Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Guide to the Jack Siefert Woody Herman Collection

Collection ID:
Herman, Woody, 1913-1987
Siefert, Jack William, 1918-
Physical Description:
16 Cubic feet

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Sound recordings, business records, photographs, correspondence, and concert posters documenting the career of Woodrow Charles "Woody" Herman.
Scope and Contents
The Jack Siefert/Woody Herman Collection includes manuscript materials, photographs, open-reel audio tapes, cassettes, CDs, audio discs and videos documenting the career of Woody Herman. The collection is organized into six series as follows:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1969-1988 Includes a few letters to Woody Herman, but the bulk of the correspondence is to or from Jack Siefert.
Series 2: Photographs, circa 1920 - 1987
The photographs are divided into 5 subseries (family, in performance, friends and colleagues, publicity, and miscellaneous) and arranged chronologically within each subseries. This series includes original and copy prints.
Series 3: Business Records, circa 1946 – 1990
Consists of 3 subseries (Misc. Business Papers, Publicity and Programs, and Itineraries) with the bulk of the materials documenting performance schedules and itineraries. The post-1987 materials include programs and announcements for tributes to Woody Herman.
Series 4: Clippings, 1945 – 1990s
Magazine and newspaper articles about Woody Herman and his various bands.
Series 5: Ephemera
Includes several cartoons and Herman's entry in 'Who's Who in America." Also Jack Siefert's log to the audio materials titled Musical History of Woody Herman.
Series 6: Audio-Visual Materials
Commercial audio disc recordings, reference recordings and transcription discs, ¼" open-reel audio tapes, audio cassettes, CDs and videos.

Divided into 6 series. Chronologically arranged.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Woodrow Charles "Woody" Herman was born in Milwaukee Wisconsin on May 16, 1913. He became involved with music at an early age, working in vaudeville and becoming a professional saxophone player at 15.
He joined Isham Jones in 1934 and then when Jones' group disbanded in 1936, Herman used several former Jones musicians to form the core for Herman's first band, the Woody Herman Orchestra. This group was known for….
Renamed Woody Herman and his Herd in 1943, the group was heavily influenced by Duke Ellington. The first Herd's music was admired for its swinging arrangements. Herman disbanded this group in 1946 for family reasons, but reformed the band in 1947 as the Second Herd.
Although considered an excellent musician, Herman's talent as a organizer ensured his place in the history of American popular music. He had a rare ability to assemble musicians to create bands with distinctive and, ultimately, popular sounds.

Wendy Shay
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated by J. William Siefert, August 13, 1998.
Processing Information
Collection processed by Wendy Shay, 2003.

Digital Content
More …
Using the Collection
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Copyright restrictions. Contact staff for information.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research but a portion of the collection is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at or 202-633-3270.
Preferred Citation
Jack Siefert Woody Herman Collection, 1913-1990, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Jazz -- 20th century -- United States Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Posters -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Musicians -- 20th century Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
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