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Identifier: IJS-0100

Dick Wellstood papers and audio recordings



  • 1912 - 1995

Scope and Contents

Various materials in the form of clippings, concert flyers, correspondence, and music scores that were collected by Dick Wellstood can be found in Series I. News clippings and magazine articles in subseries I.A document performances with dozens of jazz musicians throughout Wellstood’s career, including Jimmy Archey, Sidney Bechet, Kenny Davern, Roy Eldridge, Gene Krupa, and Bob Wilber among dozens of others. Documentation of various concert tours and recordings can be found here. Series I also contains materials from the family of Wellstood’s wife, Diana McClumpha Wellstood.

Subseries I.D contains sheet music and manuscripts by other composers. The bulk of these scores are piano and vocal arrangements for popular tunes and standards from the early twentieth century, especially from the ragtime and stride piano era. Manuscripts acquired from Wellstood’s peers can be found in this subseries.

Series II consists of recordings, published writings, compositions, and arrangements created by Dick Wellstood. Subseries II.A contains Wellstood’s music manuscripts of composition sketches and exercises, lead sheets, band charts, and band parts.


8.5 Linear Feet (10 boxes)

Language of Materials

This collection is in English with some German and French.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is partially open for use. Some of the audiovisual media in the collection are currently open for visual inspection only. Access copies for listening and/or viewing may be created on request, if possible. Contact the Institute for details or to make a request.


This collection documents the professional career of pianist, composer, arranger and writer Dick Wellstood, who was esteemed as a virtuosic interpreter of ragtime and stride piano. The bulk of the collection consists of music manuscripts and recordings. News clippings and magazine articles document recordings, concert tours, and performances with dozens of jazz musicians throughout Wellstood’s career.

Biographical / Historical

Richard McQueen Wellstood was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, to Harold L. and May P. Wellstood on November 25, 1927. Wellstood graduated from Worcester School in Danbury, Connecticut, earned a bachelor of arts from New York University and a law degree from the New York Law School and he financed his education by performing music. Wellstood passed the New York bar examination in 1959 and practiced law for brief periods, but made the bulk of his living as a musician. Wellstood was an author, composer and arranger, and pianist who played popular music, show tunes and many styles of jazz. However, he was esteemed as a virtuosic interpreter of ragtime and stride piano in the tradition of James P. Johnson, Willie “The Lion” Smith, and Fats Waller. His professional music career began in the 1940s in New York City playing venues with Sidney Bechet and Roy Eldridge. Over the course of his career, Wellstood played numerous times with Kenny Davern and Bob Wilber. On a 1960 Hoagy Carmichael television special, Wellstood performed with Eubie Blake, Ralph Sutton, and Carmichael. Although Wellstood toured the world throughout his career, he was based in the New York City metropolitan area and was the house pianist at several Manhattan venues. Wellstood’s career peaked after the release of the film The Sting (1973) sparked popular interest in ragtime music. In 1984, Wellstood married Diane McClumpha, whose father Francis McClumpha was active in the New Jersey Jazz Society. Dick Wellstood died on July 27, 1987, while attending the “Peninsula Jazz Party” festival of jazz in Palo Alto, California.


The Dick Wellstood Collection is arranged in two series.

Series I. Personal Papers and Collected Media, 1908-1997 Series II. Works, 1949-1999

Box 10 of the collection contains unprocessed materials.

Related Materials

The Institute of Jazz Studies holds two related archival collections: Marshall Brown music, papers, audio recordings, and artifacts (IJS-0007) and Tommy Benford drum set and papers (IJS-0006). Wellstood performed with Marshall Brown and Tommy Benford numerous times throughout his career.

The Library at the Institute of Jazz Studies holds numerous recordings by Dick Wellstood in addition to following periodical and monographs.

1. Meyer, Edward N. Giant Strides: The Legacy of Dick Wellstood. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1999. Call number: ML417.W33M49 1999.

2. Wellstood, Dick. “Walking with a King, a Memory of Sidney Bechet.” Downbeat Music Yearbook (1971).

3. Wellstood, Dick. Dick Wellstood: The Art of Jazz and Blues Piano. Vol.1: six great transcribed piano solos and a guide to his recordings with an analysis of Wellstood's style. Transcribed and annotated by Riccardo Scivales. London: Soliloquy Music, 2001. Call number: M21.D53 2001.

Separated Materials

The following book has been separated from this collection and moved to the library collection of the Institute of Jazz Studies.

Wellstood, Dick. Jazz Piano Solos: Seven Historic Piano Solos. Transcribed and annotated by Riccardo Scivales. San Diego: Neil A. Kjos Music Co., 1994

Lawrence, Angela
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Part of the Institute of Jazz Studies Repository

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