It was 100 years ago, on April 25, 1917, that legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald was born. To mark the centennial anniversary of her birth, the National Museum of American History is telling her story with the artifacts of her life, a few of which can be seen above. From record covers to sheet music to advertisements, they trace her path to fame.
When she died in 1996, TIME’s Jay Cocks noted that she had “spread the treasure of her voice over thousands of songs and half a dozen generations.” That treasure, he explained, had defined the course of her young life:
And, in the years that followed, it also defined the sound of American life. Especially in the 1950s, after she began doing a series of “songbook” albums focusing on the works of individual composers and lyricists, she more than earned the title “First Lady of Song.”