Rosetta Reitz (1924-2008) was a business owner, stock broker, university lecturer, and writer on issues including food, feminism, women's health, and female jazz and blues musicians. She was also the founder and owner of Rosetta Records, a company most prominent in the 1980s that was dedicated to re-releasing historic recordings by female jazz and blues musicians. The Rosetta Reitz Papers address aspects of the entirety of Reitz's career, with the majority related to Rosetta Records and to Reitz's associated music research since the 1970s. The collection contains company documents, research notes, manuscripts, correspondence, newspaper clippings, photocopies, photographs, a variety of audio and moving image formats, as well as magazines and books.
The Rosetta Reitz Papers span the dates 1929-2008, with the bulk of the material covering the period of the late 1970s through the 2000s. While the collection addresses aspects of the entirety of her career, the vast majority is related to Rosetta Records and Reitz's related music research. The collection is divided into eight series: Biographical Information, Rosetta Records Business Files, Presentations, Writings, Photographs, Posters, Audio and Moving Images, and Reference Materials.
The Biographical Information Series contains published and unpublished writings, correspondence, resume materials, and scrapbooks by and about Rosetta Reitz.
The Rosetta Records Business Files Series contains materials related to the founding of Rosetta Records in 1979 and its daily operations in the decades that followed, which primarily focus on the design and production of the company's catalog releases. Also of note are the files related to Reitz's involvement with Greta Schiller and Andrea Weiss in creating a documentary film on the International Sweethearts of Rhythm.
Print materials related to the many concerts, lectures, presentations, and courses that Reitz produced and/or taught on jazz, the blues, and other topics are found in the Presentations Series. Of note are the files related to Reitz's numerous presentations of "Shouters and Wailers", which was an evolving film-based lecture that Reitz delivered throughout the U.S. as well as overseas, that focused on female jazz and blues musicians.
The Writings Series contains manuscript drafts, research notes, and other materials related to Reitz's written works on food, feminism and women's health, and female jazz and blues musicians, including writing related to her grassroots advocacy for the creation of a US postage stamp honoring Bessie Smith.
The Photographs Series primarily contains 8x10 publicity photographs of various jazz and blues musicians, along with other candid photographs from Reitz's life and career.
Oversize promotional materials, primarily related to Reitz's film-based "Shouters and Wailers" presentations, but also related to individual female jazz and blues musicians, are located in the Posters Series.
The Audio and Moving Image Series contains all of the commercial releases by Rosetta Records in cassette, LP, and/or CD formats, including recordings featuring Ida Cox, Dorothy Donegan, Lil Green, the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Valaida Snow, Rosetta Tharpe, Dinah Washington, Ethel Waters, Mae West, Georgia White, and others. It also contains audio recordings of the "Blues is a Woman" concerts, hosted by Carmen McRae, that Reitz produced for the Kool Jazz Festival and the Newport Jazz Festival in the early 1980s. Also a part of the series are VHS and 16mm film of musical performances by female jazz and blues musicians that originally aired on television and that Reitz compiled as a part of her ongoing research. Original audio and moving image materials are closed to listening and viewing. However, researchers can access the original artifacts for the purpose of reading liner notes and carrying out other text-based studies. Scanned images of all LP covers and liner notes are available in JPEG format on DVD 1 in Box 58. CD or DVD use copies, which are open to patron use, are available for some items and are noted below. Unless otherwise noted, use copies must be made for access to audio and moving image content.
The Reference Materials Series contains newspaper clippings, magazines, and books, primarily related to jazz and the blues, that Reitz drew upon in the course of her ongoing research and writing.