The papers of singer, actress, and teacher Isabel Washington Powell document her career in show business, her marriage to Adam Clayton Powell Jr, and her later teaching career in New York City public schools. The collection is .2 linear feet and dates from 1929-1981. It includes correspondence, news clippings, a scrapbook, photographs, and other miscellaneous items pertaining to Powell's life and work.
The correspondence in the collection dates from 1966-1981; therefore, none of the letters pertain to Powell's entertainment career. The correspondence consists of letters of thanks and appreciation written to or by Powell, government officials, and educators. Correspondents include: Senators J. William Fulbright and Edward Kennedy, President Jimmy Carter, and various school administrators in the New York City area. News clippings, as well as the scrapbook provide a more in-depth view of Powell's stage and singing career, as well as her marriage to Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Of note in the scrapbook are a number of clippings regarding Powell's roles in Broadway performances of "Bamboola," "Singin' the Blues," and "Harlem." Her role in "Bamboola" is also documented by an illustration of Powell on the cover of sheet music for "The Song of Harlem" from the production.
The few photographs in the collection portray Powell in her various roles as stage performer, teacher, and wife of Adam Clayton Powell Jr., as does the ephemera in the collection. The later includes a one-page contract for Powell's performance in "Singin' the Blues," an artist pass from NBC, a copy of Congressional Record that discusses Adam Clayton Powell Jr.'s work in Congress, a press release regarding Bessie Smith's 81st birthday, and an invoice for a school field trip arranged by Powell.