The Stanley King Jazz Collection comprises 12 linear feet of shelf space, and consists of 19 archival boxes, 67 LPs, and 36 oversize folders.
The Collection is arranged into 5 series: Louis Armstrong-related material, visual material, print and manuscript material, audio and moving image material, and sheet music. An inventory for series 1-3 is available for download here: King Series 1-3 Inventory. Additional inventories can be found in the series descriptions below.
To request access to the Collection or to inquire about collection details, contact Conservatory Library special collections staff.
Series 1: Louis Armstrong-related material
[1.3 boxes, 6 oversize folders]
This series reflects Stanley King’s interest in Louis Armstrong and early New Orleans jazz, and consists of photographs, postcards, event posters, periodicals, sheet music, correspondence, promotional material, ephemera, and moving image material. Although the bulk of the photographs in this series are not particularly rare, there are number of original and uncommon photographs in box 1 folder 32.
Items of ephemera include a French phone card with an image of Armstrong, and a sample packet of Swiss Kriss, an herbal laxative endorsed by Armstrong. Correspondence that may be of particular interest to researchers are two original typed letters, a 1939 letter to Elmer Lewis and a 1945 letter to Armstrong’s second ex-wife, Lil Hardin Armstrong, and photocopies of five letters written between 1932 and 1940 to Elmer Lewis and Mezz Mezzrow.
Series 2: Visual material
[3.7 boxes, 30 oversize folders]
The bulk of this series consists of photographic prints of jazz and big band leaders and musicians, some signed or inscribed; most are studio publicity photos from the 1940s, but there are some candid snapshots, and postcards. Photographs are arranged alphabetically by subject when identified, with 70 unidentified photographs and 16 miscellaneous postcards.
There are 30 oversize folders of event and promotional posters, dating from 1922 to 1999, with many undated. There are also a few miscellaneous visual items such as a banjo card, a set of Japanese playing cards with banjo photographs, two calendars, and 11 big band signatures on individual pieces of paper.
Series 3: Print and manuscript material
This series consists of both print and manuscript material related to jazz and blues music. Although modest in size, it includes a diverse array of subjects and material types: periodicals, monograph publications, catalogs, programs, advertisements and other promotional materials, correspondence, and financial documents. Select material has been arranged into folders by subject, notably material relating to Preservation Hall, Stanley King, and The Turk Murphy Jazz Band.
Some particularly noteworthy items include a rare 1938 Carnegie Hall concert program “Spirituals to Swing,” 1941 concert tickets for Fats Waller at a segregated venue in Roanoke, Virginia, 1947 letters by Bunk Johnson, and WNEW radio program scripts written by Benny Goodman in the early 1950s.
Series 4: Audio and moving image material
This series contains 67 twelve-inch long-playing records (33 1/3 rpm), mostly blues and early jazz, for which an inventory is available here: King LP Inventory, and three box CD sets: Big Band Jazz, Hoagy Carmichael, and American Popular Song. There are 12 DVD-Rs of various blues and jazz recordings, most of which are commercially available. The rest of this series [3 VHS tapes, 4 CDs, 4 audiocassettes] contains demos and live recordings of Stanley’s Washboard Kings from the 1990s.
Series 5: Sheet music
This is the largest series in the Collection, and contains 1,090 publications of American blues and jazz sheet music. An inventory listing item number, title, and composer(s) for each item is available here: King Sheet Music Inventory.