The Swing Era provided the sound track to the Great Depression and World War II, and in its music lie the stories of one of the defining periods of the United States.  The AMRC's song sheets, recordings, memorabilia, photographs, and other documentary artifacts document every aspect of musical life in the era.  Of particular interest in the Center's collections in this era are our extensive materials documenting the life and career of Colorado's own Major Alton Glenn Miller, who attended CU before launching his career with his famed, eponymous orchestra.

Perry Como scores and scripts

Scores and scripts of Perry Como, born Pierino Como (1912-2000), noted singer, recording artist, and television personality, including scripts, full scores, and instrumental parts from the Perry Como Show (1955-1963), TV specials, and recording projects; published sheet music; photographs; recordings; and memorabilia. 

Stories from the Collections: Perry Como

Gordon Dooley dance orchestra music

The Gordon Dooley Dance Orchestra Music includes the complete scores and parts for the arrangements used by The Gordon Dooley Orchestra. The parts, stored by arrangement in book order, include 182 titles, primarily from the swing/big band era and constitute Dooley's complete society band arrangements for varying instrumentation, from nine to sixteen parts comprised of 4-5 saxophones, 1-4 trumpets, 1-4 trombones and 2-4 rhythm section players. Also included are some ephemera and published documents related to Glenn Miller and his Orchestra, as well as photos and other memorabilia collected by Dooley throughout his career.

Glenn Miller Archives

GMA photoAlton Glenn Miller (1904-1944) was one of the leading figures in the Big Band era.  Born in Clarinda, Iowa, Miller moved to Fort Morgan, Colorado, at a young age.  He attended the University of Colorado briefly, but dropped out to and studied with Joseph Schillinger (whose pupils also included George Gershwin, Tommy Dorsey, and Benny Goodman) in New York City.  Miller founded his eponymous orchestra in 1938, and, after a famous 1939 performance at the Glen Island Casino, enjoyed meteoric success.  

The band's sound captured the imagination of a country weary from the Great Depression, and the sound carried the United States into World War II. Miller disbanded the Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1942 to join the U.S. Army Air Corps as a Captain, and led the Army Air Force Band, providing musical support to the morale of the soldiers.  In December, 1944, Miller was en route from the United Kingdom to recently-liberated France when his plane disappeared over the English Channel.

The Glenn Miller Archives represents a nearly 50-year attempt to document the story of Glenn Miller.  In 1969 the late C. F. Alan Cass, a longtime CU employee and Glenn Miller expert, issued a call for artifacts to help commemorate Miller upon the establishment of the Glenn Miller Ballroom in the University Memorial Center.  The artifacts never stopped coming in, and the GMA was established.  Quickly growing out of the closet space initially designated to hold the material, the various GMA collections now comprise over 1000 linear feet of personal artifacts, professional papers, photographs, recordings, and other materials, some of which were donated by the Miller family, others by fans and collectors worldwide.

Many of the most significant GMA artifacts are on permanent display at the CU Heritage Center, on the third floor of Old Main.  The Heritage Center displays numerous gold records (including the 1941 Gold Record for Chattanooga Choo Choo, the first gold record ever awarded), one of Glenn Miller's trombones, an autograph manuscript to Miller's theme song, "Moonlight Serenade," and other items.

Materials in the Archives include:

·         Over 10,000 original acetates, transcriptions and audio tapes containing radio broadcasts and recordings of every big band and popular singer that performed in the United States between 1925 and 1955, including all of Glenn Miller’s extant recordings and radio broadcasts

·         More than 5,000 photographs, negatives and many thousands of documents detailing the history of the big band era, including correspondence, business records, recording session logs, radio broadcast scripts

·         The most comprehensive and complete collections of recordings, broadcasts and documentation in any location for bandleaders Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw and many others, cataloged, digitized and shared via weekly broadcasts and Internet outreach

Additional Glenn Miller Information

The following collections informally comprise the Glenn Miller Archives

Edward Burke recordings

Audio tapes, disc recordings, photographs, and papers collected by Ed Burke of Miami, Florida; record producer; owner of Fanfare, Jazz Hour, and Soundcraft recording labels; documenting radio music performances in the United States, 1930-1960, and including radio performances by Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and other important performers from the Swing Era. Recordings contain entire radio broadcasts, many of which were transferred from transcription discs.

John Carter recordings

Recordings and supporting materials of John (1929-1991), composer, jazz clarinetist, band leader; M. Mus, University of Colorado (1956); Down Beat Magazine Jazz Hall of Fame. 

Alan Cass collection

Swing era and big band materials collected by C. F. Alan Cass (1941-2018); BA, University of Colorado (1963); L.H.D honoris causa, University of Colorado (1999); Director, Macky Auditorium (1967-1979); Assistant director, University Memorial Center (1979-1984); Director, Coors Events Center (1984-1998); Curator, Glenn Miller Archives (1969-2016). Contains artifacts, photos, memorabilia, recordings, and papers related to the life and career of Major Alton Glenn Miller, acquired for the Glenn Miller Archives from multiple sources and unnamed donors over nearly 50 years.

Frances Feroce memorabilia

Collection contains Glenn Miller scrapbooks, recordings and other memorabilia collected by Ms. Feroce in the 1940s.

Mike Ford recordings

Disc recordings collected by Glenn Miller fan and collector, Mike Ford, of Boulder, Colorado

Richard D. Hershcopf disk recordings

The Richard D. Hershcopf disk recordings comprise of 209 78rpm disk recordings featuring Benny Goodman and other big band musicians. They are organized alphabetically by the band name or artist's first name.

Deane Miller collection

Papers collected by Deane Miller (1901-1971), trumpeter and brother to Major Alton Glenn Miller, including Miller family articles and photographs, and Deane Miller's autobiography.

Walter and Virginia Newton memorabilia

Memorabilia collected by Walter and Virginia newton, New York City "shag" dance champions (1939-1940), containing the Newton's original scrapbook of their "Shag" dance championship, 1939-1940, and photographs.

George T. Simon papers

Materials collected by George T. Simon, Musician, music critic for Metronome (1935-1955), record producer, and author of Glenn Miller and His Orchestra; containing correspondence to and from Glenn Miller and family and friends; articles by Simon on Glenn Miller; proofs of Simon's book Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, photographs; correspondence and reviews about his book.

William M. Soulé recordings

Recordings, sheet music, and correspondence collected by William M. Soulé (1927-), collector, including books, video tapes, CDs, 8-track tapes, cassette tapes, reel-to-reel tapes, vinyl recordings, sheet music, photographs, and letters, about Glenn Miller and Big Bands; and an unpublished manuscript and memorabilia about the vocal group, The Modernaires.

Paul Tanner recordings and memorabilia

Recordings, artifacts, and memorabilia collected by Paul Ora Warren "Lightnin'" Tanner (1917-2013), trombonist, electro-thereminist, inventor; PhD, University of California, Los Angeles (1975); developer of the electro-theremin; member, Glenn Miller Orchestra (1938-1942).

Irene Miller Wolfe papers and memorabilia

Materials collected by Irene Miller Wolfe, sister to Major Alton Glenn Miller, including personal correspondence, memorabilia pertaining to Glenn Miller and his orchestra, memorabilia pertaining to Herb Miller and his orchestra, and family photographs.