Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Guide to the Felix Grant Collection

Collection ID:
Grant, Felix, 1918-1993
Ellington, Duke, 1899-1974
Physical Description:
4.3 Cubic feet
6 boxes
Collection consists of 128 albums featuring the music of Duke Ellington, spanning some 50 years of Ellington-based releases.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The Felix Grant collection consists of commercially produced Duke Ellington phonograph recordings that were collected by Grant during his career as a premier disc jockey. The recordings are arranged alphabetically by title. In addition, there are miscellaneous newspaper clippings and correspondence, consisting of press releases, that were removed from some of the album sleeves, and book abstracts from books and dissertations about Ellington. This material is arranged alphabetically, and is located at the end of the collection. The record company label, catalog number, and release date are included in the container list. Many of the albums are promotional copies which Grant obtained at radio stations where he worked. Of special interest are "...and his mother called him Bill' and "Anatomy of a Murder", two albums that are considered to be among Ellington's best. Also of note are a Japanese pressing of "Ella at Duke's Place" and a 1986 pressing of "Money Jungle" that features tracks not on the original release, as well as a program order from an Army Blues salute to Ellington included in the second series.

The collection is arranged into one series, alphabetically.

Biographical/Historical note
Biographical/Historical note
Felix Grant (February 22, 1918-October 13, 1993), a renowned jazz disk jockey dubbed Washington, D.C.'s "Mr. Music" and recipient of the U.S. Navy Commendation Medal for his service during WWII, was born in New York and developed a deep passion for America's jazz as a young man listening to local radio broadcasts and visiting Manhattan's numerous jazz nightclubs. He attended LaSalle Academy and first worked for a New York advertising agency as a messenger. Near the end of the war Grant was transferred to Washington D.C.'s Coast Guard headquarters and in 1945 took an announcing job at WWDC-AM.
Grant eventually became a fixture of Washington, D.C. radio, working for such stations as WMAL-AM, WRC-AM, and WDCU-FM. During the 1950s and 60s his WMAL radio show called "The Album Sound" gained popularity in the D.C. area for its unique mix of jazz, blues, and Latin music. Grant's diverse play list helped him gain listeners from all different races long before the end of segregation in Washington, D.C. Native Washingtonian, Duke Ellington, was a particular favorite of Grant's and his music was often featured during Grant's shows. In 1953 Grant took a position at WMAL and in 1984 joined WDCU where he remained until his death. In January of 1996 the University of the District of Columbia opened the Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives, a collection of audiotape and archival records documenting Felix Grant's life and career.

Ben Nicastro and Scott Schwartz
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated by Mr. Felix Grant on April 9, 1991.
Processing Information
This collection was processed by Ben Nicastro and Scott Schwartz.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Felix Grant Collection, 1935-1985, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright restrictions. Contact staff for information.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Jazz Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Phonograph records Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings -- 1930-1990 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings -- Jazz -- 1930-1990 -- United States Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
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