TABLE OF CONTENTS
Section IIB. Recordings, 1947 - 2000
Section IIC. Sheet Music, undated, 1844 -1996
Section IID. The Arhoolie Collection, undated
Section IIE. Videos, undated, 1984 - 2000
Section IIF-G. Artist's Promotion, undated, circa 1927-1999
Section IIH. Maple Leaf Club Archive, 1960s-1990s
Section IIIA. The Jazz Makers, undated, 1939-2001
Section IIIB. The World of Jazz, undated, 1923-1990
Section IIIC. The World of Jazz Today, 1967-1999
Section IIID. The Written Word, 1934-2000
Section IIIE. The Fantasy Collection, undated, 1940s-1980s
Section IV. The Composers and the African Spirit, undated, 1984-1992
Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
University of Connecticut Libraries
405 Babbidge Road, Unit 1205
Storrs, Connecticut 06269-1205
For nearly the last 50 years, Samuel Charters has been discovering and documenting African American music. Starting as a field recorder for Folkways Records in 1954, Sam Charters has also served as recording director for Prestige and Vanguard Records, producer for Sonet Records and is the owner of Gazell Records. A prolific writer and poet, Charters has published many books about the blues and accounts of the lives of musicians who played the blues. In the field, he often collaborated with his wife Ann, who is a writer, literary scholar, photographer and pianist in her own right. Their quest to document African American music has taken them to St. Louis, Memphis, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, the Caribbean and as far as Africa. In these places, the Charters have tried to record music that they believed was going to be lost. Their efforts to preserve and share the songs that they heard on their travels have culminated in a working archive that provides researchers with a complete experience of African American vernacular music.
The Archives contain sound recordings of a full range of African American music from African, gospel and the blues in all its forms, to Cajun and zydeco, early New Orleans jazz and more recent jazz, ragtime, Caribbean, reggae and rap and hip hop music. Original research materials include field notes, musician’s contracts, studio session listings and photographs, as well as engagement diaries and interview notes. A host of reference sources including monographs, sheet music, film and video recordings on African American music are also available for research use.
The monograph collection includes works important to the study of African American music by Woody Guthrie, Langston Hughes, Frances Kemble, Frederic Ramsey, William Francis Allen, Charles Pickard Ware, and Lucy McKim Garrison.
Sound recordings in the archive include African source materials, American pre-blues, rural and urban gospel, rural blues and jug bands, early urban and women’s blues, Chicago and modern electric blues, zydeco and Cajun, New Orleans folk jazz, ragtime, rural white blues, contemporary blues-based guitar, Caribbean, rap and hip hop, new Reggae, and jazz. Contained in the Archives is the complete catalog of Arhoolie records and Fantasy Records Original Jazz Classics Series of re-releases. Recordings of three avant-garde jazz labels are represented: Nessa Records, Silkheart Records and Gazell Records.
The sheet music archive covers the period 1881-1996 with emphasis on the early twentieth century. The collection comprises ragtime, "coon" songs, the work of Bert Williams and George Walker, jazz dance and piano blues, and the work of William Grant Still. A part book from The Red Back Book is also present.
The sound archive of the Maple Leaf Club of Los Angeles documents American ragtime from the 1960s to the 1990s including presentations of the work of Joseph Lamb.
Section I. Personal Archive of Books, Related Writings, Research materials, Field notes, Musician's Contracts, Studio Session listings, and Photographs (1943 - 2001)
Section IIA. Archive of Books, Recordings, Sheet Music, Videos, and Advertising materials (1864 -1999)
Section IIB. Recordings (1947-2000)
Section IIC. Sheet Music (undated,1844-1996)
Section IID. The Arhoolie Collection (undated)
Section IIE. Videos (undated, 1984- 2000)
Section IIF-G. Artist's Promotion (undated, circa 1927-1999)
Section IIH. Maple Leaf Club Archive (1960s-1990s)
Section IIIA. The Jazz Makers (undated, 1939-2001)
Section IIIB. The World of Jazz (undated, 1923-1990)
Section IIIC. The World of Jazz Today (1967-1999)
Section IIID. The Written Word (1934-2000)
Section IIIE. The Fantasy Collection (undated, 1940s-1980s)
Section IV. The Composers and the African Spirit (undated, 1984-1992)
Restrictions on Access
There are no access restrictions on this collection.
Restrictions on Use
Original disc recordings are only handled by staff and may be examined with staff assistance. Some disc recordings may be played back with staff assistance. All other audio formats require reference copies to be made for playback. It is strongly recommended that appointments be made with the Curator to discuss materials of interest. Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.
Charters Listening Night, November 1, 2005. 1 audio cassette tape. Dodd Audio 866. For detailed information on these collections please contact the curator or ask at the reference desk.
Monographs and periodicals associated with the Archives have been cataloged. When possible, the call number has been included in the finding aid. This information can also be found by searching the Libraries' online catalog, HOMER.
Language of Song Dodd C10172
This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Audio visual materials.
Fliers. [printed matter]
Motion picture film.
[Item description, #:#], Samuel and Ann Charters Archives of Blues and Vernacular African American Musical Culture. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.
The Archives has been donated by the Charters' in installments beginning in 2000.