Hogan Archive Oral History Collection

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The Hogan Archive oral history collection consists of several hundred interviews, culled from over 2,000 reels of taped oral history recordings, with musicians, family members, and observers that document stories surrounding the emergence of jazz and its related music and culture in New Orleans from the late 19th century forward. It is the largest collection of jazz oral history extant, and the recordings are from 1948-1997, with the majority from the 1950s and 1960s.

In 1958, following the precedent set by Alan Lomax in his 1938 Library of Congress interviews with Jelly Roll Morton, Tulane University was the first U.S. academic institution to recognize the importance of New Orleans jazz by collecting stories of New Orleans musicians who contributed to the development of jazz. As such, the *Archive of New Orleans Jazz at Tulane University was established that year with Ford Foundation funding. Dr. William Ransom Hogan, chair of the Tulane Department of History, wrote the Ford Foundation grant proposal to initiate the oral history fieldwork project, led by Tulane graduate student Richard B. “Dick” Allen. The principal interviewers for the oral histories that provided the initial materials for the Archive were Bill Russell, the Archive’s first curator; and Richard B. “Dick” Allen, the Archive’s second curator. Other interviewers included Jason Berry, Paul Crawford, Ralph Collins, Lars Edegran, Tad Jones, Barry Martyn, Marjorie Zander, and other oral historians. The Ford Foundation provided $161,000 for the project, which continued into the 1980s. In 2006, following Hurricane Katrina, the Grammy Foundation made $40,000 available for the digital transfer of the open reel audio tapes that had been generated by the Ford grant, comprising 602 discrete interviews ranging from 6:37 to 35:10:57 in duration on 1,222 CD-Rs. In 2011, the non-profit organization Music Rising provided funding needed to incorporate the oral histories into Tulane’s Musical Cultures of the Gulf South curriculum.

This collection is currently a partial collection, and is not an exact representation of oral history interviews shared on the website for Music Rising at Tulane.

Transcripts for oral histories are provided when available.

*In 1974, the Archive of New Orleans Jazz was renamed the William Ransom Hogan Archive of New Orleans Jazz. In 2021, it was renamed the Hogan Archive of New Orleans Music and New Orleans Jazz.

Collection thumbnail image: Pianist Lester Santiago playing in Paul Barbarin’s band at the Dream Room nightclub on Bourbon St., New Orleans, 1958, photographer: Ralston Crawford, Ralston Crawford Collection of Jazz Photography, Tulane University Special Collections.
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