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Mary Church Terrell Main Library
148 W College St. Oberlin, OH 44074-1545


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Ed Berger Photographic Collection

About the Collection

The Ed Berger Photographic Collection contains analog and digital photographs dating between 1928-2016, either taken or acquired by Berger.

The photographs document a broad spectrum of jazz-related people and events. Analog materials date between 1928-2007 and include negatives, contact sheets, prints of various sizes, and a small number of color slides and black-and-white slides. Berger digitized a portion of the analog prints, and the digitized files are included in the collection. Born-digital photographs date between 2006-2016, and include .nef (Nikon Electronic Format), .tif, and .jpeg file formats.

Berger began taking photographs in the mid-1960s, and over the course of nearly five decades he documented candid moments and formal portraits of hundreds of jazz's greats. He photographed events primarily in New Jersey and New York including jazz rehearsals and concerts, memorials and tributes, festivals, museum openings and gallery exhibitions, and a variety of lectures and educational events.

The photographs were taken on stage, in offices and classrooms, and at homes, representing an extensive range of venues associated with a life in jazz. A particular strength is the collection's representation of Benny Carter, a saxophonist and arranger who Berger shared a close friendship with as biographer and road manager for many decades. Photographs of and by the trumpeter and composer Joe Wilder also hold a significant place in the collection.

The collection is organized into two series. Series 1: Analog Photographs contains 15 linear feet of negatives, contact sheets, prints, and slides. Series 2: Digital Photographs contains 1.75 terabytes of material.

The collection is open for research, and work creating a digital collection of select photographs is ongoing. Once available, a link to the digital collection will be included here.

Mimi Jones performing on an instrument, black and white photo.

Mimi Jones performing at the Institute of Jazz Studies in Newark NJ, 2013

Craig Taborn performing on piano, black and white photo.

Craig Taborn performing at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York, NY, 2011

Louis Armstrong singing in front of a microphone while holding a trumpet with drums in the background, black and white photo.

Louis Armstrong performing in Lambertville, NJ, 1966

Benny Carter performing on a saxophone, black and white photo.

Benny Carter performing at Eisenhower College, Seneca Falls, NY, 1972