January 16, 2022

Vanderbilt Heard Libraries are New Home to Dizzy Gillespie Collection

From Vanderbilt University Jean & Alexander Heard Libraries:

Vanderbilt’s partnership with the National Museum of African American Music has taken a giant step forward with the university’s inaugural acquisition—a rich collection of portraits, personal scrapbooks, signed albums and more from the life and career of Dizzy Gillespie, a seminal figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz.

“This collection ensures that Vanderbilt will be a destination for future generations of Dizzy Gillespie scholars,” said Vanessa Beasley, vice provost for academic affairs and dean of residential faculty. “I’m grateful for the strong collaboration with NMAAM, which makes this exciting initiative possible, and eager for researchers, museum patrons and other community members to engage with these materials.”


Notable pieces [include] Gillespie’s personal scrapbooks with hundreds of photographs from his State Department-sponsored tours of the Middle East as America’s first “jazz ambassador.” During the 1950s, he visited Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Pakistan and Yugoslavia, helping to improve Cold War diplomatic relations through jazz.


The Heard Libraries’ acquisition of the Dizzy Gillespie Collection was made possible by the Academic Archives Purchasing Fund, an internal faculty funding program within the Office of the Provost.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.