Willis Conover Collection


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. Mr. Conover was not well known in the United States, even among jazz aficionados, but his visits to Eastern Europe and Russia brought huge crowds and star treatment for him.

A 1997 gift of the Willis Conover Jazz Preservation Foundation, Inc., the collection consists of over 22,000 recordings of all kinds, correspondence, memos, magazines, record catalogs, manuscripts, program notes, memorabilia, photographs, books, and other personal items. Many of the recordings and books are being added to the regular collection, cataloged in the main on-line catalog, and allowed to circulate. The archival and historical material will be made available as special collections.

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