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Jazz Archives Fellowship Program

Craig Arthur
Craig Arthur

Jarrett Drake
Jarrett Drake

Dustin Witsman
Dustin Witsman

Photographs taken by Ed Berger.

The John Cotton Dana Library on Rutgers University's Newark campus is home to the Institute of Jazz Studies (IJS), the world's foremost jazz archive. The Institute of Jazz Studies has launched the Jazz Archives Fellowship program, which will support archival career development for graduate students in library and information science or recent MLIS graduates, who have an interest in jazz and/or African American history and a commitment to careers in archives.

Enhancing diversity in the profession of library and information services and archives has been a priority for many years. With more than 100 distinct archival collections, more than 100,000 sound recordings, 30,000 photographs, oral history interviews, artifacts, as well as an extensive collection of books and journals, the Institute of Jazz Studies is in a unique position to provide practical training in archival organization and processing, as well as a number of seminar-type learning opportunities and to enhance the focus on diversity in the profession.

As Ken Burns' PBS documentary Jazz emphasized, the history of this uniquely American art form is inextricably tied to the history of race in America. Jazz continues to serve as a paradigm for diversity, transcending geographic, cultural, and linguistic boundaries, drawing upon many musical traditions and touching audiences in places far removed from its roots.

Working closely with both IJS and Dana Library faculty and staff, the Fellows will also gain an overview of the role of an archive within an urban university library on a campus noted for its diversity.

Since U.S. News and World Report began ranking universities on the basis of diversity 15 years ago, Rutgers-Newark has been ranked the most diverse national university in the United States every year. Rutgers-Newark also enjoys the number one ranking as Forbes magazine's Most Diverse College.

The 2012 Fellows are: Craig Arthur (University of North Carolina at Greensboro), Jarrett Drake (University of Michigan), and Dustin Witsman (Dominican University).

  • Craig Arthur completed his undergraduate degree in Arts, Public and Urban Affairs at Virginia Tech and graduated with a Masters of Library and Information Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in May of 2012. He has worked as a reference intern at UNC-Greensboro's Jackson Library and in the Smith Library at High Point University in High Point, North Carolina. He currently works at the James Library at Rockingham Community College and volunteers at the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum in Sedalia, North Carolina.
  • Jarrett Drake has an undergraduate degree in history from Yale and will graduate from the University of Michigan's School of Information with a Master's in Information Science in Spring 2013. He has worked as a processing assistant in the Bentley Historical Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the University of Michigan Special Collections Library, the Maryland State Archives, and in Yale University's Manuscripts and Archives Library.
  • Dustin Witsman graduated from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a bachelor's degree in English before moving on to a Masters of Library and Information Science from Dominican University. He has interned at the Black Metropolis Research Consortium and at Columbia College Chicago's Center for Black Music Research, and worked as a manuscript assistant while an undergraduate. Currently, he is Project Archivist at the University of Northern Iowa's Center for the History of Rural Iowa Education and Culture.
Louis Armstrong House Institute of Jazz Studies
Louis Armstrong House With Anders Griffin in IJS

The Fellows will work with the Institute's world renowned collections, in two residency experiences on the Rutgers-Newark campus: A three-day orientation in the Fall, with seminars, site visits to other cultural institutions in the New York metropolitan area, and a planning session for a processing project to be completed in the Spring, and a week-long archival processing project in the Spring.

The Jazz Archives Fellowships come with a $2,000 stipend and are generously supported by the Morroe Berger - Benny Carter Jazz Research Fund, an endowment established by musician/composer Benny Carter in 1987, to provide grants to facilitate jazz research by students and scholars.

Posted November 2012; updated January 2013