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Identifier: IJS-0104

Ella Fitzgerald music, papers, audio recordings, and artifacts



  • 1935-1997

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of printed music, including published sheet music and original manuscripts as well as many songs accompanied by personal correspondence. The Topical Files contains a small collection of personal and professional archival materials, and the Realia series includes a dress, glove, glasses, and a statue of Fitzgerald.


12 Linear Feet (13 boxes and one statue)

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use.

Language of Materials



The Ella Fitzgerald music, papers, audio recordings, and artifacts collection is primarily comprised of more than 1,000 song titles of printed sheet music that the singer either recorded, performed, or read during the course of her career. Jazz is the genre most documented, but significant amounts of popular music from the 1940s through the 1980s are also present.

Biographical / Historical

Ella Jane Fitzgerald was born on April 25, 1917, in Newport News, Virginia. Her career started at age 17 when she won the Apollo Theater's Amateur Night contest on November 21, 1934, after which she began performing with the Chick Webb Band and recording under the Decca label. It was under Decca that Fitzgerald's 1938 song A-tisket, A-tasket reached number one on the Billboard charts. With Webb's passing in 1939, Fitzgerald began recording under the name Ella Fitzgerald and Her Famous Orchestra.


The Ella Fitzgerald music, papers, audio recordings, and artifacts is divided into three series: Series 1. Printed Music; Series 2. Topical Files; Series 3. Realia.

In addition, there are several boxes of unprocessed materials; please contact archivist for assistance.


The collection was previously entitled "The Ella Fitzgerald Collection (MC 104)". The collection title was changed to "Ella Fitzgerald music, papers, audio recordings, and artifacts (IJS-0104)" in 2021.

Anders Griffen and Jarrett M. Drake
2013 March
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Part of the Institute of Jazz Studies Repository

185 University Avenue
John Cotton Dana Library
4th Floor
Newark New Jersey 07102 United States