Maceo Anderson Papers
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.
- Anderson, Maceo (donor., Person)
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Materials are open without restriction
Conditions Governing Use
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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
- African American dancers. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Albums (Books) Subject Source: Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms
- Anderson, Maceo -- : Archives.
- Clippings. Subject Source: TGM II, Genre and physical characteristic terms
- Four Step Brothers
- McDonald, Rufus.
- Photographs. Subject Source: Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms
- Spencer, Prince.
- Tap dancing -- United States. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Williams, Al.
- Guide to the Maceo Anderson Papers
- Beverly A. Cook
- April 2021
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection Repository
Woodson Regional Library
Chicago Public Library
9525 S. Halsted Street
Chicago IL 60628 United States