Women in the Performing Arts

Ella Fitzgerald

39-cent Ella Fitzgerald stamp
The Ella Fitzgerald stamp was issued on January 10, 2007.

Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996) is one of the most well known jazz artists of the twentieth century. Fitzgerald began her career in 1934 after winning a contest at the Apollo. Like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald experienced the racism of her time period and was discriminated against in many venues. However, she did receive the opportunity to play at the popular Mocambo Club due to Marilyn Monroe’s promise to the venue owner that she would attend the club each night Fitzgerald played. Despite the racism she encountered, Ella Fitzgerald ultimately became one of the most successful artists in her time, and won thirteen Grammy awards and the National Medal of Arts throughout her career. In addition to her musical career, Fitzgerald was also very charitable towards children’s organizations.

The Ella Fitzgerald stamp was designed by Ethel Kessler for the Black Heritage Series. The picture on the stamp was made by Paul Davis and was based on a 1956 photograph of Fitzgerald. The ceremony for the stamp was held at the Lincoln Center in New York, New York.