Celebrating Black History Month: W.C. Handy

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

Did you know the Tri-State area played a huge part in the history of blues music? Considered “The Father of the American Blues”, W.C. Hardy came to Evansville after the Lauzetta Quartet disbanded around the 1890’s (“W. C. Handy,” n.d.). Handy performed at a barbecue in Henderson, Kentucky in 1896 and met his future wife, Elizabeth (“W. C. Handy,” n.d.). Shortly after, Handy and his family moved to other states until his death in 1958 (The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica, 2012).

Below, the University Archives and Special Collections have some W.C. Handy letters. His letter is to Karl Kae Knecht, cartoonist of the Evansville Courier.  Handy speaks about autobiography, “Father of the Blues”.  He speaks about living in Evansville and his experiences here before his music career started.



The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. (2012, July 2). W.C. Handy. Retrieved February 16, 2017, from

W. C. Handy. (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2017, from