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Marsalis, Ellis, Sr. papers, 1952-1999 | Amistad Research Center

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Title: Marsalis, Ellis, Sr. papers, 1952-1999
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Received Extent: 4.0 Boxes
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Physical Description: Good condition; Marsalis’ Family Pictorial Family Bible in poor condition with acidic and brittle cover, published circa 1900; Emulsion on two photographs related to horseracing adhered to glass.
Scope and Contents:

Civil rights activist, photographer, and jazz patriarch, Ellis Marsalis, Sr. (1908-2004), was a prominent New Orleans businessman and owner of the Marsalis Motel in Jefferson Parish. From 1944 to 1986, Marsalis owned and operated the Marsalis’ Mansion (motel) near the Mississippi River in Shrewsbury.  His 40-room motel featured a restaurant, lounge, and swimming pool, and its prestigious guests included celebrities, notable civil rights leaders, and jazz musicians who visited the New Orleans area.

This collection consists of 1.25 linear feet of photographs, ephemera, and limited correspondence.  Of note are a September 15, 1988 oral history interview of Ellis Marsalis, Sr. with Dr. Lawrence Powell of Tulane University; photographs of the Marsalis’ hotel in Jefferson Parish; a signed photograph of Fats Domino, taken at James J. Kreigsman Studio; and 1964 photographs of the National Hotel Association Conference.  There are photographs of St. James A.M.E. Church in New Orleans, LA; award plaques to Ellis Marsalis, Sr. ranging from 1964 – 1999; family photographs; and of note is a photograph of Spencer Williams.  Most of the photographs are currently unidentified, ranging from 1952 to 1989, and in good condition.   

Other materials in the collection include certificates ranging from 1953 to 1965; a 1961 souvenir program booklet for St. James A.M.E. Church; and three small unidentified photograph albums.

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