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John Sullivan collection on the Duncan sisters

 Unprocessed Material — Multiple Containers
Identifier: ViU-2019-0240

Content Description

Please note: There are some images, song titles, and lyrics that contain racially insensitive and/or culturally offensive language and imagery, including those in blackface. This collection contains Duncan Sisters' ephemera collected by John Sullivan, Associate Professor Emeritus of the Department of English at the University of Virginia, as part of his research. The Duncan Sisters (Rosetta and Vivian Duncan) were an American vaudeville duo who became popular in the late 1920s with their act Topsy and Eva. Materials include clippings, photographs and stills, posters, sheet music, publications, photocopies and notes, records, CD-Rs, VHS, player piano music sheet, and other items about the Duncan Sisters and their Topsy and Eva act. Many of these photographs depict one of the sisters in blackface, playing the role of Topsy.

Acquisition Type



Gift of John Sullivan, 5 May 2021. Materials were given on 7 June 2019 by John Sullivan.

Language of Description


Script of Description


Restrictions Apply


Access Restrictions

Unavailable until assessed by preservation. Original digital media (floppy disks, zip disks, thumb drives, born-digital files, etc.) and other media formats such as LPs, audiocassettes, videotapes, films, CDs, and DVDs cannot be handled directly by patrons. Appointments must be made to request these items. In most cases, materials must be reformatted before they can be accessed, sometimes at the researcher’s expense. Please use our online reference request form ( to request access to these materials or for further information.


  • Creation: 1920s-1940s


2.69 Cubic Feet (2 boxes (cubic), 1 flat box, 1 flat file folder,1 panorama folder )