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An Introduction to Blues Resources at the Institute of Jazz Studies

This guide provides an overview of blues-related collections at the Institute of Jazz Studies.

IJS 101

The Institute of Jazz Studies is open by appointment. We offer research appointments and tours between the hours of 10-6 on M, T, Th, and F and 10-1 on W. Both require at least one week's advance notice. To make an appointment, email and indicate the date(s) you would like to visit as well as the time you will arrive and plan to leave. Please also let us know in your message what materials you would like to access so that we can be prepared for your visit. When scheduling your appointment, feel free to ask questions about what resources are available that might help you with your research. Many collections at IJS are not available online, so it's always a good idea to ask.

For more information about using the Institute's collections, please visit our website.


The Institute has over 200,000 audio recordings in its collections, and all of the commercially-published LPs and CDs are in the Rutgers Libraries catalog, Quicksearch. We also have 78 and 45 rpm discs, but these are not in Quicksearch. Additionally, we have a large collection of record company catalogs that contain information about recordings.

To look in Quicksearch specifically for blues recordings at the Institute, enter the search terms "blues music," with quotation marks around the two-word phrase, or "blues (music)." (The latter option returns slightly fewer search results.) On the search results page, use the left-hand column options to filter your search results both by type ("sound recordings") and library ("jazz studies"). You can also filter your search to look for other types of materials using the options in the left-hand column, including videos, books, notated music, articles, etc.

Alternately, you can search by a performer's name or the name of an album or CD, if you have a more specific search in mind, or a combination of several terms. It's always good to try several approaches if you don't immediately find what you're looking for.



Below is a sampling of IJS archival holdings with significant blues content.

Many of the Institute's archival collections are minimally described or do not have finding aids. Collections for which finding aids are unavailable but that have substantial blues-related materials include:

Chris Albertson papers

Institute of Jazz Studies collection of jazz oral history sound recordings

Institute of Jazz Studies collection of ephemera, memorabilia, and scrapbooks

Institute of Jazz Studies collection of audio recording catalogs

Institute of Jazz Studies photograph collection

Institute of Jazz Studies collection of audio recordings

Institute of Jazz Studies artist and clippings files

Jazz Oral History Project interview transcripts and sound recordings

Wallace Theodore "Ed" Kirkeby papers

Musicraft Records, Incorporated business records and audio recordings

Nancy Miller Elliott photographs, papers, and collection of Buck Clayton music, artifacts, and ephemera

Mississippi Rag photographs

Mary Lou Williams papers, music, artifacts, and audiovisual materials

John S. Wilson papers and audio recordings

Magazines and Periodicals

For a list of all magazine and periodical titles available in print at the Institute, please visit the Institute's Research Guide. There are 38 titles with the word "blues."


Below is a sampling of titles available at the Institute and/or other Rutgers Libraries' locations. While the Institute's collections do not circulate and must be used in the reading room, other Rutgers Libraries locations may offer copies for check out. To request a circulating copy, Rutgers affiliates can log in with their NetID at to request a book from any Rutgers Libraries location.


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