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The Benny Goodman Papers

 Collection
Call Number: MSS 53

Scope and Contents

This register currently describes scores and/or parts to musical arrangements written for Benny Goodman's bands, orchestras, and combos. Some sound recordings are also included. The Papers also include published music in Goodman's collection; correspondence (including letters from many prominent musicians and political figures); photographs; scrapbooks; concert programs and publicity materials; scripts, interviews, and articles; financial and legal documents; awards, honors, and academic regalia; additional sound recoridings and film reels; and miscellaneous other items. Descriptions of these materials will be added to the register at a later date.

Dates

  • 1910-1992, inclusive

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials chiefly in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Papers are open to qualified researchers by appointment. There are no restricted materials in the collection. Please contact the Special Collections staff to schedule an appointment. Some of the materials may be stored at the Library's off-campus shelving facility, so researchers should allow at least two business days to have the appropriate boxes paged.

Conditions Governing Use

The Benny Goodman Papers are the physical property of the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library of Yale University. Copyrights belong to the composers and authors, or their legal heirs and assigns. Permission to perform or record arrangements from the Benny Goodman Papers must first be obtained from the Estate of Benny Goodman, Attn: Susan Satz, P.O. Box 406, Morristown, NJ 07963-0406 (telephone: 973-538-0800; fax: 973-538-1984).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Benny Goodman Papers were established in the Music Library of Yale University by Benny Goodman in 1986.

Arrangement

In 9 series as follows: I. Music II. Correspondence. III. Photographs. IV. Scrapbooks. V. Programs and Publicity. VI. Scripts, Interviews, and Articles. VII. Financial and Legal. VIII. Awards, Honors, and Academic Regalia. IX. Miscellaneous.

Extent

106 Linear Feet (129 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/music.mss.0053

Overview

Musical arrangements, correspondence and other papers, photographs, and additional materials relating to Benny Goodman (1909-1986), the clarinetist and band leader. At present, this register consist of scores and/or parts to musical arrangements written for Goodman's band, as well as some sound recordings. Unprocessed materials in the Papers include: photographs; programs and scrapbooks; additional sound recordings; film reels and miscellaneous items.

Biographical / Historical

Benny Goodman was born in Chicago, May 30, 1909. He received his first musical training at a local synagogue, and later studied clarinet with Franz Schoepp. Goodman made his debut at the age of twelve, and left home to become a full-time professional clarinetist when he was sixteen.

After a decade of performing as a free-lancer and as a member of Ben Pollak's band, Goodman established his first big band in 1934, and soon it achieved unprecedented success. He won great acclaim both for his dazzling clarinet solos and for the brilliance of his band. In an era of segregation, Goodman was a pioneer in hiring without regard to race; his ensemble included outstanding black musicians (such as Teddy Wilson) as well as leading white performers (such as Gene Krupa). Goodman also employed talented arrangers, including Fletcher Henderson, Eddie Sauter, and many others. At his peak, in the late 1930s, Goodman may have been the most popular musician in the world. His Carnegie Hall concert on January 16, 1938 is regarded as a key moment in jazz history.

Goodman did not restrict himself to big band music; he also won renown for his work with a series of small combos that included Wilson, Krupa, Lionel Hampton, Charlie Christian, and other prominent jazz musicians. He even pursued a classical career, performing clarinet concertos with numerous orchestras and playing chamber music with ensembles such as the Budapest String Quartet. He commissioned major works from Bela Bart'k, Aaron Copland, Paul Hindemith, and other composers.Although the swing era eventually passed, Goodman retained a large and loyal following, even as bop, rock, and other musical styles came into vogue. He and his band performed widely, not only in the United States, but also in Latin America, Europe, the Soviet Union, and East Asia. Over the course of his long career, Goodman made innumerable recordings and appeared frequently on radio, television, and film. His life and music have been the subject of many biographies, discographies, and other studies.

Benny Goodman died in New York on June 13, 1986. Years after his passing, he remains the unchallenged 'King of Swing.'
Title
Register to The Benny Goodman Papers
Date
1996-2007
Language of description
Finding aid is in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2007-08-24: music.mss.0053.xml converted for compliance with Yale EAD Best Practice Guidelines with music-migrate-02.xsl (yn2007-08-24).
  • 2007-03-21: music.mss.0053.xml converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 with v1to02.xsl (yn2007-03-20).
  • 2010-01-26: Transformed with yale.addEadidUrl.xsl. Adds @url with handle for finding aid. Overwrites @url if already present.
  • 2012-10-19: Corrected date of "Sunshine of My Life," and added a cross reference to it from "You Are the Sunshine of My Life."
  • 2013-03-12: Added missing call number.
  • 2018-09-11: Added Sound Recording series ahead of the instantaneous discs in the collection being sent for digitization as part of AV Priority 1 project

Repository Details

Part of the Yale University Music Library Repository

Contact:
120 High Street
PO Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520 US
(203) 432-0497