Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

Institute of Jazz Studies - interior

Institute of Jazz Studies
History

"The world-renowned Institute of Jazz Studies is the largest and most comprehensive library and archive of jazz and jazz-related materials in the world. The distinctive and unique collections in jazz history and culture include a dizzying array of formats ranging from rare musical recordings and oral histories of jazz greats and lesser known figures to musical scores, photographs, films, research files, business records, personal correspondence and musical instruments that belonged to eminent jazz musicians. They document the legacy of this great American art form and have facilitated research by thousands of scholars, students, musicians, writers, members of the music industry and the media, and others." - Lynn Mullins, Past Director, John Cotton Dana Library, Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey.

The Institute of Jazz Studies was designated as A Literary Landmark by the New Jersey Center for the Book in the National Registry of the Library of Congress, October 2013.


TIMELINE: Highlights of the History of the Institute of Jazz Studies - click for summary


In 1952, the pioneering jazz scholar, writer, and activist Marshall Stearns, a professor of English at Hunter College, decided to incorporate his world-famous collection of recordings, books, periodicals, sheet music, photographs, clipping files and memorabilia as the Institute of jazz Studies. There was, Stearns noted, no place where interested students, scholars and collectors could do research on jazz; and so he made his collection, housed in his spacious apartment in New York’s Greenwich Village available by appointment. Assisted by volunteers and an impressive advisory board, he began to solicit musicians, record producers, journalists, and other acquaintances for donations of materials.

 

Photo 1 and Photo 2, left: In both photos, Sheldon Harris (at left), the Institute's first curator, with founder Marshall Stearns inside the Institute, late 1950s.
Photo 3, left: Sheldon Harris, the Institute’s first curator, outside Marshall Stearns’s apartment at 108 Waverly Place, New York City, 1965.
Photo 4, left: Early IJS-sponsored symposium at Newport,
ca. 1955: musicians Bob Wilber (far left), Bill Britto and John Glasel, and panelists Richard Waterman, Marshall Stearns, Father Norman O’Connor, Dr. Norman Margolies, Eric Larrabee, and Henry Cowell.

Photo courtesy Bob Parent

Photo 6, above: Stearns and Thelonious Monk Photo 5, above: Stearns and Quincy Jones in Greece,
U.S. State Department – sponsored tour with
Dizzy Gillespie, 1956.

Slowly but surely, and especially in the wake of the civil rights movement, acceptance of jazz in the academy began to take hold. This interest, along with the growth of the collection, caused Stearns to begin the search for an institution of higher learning that would take in the Institute. His conditions for the generous donation were simple: a modicum of acquisitions (significant new books and records, subscriptions to major jazz periodicals, contacts with potential donors of materials), access to the collection without the red-tape restrictions common to special collections under university auspices (of key importance since the great majority of jazz researchers in the mid-1960’s had no academic affiliation), and a degree of autonomy, so that the fate of the Institute would not be jeopardized by changes in administrative policy.

 

Photo 7, left: Collection Specialist John Clement in IJS stacks, , Rutgers University, Bradley Hall, 1989.

Photo by Ed Berger

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Stearns selected Rutgers University as the permanent home for the Institute in 1966. Mason Gross, then president, had a keen interest in American popular culture, and there were knowledgeable jazz enthusiasts on the Rutgers faculty. Stearns unfortunately died in December of that year before seeing the transfer take place. It fell to Rutgers to continue the work he began without him. The initial part-time staff and basement housing was followed by several moves to larger spaces and the growth and development of an outstanding staff.

 

Photo 8, left: At IJS celebration in Bradley Hall with participants of NEA-sponsored Jazz Oral History Project, which was transferred to IJS in 1979.
Left: L-R: Ron Welburn, project coordinator; Sonny Greer; Snub Mosley; and Eddie Durham.

Photo by Ed Berger

 

Photo 9, left: Also at 1979 celebration:
Larry Ridley and Doc Cheatham view videotaped interview.

Photo by Ed Berger

 

In 1984, the Institute became part of the Rutgers University Libraries and formally affiliated with the Dana Library at Rutgers – Newark. This action paved the way for the addition of a librarian, substantial growth in the collections, and a new emphasis on creating records for items in the collections. As plans for an extension to the Dana Library got under way, a new home for the Institute was included in the design. When it was unveiled in 1994, the new facility was hailed as state-of-the-art.

 

Photo 10, right: IJS Reception celebrating acquisition of world-renowned Harold Flakser jazz periodicals collection, 1986. L-R: Milt Gabler, Dan Morgenstern, Flakser, Charles Nanry, William Weinberg, David Cayer, Caroline Coughlin. Nanry, Weinberg, and Cayer were instrumental in establishing IJS at Rutgers.

Photo by Ed Berger

   
Photo 11, left: Benny Carter conducts a workshop with Rutgers Jazz Ensemble members, New Brunswick, 1986. Participants include Robin Carter (far left), Jeff Rupert (far right), Harry Allen (second from right), and Joey Cavaseno (third from right).

Photo by Ed Berger

Photo 12, above: Milt Hinton and Professor Lewis Porter conduct a session of "Teaching Jazz: An Institute for College Teachers," co-sponsored by the N.J. Department Of Higher Education and IJS and directed by Porter, summer 1988.

Photo by Ed Berger

Photo 13, above: Some of the many notable instruments donated to IJS through the years: Dan Morgenstern receives horns belonging to Rahsaan Roland Kirk from wife Edith and son Rory.

Photo by Ed Berger

 

Photo 14, above: Another of the notable instruments donated to IJS through the years: Catherine (Mrs. Cootie) Williams holds her late husband’s trumpet.

Photo by Ed Berger

Photo 15, right: In 1983, IJS cofounded the American Jazz Hall of Fame in collaboration with the New Jersey Jazz Society. Dan Morgenstern inducts Roy Eldridge in 1984.

Photo by Ed Berger

   

Photo 16, above: Vincent Pelote prepares for the move from Bradley Hall to the new facility in Dana Library, 1994.

Photo by Ed Berger

 

Photo 17, above: IJS reopens in new quarters in the Dana Library at Rutgers - Newark, 1994.

Photo by Ed Berger

 

The Institute was now better able to assist patrons and the number of users grew, while the introduction of email increased the flow of queries considerably. A jazz instruction program established at Rutgers – New Brunswick was followed in 1997 by the master’s program in jazz history and research at Rutgers – Newark, the first of its kind, which would not have been possible without the Institute as a key resource. Jazz in the academy has come a long way since Marshall Stearns founded the Institute of Jazz Studies – a beacon then and a beacon still as the great American music called jazz continues to make living history.

 

Photo 18, right: Wynton Marsalis tries out Red Nichols’s vintage cornet during visit to IJS in 1997 while David Cayer looks on.

Photo by Ed Berger

Photo 19, above: Since 1995, the IJS monthly Jazz Research Round-tables have served as a forum for scholars, musicians, and students engaged in all facets of the music:
Stanley Crouch, 1997.

Photo by Ed Berger

 

Photo 20, above: Vincent Pelote (left) hosts guitar legends Lawrence Lucie (center) and Remo Palmier in 1998 at one of the Jazz Research Roundtable sessions.

Photo by Ed Berger

Photo 21, above: More Roundtables: Kenny Washington, 2003.

Photo by Ed Berger

Photo 22, above: More Roundtables: Grachan Moncur III, 2000.

Photo by Ed Berger

 

Photo 23, left: In 1999, IJS received one of its most extensive and important collections—that of Mary Lou Williams. In November 2002, IJS sponsored a conference on her life and music: Panelists Father Peter O’Brien, Becca Pulliam, and Dan Morgenstern.

Photo by Ed Berger

Photo 24, right: Isotope, an ensemble comprised primarily of Rutgers-Newark students, performs Williams’s music. Left to right: Edgar Jordan (trumpet), Corey Rawls (drums), Joe Peterson (bass), Rashida Phillips (vocals), Jeff Lovell (piano).

Photo by Ed Berger

Photo 25, left: In July 2003, IJS received another invaluable collection—that of New Jersey native James P. Johnson. Looking over the newly arrived materials are Dan Morgenstern, archivist Annie Kuebler, and Barry Glover, Johnson’s grandson and director of the
James P. Johnson Foundation.

Photo by Ed Berger

Photo 26, right: In October 2013, IJS was designated as a Literary Landmark by the New Jersey Center for the Book in the National Registry of the Library of Congress

Photo 27 and Photo 28, above: Views of IJS facility in the Dana Library at Rutgers, Newark.
At left: Entry to the Institute in Dana Library.
At right: Exhibit cases were installed in the IJS reading room in 2001 through the generosity of Stanley Roth. Saxophones on display were those of Ben Webster (left) and Lester Young.

Photos by Bob Nahory.

Institute of Jazz Studies
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
John Cotton Dana Library
185 University Ave.
Newark NJ USA 07102
Tel: (973) 353-5595
Fax: (973) 353-5944