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Guide to the Marcus Hall Papers
MS 22  
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Description
Baritone singer Marcus Hall (1904-1977) was born on September 8, 1904 in California to William M. and Susie Hall. Papers include concert programs, correspondence, a scrapbook, newspaper clippings, and photographs documenting the life and career of baritone singer Marcus Hall. The papers are organized into five series: concert programs, correspondence, photographs, biographical, and printed materials.
Background
Baritone singer Marcus Hall (1904-1977) was born on September 8, 1904 in California to William M. and Susie Hall. Hall was raised in Bakersfield, California until 1923, when the family moved to Berkeley, California where he completed his final year of high school at San Francisco's Polytechnic High School in 1924. Shortly thereafter he enrolled at the Musical Art Institute of San Francisco and he began taking voice lessons to become a professional singer. When the famous African American singer Roland Hayes heard Hall's voice, he made arrangements for him to study with his mentor Sir George Henshell in London, England. Hall travelled to London in the fall of 1929, where he spent two years as Hayes' protégé and student. Hall was the first African American singer from California to make his debut in London, and he performed in concerts in England over the next two years. In 1931, Hall returned to San Francisco, California to continue his singing career and in 1934 joined the theatrical group The Brown Skin Models, touring the U.S. over the next three years. In 1937, he returned to Berkeley and during World War II was employed by the Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond to sing at the official launching of every ship built in the shipyards between 1943-1945. Following the war, he moved to New York City to further his singing career and opened a voice studio and in 1947 took over Harry T. Burleigh's position as soloist at St. George's Episcopal Church in Stuyvesant Square. The following year Hall joined Leonard De Paur's Infantry Chorus as a voice coach and over the next five years traveled throughout the U.S., Caribbean, and Central and South America. Hall left the chorus in 1953 to return to teaching in his New York City studio and three year later returned to Berkeley where he continued to sing and was active in several area churches until his death in 1977.
Extent
.5 linear feet (1 box)
Restrictions
Permission to publish from the Marcus Hall Papers must be obtained from the African American Museum & Library at Oakland.
Availability
No access restrictions. Collection is open to the public.