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Guide to the Neil O'Brien Papers
PA Mss 70  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Neil O'Brien papers
    Dates: 1890-1954
    Collection number: PA Mss 70
    Creator: O'Brien, Neil, circa 1868-1954
    Collection Size: 60 linear feet (16 document boxes, 25 flat boxes).
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Dept. of Special Collections
    Santa Barbara, CA 93106
    Abstract: Papers of early 20th century American blackface entertainer Neil O'Brien (circa 1868-1954), leader of "Neil O'Brien's Great American Minstrels," including scripts, music, set designs, photographs, letters, artifacts, posters, programs, sheet music, and financial documents.
    Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Use of the collection is unrestricted.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    Neil O'Brien papers. PA Mss 70, Department of Special Collections, University Libraries, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Sandy Ewing, 2008.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection includes music (both published and original), original scripts, scenes, jokes, gags and poems written by Neil O'Brien (circa 1868-1954), leader of "Neil O'Brien's Great American Minstrels. Newspaper clippings include reviews of performances by O'Brien and other blackface performers. When possible, scripts have been paired with original copies of accompanying songs. Financial records include receipts, bills, bank checks, contracts, company salary figures and ledgers. Programs and advertisements pertain to O'Brien's Minstrels, Lew Dockstader and others. Photos include family photos as well those of musicians and minstrel performers. Correspondence includes letters between O'Brien and other minstrel performers, including Dockstader. Personal items include two manuscript copies of O'Brien's autobiography, calendars, newspaper scrapbooks, notes and an address book.


    The collection has been organized into the following series: I. Scripts, II. Music and scripts, III. Published music, IV. Original music, V. Published music (not O'Brien), VI. Gags and scenes, VII. Gags and scenes (not alphabetized), VIII. Songs, recitations and poems, IX. Miscellaneous family records, X. Financial items and records, XI. Programs and advertisements, XII. Newspaper scrapbooks, XIII. Newspaper clippings, XIV. Clippings unrelated to O'Brien, XV. Photographs, XVI. Miscellany, XVII. Autobiography, XVIII. Calendars and Address book, XIX. Letters and personal notes, XX. Minstrel show objects.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Dockstader, Lew
    Blackface entertainers
    Minstrel music
    Minstrel shows--United States