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The Hoagy

Collection Overview

The Hoagy Carmichael Collection represents the largest holding of materials pertaining to Hoagy Carmichael available anywhere in the world. This digital collection will ultimately be comprised of materials from three different sources at Indiana University Bloomington. As of November 1999, however, only materials from the Archives of Traditional Music have been digitized. See the What's New section of this site for additional information and updates as new materials are added.

Lilly Library : The Lilly Library at Indiana University has a total of 56 items in its Hoagy Carmichael Collection. The Carmichael manuscripts, 1921-1955, consist of letters, papers, and music. Correspondents represented in the collection include Bix Biederbecke, Dwight David Eisenhower, Bob Hope, William Ezra Jenner, Richard Milhous Nixon, Don Redman, and Herman B. Wells. Music consists of six original music manuscripts and eighty-four pieces of published sheet music. Judge Ora L. Wildermuth of Gary, Indiana donated the bulk of the printed sheet music to the Lilly Library in 1957.

Indiana University Archives : The IU Archives has approximately 70 photographs and 200 pieces of correspondence, newspaper articles, and News Bureau releases. Most of the correspondence is related to IU. Articles include extensive biographical information and information on Carmichael's family.

Archives of Traditional Music : This collection includes music manuscripts, lyric sheets, sound recordings, films and videos, photographs, correspondence, scrapbooks, typescripts, and other memorabilia, totaling more than 3,500 items. The Hoagy Carmichael Collection consists of materials that were in his personal collection, items donated by his family, and items pertaining to Carmichael donated by others--researchers, musicians and collectors--from the 1970s to the present.

Sound Recordings

The Archives houses over 750 sound recordings that feature Hoagy Carmichael as a composer or performer. The recordings, dating from the 1920s-1970s, include commercial discs and non-commercial field recordings on disc, wire, cassette, and reel to reel tape. The field recordings include test pressings, interviews, and Carmichael's performances at informal gatherings.

Films and Videos

Films in the collection include excerpts from To Have and Have Not, Lazybones, and Hong Kong Blues, as well as home movies made from 1937-1955. Also included are an episode from Carmichael's television series, Hoagy Carmichael's Music Shop, and an unreleased, filmed interview of Carmichael made by his son, Hoagy Bix, in 1979.


Over 350 music sketches, manuscripts, and sheet music publications, representing approximately 200 different compositions, are housed at the Archives. Manuscripts include original holographs and those in various copyists' hands. There are ninety-two sketches in Carmichael's handwriting and several examples of his arrangements of other composers' works.

Lyric Sheets

Lyric sheets include lyrics by Carmichael himself, by well-known collaborators, and by aspiring writers seeking advice from, or collaboration with, Carmichael. Many examples include comments, additions, and corrections in his hand. There are lyric sheets for 465 different songs, plus variants for 150 of that number.


The Hoagy Carmichael Collection has over 1000 photographs and negatives. A large number are of Carmichael's family, including his grandparents, parents, children, siblings, and their respective families. The photograph collection also contains Hollywood publicity shots, formal and informal portraits of Carmichael, and pictures of fellow musicians and friends.

Scrapbooks and Newspaper Clippings

Georgia Maxwell created four scrapbooks devoted to her brother that consist primarily of journal articles and newspaper clippings arranged chronologically from the 1930s to the 1980s. The Archives now has two additional boxes of photocopied newspaper clippings covering the same years.

Correspondence and Papers

Approximately 250 letters, dated from 1925-1979, are included in the collection. The most extensive correspondence is that between Carmichael and Howard (Wad) Allen. Other notable correspondents are Dave Kapp of Decca Records, Georgia Maxwell, Ronald Reagan, and Richard Nixon. Additional pages include Carmichael's autobiographical notes and contracts between Carmichael and the Starr Piano Company for his earliest recordings on the Gennett label.


Among the typescripts are two bound drafts for Jazzbanders, which later became Carmichael's first memoir, The Stardust Road. The Archives also houses two drafts for Carmichael's second memoir, Sometimes I Wonder, co-written by Stephen Longstreet. Drafts of the latter include copious annotations in Carmichael's handwriting. In addition, the typescript collection contains several scripts for movie and television shows in which Carmichael appeared.

Personal Effects

Personal effects consist of items of clothing, furniture, musical instruments, awards, and artwork, including five oil paintings by Carmichael.

Miscellaneous Research Materials

The Archives houses additional research materials related to Hoagy Carmichael: biographical sketches, bibliographies, and discographies, donated by researchers and fellow musicians, as well as genealogical materials donated by the Carmichael Family, and unpublished poetry and short stories written by his mother.


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Last Updated: 18 May 2017
URL: http://www.dlib.indiana.edu/collections/hoagy/intro/collec_over/index.html
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Copyright 1999-2005, The Trustees of Indiana University

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