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The Anacostia Community Museum’s indoor gallery will be closed Sept. 18 through Oct. 31 as we bring our next exhibition to life. Even though our gallery is closed, join us at any of the dynamic upcoming events planned over the next 6 weeks. More information about our events is available at: We look forward to seeing you soon!

Joy McLean Bosfield

"Joy to your soul” reads a note next to a newspaper clipping in a scrapbook belonging to Joy McLean Bosfield (1924-1999), a musician, educator, and entrepreneur who called Washington, DC home between 1962 and 1985. Joy is a consistent theme in two scrapbooks that she donated to the Anacostia Community Museum. Photos, plane tickets, programs, posters, and poetry chronicle a musical career that took her from New Jersey to Broadway, and then around the world in the 1940s and 1950s. Additional materials from later in her career include a long letter to curator Portia James. Her editorial expertise is evident in lyrical and sometimes funny explanations of how elements of her story connect.
Explore Joy McLean Bosfield's scrapbooks, transcribed by Smithsonian digital volunteers. Look for her given name, Joy L. Mearimore, in concert programs from the 1940s, and her first stage name, Joy Merrimore, in the Broadway playbill for Memphis Bound!, in which she played Eulalia. She stars as Joy McLean, first in Great Britain in the late 1940s and early 1950s and then on tour with the international production of Porgy and Bessin the early to mid-1950s. Decades later in the District, she directs her next namesake, the McLean Bosfield Vocal Studios. 
Her annotations provide a guide to understanding her life's journey and insight into her skill as an educator and mentor. The Joy McLean Bosfield Papers also include phonograph records and archival materials from later in her career. In a long letter to curator Portia James accompanying her papers, McLean Bosfield's editorial expertise is evident in her lyrical explanation of how elements of her story connect.
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