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Ivie (Ivy) Anderson

Supplement to

The Duke – Where and When

A Chronicle of Duke Ellington's
Working Life and Travels


Down Beat, 1942-07-15, p. 31

Advising a young singer is the worst thing in the world – but here goes.

Acquire proper and distinct articulation.

Be neat of dress and of personal appearance.

Pick songs and arrangements suited to your voice and personality.

Take singing lessons and keep on as long as you can – provided you have natural ability. From then on you're on your own.

Go out on the stage and do what's most natural for you. The only thing a young singer can do is to do her best.

An amateur may sing beautifully, but her negative stage personality may more than offset her good voice.

Knowing or "typing" an audience immediately you walk out on a stage comes only with experience. So does timing.

Knowing your audience is practically a course in mass psychology. I used to "blow up" easily. Now the roof can fall down and it won't even bother me.

If you're hoarse or have a cold, just sing the best you can.

Don't take it to heart if you don't get the applause you think you should.

Singers with bands don't usually take the rap if they flop. They just go out and join another outfit. If they're pretty, they join a bigger band.

Try to sing songs as if they were stories. Don't try to sell your voice – sell entertainment.

Ivie's recordings with Ellington
per New Desor Vol.II:

  • Alabamy Home
  • All God's Chillun Got Rhythm
  • At a Dixie Roadside Diner
  • At Your Beck and Call
  • Carnival in Caroline
  • Chocolate Shake
  • Cotton
  • Delta Bound
  • Dinah Lou
  • Ebony Rhapsody
  • Ferryboat Serenade
  • Five O'Clock Whistle
  • Get Yourself a New Broom
  • Happy As The Day Is Long
  • Hayfoot, Strawfoot
  • I Don't Mind
  • I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)
  • I Want a Man Like That
  • If Dreams Come True
  • If You Were In My Place
  • I'm Checking Out – Goom Bye
  • I'm Satisfied
  • In a Mizz
  • In a Red Little Cottage
  • Isn't Love The Strangest Thing?
  • It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)
  • It Was a Sad Night In Harlem
  • It's Square, But It Rocks
  • It's Swell of You
  • It's the Dreamer In Me
  • I've Got the World on a String
  • I've Got To Be A Rug Cutter
  • Jump For Joy
  • Killin' Myself
  • Kissin' My Baby Goodnight
  • La De Doody Do
  • Let's Have a Jubilee
  • Lonely Co-Ed
  • Lost in Meditation
  • Love Is Like A Cigarette
  • Love Like This Can't Last
  • Massachusetts
  • Maybe
  • Me and You
  • Mexicali Rose
  • My Old Flame
  • Oh Babe, Maybe Some Day
  • Old Plantation
  • On The Sunny Side Of The Street
  • One, Two, Button Your Shoes
  • Pennies from Heaven
  • Raisin' the Rent
  • Rocks In My Bed
  • Rose of the Rio Grande
  • Shoe Shine Boy
  • Skrontch
  • So Far, So Good
  • Solitude
  • St. Louis Blues
  • Stormy Weather
  • Swing Time in Honolulu
  • The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else
  • There's A Lull In My Life
  • Troubled Waters
  • Truckin'
  • Watermelon Man
  • Way Down Yonder In New Orleans
  • When My Sugar Walks Down The Street
  • You Can Count On Me
  • You Went To My Head
  • Your Love Has Faded

Some dates can only be estimated because the newspapers did not reliably date the events. An example is Ivie's biography published in August 1934 which refers to an event on Tuesday. That can only refer to a Tuesday several weeks earlier, in mid-June.

There were delays caused by papers picking up stories from their press bureaus, which were received the week before publication and may have been taken from an originating newspaper that week or the week before. Weekly Afro-American papers were usually dated at the end ofthe week they were published, and usually hit the streets several days earlier.



Ivie or Ivy Marie Anderson was Duke Ellington's first regular female vocalist but was much more than just a singer. Although many sources say she was born in 1905, her birthdate was July 10, 1904.

Ivie grew up in Gilroy, California. While many sources say she was born there, research suggests she was born in Louisiana and lived in Oklahoma before her mother took her to Gilroy around 1913.

Ivie joined Duke Ellington's orchestra temporarily on February 13, 1931 and permanently four weeks later. She made her first recordings with Ellington a year later, in 1932, and would remain with the band until August 1942, retiring to Los Angeles, where she and her second husband opened a restaurant and built apartment building.

Ivie continued to sing after she retired from the Ellington orchestra, but died prematurely on December 28, 1949.

Already well-established in show business before being hired by Ellington, Ivie is said to have started singing professionally in Los Angeles in 1921 and in 1923 she performed in "Shuffle Along." By 1925, she had already performed in Cuba, New York (the Cotton Club) and Los Angeles with the Paul Howard, Curtis Mosby, and Sonny Clay bands. In 1928, she sang in Australia with Clay's band and starred in Frank Sebastian's Cotton Club in Los Angeles. Soon after, she began touring the U.S.A. as a solo singer.

The Chicago Defender described her:

'She is five feet and three inches tall and wears a size five and one half shoe, weighing one hundred and fourteen pounds.'

Chicago Defender, national ed., 1935-02-09, courtesy S.Lasker 2017-07-18

Ulanov 1947:

'There had been a few isolated vocals on Ellington records: those by Sonny [Greer], Dick Robertson's on Sam and Delilah, Adelaide Hall on Creole Love Call and Blues I Love to Sing, Baby Cox on the OKeh Hot and Bothered and Mooche. Ivie was, however, the first girl Duke ever hired for the express purpose of singing with his band. She almost was the last: she stayed twelve years.'
Steven Lasker's comment:
  • Odd that Ulanov would say "there had been a few isolated vocals on Ellington records" which I guess is correct if you overlook records with vocals by....Irving Mills, Bennie Payne, Chick Bullock, Frankie Marvin, Cootie Williams, Ozie Ware, Smith Ballew, Sid Garry and the Rhythm Boys.

"Ulanov 1947"
Barry Ulanov,
Duke Ellington,
Da Capo, New York, 1975, p.105
(first published in 1947 by Musicians Press Ltd, London)

Ulanov 1955:

'...It was Ivy Anderson's fortune to have a voice and a personality that fitted an orchestra and an era so tightly that she was and will be remembered as long as the music and the time are remembered. Her life, like her songs, was a medley, a puzzling mixture. She was born in Oklahoma and educated at a convent in California, and she was as sophisticated a singer as jazz has produced. She had had some serious vocal coaching and sang in night clubs and revues, including Shuffle Along. With her neat coiffure, her impeccable clothes, her refined and delicate features, and her exquisite manner went an improper, rough voice, an impudent gesture, a sardonic smile that, in bewildering combination, tumbled audience after audience into her lap in the course of eleven years with Ellington.
  ...She left the Duke in 1942, suffering from asthma, the condition which killed her seven years later at the age of forty-five.
  After leaving Duke she worked irregularly; she made her final appearance in New York to raise the last few dollars necessary to buy an apartment house in Los Angeles, which was to have been her security... '


'...If singing was needed, before 1931, it was handled by drummer Sonny Greer or, on an occasional and reluctant basis, trumpeter Cootie Wiliams. At the Cotton Club, where the orchestra accompanied a number of singers, the Ellingtonians had not needed their own, and relatively few of the other bands regularly featured singers.
  But now, for stage shows on the road, Ellington decided to add a vocalist. In Chicago he tested a singer named Ivie Anderson for two weeks, and then hired her. Anderson, twenty-five [sic], had been sent over from the Grand Terrace by fellow bandleader Earl Hines...
  Remaining with the orchestra for eleven years, Anderson became Ellington's most versatile singer.'

  • John Edward Hasse: Beyond Category, The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington (paperback edition), Da Capo Press, New York, 1995, pp.145-147

Ivie's early life

When was she born?

Ivie was born 1904 07 10, although some sources say she was born on that date in 1905. 1904 is documented by:

  • The California Death Index 1940-1997 ( - Ivie Anderson Collins
  • Her headstone (which shows the wrong year of death)
  • The cover of her funeral brochure
  • Her age (5) in the 1910 U.S. census enumerated 1910 04 22, for Chickasha City, Oklahoma, in the entry for Smith, Ivie (see discussion below). This is consistent with a birth between 1904 04 23 and 1905 04 22.
  • Her age (15) in the 1920 U.S. census enumeration of back calls for Vallejo Township, California, in the entry for Anderson, Ivy, is consistent with a birth between 1904 04 23 and 1905 04 22.
  • Her age (23) and birth date ("July 10th.1904") on S.S. Sierra LIST OF UNITED STATES CITIZENS Arriving at Port of San Francisco April 19, 1928
  • Her age (28) on R.M.S. Olympic June 9, 1933 Alien Arrivals in Southampton under the name of "JOHNSON, Ivy Marie known as Ivie Anderson," (28 is consistent with the 1904 birthdate).
  • Her age (29) and birth date ("10th.July 1904") on S.S. Majestic August 8, 1933 Arriving U.S.Citizens, New York under the name "JOHNSON, IVEE A."
  • Her age (34) on the Île de France May 3, 1939 list of Alien Passengers Embarked at Southampton, under the name "ANDERSON Ivie" (consistent with a 1904 birthdate).
  • Her age (25) in the 1930 U.S. census enumeration taken 1930 04 04 for Los Angeles City, California, in the entry for Anderson, Ivie, again, consistent with a birth between 1904 04 23 and 1905 04 22.
  • Funeral program, courtesy Ken Steiner via Steven Lasker
  • Fourteenth Census of the United States, California, Solano County, Vallejo Township, Chickasha City (Part of), enumerated Back Calls, 1920, lines 83-85 (household of Jones, Louis)
  • Fifteenth Census of the United States 1930, Los Angeles City, A.D.62, Block 460, enumerated April 4, 1930, lines 30-33,756 East 52nd Place
Where was she born?

  • Until Fred Glueckstein published his research in The Duke Ellington Society Bulletin, 2008-06 pp.4-5, in which he credited Tom Howard and Phill [sic] Laursen of the Gilroy Historical Museum, Ivie's birthplace was generally thought to have been Gilroy, California or in Oklahoma. Mr. Glueckstein's research indicates she was born in Bossier Parish, Louisiana and didn't arrive in Gilroy until 1913 or so.
  • In support of Gilroy:
    • Ivie's 1925 marriage certificate says her birthplace was California.
    • In a 1940s interview with Vancouver broadcaster Bill Hill, Ivie said she was born in Gilroy, California. This is consistent with her place of birth recorded in
      • 1928 passenger lists for the S.S. Sierra and the S.S. Majestic, respectively
      • S.S. Majestic August 8, 1933 Arriving U.S.Citizens, New York has her as "JOHNSON, IVEE A.," age 29, birth date "10th.July 1904" and place of birth "Gilroy Cal."
      • Île de France May 3, 1939 Alien Passengers Embarked at Southampton
    • S. Lasker

      'Ivie's certificate of death lists her birthdate as 1904-07-10 (a date also found on the leaflet passed out at her funeral on 1950-01-03), her birthplace as Gilroy, Calif., her father as Jobe Smith and her mother as Sylvia Jones.'

    • The California Eagle report of a 1935 interviewsays she was born in Gilroy.
    • Down Beat:

      '[...] Born in Gilroy, California, she studied voice at St. Mary's Convent from the age of nine to 13. Then she went to Washington, D. C. to study two more years under the tutelage of Sara Ritt. At school she sang in the glee club and the choral society.'

    • Ulanov 1947 (a more or less contemporary report):

      'Ivie was born in Gilroy, California, and studied at a convent out there, St. Mary's, from the ages of nine to thirteen... '

  • Undated audio file, Ivie Anderson interviewed on air by Bill Hill. This interview was likely on Vancouver radio station CKNW circa 1947.
  • The California Eagle, Los Angeles, Cal., 1935-09-20 p.2-A
  • Down Beat, 1942-07-15, p. 31: Paul Eduard Miller, "Ivie Joined the Duke for Four Weeks, Stays with Band for 12 Years"
  • In support of Oklahoma:
    • The 1930 census entry for Anderson, Ivie, 756 East 53nd Place, Los Angeles shows she and her parents were born in Oklahoma.
    • Los Angeles Sentinel, 1949-12-29 p.1 (courtesy Ken Steiner):

      'Miss Anderson, born July 10, 1904, at Chickashee [sic], Oklahoma, died Wednesday...'

    • Harry Levette, ANP wirestory datelined Los Angeles, in The Indianapolis Recorder, 1950-07-07 p.11:

      'Miss Anderson was born in 1904 in Chickasha, Okla. ... '

    • Ulanov 1955:

      '...She was born in Oklahoma and educated at a convent in California,...'

  • Ulanov 1955, ibid., p.105
  • Fifteenth Census of the United States 1930 (ibid.)
  • In support of Louisiana:
    • Mr. Glueckstein's study works back in time to show:
      • The California Death Index entry for Ivie Anderson Collins [Dec. 28, 1949] gives her father's surname as Smith and her mother's maiden name as Jones.
      • Ivie's mother was Silva Jones (source: Death of Mrs. I. P. Anderson, Gilroy Advocate (Gilroy, California), December 8, 1917, vol 51, no. 1, page 1).
      • Webmaster's comments:
        • Bossier Parish is on the northern edge of Louisiana, near its western border but northeast of Shreveport, lying midway between Dallas-Fort Worth, Tex. and Jackson, Miss.
        • The 1900 census for Bossier Parish lists Silva as the 14-year-old daughter of widow Frances Jones, and in the same household were Silva's siblings Lewis and Frances Jones. It says 6 of Mrs. Jones' 10 children were still alive.
      • Glueckstein cites a marriage record from Benton, Louisiana, the parish seat for Bossier Parish, showing a November 14, 1901 marriage between Silva Jones and Jobe Smith. His reference is State of Louisiana, Parrish [sic] of Bossier, The Clerk of the Court, Benton, Louisiana, Marriage Book 2, p.520. He notes Silva signed the certificate, but Jobe signed with his mark (X).
      • Glueckstein:

        '  On July 10, 1904, a baby girl was born to Silva and Jobe Smith in Louisiana. The baby was named Ivie.6   Four years later in 1908, Silva married David Hunt, a mulatto, who was born in Tennessee. By 1910, Ivie, who was six years of age, her mother, and her step-father were living in Chickasha (Grady County), Oklahoma... It is known that by 1910, Silva had borne a second child who had not survived.7
        6. The earliest documentary evidence supporting Ivie's place of birth as Louisiana is the U.S. Census enumerated on April 22, 1910. See David Hunt (head of household), Silva Hunt (wife) and Ivie Smith (stepdaughter)...
        7. Ibid.'

        Webmaster's comments:
        • Mr. Glueckstein appears to taken 1904 as Ivie's birth year from her age of five shown in the census. Enumerated 1910 04 22, the census indicates a birth between 1904 04 23 and 1905 04 22.
        • I have not seen the 1901 marriage documents. The Louisiana Secretary of State website says the law did not require birth records for parishes other than Orleans until 1918
        • Glueckstein does not say if Silva divorced Jobe, if he died, or what happened to him.
        • The 1910 census shows Mr. and Mrs. Hunt had been married two years, indicating a marriage between 1907 and 1908 if two years was anything but a rough estimate. Each member of the family is described as mulatto, and the entry for Ivie says she and both parents were born in Louisiana.
        • Silva's entry shows she had had two children, and one was still alive.
    • Glueckstein:

      'A few years later, around 1913, Ivie and her mother were living in Gilroy, California. Silva had married for a third [sic] time. Her new husband was a man named Isaac J. Anderson, ...a janitor ... [who] also ran a bootblack stand...'

      Webmaster's comments:
      • 1913 needs to be confirmed, as well as the date Silva married Isaac, since Mrs. Silva or Silvia Jones, age 26, of Chickasha married Johnie [sic] Roberts, age 25, of Oklahoma City on December 23, 1912 in Chickasha.
      • The marriage license application and the license itself are dated December 23.
      • The certificate, recorded on December 30, says they were married December 23.
      • "Silva" is written on the application for a marriage license, and "Silvia" is written in the license itself.
      • Witnesses were Mrs. [sic] Anderson Moore and Mrs. Annie Moore but they did not sign the document.
      • Since Glueckstein says Silva's sister Frances was known as Annie and her husband was Anderson Moore, the title preceding "Anderson Moore" seems to be a transcription error by the clerk who filled in all three documents by hand.
    • Glueckstein writes that Silva developed cancer and took Ivie to visit Annie (Frances) and her husband, Anderson in 1916. They stayed for a few months, before returning to Gilroy, with Silva on a cot. Silva died in December 1917. Her funeral was at Antioch Baptist Church, of which Silva was a member, and she is interred at Oak Hill Cemetary in San Jose.
      Webmaster's comments:
      • This belies the statement by A.H. Lawrence in , Duke Ellington and His World, A Biography, Routledge, 2001, that Ivie was orphaned at age 9 [i.e. between 1913 07 10 and 1914 07 09].
      • An ANP 1934 biographical sketch clouds the issue, saying:

        'Her father is dead, but her mother, Mrs. Lula B. Harris, lives at 2725 Pine Street, San Francisco.'

    • The 1920 census for Vallejo Township, Solano County, California, has Anderson, Ivy living at 133 Denier. The household consists of Jones, Lewis, age 31, head; Jones, Bennie, age 29, his wife, and Ivy as their niece. Ivie's column for Attended School Since Sept. 1 1919 says yes, and her birthplace and her columns for her parents' births all show Louisiana.
      Webmaster's comments:
      • The census information was likely provided by Mr. or Mrs. Jones since Ivy was a minor.
      • The 1920 census at Gilroy has Anderson, Isaac P., Head, age 41 living with his daughter, Davis, Annie M., age 19 and grandson, Edw[sic], 1 year sold.
      • The 1930 census for Los Angeles City, Los Angeles County, California has Anderson, Ivie at 756 East 52nd Place as the head of the household; other members of the household were: Moore, [illegible]easetta (cousin), age 11; Jones, Frances, grandmother, age 75; and Watkins, Lucille. Lucille's occupation is "maid" with "servant" written above it.
    • Ulanov 1947:

      'Ivie was born in Gilroy, California [sic], and studied at a convent out there, St. Mary's, from the ages of nine to thirteen. Two years in Washington, some voice study in the capital city and singing in the glee club and chorus at school, and Ivie Anderson was ready for the Coast again and her first job.'

    • The Black Dispatch, Oklahoma City, Ok. 1941-04-19 p.8 (courtesy K.Steiner):

      'Ivie Anderson, singing star with Ellington is an Oklahoma product. Her grandmother still lives in Chickasha, just a stones throw from Oklahoma City. Ivie has made several trips abroad and [is] among the few vocalist [sic] to have stayed with a big band over so long a period...'

  • Twelfth Census of the United States, Louisiana, Bossier County, Ward 6, enumerated June 6, 1900, lines 31-34
  • Thirteenth Census of the United States, Oklahoma, Grady County, Chickashaw, Twp. Precinct 1, Chickasha City (Part of), enumerated April 22, 1910 lines 88-90
  • Marriage Record (Application for Marriage License, Marriage License and Certificate of Marriage), State of Oklahoma, County Court, Grady County, p.51

Ivie's given name

  • Ivie's first name is spelled "Ivie" on
    • the 1910 and 1930 censuses
    • 1928 S.S.Sierra passenger list
    • 1939 SS Île de France passenger list
    • autographed photos shown on and herein
    • her headstone
  • The 1920 census has her as "Ivy."
  • "Ivy" was often used in ads, particularly in the 1920s, and sometimes even "Ivey."
  • The 1933 SS Majestic passenger list lists "Johnson, Ivee."
  • The index to Ulanov 1947 says "Anderson, Iva (Ivie)."

Ivie's surnames

  • Smith - name at birth
  • Anderson - from her mother's husband in Gilroy
  • Johnson - from her 1925 marriage to William Franklin Johnson
  • Neal - from her 1942 marriage to Marque Neal
  • Collins - from her 1949 marriage to Walter Collins

Ivie's marriages and love life

  • Ivie married William Johnson in 1925. They separated by 1928 and in 1941, Ivie sued for divorce and was granted a decree nisi in 1941. It was to become a decree absolute after a one-year waiting period, in 1942. In other words, their divorce was not effective until the waiting period expired.
  • She is said to have been interested in Cootie Williams and Louis Bacon during the 1930s.
  • Steven Lasker:
    • According to Dan Burley in the Kansas City Call, 1934-06-22, p. 8 (courtesy of Ken Steiner):

      "Miss Anderson was married in 1925 to Bill Johnson, former football player of the University of Nebraska. They sung a swan song to each other in 1928. She has a daughter."

      Webmaster's comment:
      While there is no child in her household in the 1930 census, her 1934 biography said she had a fourteen-year-old daughter.
    • 'According to their marriage certificate, the wedding took place 1925-06-01 in Los Angeles, and was recorded on 1925-06-04 with the L.A. County Recorder.

      The groom is shown as William Franklin Johnson, 25191/2 Central Avenue, Los Angeles; colored; 23; birthplace Nebr. Occupation Waiter...

      The bride is shown as Ivie Marie Anderson, 1725 Stuart St., Berkeley , Cal; colored; 20, birthplace Calif., Occupation Performer. Father Issac P. Anderson, birthplace Delaware. Mother is Sylvia [sic] Jones, birthplace Okla.
      It was the first marriage for both.
    • Reports that Ivie Anderson was also Mrs. Louis Bacon weren't true. According to one anonymous interviewer (Norfolk Journal and Guide, 1937-11-27, p. 18, courtesy of Ken Steiner):

      Besides being 33 years of age, which may discourage many of the swains who have fallen in love with Ivie's voice via the 'piccolos,' she is happily married. The husband is Lewis [sic] Bacon, trumpeter with Louis Armstrong's outfit.

      Bacon and Anderson had ample opportunity to get to know each other when Bacon toured and recorded with Ellington in the period from September 1933 into the first days of 1934. They were much in love by the end of that year according to the Pittsburgh Courier (1934-10-13, section II, p. 9), which noted:

      Backstage with Duke Ellington and his ork. Friday afternoon [1934-10-05] at the Apollo, we find Ivie Anderson as much in love with Louis (Fess Williams) Bacon as ever.

      Bacon left America to join the Willie Lewis orchestra in the summer of 1939, and was in Europe after the fall of France. Down Beat wondered as to his status, incidentally noting that he was Ivie's husband. This claim was repeated in Ulanov 1947 (p.160).
  • Dan Burley, "She Swing and She Sings and It All Comes So Easy!," Kansas City Call, 1934-06-22, p. 8 (courtesy K. Steiner via S. Lasker 2017-07-14)
  • In 1942, Ivie married Marque Neal before her divorce from Johnson was finalized. In 1948 she applied for and was granted an annulment on the grounds the Neal marriage was ineffective because her marriage to Johnson was not yet dissolved.

    Ivie and Marque Neal opened a restaurant, Ivie's Chicken Shack, in Los Angeles. A California Eagle report of a break-in there gives the address as 1105 1/2 Vernon Ave., Los Angeles.

    California Eagle 1941-11-27, p.1
    courtesy S.Lasker 2017-07-14

  • ANP wirestory (The Indianapolis Recorder 1948-08-21 p.13):

    'LOS ANGELES (ANP) – Ivie Anderson,... reached a property settlement in the annulment action with her husband, Marque Neal, last week. According to the terms of the settlement, Neal is to give Mrs. Anderson $15,000 in return for complete possession of the Nealander Apartment house, ownership of which was held jointly by the two.
      According to Neal's attorney, Crispus A. Wright, Mrs. Anderson will be allowed to take the annulment by default on the grounds that she was not divorced from her previous husband when she married Neal.'

  • The California Eagle 1948-10-21 p.4:

    'Ivie Anderson... Presently on a song tour of the Pacific coast, threw a legal bombshell at her husband Mark [sic] Neal local restaurateur when she filed a suit within the last week seeking to quiet title and adjudicate her property rights in a large apartment unit located at 259 East 41st Place, valued at approximately Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00).
      Miss Anderson who filed the suit under the name of Ivie Neal through her attorney Walter L. Gordon, Jr., has just recently secured an annulment of her marriage to Neal approximately two months ago through the same attorney.
      In this present action, Miss Anderson asserts that she and Neal married May 1, 1942, and lived together until August 20, 1948.
      She further asserts that she invested into the property approximately Twenty-Seven Thousand Dollars ($27,000.00) money belonging to her personal estate which she had received from her various employments as an entertainer and that Neal has no intedest [sic] in tre [sic] property as any interest that has later been acquired has all come about as a result of the rents that take care of the payments. Trial of the case has been set for July 13, 1949 in the local Superior Court...
      Attorney Gordon... scoffed at previous newspaper accounts of a settlement having been entered into between the parties where Mrs. Neal received the sum of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000.00) for her equity in the property. Attorney Gordon stated that such a statement was merely rumor without fact.'

  • Ivie married Walter Collins on Dec.15, 1949, less than two weeks before she died.

    '[....] Not until after Miss Anderson's death at her Los Angeles apartment house did it become generally known that she had married Walter Collins, L.A. business man, on Dec. 15, 1949, less than two weeks before her death on Dec. 28. Nor did they know she had secured an annulment to her marriage to Mark (or Marques) Neal a few months after they were married in 1948.'
    Down Beat, 1950-02-10, p. 12,
    courtesy S.Lasker 2019-07-27)

  • Ivie reportedly had a romantic relationship with Cootie Williams:
    • In a July 1976 interview conducted by Patricia Willard (and quoted by Stuart Nicholson, "Reminiscing in Tempo,' p. 164), Barney Bigard recalled that Cootie Williams and Ivie Anderson were "going together"; he doesn't date their romance, but indicates it began after an incident that took place while the band's train was stopped in El Paso, Texas.
    • Brooks Kerr has told me a story we can date to circa 1939 03 31: Ellington and his men had a night off in Paris. Some of the men wanted to visit a bordello, but Ivie wouldn't allow Cootie to join them, instead entertaining him privately in a hotel room.
    • Since the band's last visit to the El Paso area had been circa 1936-12-01, I suppose that the romance of Cootie and Ivie wasn't a short-term affair. Cootie, of course, had a wife in New York, Katherine Smith, whom he'd married in 1929.'
  • Ivie's divorce complaint, filed 1941-10-17, stated that the couple had separated in May 1928, there were no children and no community property. ... According to an affidavit filed with the court,

    'Defendant was served with complaint and summons at Bullocks's Dept. Store [a swank store in downtown L.A.] where he is presently employed.'

    Divorce was granted on 1941-11-25, and was to become official on 1942-11-25 in accordance with California law.

    Ivie didn't wait that long to remarry, however...

Early Career

  • S. Lasker:
    Miller, in Down Beat, 1942-07-15, p. 31:

    ' ...By 1923, she was ready for her first job -- at Tait's in Los Angeles. There she also worked at The Tent, owned and operated by Mike Lyman, bandleader Abe's brother.
      She became a line girl in a Fanchon & Marco revue featuring Mamie Smith. When the soubrette of the show fell ill, Ivie got her chance; and she stepped in to fill the spot on an hour's notice. This led to her work as a soubrette with the Shuffle Along musicale, to work at Sebastian's Cotton Club, in a five [sic] months' tour of Australia with a Fanchon & Marco unit, and finally to heading her own revue on the West Coast for a 20-week stretch. She even sang with Anson Weeks' band at the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco.
      And so, by 1930, when she began her engagement at the Grand Terrace, she already was a seasoned performer. But it was the unique combination of Ellington and Anderson which was to bring Ivie recognition and acclaim, not only of the profession, but of the public as well. She was the first singer ever to join a colored band as part of the regular organization, missing by only a year the record established by Fritzi White, who will be remembered as the vocalist who joined George Hall late in 1929. Veteran singer Mildred Bailey joined Paul Whiteman in 1930.'

Walter C. Allen, Hendersonia The Music of Fletcher Henderson and His Musicians, self-published, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 72-85818, at p.16
  • The New York Age, 1924-05-31 p.7 named Ivy Anderson as a member of the chorus of "Struttin' Time," described as "the latest colored musical comedy written for Broadway," and then playing at the Howard Theatre in Washington.
  • Letters, Chicago Defender 1924-09-13 p.6 (courtesy K.Steiner):

    ' Boston, Mass.
    Mr. Tony Langston: -
      Dear Sir: This is to let the page and the profession know that there is a new act in existence. " Mammmy's Harmony Four" got together by Elmer Dade of Malinda and Dade, one of the cleverest Colored acts in show business.
      The act is meeting with great success, playing Keith time and consists of four people, Ivie Anderson, lead; Ida B. Sheftell, alto; C. J. Davis, tenor, and Charles Merrick, bass.
      We are now booked out of Sam illegible^s office and have been for three weeks. On arriving into New York on the 15th, Pat Casey will handle the booking, our first week being Paterson, N.J.
      I am sure it will be news to know that Ida has gone in for dancing. She goes over a mean top and and pulls a meaner trench, so if she ever wins fame for dancing the credit goes to Ivie Anderson, a clever fellow singer and dancer from the coast...

  • A Note or Two, Chicago Defender 1924-10-04 p.6:

    'Ivie Anderson, with the "Mammy's Four" up East, is meeting with fine success up that way and sends regards to the show world.'

  • New York Age 1925-09-05, covering a party at the Bamville Club in New York for the cast of The Chocolate Kiddies, departing for Europe, named some of the entertainers who performed. Ivie Anderson of the Cotton Club performed "Honest and Truly."
  • Ivie appears to have lost her Cotton Club job in New York when it was padlocked for three months for violation of liquor laws (New York Amsterdam News, 1925-06-24).
  • Los Angeles Times, 1925-06-25, p.A9 (courtesy K.Steiner, S.Lasker):

    'Jazz-hungry folk will be treated to some novel entertainment tonight when "Darktown Puzzles," colored revue, will open an engagement at the Philharmonic Auditorium... "Darktown Puzzles" will reveals [sic] some of the best Negro talent in America, including a chorus of dusky dainties. Heading the extra-large cast will be "Strawberry" Russell, "Flying" Ford, Ivy Anderson,...'

  • A display ad for Golden Brown Face Powder in the 1927-04-16 Pittsburgh Courier, s.2 p.6 shows a profile portrait of Ivie Anderson, Stage Favorite, endorsing Golden Brown Compacts.
    Webmaster's comment:
    • It's hard to tell if the illustration is a photo or a drawing, but it isn't very flattering.
  • The 1927 Christmas Edition of The California Eagle, p.29:

    'Follies News
      The Follies is still having full house, Ivy Anderson and her Creole ReRevue [sic]...'

  • The California Eagle 1927-12-09 Sports Page carried an ad for the Lincoln Theatre, Central at 23rd St., for the stage show "The Fall Guy" showing:

    'Special Added Attraction to Stage
    That vivacious bundle of pep'

    The "You're Next" gossip column in the 1927-12-16 edition says:

    'Ivy Anderson, "that bundle of pep" is proving a sensation at the Lincoln." '

    (This Los Angeles theatre was new, just having opened in October)
  • Ulanov 1947:

    '... Ivie Anderson was ready for the Coast again and her first job. She worked at Tait's in Los Angeles and at the Tent, run by Abe Lyman's brother Mike. When a featured singer in the Fanchon and Marco revue... became ill, Ivie stepped out of the chorus line to seeing the soubrette's part on one hour's notice. Other jobs as a soubrette followed, leading to that role in Shuffle Along, a spot at Sebastian's Cotton Club, a five month's tour of Australia with a Fanchon and Marco unit, and finely her own group in a review which toured West Coast theaters for twenty weeks. There was even one short engagement with Anson Weeks' white band at the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco.
      In 1930, she was a featured singer in the show at the Grand Terrace Caf in Chicago; she remained at the Terrace until well into the winter of '31, until February 13... '

  • Steven Lasker:

    'Ellington and Ivie may have crossed paths on 1925-05-05, when Ivie sang "Honest and Truly" at the farewell party in Harlem for the cast of "Chocolate Kiddies," who were about to leave for Germany (per the New York Age, 1926-05-09, p. 6). Ivie was then working at the Cotton Club in Harlem, but lost her job when a padlock order closed the club.'

  • Variety 1925-12-30 p.172 - small ad:
    Jazz Syncopator

    Touring West Coast Theatres

    Opening, Jan. 1, LYMAN'S CAFE,
    According to Variety 1925-12-23 p.41, Mike Lyman changed the name of Club Alabam three times in 1925, from the Winter Garden to the States, then the Tent, and finally in mid-December to Lyman's Cafe Alabam.
  • Variety In 1926, Cabaret Bills listings show Ivy at the Club Alabam in Los Angeles:
       1926-02-03 p.19  1926-03-17 p.15  1926-04-28 p.82  1926-06-02 p.46
    1926-02-10 p.19 1926-03-24 p.46 1926-05-05 p.49 1926-06-09 p.46
    1926-02-17 p.19 1926-03-31 p.46 1926-05-12 p.50 1926-06-16 p.45
    1926-02-24 p.21 1926-04-07 p.47 1926-05-19 p.47 1926-06-23 p.46
    1926-03-03 p.18 1926-04-14 p.42 1926-05-26 p.52 1926-06-30 p.44
    1926-03-10 p.17 1926-04-21 p.46 ( She is not listed after June.)
    • Cafe Notes, The Los Angeles Times 1926-08-06 pt. II p.6 has her in a new show at Frank Sebastien's Cotton Club, Washington Boulevard, Culver City in a bill headed by Carolyn Snowden. The Pittsburgh Courier 1926-11-23 p.8 has Ivy and Carolyne [sic] there in a show called "The Flower Garden of Dixie Beauties." While Sebastien's advertised the show in the Los Angeles Times 1926-10-30 pt.III p.4 it looks like the Dixie Beauties were the chorus for the show, and that Ivy had her own, separate act. Sebastien's advertised its grand opening of the New Cotton Club February 22, 1927 in the Los Angeles Times 1927-02-21 and 1927-02-22 which show Carolynne Snowden and 16 performers, with several featured acts, including Ivy.
    • Los Angeles Times 1927-03-31 pt. II p.8 and 1927-04-02 pt.II p.7 have Ivy in the Fanchon and Marco show Hi-Brown Idea. She appears to be described as a dancer but it isn't clear.
    • Los Angeles Times 1927-04-07 pt. II p.13 has Ivy in an aggregation from Frank Sebastien's Cotton Club who were to perform at a Shrine luncheon.
      Webmaster's comment:
      • This could mean Ivie was working two jobs, or the announcement may just have been based on outdated information.
    • The San Diego Union 1927-04-17 p.2 advertises Fanchon and Marco's Hi-Brown Idea at the Westcoast Balboa, San Diego, with Ivy Anderson the first performer named. Its review 1927-04-18 p.5 says she 'sings "Alabama Stomp" with a lot of pep, assisted by a pretentious chorus of Sunburnt Beauties.'

      The Evening Tribune, San Diego, 1927-04-19 p.3 also reviewed the show, and says 'Ivy Anderson and a chorus of Sunburnt Beauties sing and dance the "Alabama Stomp" and also a "Cat Dance."
    • The Baltimore Afro-American 1927-04-16 p.11 lists Ivy Anderson as one of the members of a Fanchon and Marco show who played a benefit in Los Angeles. The date of the benefit is not shown. This may be the benefit for the National Vaudeville Artist Association in a story datelined Los Angeles April 14, on p.14 of the same paper.
    • Ads in the Santa Ana Daily Register 1927-04-23 p.7 and 1927-04-25 p.8 list Ivy Anderson in Fanchon and Marco's Hi-Brown Idea, apparently running at least from the 23rd to the 26th, at the West Coast-Walker theatre at 4th and Main. An announcement calls her "the original poison ivy kid."
      Webmaster's comment:
      This was one of over 50 "Fanchon and Marco Idea" shows produced during the 1920s by the sister and brother team of Fanchon Simon and Marco Wolff through Fanchon and Marco Inc. and West Coast Theatres Inc. houses.)
    • An ad and an announcement in the San Francisco Chronicle 1927-05-25 p.15 said Hi-Brown Idea would open that Saturday at Loews Warfield. The announcement named Ivy. There was a similar announcement 1927-05-28 p.8.
    • Variety 1927-06-08 p.34 lists Ivy Anderson first in the acts that were to start June 11 at the T. and D. Theatre in Oakland, Cal. in a Fanchon and Marco Idea show. This appears to have been a short engagement; she is not listed again that month.
  • The Sunday Oregonian, Portland, Ore., 1927-07-03 s.4 p.2 has Fanchon and Marco's Hi-Brown Idea at the Broadway that week, and names Ivy.
  • The California Eagle, 1927-12-16 p.3

    'Ivee Anderson and her Creole Revue are stopping shows at the Follies.
      Miss Anderson I know is proud of the little Miss Marguerite Jones who is taking her place singing the Black Bottom while she is at the Lincoln...'

    • Variety 1927-11-16 p.2

      'AUSTRALIA Sydney, Oct. 15
        Harry Muller has booked a colored show to appear at the Tivoli, Sydney, early in the new year. The company will include Sonny Clay's Band, Dick Saunders, Ivy Anderson, Four Covans, with the Emperors of Harmony (colored act now on circuit) as added attraction. Unit will occupy the whole of the second half of show.'

    • The Afro-American, Baltimore, Md. 1927-12-17 p.8

      'LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Sonny Clay and his orchestra, the Four Covans, Ivy Anderson, Dick Saunders, and the Four Emporers of Song, are scheduled to sail from here for Australia, Thursday, December 29, where they will play over the Williamson Circuit. The act will open early in February.'

    • The poster reproduced on the cover of Storyville 61 (Oct./Nov.1975), bills Ivy as "Ivy Anderson Colored Comedienne." Storyville says the American group numbered 41, including the Sonny Clay band, dancers and singers. They landed in Sydney January 21 and opened that day at its Tivoli Theatre. On February 18 ["to-day" per The Age, Melbourne, 1928-02-18 p.17] it opened at the Tivoli in Melbourne where Storyville says Ivy won the dressing room craps games. The Sydney engagement was advertised daily in the Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, January 18 through February 15 and the Melbourne appearance was advertised daily in The Age from Feb. 15 to March 24.
    • Variety 1928-02-29 p.2

      'AUSTRALIA Sydney, Jan. 28:
        A sweltering afternoon found this theatre jammed for the Australian premiere of Sonny Clay and his orchestra, together with a company of colored dancers and singers. Harry Muller booked the attraction in America. On opening it looked as thought the troupe needed a little more rehearsing, but all the tunes offered are brand new here. It would have been better if the boys had interspersed a couple of melodies more favorably known.
        Four Covans did nicely with their stepping and Ivy Anderson, soubret, did fairly well. Dick Saunders, as m.c., proved disappointing in this respect. The colored unit takes up the entire second half of the bill. Vaudeville supplied by Armstrong and Phelps, Hector St. Clair, the Cavanaghs, and Davy Jamieson fills in first half of the show.'

    • In advertisements for the show in The Age 1928-03-19 p.20, 1928-03-23 p.16 and 1928-03-24 p.24, Ivy is described as "America's Cleverest Colored Comedienne." The March 24 ads say "Last Nights and Farewell of Sonny Clay's Colored Idea."
    • The musicians, evicted from hotels for noise, rented two flats in an apartment building. After they were seen socializing with white women who were also seen in their building, the police, accompanied by a reporter, raided the apartments the last weekend of March. The paper printed a lurid, racist account of the raid. Storyville says the public uproar resulted in the matter being raised in Parliament. The ladies, charged with vagrancy, all had jobs and were found not guilty. The six men were not charged but were deported and the other musicians were forced to leave as well. It appears the entire company left Australia on March 31.
    • Lasker:
      Per Herbert E. Walker, Chicago Defender nat'l ed., 1935-02-09:

      'The Australians [in 1928] went wild over her voice. Here was a pretty girl who could sing naughty songs nice, and make nice songs naughty without losing her woman's dignity. Her voice and winning personality made her a [illegible] brown-skin idol. She [was] flooded with marriage proposals from guys who were big shots in the eyes of the islanders. The more aloof she was to these proposals the better they liked her. She had as gifts a dozen kangaroos, ranging from babies on up. '

    • Ivie's details in the LIST OF UNITED STATES CITIZENS
      S.S.SIERRA sailing from SYDNEY N.S.W. MARCH 31st 1928 Arriving at Port of SAN FRANCISCO APRIL 19th, 1928
      15 Johnson (Anderson) Ivie [age] 23 [sex] F [married or single] M [date and place of birth] Gilroy, Calif. July 10. 1904 [address in the United States] 1725 Stuart St. Berkeley, Calif.
  • There are a couple of accounts in The California Eagle, 1928-04-06, p. 10 and 1928-05-04, p. 2
  • The Chicago Daily Tribune, 1928-03-29:
    ' Referring to the deportation of the Negro musicians, arrested yesterday in a debauch with white women, Mr Hughes [former Australian Prime Minister] said:

    'If that happened in the southern states of America, the offenders would not be deported--they could not have lived over night. Australian musicians are boycotted in America and now the land of liberty sends us these black beasts to entertain us.'

    The federal government has decided to exclude all colored musicians from Australia. '
  • The San Diego Union 1928-07-30 p.3 has an ad for the Balboa theatre with Sonny Clay and his Plantation Orchestra with Ivy Anderson.
  • The California Eagle, 1928-08-10 p.10 announced the reopening of Jazzland!, naming Ivy as one of the entertainers to appear on opening night.
  • An Apex ad in The California Eagle, 1928-12-28 again mentions Ivy Anderson and the accompanying story mentions her as well.
  • A February 2008 on-line story in the Gilroy Dispatch "Jazz gem remembered" has several photos.
  • The Bakersfield Californian 1929-01-29 has "Ivy Anderson, blues singer and dancer" as one of the principals of Don Meaney's Musical Show which was to be broadcast on KNX from the Nile Theater the next night.
  • The California Eagle, 1929-03-01 p.3 named Ivy as one of the performers who did a smoker "last Monday evening" at Elks Hall. Among the other acts were Caroline Snowden and her Creole review, Mosby's band and the Quality Serenaders, etc.
  • By April, 1929, Ivy was back at Curtis Mosby's Apex Nite Club. She was named in several ads for the club, and she received frequent fawning coverage in The California Eagle over the next eleven months:
    • The California Eagle, 1929-05-10 p.2 has an ad for the Apex Nite Club, 4015 Central (Los Angeles), which names Ivy Anderson as "Dancing Mistress." It isn't clear because her name is at the bottom of the ad below the band, "Mosby's Dixieland Blue Blowers. She may have been the dance captain for the starring act, THE APEX CHOCOLATE KIDDIES, co-starring ALLEGRETTA ANDERSON and CAROLYNNE SNOWDEN and FOURTEEN HIGH CLASS ARTISTS. Lawrence Lamar's column on page 9 of the same edition said:

      'Ivy Anderson refuses to be anything but the hit of the show. That doesn't mean that she demands to be billed as such, or anything else. She spots most of them the benefit of being billed as headliners, then overcomes their advantage by sheer ability. Ivy is really too tight. She puts both pep and personality into her work. Strut it kid, because it's all yours. The berries.'

    • The California Eagle, magazine section, 1929-07-19 p.1, review of the Apex Chocolate Revue "Mid-Summer Jubilee" carried a short paragraph on "Petit Ivy Anderson," saying she sang "Singing in the Rain," supported by the Aperettes and the female principals.
    • The California Eagle, 1929-08-09 p.8 carried a short announcement that Ivy was coming back soon and Curtis and Mildred had worked out a show to be woven around "this popular stage star." P.10 carried a story headlined "Ivy Anderson Steals the Show of Professional Night at Apex Nite Club." It describes the acts preceding Ivy, then says:

      '      Ivy Steals Show
        All the stars did their stuff and it was really jam up, but it took little Ivy Anderson to steal the show. As a pleasant suprise [sic] Curtis sprang little Ivy on us. And what a surprise it was. The little girl sang two songs and when I say she sang she did that thing and no less. Mean to Me and My Man from Alabama were the songs she rendered, and oh how that little lady did warble. Ivy received three oncores [sic], that is the oncores she answered. She could have gone on singing all night if time had allowed it, but the show had to go on. Now that is what I really call stopping the show.
            To Star in New Show
        Miss Anderson made such a hit with her singing, Mosby received demands that he star her in his new show beginning Friday the 16th, so that they could hear more of her wonderful warbling. As star in the new show Ivy can sing till she slips down. She really makes you go home talking to yourself.'

    • In its review of another new show at Mosby's Club (the Apex) called "A Night In The Orient," The California Eagle, 1929-08-23 p.10 says:

      'Ivy Anderson comes near stopping the show again with her singing.

    • The California Eagle, 1929-08-30 p.10 reviewed the August 28 Professional Night, then the regular show which started at 11:30. It says:

      '...After the Oriental number Mosby gave a little throw back party in dancing. He featured every dance from the Mid-Victorian day to the present....Following the dance of the Victorian decade came the once famous Cake Walk. And Strutt Mitchell and Ivy Anderson really caked it right along...
      About three G.M. [sic] in the morning after Ivy Anderson thought herself all through with work, who should waly [sic] in but on of the stars from up town, name not known for reasons, and demanded, insisted and everything else that Miss Anderson sing "Am I Blue". And oh, how that little girl can wail and moan those blues. Miss Anderson is a star if there ever was one and she is starring in a great show.'

    • The California Eagle, 1929-09-20 p.10 mentions Ivy in its review of the Sept. 18 show:

      'Ivy Anderson still pleases in her style that is wholey [sic] her own.'

    • The California Eagle, 1929-10-04 p.8:

      'Curtis Mosby and his co-producer Miss Mildred Washington have scored another hit with their floor show known as the "Syncopated Wedding."
        It is the wedding of the glad rag doll and Ivy Anderson really sings the song in a syncopated way. Ivy says there are certain things they bride-to-be needs to know and she tells her and no less.
        ...But little Ivy Anderson tops them all – that is in my way of thinking. Ivy was before the Mike and sang I'll always be in Love With You. And if you know anything about love, Ivy told you a little more and if you didn't you were lucky to have a girl like Miss Anderon tell you....
        I knew there was something I was leaving out. As a special request Ivy Anderson and John Porter did "Am I Blue." Let me tell you right here folks Ivy puts Ethel Waters to shame every time she sings that song and she gets better every time. You all know Porter he makes his cornet talk...'

    • The California Eagle, 1929-11-01 p.10:

      'Ivy Anderson Starts in New Revue
      Miss Ivy Anderson, the Los Angeles Ethel Waters stars in a brand new Revue that is right on out of this world with class...'

    • The California Eagle, 1929-11-22 p.10:

        Ivy Anderson, the personality kid herself steals the go in the show that comes at 1:30. Miss Anderson opens up and lets them have "At the End of the Road" and you know how Ivy sings.'

    • The California Eagle, 1929-12-06 p.10 reviewed another Apex revue, this with a western theme.

      '...The one and only Ivy was there with "At the End of the Road" and you know what a song that is when it is done like Ivy does it.'

    • The California Eagle, 1929-12-13 p.10:

      '    IVY STARRED
      Miss Ivy Anderson, the only great rivail [sic] of Ethel Watters [sic], is given a starring role in this weeks' show and she sings with all she has and takes them. "An Old Fashioned Lady" is Ivy's bewt bet in this show.'

    • The California Eagle, 1929-12-20 p.18 announced Ivy would have a special feature in Apex's new "Christmas Fantasy" show.
    • The California Eagle, 1929-12-21 p.28 ad for the Apex's new Christmas show to open Dec. 21 names Ivy Anderson as "In a class by herself" and "that singing, Dancing Bundle of Pep."
    • The California Eagle, 1930-02-28 p.16 mentions Ivy teamed up with Mary Richards and "stole they a little Thunder of their own as a song and dance team."
    • The California Eagle, 1930-03-07 p.12:

      'A perfect picture of bronze beauty, Miss Ivy Anderson, the Ethel Waters of the Pacific Coast and the west was right there with all of her it and then some Wednesday night. Ivy did several solo numbers and then took down the house with Mary Richards has her team mate in a song and dance skit. Little Miss Richards is no slouch herself and she can go some. She is the only race toe dancer on the Pacific Coast. '

    • The California Eagle, 1930-03-14:

      'Ivy Anderson the most popular girl ever to strike the [Apex] club, is a perfect wow, with her Navy Blues. Miss Anderson went over the top with Miss Mary Richards in a popular love ballad.'

  • Oakland Tribune, 1930-04-11 p.58 announced Ivy Anderson was one of the stars scheduled to appear on the Midnight Radio Revel at the Fox-Oakland the next night, at 11:30. It describes her as "blues singer from KNX, Hollywood."
  • The theatrical newspaper Inside Facts of Stage and Screen, week ended 1930-04-12 p.11 advertised
    Dixie's Own Exponent of the Blues
    Scoring a Hit at the
    Fox El Capitan San Francisco
    Its p.15 review of the April 6 show says:

    '...and then Brower brought on Ivy Anderson, dusky blues shouter with trick eyes and hips, who changed "I'm a Blackbird" and hoofed her way to heavy applause. Fast, good and hot work won for her a flock of bows and a speech... '

  • Inside Facts of Stage and Screen, week ended 1930-10-25 p.10 reviewed of the Oct. 20 performance of MERRYMAKER'S REVUE at the Fox El Capitan (San Francisco) said:

    'Ivy Anderson, colored gal in fourth engagement at this house, scored a decisive hit by singing "Confessin'" and hoofing and chanting "11:30 Saturday Night." '

  • Steven Lasker:

    'In August 1930, the Ellington band made their first trip to the West Coast where they appeared in RKO's "Check and Double Check." The men stayed at the Dunbar Hotel on Central Avenue, adjacent to the Apex Night Club where Ivie Anderson worked as a singer and dancer.'

Joining Ellington

  • Advertisement in Variety, 1931-02-18 p.35:

      at ORIENTAL, CHICAGO, Week Feb. 13
      REGAL, Week Feb. 20

  • Ellington:

    'In 1931 we were booked to play the Paramount-Publix Circuit's (Balaban & Katz) Oriental Theatre in Chicago for the first time. The producer thought it would enhance our show if we were to add a girl singer. Now in the late '20s and early '30s, May Alix had a very good name as an attraction...We had the choice of May or Ivie Anderson, and we agreed after some discussion that instead of picking the girl with the Big Record we would use Ivie. I wondered why, without challenging the decision (since they were paying), and soon I learned that Ivie was chosen because she was of darker skin. Well, I am one of those people who never consider color important. What was important in this instance was the sound and ability of the singer...
      They still talk about Ivie, and every girl singer we've had since has had to try to prevail over the Ivie Anderson image. '

  • Steven Lasker:

    'A four-week tour of a chain of Chicago movie houses (the Oriental, Regal, Uptown and Paradise Theaters) began on Friday the 13th.

    Barney Balaban, one of the owners of the chain, added a singer to the bill. Ivie Anderson was 25, and just coming off a 20-week engagement with Earl Hines at Chicago's Grand Terrace. After four weeks, Duke hired her permanently.

    As she recalled, When I joined his band I was just an ordinary singer of popular songs. Duke suggested I find a 'character' and maintain it . What's more, he's a leader who believes in taking a lot of time and trouble to find the right background for his singer. Duke knows how to write arranged accompaniments that fit my voice perfectly....'

  • Kansas City Call, 1934-06-22:

    'While Duke Ellington and his band were making "Check and Double Check," Amos 'n' Andy's opus in July [recte August] 1930, she got the opening which led her to her present position. J. E. Ellington, father of Duke,liked her work and talked with her about coming with Duke. The dusky songbird, however,came to Chicago where she worked at the Grand Terrace with Mae Alix and Billy Mitchell. Ellington came to Chicago in February 1931, looking for a girl singer. Given an audition through Charley Cottle's efforts, Leo Solkins and Barney Balaban put her in the B. and K. shows with Duke where she has been ever since.'

  • ANP wirestory 1934-08-18:

    'While Duke Ellington and his band were making "Check and Double Check," Amos and Andy's opus in July, 1930, she got the opening which led to her present position. J.E. Ellington, father of Duke, liked her work and talked with her about coming with Duke.
      The lithe songbird, however, went to Chicago, where she worked at the Grand Terrace in October of the same year... Ellington came to Chicago in February, 1931, looking for a girl singer. Given an audition, she was put in the B. & K. shows with Duke where she had been ever since.'

  • Per Herbert E. Walker, Chicago Defender, 1935-02-09:

    'It was Duke Ellington's dad who persuaded her to leave the coast again. She came this time to the Grand Terrace to sing with Father Hines and his band. In 1931, at the special request of Balaban of Balaban and Katz) she sang in a private audition at the Regal, and was placed with Ellington's band. '

  • Per Paul Eduard Miller, "Ivie Joined the Duke for Four Weeks, Says with Band for 12 Years," Down Beat, 1942-07-15, p. 31:

    'On February 13, 1931, Ivie had just finished a 20-week stand at the Grand Terrace in Chicago when she was asked by the Balaban & Katz organization to join Duke during a four-week tour of B&K theaters."'

  • S. Lasker:
    Per Paul Eduard Miller, ibid.:

    ' Ivie frankly admits her indebtedness to Ellington.
      "For example, when I first started with the Duke," she recalls, "I used to wear colored dresses. When he suggested I wear only white, I tried it out and found it so effective that I've been doing it ever since. And for another thing, Duke helped me tremendously in molding my style of singing. When I joined his band I was just an ordinary singer of popular songs. Duke suggested I find a 'character' and maintain it. What's more, he's a leader who believes in taking a lot of time and trouble to find the right background for his singer. He's always supplied me with ideal accompaniment, one which suited the 'character' which I adopted. The combination of these two things resulted in the type of songs I'm still doing today.
      "The first one I sang that way was Minnie the Moocher, when the boys in the band worked out the idea of talking back to me while I was singing. I Want a Man is another of this type. And I'll never forget the first record I made -- It Don't Mean a Thing if It Ain't Got that Swing – one of Duke's own hit tunes and one which helped greatly to identify me in the character of my songs to this very day. Duke knows how to write arranged accompaniments that fit my voice perfectly, and I think that's why I'm more contented now than I've ever been."
      We all know the 'character' in which Ivie sings. When she walks out on a stage her appearance is serene dignity. Poised, with an almost serious expression on her diminutive face, she confronts her audience with a deceptive demeanor. A seasoned and judicious showman, she knows just how to make the most of the marked contrast between her appearance and the abandoned, low-down quality of her vocalisms.'

    Steven Lasker 2017-07-14:
    The then-publicist for the B&K chain was Ned E. Williams. Later in 1931, he moved to New York to take a job as publicist for Mills Dance Orchestras Inc.
  • Philadelphia Tribune, 1931-03-05:

    '...Plain of dress and manner, she opened with the Duke at the Oriental Theatre when he first struck town. Her song was that inimitable success of the late Florence Mills, "I'm a Little Blackbird [Looking for a Bluebird]." When the little girl finished "chirping" the words of that memorable bit of sentimentality, the white folks went wild. Time and again she came back for a bow and was finally forced to make a neat little excuse, promising the raving fans that she would appear later in the Duke's stage show. She did, but only in the finale.
      She created the same impression when Duke and his boys went to the Regal Theatre in the colored district.
      As she is singing one of the songs which contributed to the popularity and success of Miss Mills, the temptation to compare the two is inevitable. The general conclusion is that Miss Anderson has everything Miss Mills had except quality of voice and a finished daintiness. The voice of Miss Mills was bell-like and tinkling. That of Miss Anderson is more like the voice of Ethel Waters. But she had the same interpretative talent Miss Mills possessed, a personality that is even more sparkling and at dancing she is what the reviewers call a wow.
      At any rate, she started two weeks ago as a sort of unknown. But today Miss Anderson is being billed right along with the Duke himself. She has made herself a selling attraction. As Duke's entourage moved from the Regal to the Uptown Theatre with its 5,000 seats, somebody with an idea about things worked the name of Miss Anderson into the advertisements and lights.'

  • The Afro-American, Baltimore, 1931-03-07 p.9:

    'Chicago– (A.N.P.)–While Duke Ellington's New York Cotton Club Orchestra has been scorching the town with its red-hot jazz during the last two weeks, a little brown-skinned girl has been going around with his organization and climbing the ladder herself.
      The demure lady in question is Ivy Anderson. Plain of dress and manner, she opeoned [sic] with the Duke at the Oriental Theatre when he first struck town. Her song was that inimitable success of the late Florence Mills, " I'm a Little Blackbird."
      When the little colored girl finished "chirping" the words of that memorable bit of sentimentality, the white folks went wild. Time and again she came back for a bow and was finally forced to make a neat little excuse, promising the raving fans that she would appear later in Duke's stage show. She did, but only in the finale.
      She created the same impression when Duke and his boys went to the Regal Theatre in the colored district.'

  • Vail I has Ivie joining the band in March 1931. This was after her four-week tryout.
  • Cambridge Companion incorrectly shows Ivie joining the band in 1932. While the author did not cite a source, it may be he relied on the date of her first Ellington recordings.
  • ANP wirestory, Baltimore Afro-American, Baltimore, Md. 1934-08-18 p.8
  • Duke Ellington, MIMM pp.123-124
  • Stratemann p.47 citing
    • Variety 1931-02-18 p.76 [sic]
    • Chicago Defender, Chicago, Ill., 1935-02-09
    • Down Beat 1942-07-15
  • Vail I
  • Cambridge Companion, ibid. p.xv
  • New Desor Vol.II
  • Dan Burley, "She Swing and She Sings and It All Comes So Easy!," Kansas City Call, 1934-06-22, p. 8 (courtesy K. Steiner via S. Lasker 2017-07-14)
  • "Ivy [sic] Anderson Makes Grade," Philadelphia Tribune, 1931-03-05, p. 6 (courtesy of K. Steiner via S. Lasker 2017-07-14)

Career with Ellington

  • Ivie not only sang, she entertained her audiences with a comic routine, often bantering with Sonny Greer from his drum set. She received star billing in Ellington advertisements throughout her years with the band and announcements of the band's arrival in town would often show her picture.

    'A one-sided version which well-mannered people sometimes found hard to take survived during the twenties and thirties in the stage shows featuring Negro bands. As Ivy Anderson sang a sad blues in front of the Duke Ellington orchestra, drummer Sonny Greer, safely ensconced behind a mountain of percussion, talked back between pauses in the lyrics – rudely and with a straight face. " I got the blues," sings Ivy and Sonny interjects, "That ain't the worst you gonna get, Baby!" In Harlem, this was one of the traditional ways to encourage a vocalist.'

Folklore from the Working Folk Of America, Selected and Edited by Tristram Potter Coffin and Hennig Cohen from the Leading Journals And Archives Of Folklore, Anchor Books, Anchor Press /Doubleday, Garden City, New York, 1974
  • The New York Age:

    ' Irving Mills Now Manager for String Of Negro Stage Stars
      Irving Mills, manager of Duke Ellington and several other Negro orchestras, has branched out into the theatrical field and taken under his management several of the more prominent of the younger stage stars.
      Ivie Anderson, who has been hailed by some critics as a second Ethel Waters; Florence Hill, beautiful dancer; Johnny Hudgins international comedian; and Wells, Mordecai and Taylor, dancing trio, are some of those who will be exploited hereafter under the Mills banner.
      Miss Anderson was discovered in a Los Angeles cafe; Miss Hill is from Chicago. Plans are being made to feature both in New York productions this fall.'

The New York Age, 1931-10-03 p.6
  • The Indianapolis Recorder:

    'See by the paper that Miss Ivy Anderson, Duke Ellington's song bird flew from St. Louis to Chicago. Of course we expect birds to fly, but I mention this to show that we are gradually coming into our own in this fast flying world. We will bet a mail plane or two, after while.'

Lee Jay Martin, "Crusing 'Round," The Indianapolis Recorder, 1933-02-11 p.4
  • San Francisco Spokesman:

    'Ivy Anderson, songbird of Duke Ellington's aggregation, held down a big spot with Baron Lee's band last week at the Loew's State in N.Y.'

Byron O'Reilly, "Star Stuff," San Francisco Spokesman, 1933-05-18 p.2
  • San Francisco Spokesman:

    'FLASH! A dispatch from the Irvin Mills office states authentically, that Duke Ellington and his famous band will be in California the middle of this month. At present, they're at the Howard theater in Washington and upon finishing their engagement tonight (9th) make another transcontinental jump to the Pacific Coast. They are scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles on the 15th, where the Aristocrat of Jazz will be featured in Paramount's screen version of Earl Carroll's " Murder at the Vanities." According to Manager Mills, the aggregation will appear at theaters and clubs down south during work on the picture. . .

      FLASH! While nothing in the Mills letter mentions the fact, according to Barbara Llorayne of Chicago, a rumor that started while Ellington was in the Windy City, has it that Ivy Anderson will be dropped from the orchestra group when it comes West. The office neither confirmed nor denied the report when questioned, but 'tis said the great Duke has his eye on a different type of entertainer than Ivy.... The fem scribe says a more heel-kicking Harlem type is sought, more for a change of style... so I was told.'

Byron O'Reilly, "Star Stuff," San Francisco Spokesman, 1934-02-08 p.2
  • The Indianapolis Recorder published a 15-paragraph biography of Ivy by the ANP, datelined Chicago, August 3 and headlined Ivy Anderson, Queen Of Torch Singers, Parents Wanted Her To Be A Nun. It describes her early life, her interest in boxing. Extracts:
    • Since she was a chorus girl, the Oakland Y.W.C.A. wouldn't let her swim with the prudishly raised virgins of the city's high-minded sepia social set but Now its "Our Ivy Anderson," the little home town girl who sang before a king.
    • The biography seems to have had a long lead time, since the biographer says he met Ivie at the amateur fights at the Savoy (Chicago) on Tuesday night. That was June 12, according to the Kansas City Call 1934-06-24.
    • Attended a convent in Gilroy, then was sent to Nannie Burrough School in Washington D.C., and later back to high school in California.
    • Her father was dead, but her mother, Mrs. Lula B. Harris, lived at 2725 Pine St., San Francisco.
    • Ivie lived with her uncle, Luis Jones, in Berkely in 1922 when she auditioned for Fanco & Marco and went on the road for 10 weeks with its "Plantation Revue."
    • Husband Bill Johnson was a former football player at the University of Nebraska, and they separated in 1928.
    • Ivie had a daughter.
    • Other details duplicate information found elsewhere on this web page.
    • In the What's the Answer? feature in the Aug.11 edition,
      • the question was Has Ivie Anderson, torch singer with the Duke Ellington orchestra, a daughter [sic]
      • and the answer was She has a fourteen year old daughter attending high school in Los Angeles.
  • A very similar, if not identical, biography, datelined Los Angeles (ANP) appeared in the August 18 edition of the Afro-American, Baltimore. It was headlined IVY ANDERSON, THE GIRL WHO WAS SNUBBED BY HER HOME TOWN RETURNED AN IDOL! and subtitled Kin of Hotcha Girl Wanted Her to Be a Nun.
  • The Afro-American, Baltimore, Md., 1934-08-18 p.8
  • Ivie wrote a column in the Pittsburgh Courier August 8, 1935, subbing for columnist Earl J. Morris.
  • The Pittsburgh Courier, Pittsburgh, Penn., 1935-08-6 p.21
  • The California Eagle reported an interview with Ivie in Atlanta in 1935. This dates the interview to July 22. Salient points:
    • Born in Gilroy
    • Has several half brothers in Wilmington, Del. and some half sisters in Philadelphia who she hadn't met.
    • Doesn't drink whiskey, likes beer and wines.
    • Doesn't like raising children but likes to cook.
    • Likes to play cards, boxing is her hobby. Fan of Joe Louis but hasn't seen him fight yet.
  • The California Eagle, Los Angeles, Cal., 1935-09-20 p.2-A
  • Ivy Anderson, the Coast's own little peppy, personality filled song-bird, has been welcomed back home by a continuous round of receptions and parties... She was guest of honor at a dinner last Thursday, tended by Mrs. Jessie Reynolds Elmore, 837 N. Dillon street. Music and entertainment intermingled with please social chats and reminisciences [sic] by old frines of Ivy made the occasion an afternoon long to be remembered.
      Amont the guests present were: Miss Pleasetta Moore, Mrs. J.L.Brady, Mrs Anna March, Mrs. Mary A. Hightower, Miss Anna Mae Bell. Mrs. Finlason, Mrs. Georgia Jackson. Mrs. Jackson was the house guest of Mr. and Mrs. Henry T. Elmore, during her visit to the city to attend the Tournament of Roses at Pasadena.
  • The Pittsburgh Courier, Pittsburgh, Penn., 1935-08-6 p.21
The California Eagle, Los Angeles, Cal., 1935-09-20 p.2-A
February 1937:
  • Ivie was the honoree at an informal party in the home of world featherweight champion Henry Armstrong before going east.
The California Eagle, 1937-03-05 p.14
July/August 1938:
  • Ivie attended a Bill Robinson performance at the Club Alabam (New York). Others included Maxine Sullivan and Jeni LeGon.
The California Eagle, 1938-08-04 p.7-A

Life beyond Ellington

Ivie continued her singing career on a less-frequent basis until shortly before her death. She seems to have been active in charity and social circles in Los Angeles, and with her husband, owned a restaurant and built a small apartment building. .
Ivie and then-husband Marque Neal opened Ivie's Chicken Shack in Los Angeles. They sold it and in 1946/1947, and built the Nealander Apartment Building in that city.

After this marriage was annulled in 1947/1948, litigation began in 1948 over ownership. It was still her home when she died. After her death, Neal prevailed because the property was in joint tenancy with the right of survivorship.

'FLASH: Making the rounds: IVIE'S chicken shack is refreshing in its newly done-up atmosphere and the "bird deal" is as ever tos this side of "deep in the heart of Texas." Ivie, who long ago put her notice to the "Duke" in order to retire from the "beaten path" will double back from the Chicago dates for keeps. We salute Ivie Anderson for now and ever more.
  The clean-cut gentleman behind the register of the much [illegible] is the manager; just call him "NEAL" and hospitality "jumps." '

Theatre World, California Eagle, 1942-07-09 p.2-B
Ivie left the band in August 1942, after its Sherman Hotel residency. (Both Ivie and Joya Sherrill were in the Aug. 13 remote broadcast from there.)

Caption to Afro-American photo:

who after twelve years as featured vocalist with Duke Ellington's orchestra, will retire for the sake of her health at the end of the band's current engagement at the Panther Room at the Hotel Sherman in Chicago...Ivie,who was hired by Duke back in 1930 [recte 1931], is the first girl ever to be featured regularly with an orchestra... '

On the same page, the Afro-American ran an ANP guest column by Ellington in which he reminisces but does not mention Ivie.
  • New Desor DE4225 and biographical data in New Desor volume 2
  • ANP wirestory, Ted Watson, THE MID-NIGHT MAN IN CHICAGO, The Plaindealer, Kansas City 1942-08-21 p.3
  • Swingtime column, California Eagle, 1942-07-09 p.2-B
  • The Baltimore Afro-American, 1942-08-01 p.14
Billy Rowe's column reported Ivie left Ellington's orchestra after a severe asthma attack in Austin, Texas, when band members spent hours fanning her back to health.
Webmaster's comments:
  • Rowe seems guilty of artistic licence. Prior to Ivie's departure, the Ellington orchestra isn't known to have been in Austin since November 1936. The last engagements it had in Texas while Ivie was with the band were Houston and Dallas in April 1941, more than a year before she quit.
  • Los Angeles Sentinel:

    'In 1942 Ivie decided that she would like to stay around Los Angeles and keep her eye on her chicken shack. From time to time she appeared in West Coast Clubs and Mexico. She still drew the customers...'

Los Angeles Sentinel, Los Angeles, Cal., .
1942-11-15 - Miss Ivy Anderson was in charge of entertainment at "The Godmother's Guild Benefit Cocktail Party" from 3 to 10 at Alpha Bowling Club, 2914 So. Western Ave. (Los Angeles?). The performers announced were Art Tatum, Baby Mack, Ivy, Karl Jefferson, and Albert Baker. California Eagle,
  • 1942-10-29 p.4-A
  • 1942-11-05 p.4-A
  • 1942-11-12 p.6-B
January/February 1943:

'The USO does not try to maintain that all men who come to town shall stay solely within her confines. Sunday evening, sixty men were sent to CBS to the Jubilee Broadcast featuring the King Cole Trio, Ivy Anderson, Mantan Moreland and other stars.'

California Eagle, 1943-02-17 p.7A
April 1943:

'Famed Blue Berry Hill was alive last Sunday afternoon, when the Church, Civic, Social, and Theatrical world rubbed shoulders of the palatial Beavers home, to aid the Doll Leaguers with their benefit tea. Great and graciousness are not always together, but the two were truly found in Miss Louise Beavers,advisor of the club. The stars came en masse decked in their furs, jewels and what have you, forming a blind, along with other guest [sic], waiting for admittance. Such made personalities as Joe Louis, Mantan Moreland, Dorothy Dandridge, Norman Houston, Mrs. Bill Robinson, Ivy Anderson, Ben Carter, Earnest Whitman and scores of others.'

California Eagle, 1943-04-08 p.4A

'The Talent Tea, to be given by the Fleur-De-Lis Club at the AWVS Center, 45th and Central avenue Sunday June 27 from 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon until 8:00 o'clock in the evening, has been anxiously anticipated by all charity donors in Los Angeles...
  Among the many artists of radio and screen who will appear are Ernest Whittman, master of ceremony; Gilbert Lindsay of the Bronze Hour...; Art Tatum, Ivy Anderson, Sam McDaniel, Walter Johnson, Samuel Kelly and students from Willie Covan Dance and Lauretta Butler's Studio...'

California Eagle, 1943-06-24 p.4A

'FACT IS . . . IVY ANDERSON well known as former vocalist with the one and only DUKE ELLINGTON has signed with JIMMY LUNCEFORD as a featured vocalist. Miss Anderson ALWAYS A FINE PERFORMER in her new numbers as well as her old successes offers a mark of challence [sic] for any new-comer!...'

Carrie Miller, Backstage, California Eagle, 1943-09-24 p.2B
Club Alabam, Los Angeles, 1943-10-13: Ivie was to be the chairman of the Costume Jewelry Drive which would present a Costume Jewelry dance:

'Since leaving the states, where everyone is in hot pursuit of the mighty dollar, the fighting servicemen ahve found that natives prefer shiny jewelry to money. By "charging" costume jewelry as the admission, it is hoped that a large amount of spending change will be raised for the fellows. Anyone bringing a piece of costume jewelry will be admitted... '

California Eagle
  • "Ivy Anderson Returns To Head Drive," , 1943-09-30
  • 1943-10-07 p.2-B
  • 1943-10-28 p.4-A
  • 1943-11-24 p.8
Camp Clipper )California?), October 1943:

'Making his first appearance as a " single," Timmie [Rogers] took his act to Camp Clipper a few days ago with a Victory show, and stopped it cold. A fact that rates an orchid from any flower garden, in view of the fact that on the same bill was Ivy Anderson, Lillian Randolph, Bineta Leprez... '

California Eagle 1943-10-21 p.6-B
March 1945: The California Eagle reported Ivie sang "Rum and Coca Cola" in a "Star Galore Show" at the Lincoln Theater "last Thursday night." Others on the bill included Eddie Heywood and his combo, the Savage Dancers, Richard (Dickie) Barrow, "Sneaks and ("Mayor") Aime, Effie Smith, Sybil Lewis, Pigmeat, the Nicholas Bros., Johnny Otis' band. The M.C. was Rex Ingram and Edward G. Robinson made a personal appearance. California Eagle 1945-04-05 p.12
June 1945: Ivie played in a vaudeville show at the El Grotto Room, Pershing Hotel [6412 Cottage Grove?], Chicago. Others in the revue included pianist Sonny Thompson and his orchestra, Koloah, Joe Williams, Derby and Frenchie (dance team), Dusty Fletcher, Lester Goodman and the ten Grottoettes.
  • The Indianapolis Recorder, 1945-06-30 s.2 p.5
  • Chicago Ports of Call, "Swing," magazine
    • 1945-07 p.56
    • 1945-08 p.58
  • California Eagle 1945-08-02 p.6
September 1945: Ivie and "her husband Mr. Neal" attended a concert at the Redlands Bowl, Redlands, Cal. California Eagle 1945-09-13 p.14
April 1946: Ivy was one of the headliners at the new Club Baron in Harlem. New York Post, New York, N.Y. 1946-04-22 p.27
May 1946:

'Ivie Anderson, song-stylist who chirped with the Duke Ellington band during the Duke's rise up the ladder of success, opened May 5 at the Cricket Club for an indefinite engagement. '

California Eagle 1946-05-06 p.18
August 1946:

'Ivie Anderson, Meade Lux Lewis and the Eddie Beal Trio are currently headlining the show at " Streets of Paris" cafe on Hollywood Boulevard... Miss Anderson recently returned to the Southland following a tour of Eastern cities.'

The Pittsburgh Courier, Pittsburgh, Penn., 1946-08-03, p. 19
May 1948:

'Alice Keys is the lady in charge over at the Cricket Club, where the still singsational voice of Ivie Anderson can be heard along with the danceable music of the Johnny Otis band, the hip hurling of Anita Echols and the funny antics of Johnny Taylor and the shaply [sic] line-up of the cute chorines.'

The California Eagle, 1948-05-13, p. 18

'... at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, May 23, in the spacious gardens of Dr. and Mrs. Frank Zetar's...the members of the Cavalrette Social Club Inc. will hostess one of the largest fetes of the season for the purpose of building its charity fund...
  Among those to appear will be Ivie Anderson,... Hadda Brooks, Nellie Lutcher, Nael [sic] and Joe Greene and an accomplished song-writer a lot with Shep and his new sound... '

The California Eagle, 1948-05-20, p.10
July 1948

'... Haywood Jones... opens at the Cotton Club in Frisco, 7-21. Ivy Anderson, ex-Duke Ellington thrush, is on the same bill... '

The California Eagle, 1948-07-22, p.15

'Ivie Anderson, long-time Duke Ellington band vocalist, is still one of the most popular entertainers in the business. She makes her home in Los Angeles. For the past several years Miss Anderson has worked single. She is booked for a week at the Palomar Theatre in Seattle, and may soon be seen at Los Angeles' Orpheum Theatre.'

The Pittsburgh Courier, 1949-11-19, p.19:
S. Lasker
  • At the time of her death, [Ivie] was living in an apartment building which she and her second husband, Marque Neal, had arranged to have constructed at 259 E. 41st Place in Los Angeles. The building still stands, and can be viewed on Google Maps "streetview." If you zoom in on either side of the building's front, you'll see, halfway up the building, small cut-metal signs that spell out "Nealander." '
Steven Lasker :
    "intermarried in the City of Oversite, State of Arizona, on or about the 1st day of May, 1942 [recte 1942-05-11], and ever since have been and are husband and wife [...] That at the time of said marriage, the said plaintiff had another husband living, and that the plaintiff's marriage with said other husband was then, to wit: at the time of plaintiff's marriage to the defendant, in force, and undissolved by divorce or otherwise."

    A decree of annulment was signed by the Superior Court on 1948-08-23.
Ken Steiner:
  • 'Ivie filed for annulment on the grounds that she was already married at the time of marrying Marque Neal. She filed as "IVIE JOHNSON, also known as IVIE NEAL"

    These are the court records I have, all original research by Mr. Lasker:
    • Johnson v. Johnson ( divorce from William Johnson)
    • Johnson aka Neal v. Neal (marriage annulment)
    • Neal v. Neal ("Nealander Suit")
    • In the Matter of the Estate of Ivie Collins, Deceased
Steven Lasker :
  • Two or three months before her death on 1949-12-28, Ivie married Walter Collins, who worked in real estate.
  • In court papers filed after Ivie's death in connection with a lawsuit, brought by Ivie and continued after her death by Walter Collins, as administrator of her estate, vs. Marque Neal, defendant Neal (who ultimately prevailed)

    "testified he first met Ivie Anderson in 1940; he came to California from New York in 1941."

    The court found that defendant Neal

    "opened a restaurant known as 'Ivie's Chicken Shack' with his personal funds and that he operated the restaurant from about June 13, 1941, until it was sold about November 20, 1944; that the proceeds from the sale thereof and profits from its operation were deposited in the joint savings account [held by Marque Neal and Ivie]."

  • A report in the California Eagle (1942-07-24) shortly after the shack opened makes clear that Neal was the principal investor:

    "It's nice to see a swell guy like Marcus [sic] Neal on top of the heap, as his Chicken Shack with Ivie Anderson's name in the electric light sign, will be a big draw."

  • Claire Gordon and Patricia Willard have both told me that Neal was well-liked by Ellington's men.'
Steven Lasker
  • Per the Pittsburgh Courier, 1934-10-13, section II p. 9:

    'Backstage with Duke Ellington and his ork. Friday afternoon at the Apollo, we find Ivie Anderson as much in love with Louis (Fess Williams) Bacon as ever... '

  • Steven Lasker
    • Contrary to a report in Down Beat circa 1939 that Ivie was married to Louis Bacon (a claim repeated by Barry Ulanov, "Duke Ellington," p. 160), Ivie had since 1925-01-25 been wed to William Franklin Johnson. According to their marriage certificate, filed in Los Angeles, it was the first marriage for both, he was a 23-year-old waiter and she was a 20-year-old singer.
    • Her divorce complaint, filed 1941-10-17, stated that the couple had separated in May 1928, there were no children and no community property. She alleged "the Defendant has been guilty of extreme cruelty toward the Plaintiff and has been guilty of the wrongful infliction of grievous mental suffering as well." (California law then required divorcing couples to show cause, with language citing cruelty and suffering often employed to ensure a successful divorce even in instances where those facts weren't true.) Divorce was granted on 1941-11-25, and after a one-year delay in accordance with laws then prevailing in California, the final judgement of divorce was entered in court on 1942-12-04.
    • Ivie didn't wait that long to remarry, however. According to a complaint for annulment from that marriage filed 1948-05-14, Ivie and Marque Neal "intermarried in the City of Oversite, State of Arizona, on or about the 1st day of May, 1942 [recte 1942-05-11], and ever since have been and are husband and wife [...] That at the time of said marriage, the said plaintiff had another husband living, and that the plaintiff's marriage with said other husband was then, to wit: at the time of plaintiff's marriage to the defendant, in force, and undissolved by divorce or otherwise." A decree of annulment was signed by the Superior Court on 1948-08-23.
    • Shortly before her death on 1949-12-28, Ivie married Walter Collins, a real estate agent.
    • In court papers filed after Ivie's death in connection with a lawsuit brought by Ivie and continued after her death by Walter Collins, as administrator of her estate, vs. Marque Neal, defendant Neal (who ultimately prevailed) "testified he first met Ivie Anderson in 1940; he came to California from New York in 1941." The court found that defendant Neal "opened a restaurant known as 'Ivie's Chicken Shack" with his personal funds and that he operated the restaurant from about June 13, 1941, until it was sold about November 20, 1944; that the proceeds from the sale thereof and profits from its operation were deposited in the joint savings account [held by Marque Neal and Ivie]."
  • The following articles report on the lawsuits:
    • Chicago Defender, Chicago, Ill., 1950-01-07 p.1 reported Neal began an action more than a year previously over ownership of their apartment building.
    • An ANP wirestory in Black Dispatch, 1950-01-21 pp.1,2 said Neal and Collins were in litigation over Ivie's substantial ($75,000) estate. The article seems to indicate this was a second lawsuit, since it also mentions Neal's suit over the apartment block.
    • Chicago Defender, Chicago, Ill., 1950-01-21 p.1 speculated the court fight might not come off because Neal and his lawyer had found a 1946 joint tenancy deed giving survivorship rights to Neal.
    • Los Angeles Sentinel, Los Angeles, Cal. 1950-06-29 pp.A-1,A-2 reported the judge had decided the case in favour of Neal.
    The upshot is that it appears that in 1948 Ivie took legal action to annul her marriage to Marques Neal and when they disagreed over ownership of the apartment building, Ivie Neal filed suit. Mr. Neal won after proving he and Ivie were joint tenants. The article seems to indicate this meant Neal received all of Ivie's property, which doesn't seem to make sense unless their only property was the apartment block. The Nealander is at 259 E.41st Place, occupying the block between San Pedro Place and Trinity Street. While the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Sentinel obituaries gave this address, in its Dec. 29 edition (page A-2), the Sentinel located it a block south, at 42nd and San Pedro. The ANP wirestory in Black Dispatch, ibid.) gave the address as 659 E. 43rd St., which is about half a mile southeast.
  • Chicago Defender, Chicago, Ill., 1950-01-07 p.1, courtesy K. Steiner.
  • ANP wirestory, Black Dispatch, 1950-01-21 pp.1,2, courtesy K. Steiner.
  • Chicago Defender, Chicago, Ill., 1950-01-21 p.1, courtesy K. Steiner.
  • Los Angeles Sentinel, Los Angeles, Cal. 1950-06-29 pp.A-1,A-2, courtesy K. Steiner.
S. Lasker
  • Per: District Court of Appeal of the State of California Second Appellate District, Division Two, Walter Collins, Administrator of the Estate of Ivie Collins, AKA Ivie Anderson, Deceased (substituted in lieu of Ivie Neal, aka Ivie Anderson, Deceased), Plaintiff and Appellant, vs. Marque Neal, Hollywood Saving and Loan Associatiom, a corporation Defendant and Respondent
    APPEAL from judgement of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County and purported appeal from order denying new trial. Walter Evans, Judge. Judgement affirmed. Appeal from order dismissed. Filed Dec. 3, 1951.
    THE COURT...: [page 5: "Ivie Anderson was a professional singer; he [Marque Neal] acted as her manager and accompanied her on at least three tours; there were periods of time when she was not working; one year she worked only nine weeks and another but four weeks; at various times when she was on tour she sent home to him sums of money which represent her salary less her expenses and these funds were deposited in their joint account[....]"
  • In a separate list attached to an "Affidavit for Subpoena" filed 3/31/50, details of $11,515 in money orders purchased by Ivie on the road and payable to Marque Neal at Los Angeles were itemized. The information was provided by the manager of the main L.A. office of Western Union in response to a subpoena and offer a glimpse into Ivie's tour schedule and how much she was able to send home after expenses.
    1. Receipt dated Las Vegas, Nevada, 4/21/44 - $275
    2. Las Vegas 5/5/44 - $180
    3. 304 St. Nicholas Avenue, New York, 5/1/46 - $460
    4. Portland, Oregon 7/18/44 - $350
    5. Portland July____1944 - $240
    6. Portland July____1944 - $225
    7. Portland 7/27/44 - $200
    8. 304 St. Nicholas Av., New York - 4/10/46 - $440
    9. same address, 4/17/46 - $460
    10. same address, 4/8/46 [sic] - $460
    11. same address, 5/10/46 - $450
    1. Eugene, Ore, 4/10/47 - $675
    2. Eugene, 4/24/47 - $400
    3. Seattle, Wash., 5/5/47 - $650
    4. Seattle, 5/12/47 - $350
    5. Portland, Ore., 6/5/47 - $200
    6. Portland, 6/14/47 - $500
    7. Portland, 6/26/47 - $300
    8. Portland, 7/5/47 - $500
    9. Portland, 7/14/47 - $250
    10. Eugene, Ore., 8/25/47 - $275
    11. Eugene, 9/1/47 - $275
    12. Eugene, 9/9/47 - $300
    13. Eugene, 9/16/47 - $275
    1. Vancouver, BC, 9/25/47 - $275 [Note: Bill Hill's radio interview of Ivie likely took place during this visit.]
    2. Portland, Ore., 10/6/47 - $250
    3. 104 No. 6th St., Grant's Pass, Ore. 11/18/47 - $250
    4. Same address, 11/25/47 - $250
    5. Bedford, Ore., 12/7/47 - $250
    6. Seattle, Wash., 1/5/48 - $300
    7. Seattle, 1/16/48 - $300
    8. Eugene, Ore., 3/6/48 - $400
    9. Union Depot, Portland, Ore., 3/20/48 - $300
    10. Spokane, Wash., 6/19/48 - $250
  • 'As to those (at least) three road tours Ivie took where she was accompanied by Marque Neal, I will presume one was Oakland (The North Pole, 1944) and another to Chicago (The El Grotto Club, or El Grotto Cafe, 1945). The Chicago Defender references that follow came to me from Ken who found them via ProQuest:
    • The CD (nat'l. ed.), "Berkeley, California by D. G. Gibson," 1944-11-11, p. 16:

      'A luncheon party honoring that famous personality of the entertainment world, Ivie Anderson, was held recently in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Don Lee Deans, 3717 Market street. Miss Anderson was appearing at the North Pole, a night spot. '

    • The CD (nat'l. ed.), "Berkeley, California by D. G. Gibson," 1944-11-18, p. 17:

      ' Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Clay, 701 Thirty-ninth street, Oakland, was among those who feted Ivie Anderson while she was in Oakland at the North Pole club. '

    • The CD (nat'l. ed.), 1945-07-21, p. 14, has a lovely picture of Marie Bryant ... and this caption:

      'Swingsational songster and "twister," last season with Duke Ellington, is featured attraction at the El Grotto club along where along with Ivie Anderson, another Ellington thrush she's winning new laurels. Marie came east for a second invasion of Atlantic City but decided to play the Chicago club instead.

    • The CD (nat. ed), 1945-07-28, p. 14, has a picture of "lovely, leggy Evelyn" (last name not mentioned) and this caption:

      'Well up among the start that shine at the El Grotto Cafe is the dance team of Billy and Evelyn (photo above), the Nightingales, direct from Broadway. The show also includes Ivie Anderson, Dusty Fletcher and Sonny Thompson's ork. '

    • On the same page, under the heading "Ivie Gives Out Ice Cream Tickets," a photo with this caption:

      'Ivie Anderson, singing star in the current fifth edition of "Star Time" at the El Grotto Cafe and formerly vocalist with Duke Ellington's band, caught by cameraman as she distributed ice cream tickets for Bud Billiken's 16th annual picnic to be held Saturday, Aug. 11, in Washington Park.[...]Miss Anderson will be featured in the all-star bond show at the picnic.'

  • A number of night club advertisements in the Indianapolis Recorder from May 1944 through early 1945 list Ivie Anderson Female Impersonator or Ivie Anderson Clever Female Impersonator. Some of these earlier ads say Ivie Anderson, the Second. Presumably this was a female impersonator who chose Ivie for his stage persona.
  • The 1949-12-22 California Eagle carried a photo of Ivie visiting the Supreme-Continental Television factory showroom at 4255 South Main Street. The story says:

    'First owner of the new Supreme-Continental was singing star Ivy Anderson who selected a 16 inch French Maple console to match her furniture. When questioned a week later, Miss Anderson was high in her praise of the reception and tone quality of her new television set.'

    When reporting her sudden death, the California Eagle said

    'Only last week she was photographed as she purchased a television set from a newly formed interracial company.'

The California Eagle, Los Angeles, Cal.
  • 1949-12-22 pp.33,38
  • 1949-12-29 p.4

Ivie's death

  • Ivie Anderson died in Los Angeles at age 45.
  • The Dec. 29 edited AP wirestory in the Seattle Times said she completed an engagement in Seattle a month earlier.
  • The version of the AP wirestory published in the Trenton Evening Times said she had been ill for almost 3 weeks with asthma.
  • The ANP wirestory said she had been in the hospital 3 days but went home to be with her family, and that she died suddenly two days later. This story gives her cause of death as asthma and a weak heart and gives her date of death as the 27th.
  • Most other newspapers reported either the 28th or Wednesday morning.
  • The ANP story says husband Walter Collins, aunt Mrs. Anna Moore, cousin John Jones and a friend, Mr. Rose Malone, were at her bedside.
  • S. Lasker:
    • Per Los Angeles Times, 1949 12 29, pt. I p. 20:

      'Death Takes Ivie Anderson, Negro Singer
      Ivie Anderson, one of America's top Negro singers, died yesterday at her apartment home, at 259 E 41st Place. She had been ill for almost three weeks and had spent six days in a hospital last week, suffering from an asthmatic condition. She was sent home when her condition seemed to improve, but suffered a relapse early yesterday and died at 9 a.m. Her doctor said her asthma was aggravated by Los Angeles' smog[....] '

    • Her death certificate shows her time of death as 9 a.m. on 1949-12-28. Her "disease or condition leading directly to death" is shown as "STATUS Asthmaticus," approximate interval between onset and death, 3 hours; due to "Infective Asthma," approximate interval between onset and death 15 years; also due to "Bronchitis Bronchiolitis," approximate interval between onset and death, 20 years.
    • Her funeral was held at the Angelus Mortuary, 1030 E. Jefferson Blvd., at 2 p.m. on 1950-01-03. Louise Beavers read the obituary. The pallbearers were Freddie Jenkins, Leslie Scott, Les Hite, Billy Rowe, Paul Howard and Harvey O. Brooks. Curtis Mosby, Willie Smith, and Zutty Singleton were among the honorary pallbearers. The Los Angeles Sentinel (1950-01-05, p. 1) reported that "thousands of her fans and friends lined the streets and filled the Angelus Funeral Hall to pay their last respects"[...]
    • Ivie is buried at Rosedale Cemetery on Washington Blvd. in L.A.
  • The Pittsburgh Courier gave extensive coverage to her funeral and her life.
  • Ellington was not at the funeral but sent flowers.
  • Ivie's headstone incorrectly shows she died in 1950: LOVING NIECE  IVIE ANDERSON  1904-1950
  •'s summary of her California death registration says:
    Name: Ivie Anderson Collins
    [Ivie Anderson Smith]
    Gender: Female
    Birth Date:10 Jul 1904
    Birth Place:California
    Death Date:28 Dec 1949
    Death Place:Los Angeles
    Mother's Maiden Name:Jones
    Father's Surname:Smith

  • Find-a-grave image
  • AP wirestory:
    • The Kingston Daily Freeman, 1949-12-29
    • Trenton Evening Times, Trenton, N.J., 1949-12-29 p.4
    • Seattle Daily Times, 1949-12-29 p.13
    • New York Times, New York, N.Y., 1949-12-30 p.19 (courtesy K.Steiner)
  • ANP wirestory, The Plaindealer, Kansas City, 1950-01-06 p.5
  • San Antonio Register, San Antonio, Tex., 1950-01-06 pp.1,4
  • New York Age, 1950-01-07 p.5
  • Pittsburgh Courier, 1950-01-07, pp.1, 4, 18
  • Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Cal. 1949-12-29 p.20 (courtesy Ken Steiner)
  • The California Eagle, 1949-12-29 pp.1,4 (courtesy Ken Steiner)
  • Los Angeles Sentinel, Los Angeles, Cal. 1949-12-29 pp.A1,A2 (courtesy Ken Steiner)
  • New York Amsterdam News, New York, N.Y. 1949-12-31 p.1 (courtesy Ken Steiner)
  • The California Eagle, 1950-01-05 pp.1,4 (courtesy Ken Steiner)
  • Los Angeles Sentinel, Los Angeles, Cal. 1950-01-05 p.A1, A3 + s.B (courtesy Ken Steiner)
  • Chicago Defender, Chicago, Ill., 1950-01-07 p.1 & __? (courtesy Ken Steiner)
  • Chicago Defender, Chicago, Ill., 1950-01-14 p.3 (courtesy Ken Steiner)