Smithsonian Collections

Publicity portrait of Madame Lillian Evanti

Image for Publicity portrait of Madame Lillian Evanti
Data Source
Anacostia Community Museum Archives
The Evans-Tibbs Collection focuses on the life and accomplishments of opera singer, Madame Lillian Evanti. Born Annie Lillian Evans (1890-1967) to a prominently middle-class family in Washington, DC, she began performing as a child and toured as a concert artist after graduating from Howard University. Her father was Wilson Bruce Evans, founding principal of Armstrong Technical High School. Her mother, Annie Brooks Evans, was a music teacher in the public school system. Hiram Revels, the first African American senator, was her great-uncle; her maternal grandfather, Joseph Brooks, served in the D.C. Territorial Legislature in the 1870s; two relatives are attributed with taking part in John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry. In 1918, she married Roy Tibbs, Howard University music professor. Her stage name, Madame Evanti, is a glamorous combination of Evans and Tibbs. Madame Evanti made her professional debut with the Paris Opera in the title role of LakmeĢ, making her the first African American to sing with an organized European opera company. Before her retirement in the 1950s, Evanti would win acclaim for her operatic talents in Europe, South America, Africa, and the Caribbean. She was decorated by several countries, sung at the White House, served as a Good Will Ambassador, performed with the National Negro Opera Company, and gained national attention as a composer.
Cite as
Evans-Tibbs Collection, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Insititution, gift of the Estate of Thurlow E. Tibbs, Jr
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
Evans-Tibbs Collection
Maurice Studio
Evanti, Lillian Mme (Lillian Evans Tibbs) 1890-1967
Physical description
1 photographic print gelatin silver 9 1/2 x 8 in. (24.1 x 20.3 cm)
Photographic prints
Publicity photographs
African American women
Restrictions & Rights
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment:
Local number
ACMA PH2003.7063.033
African American