Remembering Lil Hardin Armstrong

“My Sweet Smell-in Man” by Lillian Hardin and Walter Melrose, registered for copyright in 1922. Call number M1356.2.H, Music Division.

Sunday February 3 gives us the opportunity to remember one of the first important songwriters in jazz, Lillian Hardin Armstrong. She was born on that day in 1898 in Memphis and may be best known as Louis Armstrong’s second wife and writer of some of his enduring classics, such as “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue,” which has been covered more than 500 times. Other notable Lil Armstrong originals include “Doin’ the Suzie Q,” “Just for a Thrill” and “Bad Boy.” She married Louis Armstrong on February 4, 1924 and helped groom him for stardom. She also appeared as pianist with Louis on his justly famous Hot Five recordings with Kid Ory, Johnny Dodds and Johnny St. Cy. In later years she led an All Girl Orchestra broadcast on NBC radio, worked with Red Allen and eventually earned a post-graduate degree at New York College of Music. In 1971 after attending Louis Armstrong’s funeral, she returned to Chicago. She died there from a heart attack before completing her autobiography.

On December 10, 2015 Jazz scholar Dan Morgenstern gave a lecture at the Library of Congress titled “Louis and Lil: A Couple Making Musical History” available here as a webcast.

Happy 95th Birthday to Max Roach

Today marks the 95th birthday of jazz drummer, bandleader and educator Max Roach (1924-2007). His papers are among the most heavily researched jazz archival collections in the Music Division revealing much about jazz and the intersection of modernism and the development of Black political consciousness in 20th-century music. And though the collection includes a draft […]

Story Time with Music

Friday, July 27 was a special day for me as a new employee at the Library of Congress. I had the wonderful opportunity to represent the Music Division in an outreach initiative, Story Time for Young Readers. Story Time is a program at the Young Readers Center every Friday at 10:30am. Once a month, March […]

Pride in the Library: LGBTQ+ Voices in the Library’s Collections

This is a guest post by Meg Metcalf, women’s, gender and LGBTQ+ studies librarian in the Main Reading Room. It was originally posted on the Library of Congress Blog. The collections of the Library of Congress tell the rich and diverse story of LGBTQ+ life in America and around the world. To share this story, […]

Smokey Robinson at Gershwin’s Piano

(The following is a guest post by Director of Communications Gayle Osterberg. It was originally published on the Library of Congress Blog.) This Friday (Feb. 10) PBS stations nationwide (9 pm Eastern – check your local listings) will share with America the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song tribute concert honoring Motown legend […]

New Video Roundup

We’ve released a wide variety of videos from recent concerts, lectures, and other events. Learn what’s newly available below. Sign-up for Library of Congress Video Alerts Enter your email address then direct to “Subscriber Preferences.” Select “New Webcasts” and hit submit to receive notifications of new releases via email. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel Subscribe […]

Film by Ezra Hurwitz: “Martha Graham at the Library”

The “Martha Graham at the Library” Festival is in full-swing! We were thrilled to see many of you at the events on Thursday and Saturday of last week. As we get closer to the performances by the Martha Graham Dance Company (April 1-8pm; April 2-2pm & 8pm), we have a special treat for you. The […]

Upcoming Events: NEA Chairman, Meredith Monk & Pomerium

  Concerts from the Library of Congress Founder’s Day Weekend Friday, October 30, 2015 – 6:30pm (Whittall Pavilion) A LEADING ROLE: WOMEN IN THE MUSIC WORLD Jane Chu, Chairman, NEA Margaret Lioi, CEO, Chamber Music America Astrid Schween, Cellist, Juilliard String Quartet Anne E. McLean, Senior Producer, Library of Congress Music Division Three arts leaders […]

Upcoming Concerts: Chamber Music, Lieder & Showtunes

Concerts from the Library of Congress Upcoming Events Friday, October 16, 2015 – 8:00pm (Coolidge Auditorium) ATOS Trio Germany’s acclaimed ATOS Trio brings impeccable musicianship and an exploratory edge to its renditions of piano trios old and new. The strings are featured in the premiere of a new Library of Congress commission by composer Michael […]