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Willis Conover Collection, 1930-1996 | Music Library

By Maristella Feustle

Collection Overview

Title: Willis Conover Collection, 1930-1996Add to your cart.
ID: 06/004
Primary Creator: Conover, Willis (1920-1996)
Extent: 200.0 Boxes
Date Acquired: 00/00/1997
Subjects: Lovecraft, H. P. (Howard Phillips), 1890-1937., Voice of America (Organization)
Forms of Material: Jazz

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Scope and Contents of the Materials

This extensive collection includes documents from Willis Conover's career at the Voice of America, as well as personal papers, sound recordings, video recordings, and realia.

Biographical Note

Willis Conover (1920-1996) was a jazz producer and broadcaster on the Voice of America for over forty years. He produced jazz concerts at the White House, the Newport Jazz Festival, and for movies and television. Conover is credited with keeping interest in jazz alive in the countries of Eastern Europe through his nightly broadcasts during the Cold War when jazz was banned by most of the communist governments.

See also: Conover's obituary in the New York Times, "Willis Conover is Dead at 75; Aimed Jazz at the Soviet Bloc," May 19, 1996.

Subject/Index Terms

Administrative Information

Repository: Music Library
Access Restrictions: Access to this collection is provided only by special arrangement. Please contact the Music Library for more information.
Use Restrictions: Reproduction and publication of materials in this collection are subject to the policies of the UNT Music Library. Copyright restrictions may apply.
Physical Access Note: Collection is housed in the UNT Music Library and in remote storage. Advance notice for use is required. Please contact the Music Library for further information.
Acquisition Source: Willis Conover Jazz Preservation Foundation, Inc.
Acquisition Method: Gift.
Processing Information: This collection is currently undergoing processing.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:


Series 4: Photographs, 1930s-1996Add to your cart.
 
Box 1Add to your cart.
 
Folder 1: Early career - WTBO, 1938-1942Add to your cart.
Persons depicted include Conover, Paul Whiteman, Tommy Tucker, other WTBO personnel.
Folder 2: Military, WWDC, 1942-1954Add to your cart.
 
Box 2: Additional copies of WWDC publicity photo, mid-1940sAdd to your cart.
Box of additional copies in fair to poor condition - edges curled.
Box 3Add to your cart.
 
Folder 1: Club Bali, Washington, D.C., circa 1950Add to your cart.
Two photos enclosed in souvenir jackets from club.
Folder 2: Conover with Louis Armstrong, 1950sAdd to your cart.
File includes photo of Bobby Hackett, Barney Bigard, Louis Armstrong, and Woody Herman standing together at VOA microphone. Captioned "visiting Willis Conover at VOA."
Folder 3: Louis Armstrong publicity materials, 2 setsAdd to your cart.
Includes autographed photo of Armstrong inscribed to Conover.
Folder 4: Conover with Irving BerlinAdd to your cart.
Apparently connected with 1958 "Salute to Irving Berlin."
Folder 6: Conover with Ella FitzgeraldAdd to your cart.
8"x10" photo. File also includes two photos of Ella Fitzgerald at the Hollywood Bowl in the 1950s.
Folder 5: Conover with Bing CrosbyAdd to your cart.
Two images, also in connection with 1958 "Salute to Irving Berlin."
Folder 7: Conover with Dizzy GillespieAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 9: Conover with Gene Krupa and Eddie CondonAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 10: Conover with Roy McKinley, 1956 August 6Add to your cart.
Photo credit: Warren D. Fowler, Massachusetts.
Folder 11: Conover with Jo Stafford, 1958Add to your cart.
Also connected with 1958 "Salute to Irving Berlin."
Folder 12: Conover with Jack TeagardenAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 13: Conover with Sarah VaughanAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 14: Conover with unidentified man, 1950sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 15: Two bandstand photos, 1950sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 16: Contact prints, 1950sAdd to your cart.
Photo credit: Warren D. Fowler, Massachusetts.
Folder 17: Contact prints, circa 1950sAdd to your cart.
Persons depicted include Conover, Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Giuffre, and Gerry Mulligan. Photo credit: Nick Dean.
Folder 18: Conover in Düsseldorf and Köln, 1959 May 26Add to your cart.
 
Folder 19: Poland, 1959 JuneAdd to your cart.
Four images. Photo credit: Marek Karewicz.
Folder 20: Conover with Virginia Stewart (WPRO-TV), Newport, 1959Add to your cart.
 
Folder 21: Lionel Hampton and "Big Joe" Pelsmaeker, USA Jazz Sessions Club, Antwerp, Belgium, 1956Add to your cart.
 
Folder 22: Dave Brubeck in Poland, 1958 MarchAdd to your cart.
Includes group photo of Gene Wright, Joe Morello, Roman Waschko, Dave Brubeck, and Paul Desmond.
Folder 23: Jazz Disciples, Modern Jazz "4" - South African jazz bands, 1958 MayAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 24: Gerry Mulligan - "Friends of Music USA" photoAdd to your cart.
 
Box 4Add to your cart.
 
Folder 1: Various photos taken at the Voice of America, 1950sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 2: Conover in Damascus, 1960 May 12-15Add to your cart.
 
Folder 3: Conover in Ankara, Turkey, 1960Add to your cart.
 
Folder 4: Conover in Belgrade, 1960 June 2-3Add to your cart.
 
Folder 5: Conover in Zagreb, Croatia, 1960 June 5-7Add to your cart.
 
Folder 6: Conover in Ljubljana, Slovenia, 1960 June 8-9Add to your cart.
 
Folder 7: Conover with Louis Armstrong, 1960 June; circa 1959Add to your cart.
Two photos
Folder 8: Conover in Switzerland, circa 1960Add to your cart.
Photo credit: Dr. Emanuel Pulver.
Folder 9: Conover with Happy Wanderers jazz band, London, circa 1960Add to your cart.
 
Folder 10: Conover in Norway, circa 1960Add to your cart.
 
Folder 11: Johara Harrar Nazar, circa 1960Add to your cart.
 
Folder 12: Conover with Nelson Riddle, circa 1960Add to your cart.
 
Folder 13: Conover standing at microphone, circa 1960Add to your cart.
 
Folder 14: Photo of Conover for Look Magazine feature, 1962Add to your cart.
For November 20, 1962 issue.
Folder 15: Conover with Roman Waschko and General Alfred M. Gruenther, circa 1962Add to your cart.
 
Folder 16: Conover seated at Voice of America microphone, early 1960sAdd to your cart.
One autographed photo.
Folder 17: Conover interviews Jimmy Giuffre, WNET, 1960sAdd to your cart.
Photo credit: Raymond Ross.
Folder 18: Portrait of Conover, early 1960sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 19: Portrait of Conover, early 1960sAdd to your cart.
Headshot without glasses used in MCA publicity photo. Photo credit: Charles Olsen Photography. Package addressed to Conover at WCBS.
Folder 20: MCA publicity photo, early 1960sAdd to your cart.
Same photo as previous item, with MCA branding. Press kit text also in file.
Folder 21: Prague, 1965 OctoberAdd to your cart.
Five images. Credits: Richard Kreibich, Pavel Vachá, two unidentified. Persons depicted include Shirley Conover, Miroslav Vitouš, and John Hammond.
Folder 22: Johnny Raducanu, bass, at the Students' House Jazz Club, Bucharest, Romania, 1965Add to your cart.
 
Box 5Add to your cart.
 
Folder 1: Willis and Shirley Conover, 1965 DecemberAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 2: Poland - Jazz Jamboree, 1966Add to your cart.
Photo credit: Piotr Mystkowski.
Folder 3: Prague, 1966Add to your cart.

Five photos. Credits: Cstibor Morávek, Reklamní fotoateliér, Otakar Vaniš.

Persons depicted include Cleo Laine, Rudolf Sochor, B. Hronec, and Ivo Pavlík.

Folder 4: USSR, 1966Add to your cart.
Includes photos from Tallinn, Estonia and Leningrad.
Folder 5: Photo proofs, VOA staff group photos, 1967 March 14Add to your cart.
Photo credit: Ollie Pfeiffer.
Folder 6: Poland, 1967 MarchAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 7: Conover with Berklee Jazz Band at IMV Studios, 1967 AprilAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 8: Tallinn, Estonia; Soviet Union, 1967 MayAdd to your cart.
Persons depicted include Conover, Charles Lloyd.
Folder 9: Leningrad, 1967Add to your cart.
Photo credits: Yuri Niezhnichenko, Michail Birzhakoff.
Folder 10: Conover with Alexey Batashev, 1967Add to your cart.
 
Folder 11: Portrait of Conover, 1967Add to your cart.
Photo credit: Fabian Bachrach.
Folder 12: Two portraits of Conover, 1967Add to your cart.
Larger photo: same images as previous item, though. File includes smaller photo, apparently from same photo session.
Folder 13: Monterey Jazz Festival, 1967 SeptemberAdd to your cart.

Persons depicted include Conover, Janis Joplin, Miljenko Prohaska, Louis Bellson, Jimmy Lyons, Dizzy Gillespie, John Lewis, Jean-Luc Ponty, James Moody, Big Brother & the Holding Company,  Mel Tormé, and the Woody Herman Orchestra.

Photo credits: Charles L. Robinson.

Folder 14: Monterey Jazz Festival, 1967 SeptemberAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 15: Sun Ra at Carnegie Hall, 1968 April 12-13Add to your cart.
 
Folder 16: Conover with Doug Ramsey and Ford Rowan, WDSU, New Orleans, 1967 JuneAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 17: New Orleans Jazz Festival, 1969 April 29Add to your cart.
 
Folder 33: Set of three photos; additional photo, 1968Add to your cart.
Double prints of the 3 images. Photo credit: "Popsie," New York City. Possibly same event as Ripmaster cover photo. File includes additional photo, also possibly from the same event.
Folder 34: Soviet Union, 1969 JulyAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 35: Conover standing at microphone, late 1960sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 36: Cover photo for Ripmaster book, late 1960sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 37: Conover with Duke Ellington, late 1960sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 39: Unidentified event, 1960sAdd to your cart.
10 photos.
Folder 42: Various photos, 1960sAdd to your cart.
Unidentified events, uncategorized photos.
Folder 40: Unidentified overseas events, 1960s-1970sAdd to your cart.
 
Box 6: Duke Ellington, circa 1948, 1969Add to your cart.
Container primarily consists of photos from Duke Ellington's 70th birthday celebration, along with a folder of publicity photos from the late 1940s.
Box 7Add to your cart.
 
Folder 1: Belgrade, 1972Add to your cart.
Persons depicted include Conover, Dave Brubeck.
Folder 2: Photos from the establishment of the White House Record Library, 1973Add to your cart.
 
Folder 3: unidentified event, 1970sAdd to your cart.
Leon Breeden possibly present in one image.
Folder 4: Puerto Rico, 1970sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 5: Poland, 1976Add to your cart.

Photo credits: Jacek Łysyszyn, Henryk Kimak, Lech Pempel.

Event held at Jazz Club [Riviera]-Remont.

Folder 6: Warsaw, 1977Add to your cart.
With Adam Makowicz.
Folder 7: White House Jazz Festival, 1978 June 18Add to your cart.
 
Folder 8: Passport photos, 1970s, 1980sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 9: Conover with Leonard Feather, late 1970sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 10: Portrait, 1970sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 11: Conover seated at VOA microphone, 1970sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 12: Conover seated at VOA microphone - 2, 1970sAdd to your cart.
Different image from previous item.
Folder 13: Conover with B.B. King, circa 1980Add to your cart.
 
Folder 14: Conover holding VOA microphone, 1980sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 15: Conover seated at VOA microphone, 1980sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 16: Conover seated at VOA microphone - 2, 1980sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 17: Conover with Bill Potts, 1980sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 18: Olympic Jazz Festival, 1984Add to your cart.
3 images. Persons depicted include Tommy Vig, Benny Carter, Milcho Leviev, Dave Stone, Albert Mangelsdorff, James Morrison, Alexei Zubov, Ok Yoon Khil, T. Mason, E. Watts, R. Brown, H. Riley, G. Brown, T. Green.
Folder 19: Conover with unidentified musician, 1980sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 20: Poland, 1980sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 21: Group photos, 1980sAdd to your cart.
 
Box 8Add to your cart.
 
Folder 1: Conover with Dizzy Gillespie, 1980sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 2: Photos taken at Voice of America, 1987Add to your cart.
Photo credits: W. Patrick Hinley.
Folder 3: Pearl Bailey, 1987Add to your cart.
Two photos, one autographed and inscribed to Conover.
Folder 4: Conover receiving honorary doctorate at Berklee, 1990Add to your cart.
 
Folder 5: Conover with Andzrej Jaroszewski, circa 1990Add to your cart.
 
Folder 6: Conover with Rep. William F. Gavin, 1993Add to your cart.
 
Folder 7: Photos taken at Voice of America, early 1990sAdd to your cart.
Photo credit: Ken White, USIA.
Folder 8: File and publicity photos of musicians and others, some autographed, 1950s-1960sAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 9: Photos not yet matched with a specific event and dateAdd to your cart.
 
Folder 10: PhotonegativesAdd to your cart.
 
Box 9: Large-format photos, 1947-1980Add to your cart.
7 images. Persons depicted include Conover, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, President and Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson, and Shirley Conover. Box also contains photo album of color photos from unidentified event (possibly 1970s).
Box 11Add to your cart.
 
Item 1: Photo album, 1950sAdd to your cart.
Unidentified overseas trip. Photo album manufactured in Zagreb, Croatia.
Item 2: Envelope of postcards, photos taken in San Francisco, 1974-1975Add to your cart.
 
Item 3: Cutouts of photos of jazz musicians on 8 pieces of heavy cardboard.Add to your cart.
 

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