Portrait of Billie Holiday, Downbeat, New York, N.Y., ca. Feb. 1947. Photograph by William P. Gottlieb.
William P. Gottlieb (1917-2006) is one of the most celebrated jazz photographers. His iconic images documenting the great stylists and innovators in American jazz and popular music have been studied and reproduced for generations, and his collection of photographs is one of the Library’s great treasures. The Music Division is now pleased to announce the launch of the William P. Gottlieb Collection on the Library’s Flickr pilot.
Gottlieb began as a music journalist who became a self-taught photographer in order to illustrate his stories written for the Washington Post, Down Beat and other publications between the years 1938-48. With his speed graphic camera, Gottlieb shot on location outdoors, as well as in clubs, concert halls and homes. His often dramatic use of light and composition helped to capture the spirit, personality and experience of many great musicians, from Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington, to bebop pioneers Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk.
The Library’s William P. Gottlieb Collection includes more than 1600 of his mostly black & white photographs. They’ve all been scanned and placed on the Music Division’s website. In addition to the Flickr launch, we have also loaded jpegs and higher resolution TIFF files of all 1600 photographs on the Performing Arts Encyclopedia’s Gottlieb page. There, you’ll often find multiple versions of a single image, providing insight into Gottlieb’s creative vision and process. You can see how his cropping affected the final image, and notice how he altered tone and color as well. The Gottlieb page also features articles by and about Gottlieb, in addition to audio commentary from the photographer himself.
Photographs from the Gottlieb Collection went into the public domain on February 16, 2010; however, privacy rights may apply. The first Flickr load includes the 200 images Gottlieb handpicked to publish in his book, The Golden Age of Jazz. We’ll keep loading new batches of Gottlieb photos every couple of weeks, so keep checking back!
Today we remember the July birthdays of two very different musical luminaries represented in the Music Division’s august coffers. Ernest Bloch was born July 24th, 1880. A special performance of his viola suite was given on December 10th, 2009, in the Coolidge Auditorium by violist Roberto Diaz and pianist Andrew Tyson to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary […]
One of the highlights for the Music Division this year was the recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Music. But even the lucky few of us who attended the Gershwin Prize concert at the Coolidge Auditorium got only a glimpse of the all-star line-up who would perform at the White House. Wednesday night on […]
This comes over the transom from Today in History. Legend has it that on this day in 1904, Charles E. Menches filled a pastry cone with two scoops of ice-cream and thus is responsible for the conical icon we celebrate today. The history of ideas, however sweet, is more complicated than that, as the cast of characters […]
Composer Roger Reynolds was born July 18, 1934 in Detroit, Michigan. Ciro G. Scotto, in his 1992 volume Contemporary Composers, wrote that Reynolds “has created a body of work that encompasses nearly every major musical development in the 20th century.” In an article written for the Library of Congress Information Bulletin in 2002, Senior Music Specialist […]
Forty-one years ago today, astronaut Neil A. Armstrong became the first human being to set foot on the moon. The Apollo 11 broadcast from the moon on July 20, 1969, which transmitted Neil Armstrong’s immortal words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” was named to the National Recording Registry in 2004. Remember one giant […]
Followers of In the Muse will be pleased to know that a number of Music Division events covered in these virtual pages are now available on the Library of Congress’s Webcasts page. A Conversation with Dafnis Prieto and Larry Appelbaum A performance by the Dafnis Prieto Si O Si Quartet. Music and the Brain: Stage […]
Are you a night person? Do garlic cloves make you break out, or worse? Does Team Edward mean anything to you? If your answer to any or all of these questions is yes, you may enjoy “Vampire Polka,” by a composer known only as “Four-Eyes.” Whatever societal anxieties may be behind the twenty-first century thirst […]
Last week In the Muse brought you “The Battle of the Sewing Machines,” a 19th century piano piece that fondly mimics the chug of an old sewing machine. The piece features cover art that depicts sundry anthropomorphic sewing machines on the attack, revealing perhaps a bit of 19th century tension at the fate of man […]
Just over the transom via the American Folklife Center’s Facebook page, today is the birthday of Elias Howe, inventor of the sewing machine. Celebrate Howe’s gift, not only to the garment industry, but to mankind, with “The Battle of the Sewing Machines,” F. Hyde’s rhythmic impersonation of that old-fashioned sewing machine sound ca. 1874. The […]