Scrapbooks are handmade keepsakes that preserve memories for the future. Special Collections & Archives holds a wide range of scrapbooks pertaining to many different subjects. Here we will focus on a few music scrapbooks from three different collections: the Mimi Melnick Collection, the Peggy Gilbert Collection, and the Harriet Ware Collection.
The Mimi Melnick Collection documents the personal and professional life of native Angeleno Miriam (Mimi) Clar Melnick, Jazz critic, Jazz pianist, and patron of Jazz musicians, whose activities played an influential role in the development of Jazz in the Los Angeles region between 1958 and 2010. This collection holds a scrapbook that documents influential Jazz artists. The majority of the images were printed and then pasted onto scrapbook pages. Each page contains visuals and compilations of prominent Jazz musicians and influential Jazz clubs. The pages contain many photographs and clippings that give us a fascinating peek into the industry including a memoriam to Charlie Parker, also called "Bird," showing how the Jazz community grieved; intimate community photographs showing the places where Jazz artists gathered in backyards, onstage, and backstage; and images of popular Jazz clubs such as Birdland and 3 Deuces.
The Harriet Ware Collection holds a scrapbook made by an unknown creator that has articles, advertisements, music, and other related materials pertaining to Harriet Ware, an American composer, pianist, and music educator. The scrapbook was compiled by someone who was interested in Harriet Ware’s career. One item of note is a poem titled “From India” seemingly written by Harriet herself. Also included in this collection is an LP sound recording, correspondence containing information about the donor, and a note about the Ware family background.
While the two scrapbooks above were outward facing, created by collectors that wanted to document musicians outside themselves, the scrapbooks in the Peggy Gilbert Collection were created by Peggy Gilbert herself to document her own life and career as a saxophonist and bandleader of various all-female jazz bands. In the scrapbooks, she collected tickets, conference flyers, photographs, newspaper clippings, and many more pieces of memorabilia and ephemeral items. She was on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Golden Girls, both times she performed alongside her all-female jazz band. She kept many items in her scrapbooks, including articles about friends and other musicians alike. For example, when her fellow female musician friend Ina Ray Hutton passed away, Peggy kept a copy of an article she wrote about her for Overture (a union magazine that she frequently wrote for), and kept the obituary for Ina Ray from the Times.