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Hogan Archive Oral History Collection

Identifier: HJA-033

Scope and Contents

The Hogan Archive oral history collection consists of several hundred interviews, culled from over 2,000 reels of taped oral history recordings with musicians, family members, and observers that document stories surrounding the emergence of jazz and its related music and culture in New Orleans from the late 19th century forward. It is the largest collection of jazz oral history extant, and the recordings are from 1948-1997, with the majority from the 1950s and 1960s.

In 1958, following the precedent set by Alan Lomax in his 1938 Library of Congress interviews with Jelly Roll Morton, Tulane University was the first U.S. academic institution to recognize the importance of New Orleans jazz by collecting stories of New Orleans musicians who contributed to the development of jazz. As such, the Archive of New Orleans Jazz at Tulane University was established that year with Ford Foundation funding (In 1974, the Archive of New Orleans Jazz was renamed the William Ransom Hogan Archive of New Orleans Jazz. In 2021, it was renamed the Hogan Archive of New Orleans Music and New Orleans Jazz). Dr. William Ransom Hogan, chair of the Tulane Department of History, wrote the Ford Foundation grant proposal to initiate the oral history fieldwork project, led by Tulane graduate student Richard B. “Dick” Allen. The principal interviewers for the oral histories that provided the initial materials for the Archive were Bill Russell, the Archive’s first curator; and Richard B. “Dick” Allen, the Archive’s second curator. Other interviewers included Jason Berry, Paul Crawford, Ralph Collins, Lars Edegran, Tad Jones, Barry Martyn, Marjorie Zander, and other oral historians. The Ford Foundation provided $161,000 for the project, which continued into the 1980s. In 2006, following Hurricane Katrina, the Grammy Foundation made $40,000 available for the digital transfer of the open reel audio tapes that had been generated by the Ford grant, comprising 602 discrete interviews ranging from 6:37 to 35:10:57 in duration on 1,222 CD-Rs. In 2011, the non-profit organization Music Rising provided funding needed to incorporate the oral histories into Tulane’s Musical Cultures of the Gulf South curriculum. Digitized copies of interviews and transcripts (where available) can be accessed remotely by visiting the Hogan Archive Oral History Collection at at Tulane University Digital Library.


  • Creation: 1943-2002

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.


2000 Reels

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations

Arrangement Note

The interviews are arranged in alphabetical sequence by surname of interviewee. Most of the interviews have hard copies, ranging from transcripts and digests, to notes. Usually, upon completion of an interview, notes were compiled on persons and bands mentioned during the talk. These notes are rough outlines, of only limited value to the researcher. Digests represent a more coherent, albeit abbreviated version of the interview. All highlights are present, while the casual remarks have been left out. Most of the hard copies available are in the digest format. Transcripts are word-for-word renderings of the interview, allowing a patron to read along as the tape is played.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Original audio formats not available for playback. This collection has been digitized. See Additional Description for more information.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digitized copies of interviews and transcripts (where available) can be accessed remotely by visiting the Hogan Archive Oral History Collection at Tulane University Digital Library.

Related Materials

Jazz National Historic Park Oral History Collection, 1998-2003

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Repository Details

Part of the Tulane University Special Collections Repository

Jones Hall Room 202
6801 Freret Street
New Orleans 70118 US