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Guide to the Bernard Johnson Papers MS.P.053
MS.P.053  
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Table of contents What's This?

 

Correspondence and biographical materials Series 1. 1975-1997, undated

Physical Description: 0.25 Linear feet

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series is primarily comprised of personal and professional correspondence from Johnson's friends, family, students, and colleagues. Personal correspondence includes letters, postcards, and greeting cards. Contracts, agreements, resumes, and awards pertaining to Johnson's theatrical career are included with professional correspondence. Select correspondence from friends and family contains accompanying photographs. A transcript of a biographical interview proofread by Johnson is also included.

Series Arrangement

This series is arranged alphabetically.
Box 1, Folder 1

Curriculum vita and letterheads 1992 and 1996

Box 1, Folder 2

Interview transcript, obituaries, and reproductions of artwork 1995 and 1996

Box 1, Folder 3-4

Personal letters, postcards, and greeting cards 1980-1989 and undated

Box 1, Folder 5

Professional letters, contracts, and resumes 1975-1983 and undated

 

Photographic materials Series 2. 1978-1979, 1993-1995 and undated

Physical Description: 0.5 Linear feet

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series consists of original and reproduction photographs, negatives, slides, record cover sleeves, and oversize posters. While the bulk of the materials document theatrical productions for which Johnson designed, select photographs depict family members and events from Johnson's personal life. Productions include Bingo Long, Enbrie, Eubie, The Copa Girls, and other performances. Select posters are signed by Johnson.

Series Arrangement

This series is arranged alphabetically.
Box 1, Folder 6

Negatives and slides of Crazy Horse entertainment event and unidentified productions undated

Box 1, Folder 7-8, Box 8, Folder 1

Photographs of family, Bingo Long, The Copa Girls, Enbrie, and Eubie undated

Box 8, Folder 1

Photographs of family, professional headshots, The Copa Girls, and other unidentified productions 1978-1979 and undated

Folder XOS 1

Posters of the Dayton Dance Company, Splash: Finley and the Mermaids, and Onstage: A Century of African American Stage Design 1993-1995

Box 8, Folder 2

Record covers of Don't Knock My Love, Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death, and The Temptations undated

Box 8, Folder 3

Reproductions of photographs of Melba and other unidentified productions undated

 

Original artworks Series 3. 1984, 1993 and undated

Physical Description: 3.3 Linear feet

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains original artworks created by Bernard Johnson in the course of his career as a designer for theatre and fashion. While the bulk of the materials are original 16 x 20'' works of art on paper created for theatrical productions, select items are high-resolution reproductions printed on 8 1/2 x 11'' paper. Color swatches, fabric swatches, pattern cutout drafts, and photographs are also included.
Johnson worked in a variety of artistic media, including pencil, marker, pastel, pen and ink, and paint. Many artworks contain inscriptions identifying the name and origin of the theatrical production for which the design was created, though it is unclear if all of these were the theatrical titles. A small selection of works are signed by Johnson's costume design assistant George R. Bergeron, with whom Johnson coauthored a manuscript entitled "Costume Design for Dancers: A Basic Guide," also included in this series. The manuscript contains copies of handwritten notes with accompanying reproductions of artwork. A number of Johnson's drawings were inspired by celebrities, including Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Gladys Knight, Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, Nat Cole, Stevie Wonder,The Pirs, The Supremes, and The Temptations. While works are identified by celebrity names, there is no indication that Johnson was commissioned to design for each individual.

Series Arrangement

This series is arranged in three subseries:
  • Subseries 3.1 Reproductions, 1984 and undated, 1.1 linear feet
  • Subseries 3.2 Sketchbooks, undated, 1.1 linear feet
  • Subseries 3.3 Unbound artworks, 1979, 1993 and undated, 1.1 linear feet
 

Reproductions Subseries 3.1 1984 and undated

Physical Description: 1.1 Linear feet

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

This subseries contains reproductions of original artworks and manuals on 8 1/2 x 11'' paper. Select reproductions have accompanying photographs depicting the live performances for which the costumes were designed.

Subseries Arrangement

This subseries is arranged alphabetically.
Box 1, Folder 11

Carmina Burana undated

Box 1, Folder 11

A Chance to Sit Down undated

Box 1, Folder 11

Cheries undated

Box 1, Folder 1

Daughter of the Garden undated

Box 1, Folder 11

Escuela Bolera undated

Box 1, Folder 11

It was just like magic undated

Box 1, Folder 11

The Long Goodbye undated

Box 1, Folder 11

Negro Spirituals undated

Box 1, Folder 11

Rainbow Etude undated

Box 1, Folder 11

Rex Cabaret & Casino undated

Box 1, Folder 11

Secret Combinations undated

Box 1, Folder 11

Soaring 1984

Box 1, Folder 9-11

Unidentified productions undated

 

Sketchbooks Subseries 3.2 undated

Physical Description: 1.1 Linear feet

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

This series contains 16 x 20'' original artworks assembled in sketchbooks. Select artworks include accompanying color swatches or notes.

Subseries Arrangement

This subseries is arranged alphabetically.
Box 3, Folder 5

The Apollo undated

Box 2, Folder 1

Carribean undated

Box 2, Folder 2

Circus Metamorphosis undated

Box 2, Folder 3

The Copa Girls undated

Box 2, Folder 4

Eubie undated

Box 2, Folder 1-4, Box 3, Folder 1-5

Unidentified productions undated

 

Unbound artworks Subseries 3.3 1993 and undated

Physical Description: 1.1 Linear feet

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

This subseries contains 16 x 20'' original and reproduced artworks of Bernard Johnson and George R. Beregeron. Artworks include metamorphic, gothic, and ballet themes with accompanying fabric swatches and notes.

Subseries Arrangement

This subseries is arranged alphabetically.
Box 5, Folder 5

Eubie undated

Box 5, Folder 3

Folies Bergere undated

Box 5, Folder 3

Le Jaz Hot - All that Jazz undated

Box 4, Folder 1

Puerto Rico undated

Box 5, Folder 1-5, Box 4, Folder 1-6

Unidentified productions 1993 and undated

Box 6, Folder 1-5

Video recordings Series 4. 1990-1995, undated

Physical Description: 0.1 Linear feet

Access

Access to original video recordings is restricted; researchers may request use copies.

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series consists of video recordings documenting select performances and educational events in which Johnson participated, primarily at the American Dance Festival.
Box 8, Folder 4-8, Box 6, Folder 6-10

Clippings Series 5. 1957-1993 and undated

Physical Description: 2.1 Linear feet

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains clippings from newspapers and magazines documenting Johnson’s professional and personal life. Clippings include critic reviews, fashion and entertainment news, students' achievements, biographies, and obituaries.
The bulk of the series is comprised of critical reviews of Johnson's theatrical work as a dancer, costume designer, or director. Reviews of American Dance Festival, Ballet Hispanico, Bubbling Brown Sugar, The Copa Girls, Daddy Goodman, Eubie, Negro Ballet, New Jack City, Sophisticated Ladies, and other productions are included. Select clippings have accompanying photographs and resumes.
Clippings were taken from a number of regional, national, and international publications, including Ebony, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Variety, The Irvine World News, and others.
 

Theatrical printed ephemera Series 6. 1973-1996, undated

Physical Description: 0.8 Linear feet

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains periodicals, playbills, fliers, and programs documenting theatrical productions, academic programs, and events that Johnson was involved with throughout his career as a costume designer, director, and teacher. Ephemera from After & Hours, The Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame 1977, The Copa Girls, Harold & Nicholas, Helen, Raisins, and other productions is included. Performances were produced by the American Dance Festival (ADF), the UCI Dance Department, Moorpark College, California State University Los Angeles, California State University Long Beach, First Union Methodist Church, and the Palm Springs Desert Museum. Select ephemera contains interfiled correspondence or reproductions of Johnson's artistic works.

Series Arrangement

This series is arranged alphabetically.
Box 6, Folder 11

Periodicals of Black Stars, Footlights, Focus, and other publications 1974-1982, 1996 and undated

Box 6, Folder 12-15

Playbills and fliers of Bubbling Brown Sugar, Black Fashion Museum, The Copa Girls, Daddy Goodness, Don't Play Us Cheap, Eubie, Raisins, UCI Dance productions, and other theatrical productions 1969-1996 and undated

Box 7, Folder 1-2

Programs of Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame 1976, Raisin,` The Royal Ballet, international productions, and other productions 1973-1980, 1990-1996 and undated

Box 7, Folder 3-5

UC Irvine Series 7. 1991-1995, undated

Physical Description: 0.25 Linear feet

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains ephemera and event planning records dating from Johnson's tenure as the assistant professor of costume design at UC Irvine from 1991-1997. Records include musical compositions, blueprints, memos, schedules, correspondence, contracts, evaluation forms, fliers, receipts, and other material. Productions documented include Fiesta Fantastica, New Slate, Strutin, Metamorphis, Caribe, Carribean, Down in Honkey Tonk Town, and Juke Joint. Materials also document the organization of dance symposia and other events with which Johnson was involved.

Series Arrangement

This series is arranged alphabetically.
 

Ephemera

Box 7, Folder 3

Playbills, receipts, correspondence, clippings, and other material 1991-1994 and undated

 

Event planning records

Box 7, Folder 4

Contracts, schedules, correspondence, and other material regarding a dance symposium 1992-1995

Box 7, Folder 5

Musical composition, contact sheet, and correspondence relating to the Juke Joint production 1993

Box 8, Folder 9

Reproductions of blueprints and memos undated