N.p. N.p., 1931. Vintage bi-fold program from Harlem's legendary Cotton Club, advertising their 1931 musical revue "Rhyth-Mania," featuring a then little-known Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club orchestra. Laid in is a bi-fold club menu, featuring an assortment of Chinese and American dishes, such as "Foo Yong Dan," smoked tongue, "table celery," and assorted desserts. Both program and menu brightly illustrated in black and red, with small drawings of performers surrounding the set list and a sketch of Ellington on the final page next to several contemporary reviews for the show.
The Cotton Club opened in its original location on 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue in 1923, where it remained until 1935, when it moved to Broadway and 48th Street following the Harlem race riots. Initially the club was a whites-only establishment with a high entrance fee, with the exception of very famous (and very wealthy) African Americans, a fact which caused Langston Hughes to remark that the venue was "a Jim Crow club for gangsters and monied whites". Nevertheless, the club provided a space to launch the careers of countless black entertainers, including Fletcher Henderson, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Bill Robinson, and of course Duke Ellington, among many, many others.
6.5 x 9.5 inches, vertical bi-fold. Laid-in menu 4.25 x 11 inches, narrow vertical bi-fold. Both program and menu are two-color, printed on thick textured cardstock. Very faintly toned, with small collector labels to the rear panel of the program and menu, respectively, else almost impossibly Fine.