Apollo Archives

Ralph Cooper hosting Amateur Night


First conceived in anticipation of the Apollo Theater’s 75th anniversary in 2009, the Apollo Theater Archives were part of a series of retrospective projects that also included a traveling exhibition in partnership with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture – and the publication of a companion book, Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment – and the Apollo Theater Oral History Project in collaboration with the Columbia University Center for Oral History Research. Following years of intermittent progress, the theater hired its first full-time archivist in 2017, thanks to a grant from philanthropist Robert F. Smith.

The Apollo Theater Archives is not yet open to the public, as materials are currently being collected, cataloged, preserved, and digitized, but the Archives welcome your questions. While most Apollo programs from the past two decades were recorded and photographed, events that took place between 1934 and 1977 were documented much less extensively, as the Apollo was a working theater that focused its resources on filling seats, paying performers and staff, and staying in business. Consequently, very few photo and video materials exist from this period of the Apollo’s existence.

Brad San Martin Cropped

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is in the Apollo Theater Archives?
  • What is NOT in the Apollo Theater Archives?
  • Is the Apollo Theater Archives the only resource for information and materials related to the Apollo?
  • Can the material in the Apollo Theater Archives be viewed online or in person?
  • Can materials in the Apollo Theater Archives be licensed for my book/documentary/TV show/article/website?
  • How can I contact the Apollo Archives?

Contact Apollo Archives

The Apollo Theater Archives welcomes your questions about the Apollo Theater, its history, legacy, and performances. Please provide as much information as you can in the contact form and allow 2-4 weeks for a response.

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