-- World’s Largest Archives Devoted to a Jazz Musician Available to All on the World Wide Web --
QUEENS, N.Y., December 16, 2010 – The Louis Armstrong House Museum announced last night that cataloging for its three largest collections is now accessible through its website, www.louisarmstronghouse.org. By the end of 2011, the Museum’s entire catalog will be online.
The direct link to the catalog can be accessed at: http://www.louisarmstronghouse.org/collections/online_catalog.htm
The Louis Armstrong House Museum holds the world’s largest archives devoted to a single jazz musician. Its collections encompass more than 5,000 sound recordings, 15,000 photographs, 30 films, 100 scrapbooks, 20 linear feet of letters and papers, and six trumpets. Researchers, record companies, publishers, film producers, public school students, and many others routinely use these materials. Since 1994, more than a dozen books and recordings have been published based on research from the collections, including Terry Teachout’s Pops, a notable book of 2010.
“The world is more interested than ever in Louis Armstrong,” said Michael Cogswell, director of the Museum. "That's evident not only from the ever-increasing number of people from around the world who visit our Museum, but also from the number of researchers using our archives and the great popularity of recent Armstrong films and books."
The research core of the archives is the Louis Armstrong Collection, comprising Satchmo’s vast personal trove of home-recorded tapes, photographs, scrapbooks, manuscript band parts, and other materials discovered inside his modest house in Corona, Queens, after his wife, Lucille, passed away in 1983. A grant from the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation made possible the Museum’s acquisition of the world’s largest private collection of Armstrong material from Jack Bradley, Armstrong’s friend and a noted jazz photographer. As might be expected, a strength of this collection lies in the hundreds of candid, previously unpublished photographs taken or collected by Bradley over five decades. The collections are currently housed in the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library at Queens College.
“One of our most common reference questions is, ‘What kind of trumpet did Louis Armstrong play?’ Now, anybody, anywhere in the world 24/7, can simply go on the web to learn the make, model, and serial numbers and to see photos of Louis’s own gold-plated trumpets,” said Cogswell.
The work of processing the Jack Bradley Collection and publishing the Museum’s catalog online is being funded in part by a $105,384, two-year grant from the Museums for America program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The institute is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums; its mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.
“Thanks to the vision and generosity of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, we have been able to build a world-renowned research archives,” said Cogswell. “And now, thanks to this IMLS grant, our catalog will be online for everyone to peruse and enjoy."
After receiving the grant from IMLS in October 2009, the Museum launched a national search for a project archivist. Ricky Riccardi, a well-known Armstrong expert, was hired and he has spent every workday for the past fifteen months arranging, preserving, and cataloging more than 200 cubic feet of Armstrong material. “Working with this collection has been an absolute dream come true, but getting to share it online with other Armstrong lovers from around the world really makes this something special. And it's not just for Armstrong experts; the online catalog will appeal to music fans, art historians, 20th-century pop culture buffs, musicians, photographers, you name it. There's something for everyone,” said Riccardi.
Louis Armstrong House Museum: Louis Armstrong and his wife Lucille (a Cotton Club dancer) moved to Corona, Queens, in 1943. The couple spent the rest of their lives in their little frame house on 107th Street. Thanks to the support of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, their residence—still containing its original furnishings—is a National Historic Landmark and New York City landmark administered by Queens College of the City University of New York in Flushing. Forty-minute guided tours of the house feature candid recordings of Louis enjoying a meal with Lucille at their dining room table, chatting with friends in the living room, or practicing his trumpet in his den. For more information on the Louis Armstrong House Museum, its programs, and its collections, visit www.louisarmstronghouse.org.
Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation: The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation was founded in 1969 by Armstrong, who said, “I want to give back to the world some of the goodness the world gave me.” Under the stewardship of President Stanley Crouch and Vice President Phoebe Jacobs, the Foundation is dedicated to promoting and preserving Armstrong’s legacy. In addition to funding the Louis Armstrong House Museum, the Foundation also supports the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center, the Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp in New Orleans, Jazzmobile, the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University, and many other organizations.