Skip to main content

Maceo Anderson Papers

Identifier: harsh-1991-01

Scope and Contents

Maceo Anderson donated a scrapbook to the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection on September 18, 1991. It is titled: “An Evening With...” The scrapbook contains biographical information on the Step Brothers [Maceo Anderson, Rufus McDonald, Prince Spencer and Al Williams]. The American Association for the Ancient Arts honored the Four Step Brothers at a gala performance of The History of Tap Dancing at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 14, 1985. Anderson added his own newspaper clippings and photographs to complete the story.


  • 1940-1985


Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restriction

Conditions Governing Use

Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.

Biographical / Historical

Maceo Anderson (1910-2001) started the Four Step Brothers, an early 20th century tap dancing act billed as “eight feet of rhythm.” Anderson was born in Charleston, South Carolina and exposed to dancing as a young child. The family migrated to Harlem, New York City, where he was introduced to tap at the Hoofer’s Club. He started a teenage trio of tap dancers in Harlem who used fast rhythm taps, clapping of the hands, acrobatic leaps, and jitterbug tap style. The group persuaded Duke Ellington to let them perform at the Cotton Club in New York and later went on to perform all over the world and even made a few movies. The Four Step Brothers performed annually for 10 years at Radio City Music Hall and other venues where they were often the first Black performers. Anderson continued to perform after the act disbanded in 1959. The group was award a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 1988. He retired from dancing in 1989 and moved to California before passing away in 2001.


  • Dunning, Jennifer, “Maceo Anderson, 90, Tap Dancer is Dead,” New York Times, July 14, 2001
  • Frank, Rusty E., Tap! The Greatest Tap Dance Stars and Their Stories. W. Morrow, 1990
  • Hill, Constance Valis, Tap Dancing America: A Cultural History. Oxford University Press, 2010


1 Linear Feet (in 1 box)

Language of Materials



Maceo Anderson was one of the original members of the legendary Four Step Brothers, an early African American tap dancing act. The papers consist of a scrapbook documenting their career.


Scrapbook is in the donor’s original order.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Maceo Anderson in September 1991


Guide to the Maceo Anderson Papers
Beverly A. Cook
April 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection Repository

Woodson Regional Library
Chicago Public Library
9525 S. Halsted Street
Chicago IL 60628 United States
(312) 745-2080