Skip to main content

Henry P. Whitehead Collection 1843-2010, bulk 1945-1986

Whitehead, Henry P 1917-2002
Howard Theatre (Washington, D.C.)
Lincoln Theatre Washington (D.C.)
1843-2010, bulk 1945-1986
20th century
Collection descriptions
Magazines (periodicals)
Phonograph records
Physical Description
156.91 linear feet (178 boxes)
Restrictions & Rights
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist at
Local number
ACMA 2005.7006
African American
Born in Columbus Ohio, Henry Preston Whitehead (1917 - 2002) moved to Washington, DC in 1949. He worked for the Post Office before becoming an investigator for the city welfare department, a position he held for 15 years. Last employed as associate director of the District's Office of Human Rights, he retired from government service in 1980. Whitehead worked to preserve the city's rich African American heritage; he was chairman and president of the Howard Theatre Foundation, Inc., which he helped establish. He led the effort to include the Howard Theatre on the National Register of Historic Places. Whitehead achieved recognition as an authority on and collector of black theatrical memorabilia. He advised and contributed materials to museum exhibitions organized by the Smithsonian Institution and the Kennedy Center. He also served as an advisor for several historical documentaries broadcast on public television and the radio, including "Duke Ellington's Washington." He also authored "Remembering U Street," a work documenting the Jazz Age in Washington, DC.
The Henry P. Whitehead collection was donated to the Anacostia Community Museum in 2005 by Mr. Whitehead's son, Michael A. Watkins.
The collection, which dates from 1843 to 2010 (bulk 1945-1986), is comprised of black theatrical memorabilia; materials relating to civil rights activities in the District of Columbia; and the African American experience in general. Included are playbills, sheet music, tickets, newspapers, magazines, books, photographs, clippings, flyers, brochures, pamphlets, a record collection, Whitehead's research files, and other materials. Copies of Mr. Whitehead's book "Remembering U Street," which was based on the research in this collection, is also present.
Cite as
Henry P. Whitehead collection, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution, gift of Michael A. Watkins
Repository Loc.
Anacostia Community Museum Archives, MRC-777 1901 Fort Place, SE, Washington, DC 20020 (tel. 202.633.4853, fax 202.287.2422) Consult archivist by appointment
Data Source
Anacostia Community Museum Archives
Washington (D.C.)