Thomas W. Southall Papers, 1939-1993 (bulk 1939-1978)
(Document/manuscript/pamphlet/archival material)


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LocationCall NumberStatus
Special Collections - Upon RequestMap room drawer K-4 folders 11 and 1Library Use Only
Special Collections - Upon RequestWest storage range 2 section 1Library Use Only

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LC Subjects
Acrobats -- Washington, D.C. -- Biography.
African American dancers -- Biography -- Sources.
African American dancers -- Que̹bec (Province) -- Montre̹al.
African American dancers -- Washington (D.C.).
African American entertainers -- Atlantic Coast (U.S.).
African American entertainers -- Que̹bec (Province) -- Montre̹al.
African American entertainers -- United States.
African American entertainers -- Washington (D.C.).
African American men -- Biography.
African American musicians.
African American soldiers.
African American women -- Biography.
African Americans -- Family relationships.
African Americans -- Germany (West).
African Americans -- Que̹bec (Province) -- Montre̹al.
African Americans -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.
African Americans -- Tennessee -- Nashville -- Biography -- Sources.
African Americans -- Washington (D.C.).
African Americans in radio broadcasting.
African Americans in the mass media.
American Forces Network.
Anderson, Marian, -- 1897-1993.
Apollo Theater (New York, N.Y. : 125th Street).
Atlantic Coast (U.S.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.
Avenue Cafe (Baltimore, Md.).
Baltimore (Md.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.
Baron of Bounce, -- pseud.
Bop (Music) -- Germany (West).
Bop (Music).
Bostic, Earl, -- 1913-1965.
Bradshaw, Tiny, -- 1905-1958.
Brown Dots (Musical group).
Calloway, Blanche.
Canada -- Social life and customs -- 20th century -- Sources.
Casals, Pablo, -- 1876-1973.
Children of military personnel -- United States.
Christmas -- United States.
Christmas -- Vietnam (Republic).
Christmas radio programs.
Club Astoria (Baltimore, Md.).
Club Caverns (Washington, D.C.).
Country music -- 1951-1960.
Country music -- Germany (West).
Dancers -- Que̹bec (Province) -- Montre̹al.
Dancers -- United States.
Families of military personnel -- United States.
Families, Black -- United States.
Forcey-Southall, Myrtle, -- 1919-2002.
Germany (West) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.
Grand ole opry (Radio program) -- Influence.
Harlem Casino (Pittsburgh, Penn.).
Hawaii -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.
Hawkins, Erskine, -- 1914-1993.
Hillbilly gasthaus (Radio program).
Holidays -- United States.
Hondells (Musical group).
Hot house (Radio program).
Hu̹e̲ (Vietnam) -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.
Idelle, Jean.
Jackson, Joyce, -- pseud.
Jazz musicians -- Atlantic Coast (U.S.).
Jazz musicians -- Germany (West).
Jazz musicians -- Que̹bec (Province) -- Montre̹al.
Jazz musicians -- United States.
Jazz musicians -- Washington (D.C.).
Jazz singers -- Atlantic Coast (U.S.).
Jazz singers -- Que̹bec (Province) -- Montre̹al.
Jazz singers -- United States.
Mackenzie, Papa Oyeah.
Military spouses -- United States.
Montre̹al (Que̹bec) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.
Musicians -- Atlantic Coast (U.S.).
Musicians -- Germany (West).
Musicians -- Que̹bec (Province) -- Montre̹al.
Musicians -- United States.
Nashville (Tenn.) -- Biography -- Sources.
New York (N.Y.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.
Newport Jazz Festival -- (1963).
Nightclubs -- Germany (West).
Nightclubs -- Maryland -- Baltimore.
Nightclubs -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh.
Nightclubs -- Que̹bec (Province) -- Montre̹al.
Nightclubs -- Washington (D.C.).
Parker, Leo, -- 1925-1962.
Pittsburgh (Penn.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.
Radio -- Germany (West) -- Transmitters and transmission.
Radio -- History -- Sources.
Radio -- United States.
Radio and music -- Germany (West).
Radio and music -- United States.
Radio and television towers -- Germany (West) -- Design and construction.
Radio broadcasting -- Employees.
Radio broadcasting -- Germany (West).
Radio broadcasting -- Social aspects -- Germany (West).
Radio broadcasting -- United States.
Radio broadcasting -- Vietnam (Republic).
Radio engineers -- United States -- Biography -- Sources.
Radio programs -- Germany (West).
Radio programs -- United States.
Radio programs, Musical -- Germany (West).
Radio stations -- Atlantic Coast (U.S.).
Showgirls -- Maryland -- Baltimore.
Showgirls -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh.
Showgirls -- Que̹bec (Province) -- Montre̹al.
Showgirls -- United States.
Showgirls -- Washington (D.C.).
Singers -- Que̹bec (Province) -- Montre̹al.
Singers -- United States.
Solal, Martial.
Soldiers -- United States -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.
Sound engineers -- Germany (West).
Sound engineers -- United States.
Southall, Thomas W., -- (Thomas William), -- 1922-2008.
Southall, Thomas W., -- (Thomas William), -- b. 1958.
Tajja, Lolita.
Thanksgiving Day -- United States -- Anecdotes.
United States -- Armed Forces -- African Americans -- Biography.
United States. -- Army. -- European Command.
United States. -- Army. -- Military life.
United States. -- Army. -- Psychological Warfare Group, 1st.
United States. -- Army. -- Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group, 301st.
Vietnam (Republic) -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.
Voice of America (Organization).
Washington (D.C.) -- Biography.
Washington (D.C.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.
Watson, Deek.
Wilson, Myrtle, -- pseud.
Women -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.

More Details

Document/manuscript/pamphlet/archival material
Physical Desc
.9 cu. ft.


Organization & arrangement of materials
Organization: Two series: I. Thomas W. Southall; II. Myrtle Forcey-Southall;,Arrangement: Within each series, by format, thereunder roughly chronological.
General Note
Materials housed in Special Collections Division of the Main Library, Nashville Public Library.
Restrictions on Access
In library use only. Available by appointment.
Abstract: Scrapbooks, photographs, news clippings and audio recordings documenting the lives of African-Americans Thomas W. Southall, especially his career in the army, particularly his service in Germany in the 1950s, building radio sites; and his wife, Myrtle Forcey-Southall, who performed under the name, Myrtle Wilson, as a contortionist and dancer, and under her later stage name, Joyce Jackson, as a jazz singer. She performed in jazz clubs on the East Coast and in Montre̹al, Canada, from around 1939 to 1958.
Scope and content - Thomas W. Southall Series: Consists of a scrapbook, photographs, and audio recordings (transferred from reel-to-reel analog originals to digital CDs in 2009). His scrapbook includes photographs, newsclippings, and miscellaneous items which document the construction of radio transmitters in Germany during his service in the U.S. Army in 1952 to 1954, and include information about musical performances for U.S. service personnel, particularly "hillbilly" music, and "be-bop" jazz. Loose photographs include numerous images relating to other aspects of Southall's service in Germany, as well as a few from after his service featuring family members or other subjects. Audio recordings consist of 9 different recordings (on 12 CD's), digitized in 2009 from original analog reel-to-reel recordings, covering the time period from 1963 to 1977. They include some recordings made in Hue, Vietnam around Christmas 1966, featuring American and Vietnamese military officers, and a USO show featuring the Hondells and other performers. There are also several recordings from Southall's wife and son and other family members and friends, sent to him as "audio letters" while he was in Vietnam. Other recordings consist of music, some of which were recorded from a television or radio program. One recording is of Martial Solal at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1963, his first American appearance, and is believed to be an original, live recording (not from a record album or from the radio). A few oversize items, including a poster for the "Slamboree" musical performance in Germany, are housed in drawer K-4 folders 11 and 12. See finding aid for further details about the contents of this series.
Myrtle Forcey-Southall Series: Contents include two scrapbooks and a large quantity of photographs, containing information on both Myrtle Wilson (the contortionist and dancer) and Joyce Jackson (the jazz singer) - two different stage names used by Myrtle Forcey-Southall. They span the time period from 1939 to the mid-1950s, although much of the material is undated. Many of the photographs are publicity stills of various African-American jazz performers and a few showgirls. Deek Watson and the Brown Dots, Leo Parker ("Mad Lad"), Jean Idelle, and Lolita Tajja are among those pictured. See finding aid for further details about the contents of this series.
Preferred Citation of Described Materials
Cite as: [Item description], [Series title] Series, Thomas W. Southall Papers, Special Collections Division, Nashville Public Library
Location of Originals/Duplicates
Original reel-to-reel audio recordings,Center for Popular Music, Middle Tennessee State University.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
This material may be protected by Copyright Law, Title 17 U.S. Code. No copies may be made of audio recordings. Many photographs may not be able to be reproduced due to copyright restrictions or publicity rights. Some materials are very fragile and must be handled with great care.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Anonymous;,Gift;,2008.,Acc. 2008.067.
Location of Other Archival Materials
Associated material: The Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University holds original analog reel-to-reel tapes that were weeded from this collection by the Nashville Public Library in 2013.
Location of Other Archival Materials
Related material: Thomas W. Southall participated in an oral history interview in 2004 as part of the Veterans History Project at the Nashville Public Library. See finding aids for the Veterans History Project Collection for further details.
Biographical or Historical Data
Thomas W. Southall, the son of Thomas Sr. and Mattie Southall, was born in Mt. Pleasant, Tenn. in 1922, but grew up in Nashville. He graduated from Pearl High School in 1940 and then attended Tennessee A&I (later known as Tennessee State University). He was a drummer and played in various bands. In 1942 he volunteered for the Navy, where he served as an electrician. After his discharge, he worked in radio and electrical engineering in New York City and Pennsylvania. Around 1947, probably in Washington, DC, he married Myrtle Forcey. He joined the Army Reserve in 1948 and was activated during the Korean War, but served in Germany where he worked as part of the 301st Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group, 1st Psychological Warfare Group. He also worked as part of the American Forces Radio Network (AFRN). His military responsibilities included recording and broadcasting for AFRN and building and operating transmitter sites. While overseas, he was visited by his wife, who was performing as a jazz singer under the name, "Joyce Jackson." She visited him at least once while he was in Germany, coming to perform at a jazz club. In his off-duty hours, Southall (nicknamed "Sak") apparently served as a sound engineer in local clubs and perhaps played as a drummer. In 1954 he returned to the United States and was assigned to the Joint Chief of Staff office at the Pentagon, and in 1955 worked for the Secretary of Defense's office in radio, television and public affairs. In 1958 his son, "Tommy Jr." (Thomas Southall III) was born. He continued working in communications engineering, and was involved in the creation of the "Space Park" at the 1963 New York World's Fair. In 1964 he served at Ft. Ritchie in communications, and in 1966 was sent to Vietnam as a communications advisor in I Corps for the South Vietnamese 1st Infantry Division. He received a Bronze Star for his work in Vietnam. In 1968 at Ft. Ritchie, Md., he retired from the Army with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer. He then became a radio engineer with Mutual Broadcast Systems and then Voice of America. He continued working for Voice of America until his retirement in 1980. It appears that he continued playing the drums and working as a sound engineer for jazz bands during the 1950s and 1960s, and possibly later. He was a Life Member of several professional organizations including: Musicians Local 161-710 (Washington, DC); Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers; and the Audio Engineering Society. Except for his military service overseas, Southall spent most of his adult life on the East Coast, especially in the Washington, DC area. He probably returned to Nashville, Tenn. sometime between 2002 and 2004. He married his second wife, Gwendolyn (maiden name unknown), at an unknown time and place, probably in Nashville. Thomas W. Southall II died in Nashville in the summer of 2008.
Biographical or Historical Data
Myrtle Forcey was born in 1919 in Washington, DC. One newspaper article stated that at the age of two, she was hit by an automobile, crushing her legs and pelvis. She did not walk again until age 5. She also started dancing at about the same time, and continued dancing throughout her school years. During junior high, she was involved in another automobile accident, and a year later, her legs were scalded with boiling water. She kept dancing. By 1935, performing under the name Myrtle Wilson, she performed at the Club Astoria in Baltimore over the course of nine months, apparently taking time out from school to do so. While there, she often performed on the same stage with Blanche Calloway, the sister of Cab Calloway. She completed her education at Armstrong High School in Washington, DC, graduating in 1938. She then began her dancing career in earnest, performing as a contortionist and dancer in African American jazz clubs such as Pittsburgh's Harlem Casino, the Club Caverns in Washington, DC, and one performance in 1939 at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, with Teddy Wilson as the headlining act. She apparently continued her dancing career into the 1940s. Around 1947, she married Thomas W. Southall. At some point in the late 1940s, she began performing as a jazz singer, using the name "Joyce Jackson." She sang or performed with Deek Watson and the Brown Dots; Leo "Mad Lad" Parker; Earl Bostic; the Paul Wilson Orchestra; and others. She recorded two rhythm and blues records with Mercury Records. Around 1954, as singer "Joyce Jackson," she traveled to see her husband who was stationed in Germany, and she performed as part of the "Slamboree" - a multi-genre musical extravaganza for American service personnel. She returned to the U.S. and continued singing in various clubs on the East Coast, including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York City, Washington, DC, Baltimore, and also in Montre̹al, Canada. In 1958 she gave birth to a son, Tommy Jr. (Thomas W. Southall III) in Washington, DC, and retired from touring and performing. By 1966, when her husband was overseas in Vietnam, she was living in Washington, DC, and visited with relatives in New York City and her husband's brother or perhaps step-brother, in Hawaii. She died of a stroke on August 9, 2002 in Washington, DC.
In English, with portions in Vietnamese, French and German
Cumulative Index/Finding Aids
Finding aid available in repository, housed in front of box 2;,format (sub-series) level control.
Cumulative Index/Finding Aids
A supplemental finding aid for audio recordings appears in front of box 2.
Cumulative Index/Finding Aids
Finding aid available in repository;,format (sub-series) level control,
Cumulative Index/Finding Aids
Tape indexes available in repository;,item level control,
Ownership and Custodial History
Unknown provenance.
Reel-to-reel analog audio recordings;,digitize;,2009;,BMS Chace;,funded by the Nashville Public Library Foundation.
Process;,2010-2011;,Linda Barnickel, staff member and Missy Russ, volunteer.
Accumulation and Frequency of Use
No further accruals are expected.


APA Citation, 7th Edition (style guide)

Southall, T. W., Anderson, M., Barry, M., Casals, P., Forcey-Southall, M., Mackenzie, P. O., Nichols, E., Perot, R. T., Snyder, T., Solal, M., Southall, T. W., & Welsing, F. C. Thomas W. Southall Papers .

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation, 17th Edition (style guide)

Thomas W. Southall et al.. Thomas W. Southall Papers. .

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities (Notes and Bibliography) Citation, 17th Edition (style guide)

Thomas W. Southall et al.. Thomas W. Southall Papers .

MLA Citation, 9th Edition (style guide)

Southall, Thomas W., et al. Thomas W. Southall Papers

Note! Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy. Citation formats are based on standards as of August 2021.

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