Scope and Contents
The Rex Stewart Papers consist of book manuscripts, scrapbooks, photographs, correspondence, genealogical records, newsclippings, periodicals, and ephemera materials that document the life and career of Rex Stewart, as well as the history of jazz from the perspective of one who witnessed first-hand the genre's "golden era". The collection is organized into four series: Series 1: Book Manuscripts, circa 1950-1972; Series 2: Scrapbooks and Photo Albums, c.1930-1959; Series 3: Photographs, c.1875 and circa 1920-1967; and Series 4: Memorabilia, 1880-1905 and 1924-1988.
Of particular interest are the book manuscripts that were produced from the 1950's until Stewart's death in 1967. These document Stewart's impressions of and interactions with such jazz legends as Fletcher Henderson, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington. Interesting photographic images include "A Great Day in Harlem", taken in 1958, portraits and candid shots of Rex Stewart, Duke Ellington, Benny Carter and others jazz greats, photographs autographed by Rex Stewart, a portrait of the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra at Danceland, tintypes of Stewart's family, a photo album and scrapbook documenting Stewart's 1948 tour in Berlin, Germany, and a photo album containing candid photographs of Ellington and Stewart's family. Other materials of interest include Stewart's cabaret card from 1959-1962 and some Stewart family genealogy records from 1880 to 1905.
Overall, the Rex Stewart Papers exist as a unique look into the creative process and life of a leading jazz figure of the 1930's through the 1960's. Stewart's colorful and poetic writing allows the reader to experience first-hand the excitement and honesty of jazz.