Paul Whiteman was a Denver-born musician turned international showman. His career in the entertainment industry lasted more than fifty years, and he cultivated relationships with artists from George Gershwin to Bix Beiderbecke and Bing Crosby. Whiteman’s outsized presence and natural charisma won him fans of all ages in arenas from concert halls to radio broadcasts and the silver screen.
Whiteman donated the first of his materials to Williams College in the 1930s, and additional materials have been donated up to the present day. The Paul Whiteman collection is primarily housed in the Sawyer Library and contains nearly 600 linear feet of material. The dominant series in the collection include Whiteman’s orchestral scores, audio recordings, and Whiteman’s business and personal files. A large assortment of photographs depicts Whiteman at all stages in his career and documents his interests outside of his professional life, including farming, horseback riding, and car collecting.
Over the decades, many pieces of the collection have been partially processed. During the next year, the collection will be fully processed. My name is Laurel Rhame, and I was hired to complete the project. I will be writing about the experience here, as well as posting images to Instagram and Twitter. Subscribe for email updates to follow the processing of the Paul Whiteman Collection from beginning to end.
Written by Laurel Rhame, Project Archivist