Music Video

Who was Cab Calloway?

October 2016

About the Cab Calloway Collection, which includes photographs, records and ticket stubs that will be on display in the permanent music exhibition "Musical Crossroads"at the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Smithsonian Artifact Featured in this Video

Transit pass for the St. Louis Public Service Company depicting Cab Calloway. The pass features information about the 9th Annual Pine St. Y Circus featuring Cab Calloway. The pass is a cream and orange-colored pass with additional text and a graphic of Cab Calloway off-center left.
Data Source
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Created by
St. Louis Public Service Company, American, 1927 - 1966
Subject of
Cab Calloway, American, 1907 - 1994
Pine Street YMCA, American, 1919 - 1955
April 1944
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
ink on wove paper
H x W: 2 1/8 x 3 5/8 in. (5.4 x 9.2 cm)
passes (tickets)
Exhibition Label
Born Rochester, New York
Cab Calloway began performing in Chicago and New York City in the late 1920s. The bandleader and singer became famous after recording “Minnie the Moocher” in 1931—the first jazz song to sell a million copies—and helped popularize “scat” singing during the swing era. Calloway toured extensively, broadcast often on radio, and appeared in films ranging from Stormy Weather (1943) to The Blues Brothers (1980). He also appeared on Broadway as Sportin’ Life in a 1950 revival of Porgy and Bess (he claimed the character was based on him), and with Pearl Bailey in the 1967 all-black revival of Hello, Dolly!
Artist’s widow, Penny Edwards-Facci; gift to NPG 1999
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Domenico Facci, 2 Feb 1916 - 6 Nov 1994
Cab Calloway, 25 Dec 1907 - 18 Nov 1994
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Penny Edwards-Facci
Patinated hydrocal
With Base: 45.7 x 18.1 x 17.8cm (18 x 7 1/8 x 7")
Without Base: 31.8 x 18.1 x 17.8cm (12 1/2 x 7 1/8 x 7")
Mount: 14 x 14cm (5 1/2 x 5 1/2")