Tuskegee: 1949. Silver gelatin photograph measuring 8 x 10 inches, with two typed letters, signed, one from Dawson and one from Rolla Foley. Identifying marks to verso of photograph, generally fine condition. Fine. Item #List1707
A portrait of William L. Dawson, taken by P.H. Polk, during Dawson’s tenure at the Tuskegee Institute, where he served in several capacities from 1931-1956. A note on the photograph states that the photograph was sent to Rolla (Foley), the director of music at Wilmington College. In the correspondence, Dawson writes to Foley explaining that a the spiritual “There is a Balm in Gilead” has been misidentified in their programming as White Spiritual: “This is a mistake,” he writes, “This number is one of our most beloved Negro Folksongs.” A response letter from Foley is included, in which he apologizes for the error and notes the correction. A fine photograph and illuminating bit of correspondence from Dawson, whose compositions and choral arrangements of spirituals are still performed widely.