an observer. The breadth and depth of our collections are vast, and it is nearly impossible to investigate every nook and cranny. We invite you this year, through our blog, to tour some of those places you didn’t know existed, and get acquainted with collections you might not have previously explored. Check back in with us weekly over the course of 2013 as we offer you a delightful look into some of the favorite, but perhaps lesser-known, corners of our collections. These pieces are visually interesting, come attached with fascinating stories, and are often 3D objects you might not have realized are part of what makes up The Extraordinary World of MARBL.
The metronome, pitch pipe, and baton are artifacts from William Levi Dawson’s tenure as conductor for the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) choir. Dawson began as a student at Tuskegee at the age of thirteen and was a member of the band and choir. In the fall of 1930, he was invited to return to Tuskegee to organize and conduct its School of Music which included the role of choir conductor. In 1946, under Dawson’s leadership, the choir became the first African American performing organization to appear at Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. Other accolades under his tenure included the choir performing at the opening of the Radio City Music Hall in New York in 1932 and singing for both Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1956, Dawson retired from Tuskegee ending 25 years of leadership in the music department.