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Jazz: Photographs and Primary Source Materials

A subject guide for people interested in accessing information about jazz music and musicians.

Photographs

[Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Milt (

Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Milt (Milton) Jackson, and Timmie Rosenkrantz, Downbeat, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947
William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.

The above photo comes from the Gottlieb Collection at the Library of Congress. Hundreds of extraordinary images of jazz musicians photographed by William Gottlieb are available both through the Library of Congress Flickr feed here, as well as the Library of Congress website here.

[Portrait of Billie Holiday and Mister, Downbeat, New York, N.Y.

Portrait of Billie Holiday and Mister, Downbeat, New York, N.Y., ca. Feb. 1947
William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress

Another extraordinary image from the Gottlieb Collection.

Available at the Library

If you enjoy the photos found in the Jazz Loft Project, you can listen to an NPR feature on photographer W. Eugene Smith, as well as some of the 4,000 hours of reel-to-reel tape recorded at his Manhattan loft in the 1950s and 60s, by clicking on this link.
Cover ArtThe Jazz Loft Project - Sam Stephenson
Call Number: 779.978 SM
ISBN: 9780307267092
Publication Date: 2009-11-24
Collects 200 images taken by the 20th-century master photographer during his residency in a New York City flower district loft that was the site of famous after-hours jazz jam sessions, in a collection that includes portraits of such figures as Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk and Norman Mailer.

Cover ArtPopsie N. Y. - Michael Randolph (Photographer)
Call Number: 780.922 RA
ISBN: 9781423423621
Publication Date: 2007-11-01
William "PoPsie" Randolph chronicled the postwar transformation of American music from swing and jazz, to rhythm & blues and rock n' roll.

Online Newspaper Resources

The library provides access to many online newspapers, both current and historical. These can often be an interesting way to find information about jazz and jazz musicians. For instance, a search of the Historical New York Times database provides the following obituary for singer Billie Holiday, found here.

A search can also find reviews and commentary that provide a glimpse into the way jazz music was perceived at the time; a few examples are listed below.

Online Archives

Tulane Digital Library, Hogan Jazz Archive
You can search through the Tulane University's Hogan Jazz Archive; the Digital Library provides access to several jazz-related photographic collections.

National Archives
A search through the National Archives can often provide interesting documents, such as Louis Armstrong's draft card, linked above.

The Monterey Jazz Festival Collection
The Monterey Jazz Festival Collection at Stanford University provides online access to recordings of festival performances.

Smithsonian Jazz
Smithsonian Jazz offers a range of educational information and materials pertaining to jazz, for children and adults.

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