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date: 20 February 2020

Libraries and archiveslocked


This article surveys collections of materials relating to jazz in public and private libraries worldwide. The repositories covered include archives devoted solely to jazz, public and institutional libraries with important jazz holdings, collections of sound recordings, and private collections.

Jazz is a relatively young art form and its acceptance as a legitimate subject of systematic study came late in its short history. The assembling of libraries and archives of materials relating to jazz is therefore a recent phenomenon. In the public domain most such materials were at first accumulated as part of the activities of general music libraries rather than through acquisition policies devoted specifically to jazz. Early in its history therefore the most important and comprehensive jazz collections were in private hands, and enthusiasts often owned very significant libraries, particularly of recordings.

By the 1950s the situation had begun to change. As jazz scholarship gained acceptance as a discipline and jazz studies programs were established in educational institutions, academic libraries actively began to acquire relevant materials. At the same time jazz enthusiasts started to give their substantial and sometimes specialized collections to academic and public libraries for general use. The 1950s also saw the first donations and bequests by jazz musicians themselves of primary materials such as manuscripts, correspondence, and memorabilia to libraries and archives....

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Jazzforschung/Jazz Research
Down Beat