Ella Fitzgerald (1917–1996) was a gifted American jazz artist. She had a warm and lovely voice, with notable rhythmic sense, versatility, and intonation, as well as exceptional talent at scat singing. Inventing her vocals as she sang, she produced melodic lines that put her in the category of great instrumental improvisers. In a career spanning seven decades, she created a legacy of acclaimed performances and a celebrated body of work.
This spotlight showcases objects at the Smithsonian related to Ella Fitzgerald. After Fitzgerald's death in 1996, a selection of her papers and belongings were donated to the National Museum of American History with the aid of the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation. In addition, the National Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum are home to additional objects related to Fitzgerald.