By Jeremy A. Smith
Title: James R. and Susan Neumann Jazz Collection, 1933-2011 and undated
Primary Creator: Neumann, James R.
Extent: 880.0 Linear Feet
The James R. and Susan Neumann Jazz Collection has as its focal point over 100,000 jazz recordings in a variety of formats (78s, 45s, LPs, CDs, DVDs). The Collection also contains a large number of print materials, including several thousand books on jazz and over 100 titles of jazz and blues periodicals that encompass 125 linear feet of shelf space. There are thousands of musicians’ photographs and autographs, along with additional memorabilia including film and concert posters, concert programs, sheet music, record catalogs, and artifacts.
The Collection began arriving at Oberlin in October 2011, and several additional accessions have been received since that point. At present, Oberlin has received: 45,000 LPs; 3,500 78s; 125 linear feet of periodicals; twenty linear feet of concert programs, record catalogs, and sheet music; 600 film posters; nearly 1,000 concert and event posters; and various other ephemera and artifacts. These materials are currently being processed, cataloged, and digitized, and the finding aid is updated regularly as new materials come available for use.
To request access to the collection, contact Conservatory Library special collections staff at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
James (Jim) R. Neumann is a business owner, jazz enthusiast, and active collector. Neumann is a 1958 graduate of Oberlin College, where he was a part of the campus Jazz Club, bringing to the college such performers as Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Brubeck, Woody Herman, Count Basie, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Duke Ellington, and Stan Kenton. He also hosted a jazz radio show – “Jazz Hot and Cool” – on the campus station WOBC.
After graduating from Oberlin and spending time in the U.S. Armed Forces, Neumann returned home to Chicago to begin working at New Metal Crafts, a family business that manufactures fine-lighting products. At the same time, Neumann began intentionally building his nascent collection of jazz recordings and memorabilia. Over the course of more than five decades, Neumann has amassed what is possibly the largest private collection of jazz-related material in the world.
In addition to collecting, Neumann and his wife Susan Neumann founded Bee Hive Records in 1977. The company recorded and released seventeen jazz albums between 1977 and 1984, featuring musicians including Pepper Adams, Curtis Fuller, Clifford Jordan, Nick Brignola, and Johnny Hartman.
Neumann continues actively collecting today from his residence in the Chicago area.
Access Restrictions: The Collection is currently being processed, cataloged, and digitized, and this finding aid will be updated regularly as new materials come available for use. For more information on the collection, contact Conservatory Library special collections staff at: email@example.com.
Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Oberlin College. For more information, contact Conservatory Library staff.
Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], James R. and Susan Neumann Jazz Collection, Oberlin Conservatory Library
The Collection contains over 600 film posters and lobby cards, dating from 1930 through 1992, that visually feature jazz musicians. A complete inventory is available here.
Additionally, the Collection contains nearly 1,000 posters related to jazz concerts and events throughout the 20th century. Work preserving and cataloging this material is ongoing, and a full inventory of the sub-series will be available once work is complete.