E. Payson Clark, Jr. Papers

Institution: University of Chicago Library - Special Collections Research Center
1100 E. 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637-1504
Phone: 773-702-8705
Fax: 773-702-3728
Date: 1915-2004
Extent: 16.25 Linear Feet
Finding Aid

Biographical/Historical Note:
E. Payson Clark, Jr., a legal professional, served in significant positions in law and finance throughout his long legal career. Clark was also an advocate for various jazz festivals and petitioned money on their behalf. Clark began collecting and recording jazz at the age of 13 by installing a long-range antenna to the highest roof of his parents' home and receiving broadcasts of live jazz performances from New York City, Chicago, and London. Clark was further inspired to preserve and record live jazz by Marshall Stearns, a professor at Cornell University and author of History of Jazz. Clark spent over 65 years of his life touring the United States, Canada, Europe, and Russia, creating a thorough and extensive collection of jazz recordings and memorabilia. Through his travels, Clark made extensive contacts with musicians and collectors. Fond of his collection of recordings of young British musicians and jazz bands, Clark dubbed England "The Nirvana of Jazz," and "The Paradise of Jazz." He first traveled to Britain in 1997 to hear the late Ben Cohen's Hot Fives and Hot Sevens as well as Ken Ingram's bands. He often traveled to England to record festivals.

Scope and Content Note:
The E. Payson Clark, Jr. Papers are divided into five series: Series I, Personal and Photographs; Series II, Events and Musicians; Series III, Catalogs and Discographies; Series IV, Organizations and Publications; Series V, Newspapers and Oversize. The papers contain correspondence, photographs, jazz publications, catalogs, discographies and record lists, jazz festival programs and pins, concert and event mailings, and newspapers.

Related Material: None