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O'Brien (Neil) papers
PA Mss 70  
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Collection Details
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  • Access Restrictions
  • Use Restrictions
  • Preferred Citation
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement

  • Title: Neil O'Brien papers
    Identifier/Call Number: PA Mss 70
    Contributing Institution: UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Research Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 29.6 linear feet (16 document boxes, 23 flat boxes, 1 map cabinet drawer)
    Creator: O'Brien, Neil, approximately 1868-1954
    Date (inclusive): 1890-1954
    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: A portion of the collection is located at the Southern Regional Library Facility (SRLF).
    Language of Material: The collection is in English.

    Access Restrictions

    The collection is open for research. A portion of the collection is stored offsite. Advance notice is required for retrieval.

    Use Restrictions

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Research Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Research Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Research 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

    [Identification of Item], Neil O'Brien papers, PA Mss 70. Department of Special Research Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Scope and Content

    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.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Blackface entertainers
    Minstrel shows -- United States
    Minstrel music
    Artifacts (object genre)
    Calendars (documents)
    Clippings (information artifacts)
    Financial records
    Scripts (documents)
    Sheet music
    O'Brien, Neil, approximately 1868-1954
    Dockstader, Lew, 1856-1924