Sesame Street was an innovative and radical children's television program when it premiered in 1969. In the 1960s, many parents were...
Suffering from "shell shock and a general breakdown," Charles Mackall and James Randall arrived in Philadelphia in September 1918 from...
As our Philanthropy Initiative continues to explore the history of giving, we're eager to share stories of success and failure. This story...

Blog Posts in "Jazz Appreciation"

Oscar Peterson and Norman Granz seated together
During this year’s Jazz Appreciation Month, we are exploring the relationship between jazz and justice by looking at the dynamic ways jazz...
Norman Granz and Ella Fitzgerald stand side-by-side in front of a microphone
A civil rights protest often invokes the vivid images of sit-ins, boycotts, and marches, but the fight for racial equality took many...
In a black and white photo, a woman stands behind a microphone and sings in a dark room. A jazz band is behind her, and they are smiling.
"They're swingin' everything else—why not nursery rhymes?" stated Ella Fitzgerald while dancing around the room showcasing some new dance...
a photograph of Ella Fitzgerald. She looks up and away from the camera. She is smiling and rests on a number of records spread out on the table in front of her.
In the Archives Center, jazz always seems to be a topic of discussion, whether it be a researcher looking for the Duke Ellington Collection...
Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald sit in front of a microphone
Within the Ella Fitzgerald Papers collection, a hidden gem reveals a surprising connection between Fitzgerald and President John F. Kennedy...
Detail of image: Black and white snapshot. A woman sits in a chair, her legs crossed and her hands on knee. She smiles, eyes closed and mouth open to show her teeth. She wears a smart suit with white collar. The man balances on one of the arms of the chair, gesturing toward her, also with a smile. He wears a suit and black/white shoes.
What does a world-famous musician put under the tree for the woman he loves . . . when he happens to be married to someone else?In the case...
Black and white photo of Ellington at piano. Ellington turns slightly to face camera, his right hand on the keys.
Within the first week of starting my internship in the Archives Center of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, I was...
Woman in white suit and hat poses with man in baseball uniform and hat. Big smiles. In background, baseball stadium.
Red thread is woven in and out of leather, uniting two different pieces into a single object that represents America's favorite pastime and...
Black and white photo of men playing instruments on stage
Since 2001, Jazz Appreciation Month (popularly known as "JAM") has encouraged people around the world to spend April celebrating the music...
Frank Sinatra in hat and tie stands at microphone with music stand in front of him, mouth slightly open
Do you think of Frank Sinatra as a jazz singer? As we celebrate his 100th birthday, guest author Eric Felten explores this question.When...
Latin Jazz postage stamp
On October 16 and 17, the museum's own big-band-in-residence, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (SJMO) will kick off their 25th...
3 guitar heads
Happy 100th Birthday, Les Paul!June 9, 2015, is an important day for the guitar and music world: It is the centennial of the birth of...
Detail crop of Neiman's "Big Band" painting
Can't tell your Dizzys from your Dukes? Whether you're new to jazz, or just looking for a quick and easy way to remember jazz history's...
Detail image of LeRoy Neiman's "Big Band" painting, featuring 3 of the jazz artists
When serious jazz fans namedrop their favorite musicians (and their copious nicknames), it can be a bit intimidating for those of us who...
Watercolor of Strayhorn in progress
April is Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), with a variety of events and programs throughout the museum and country designed to...
Queen Elizabeth II meets Duke Ellington
Smithsonian Jazz Intern Jake Huss shares the stories behind the selections heard at the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra's holiday...
You can learn a note or two of jazz history every day, just by reading @CelebrateJAM's tweets. Adam Whitehurst, the intern behind the...
Photo of two men smiling
Editor's note: David Baker died on Marc 26, 2016. He will be remembered for his commitment to jazz and his incredible service to the...
The 11-day heat wave of summer 2012 that had residents of DC and much of the nation sweltering has finally ended. Interns at the...
Today, June 25, Johnny Smith celebrates his 90th birthday. In October 2011, Ken Kimery, Executive Producer of the Smithsonian Jazz...
Ella in white suit and hat with baseball player
After her death in 1996, curators from this museum worked with caretakers of the Ella Fitzgerald Estate, Richard Rosman and Fran Morris...
At the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History they’re the girls in the band, instrumentalists in the 18-piece...
For eleven years, each April, jazz supporters around the world have celebrated Jazz Appreciation Month. JAM was established in 2001 by the...
Editor's Note: Today's post is the second in a series about legendary sound engineer Rudy Van Gelder and his impact on jazz. See part...
The lush tones of Miles Davis are unmistakable to millions. It is common knowledge among jazz fans that Davis was heavily influenced by...
Trumpet and flugelhorn virtuoso Clark Terry has first-hand experience in many notable chapters in jazz history. His lifelong devotion to...
During this 10th anniversary celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month, Smithsonian Jazz honors educator, composer, musician and longtime...
The great James Moody passed away on December 9, 2010. Today, Saturday, March 26, would have been his 86th birthday. In the jazz community...
Portrait of Mary Lou Williams, CBS studio, New York, N.Y., ca. April 1947. Courtesy of William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin...
Today, the National Museum of American History and Smithsonian Jazz celebrate trumpeter Joe Wilder’s 89th birthday. Born in 1922 in Colwyn...
Dr. William Taylor, Jr., known as Billy, was an educator, composer, actor, jazz pianist, and elder statesman. He was a cultural advocate...
Singer/composer Abbey Lincoln drew strength from emancipation–her own and the liberation of others fighting for social justice. When she...
For a good part of the twentieth century, Harlem’s Apollo Theater was one of the most prestigious, important, and well-known venues for...
Black and white photo of a man and woman looking at pages of paper.
Lena Horne was an American treasure, a cultural icon whose career achievements and social legacy challenged and transformed America’s...
In celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the museum’s resident big band orchestra, traveled...
Album cover
Women in music have always struggled with recognition for their talent but during the mid-1900’s jazz music was a hardly receptive place...
There is a lot of history in this museum but it is not always alive. It was a different case last Friday, when Maurice Hines was here for a...
I recently had the pleasure of traveling to Ethiopia—a trip sponsored by the State Department—to lecture on American jazz and culture....