Click to enlarge photograph

Jelly Roll Morton and his vaudeville partner Rosa Brown
Chicago, Illinois, c. 1914

Jelly Roll Morton is shown in blackface with Rosa Brown, his partner in a vaudeville show. Her name is sometimes given as Rose or Rosie.

Archived newspaper adverts and reviews indicate that they performed a comedy, music and dancing act billed as Morton & Morton (sometimes advertised as Moten & Moten or Moton & Moton).

Together they appeared at vaudeville theatres in Greenville, Texas (August 1913); Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (August 1913); Louisville, Kentucky (May 1914); Cincinnati, Ohio (May 1914); Dayton, Ohio (May 1914); Indianapolis, Indiana (June 1914); Detroit, Michigan (June 1914); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (July 1914), and Chicago, Illinois (August 1914).

The reverse side of the photograph has the following handwritten text:

Anita Gonzales gave the original photograph (measuring 6-inch by 4-inch) to award-winning jazz writer Floyd Levin in 1950. Floyd has since donated it to the Historic New Orleans Collection. He has kindly provided a full-sized professional copy for the Iconography Library.

The photograph and inscription appear in Classic Jazz: A Personal View of the Music and the Musicians, by Floyd Levin, page 122. [28]

The photograph, which accompanied an article titled: I Drove Jelly Roll Morton’s Cadillac! by Floyd Levin, was first published in Jazz Journal Vol. 4, No. 2, dated February 1951. [29]

Shown in Mr. Jelly Lord (1980) by Laurie Wright, page 3, and in Oh, Mister Jelly (1999) edited by William Russell, pages 334 and 477.

courtesy of Floyd Levin

2004 Historic New Orleans Collection

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