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April 4, 2023 – October 7, 2023

This exhibition will explore the work of Rosetta Reitz displaying materials from her collection housed in Duke’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Rosetta Reitz was a 20th-century feminist writer, business owner, and record and concert producer. After a career in which she published two books, owned a bookstore and wrote for music and culture publications, Reitz started Rosetta Records in 1979, the first and only record label specializing in women’s jazz and blues music, dedicated to rereleasing previously underappreciated recordings.

Through rigorously written liner notes, song selections, album art and concerts, she searched for the language that would do justice to the music of Black women whose work had been ignored or diminished. In the words of performance studies scholar Daphne A. Brooks, Reitz was a “multi-hyphenate wonder” whose work is a model of meticulous research, a politics of care in the archive, and intellectual humility.

This exhibition was sponsored in part by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. 

Cover of a vinyl record album titled Mean Mothers with 4 women in a car
Mean Mothers Vinyl Album, Rosetta Records, 1980