Eddie Rector

Eddie (Eddy) Rector was an African American tap dancer of the Vaudeville era.

Eddie was born on Christmas day in 1890 in Orange, New Jersey. Eddie's first job in the theater was as a pickaninny with the Mayme Remington's Production. Shortly thereafter, in 1913, he got the part of 'Red Cap Sam' in a musical revue called "the Darktown Follies." After finishing his run with the follies, he began touring with his partner Toots Davis in the T.O.B.A. Circuit; it was during this period that he met his wife, Grace.

In the 1920s, he and his wife began to tour the Vaudeville circuits along with their new partner Ralph Cooper. It was at New York's Connie's Inn that he developed his own military precision drill-routine to the tune of The Parade of the Tin Soldiers. The routine allowed him to move around the entire stage, breaking from the sedentary style that was usually seen in tap of that time. In 1928, Eddie got a job performing in the international tour of Blackbirds of 1928, replacing Bill Robinson. After the tour, he returned to the United States and began dancing with Duke Ellington at the Cotton Club.

As he became a regular Cotton Club performer, he developed his own style of dance, particular incorporating the use of big drums. Rector appeared as a dancer in Hot Rhythm (1930), Rhapsody in Black (1931), and Yeah Man (1932). Rector was an avid drinker, and the life of a performer had led to him having a nervous breakdown in the early 1930s. Sometime in 1933, Rector was institutionalized. After his release he tried to team back up with Ralph Cooper, but the shows were not received well by the newer and younger audiences. In 1952, Flournoy Miller convinced Rector to return to the Broadway stages for one last performance. Rector was asked to do the sand dance in the 1952 and last revival of Shuffle Along. Even though the revival only lasted for a week, audiences and critics loved his performance and concluded that his sand dance "was the only number that roused the audience." In the latter years of Rector's life, he became a night watchman and died poor in New York City in 1962.

Birth and Death Data: Born 1897, Died 1962

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1931

Roles Represented in DAHR: performer


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor CRC-53041 12-in. 4/21/1931 The mystery song Cab Calloway ; Cotton Club Orchestra ; Hellmut H. Hellmut Radio broadcast : Tap dancing with piano, jazz/dance band with male vocal solo, and announcements performer  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Rector, Eddie," accessed July 25, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/107724.

Rector, Eddie. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved July 25, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/107724.

"Rector, Eddie." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 25 July 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/107724


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