James R. and Susan Neumann Jazz Collection
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: email@example.com.
Series 1: Audio and Moving Image Recordings
Sub-Series 1: LPs:The Collection currently contains approximately 45,000 10” or 12” long-playing records (33 1/3 rpm). These items are currently being preserved, cataloged, and digitized. Oberlin's list of cataloged recordings is updated every 8-10 weeks. Streaming access to digitized LPs, also updated every 8-10 weeks, is available to Oberlin College students and staff.
Sub-Series 2: 78s:The Collection currently contains approximately 3,500 10” or 12” 78 rpm records. Work inventorying these items will begin once the LPs are fully cataloged.
Sub-Series 3: Additional formats:At a later date, Oberlin will receive the remaining audio and moving image formats represented in the Collection (45s, CDs, and DVDs).
Series 2: Periodicals, 1936-2011:This series contains over 100 titles of jazz and blues periodicals that encompass 125 linear feet of shelf space. A list of titles with substantial representation in the Collection. List of miscellaneous and single-item holdings [PDF].
Series 3: Concert Programs, 1942-2009 and undated:This series contains over 300 concert programs from festivals and events throughout the US and across the world from 1942-2009 (many items are undated). Inventory [PDF].
Series 4: Record Catalogs, 1935-2006 and undated:This series contains catalogs from over 150 different record companies in the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and various European countries. Inventory [PDF].
Series 5: Sheet Music:This series contains approximately 130 items of popular sheet music. Inventory [PDF].
Series 6: Books, 1972-2009 and undated:At present this series contains ca. 150 books related to jazz photography. Inventory [PDF]. At a later date, Oberlin will receive and inventory the thousands of remaining books in the Collection.
Series 7: Visual Materials
Sub-Series 1: Photographs:The Collection contains a large number of photographs, including seventy images from the Indianapolis-based photographer Mark Sheldon. Inventory [PDF]. Work preserving and cataloging the photographs is ongoing, and a full inventory of the sub-series will be available once work is complete.
Sub-Series 2: Posters:The Collection contains over 600 film posters and lobby cards, dating from 1930 through 1992, that visually feature jazz musicians. Inventory [PDF]. Digital collection of selections.
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.
Series 8: Artifacts, Scrapbooks, and Other Ephemera, 1933-2006 and undated:This series includes: ca. 40 artifacts, primarily from a variety of jazz venues across the US. Inventory [PDF]; along with a variety of scrapbooks and other ephemera. Inventory [PDF].
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.
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.
Rights: The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Oberlin College.
Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], James R. and Susan Neumann Jazz Collection, Oberlin Conservatory Library