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Collection Manuscript/Mixed Material Charles Mingus collection,

About this Item


  • Charles Mingus collection,


  • The collection includes manuscript and printed music by Mingus and other writings by and about Mingus; correspondence; business papers; clippings; programs; publicity materials; photographs of Mingus, his family, and colleagues, such as Eric Dolphy, Dannie Richmond, Max Roach, Oscar Pettiford, and Miles Davis; artwork; three dimensional items; and sound recordings.
  • The Music series is devided into two subseries. The Music by Charles Mingus subseries includes holographs, photocopies, and copyist manuscripts of his original compositions and arrangements of music by others. The subseries Music by Others contains the music that was owned by Mingus and may have been used for his study or his own arrangements.
  • The Business Papers series is devided in three subseries to correspond with three businesses founded and co-founded by Mingus: Charles Mingus Enterprises, Inc., Debut Records, and Jazz Workshop. The highlight of this series is the extensive correspondence that includes the names of prominent jazz figures such as musicians Sam Most, Max Roach, and Dannie Richmond; record producers Teo Macero and Clive Davis; and poet Langston Hughes. Within each subseries are also records of income and expenses, cash disbursements, and receipts.
  • The Personal Papers series consist of notes in Mingus's hand and letters, greeting cards, and personal notes from family members, including his sister Grace Mingus, second wife Celia Mingus, and widow Sue Mingus. Financial, legal, and medical papers, as well as maps, receipts, and brochures from his extensive travels make up the rest of the series. There are also writings by others in this series that were inspired by Mingus's music or inscribed to him. The realia include Mingus's tarot cards, a lock of hair from his son Eric's first haircut, and a book titled "Cultivation of Personal Magnetism in Seven Progressive Steps" with the mid-section carved out to house Mingus's firearm.
  • The Project Files series primarily consist of Mingus's annotated drafts of his autobiography, "Beneath the Underdog." The scripts and production summaries, organized by producer name, are from films in which Mingus appeared, composed the score, or contributed music. Typescript liner notes, correspondence regarding various projects, and other short writings are also included.
  • The Clippings series mostly contains articles and reviews relating to his albums, autobiography, and the Mingus Dynasty, the New York-based jazz orchestra established after his death as a tribute to him and his contributions in music. Articles about his widow are also included in this series. Some clippings have been photocopied due to the original items' deteriorating physical condition. There are also full issues of magazines owned by Mingus or those that contain articles about him.
  • The Publicity and Programs series is divided into two file groups. The first consists of Charles Mingus's and Debut Records musicians' biographies, concert announcements, posters, and album advertisements. The programs are from Mingus's performances or performances of his music by others, primarily from the 1970s.
  • The Iconography series contains photographs, negatives, album cover art, and one piece of artwork. The photographs and negatives are images of Mingus and his family, as well as photographs of fellow musicians such as Eric Dolphy, Dannie Richmond, Max Roach, Oscar Pettiford, and Miles Davis.
  • The Awards series contains plaques and certificates for several of Mingus's wins and nominations, notably his 1973 Grammy Award nomination for "Let My Children Hear Music."


  • Mingus, Charles, 1922-1979


  • -  Mingus, Charles,--1922-1979--Archives
  • -  Mingus, Charles,--1922-1979--Correspondence
  • -  Hughes, Langston,--1902-1967--Correspondence
  • -  Macero, Teo,--1925-2008--Correspondence
  • -  Most, Sam--Correspondence
  • -  Richmond, Dannie--Correspondence
  • -  Roach, Max,--1924-2007--Correspondence
  • -  Jazz
  • -  Jazz musicians--United States--Biography
  • -  Jazz musicians--United States--Correspondence
  • -  Jazz musicians--United States--Portraits
  • -  Mingus, Charles,--1922-1979--Portraits
  • -  Davis, Miles--Portraits
  • -  Dolphy, Eric--Portraits
  • -  Pettiford, Oscar,--1922-1960--Portraits
  • -  Richmond, Dannie--Portraits
  • -  Roach, Max,--1924-2007--Portraits


  • Scores
  • Jazz
  • Advertisements
  • Biographies
  • Business correspondence
  • Concert programs
  • Greeting cards
  • Personal correspondence
  • Portraits
  • Screenplays
  • Autographs (Manuscripts)
  • Awards
  • Clippings (Information artifacts)
  • Drafts (Documents)
  • Financial records
  • Medical records
  • Travel documents
  • Writings (Documents)


  • -  Organized into following series: I. Music (1930-1995), subdivided: Music by Charles Mingus (1938-1995, undated), Music by Others (1930-1973, undated), II. Business Papers (1946-1978), subdivided: Charles Mingus Enterprises, Inc. (1955-1981), Debut Records (1951-1978), Jazz Workshop (1958-1978), III. Personal Papers (1925-1978, undated), IV. Project Files (1959-1978), V. Clippings (1950-1996, undated), VI. Publicity and Programs (1940-1979, undated), VII. Iconography (circa 1940-2015), VIII. Awards (1970-1978).
  • -  Charles Mingus, African-American jazz bassist, was born April 22, 1922, in Nogales, Arizona. He began to study the cello in 1934, switching to the bass in 1937. In 1939 Mingus began studying composition with Lloyd Reese and composed "What Love" and "Half-Mast Inhibitions." He began his professional career in 1940, playing bass with Lee Young, and he toured with Louis Armstromg's big band the following year. In 1942 Mingus played bass with Barney Bigard's ensemble which featured retired trombonist Kid Ory. The next year he began studying symphonic form and technique with Herman Rheinschagen. Mingus toured with Lionel Hampton's big band beginning in 1946 and in 1950 gained national attention as a member of Red Norvo's trio. He founded the Jazz Workshop, Inc., in 1955 and in 1964 started the record company Charles Mingus Enterprises. His autobiography "Beneath the Underdog" was published in 1972. Charles Mingus died Jan. 5, 1979, in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
  • -  Collection material in English.
  • -  Purchase; Susan Ungaro Mingus; 1992-1995, 2019.
  • -  Homzy, A. Guide to the music of Charles Mingus
  • -  Microfilm edition of the Music series; Available in microfilm; Served on request in lieu of originals for preservation reasons, consult the microfilm inventory in the collection file to determine the reel number for each work; Microfilm 2011/20001 (Mus)
  • -  Sound recordings; Charles Mingus Collection (MAVIS collection no. 6211); Transferred to the; Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress. Music Division's collection file contains inventory of this material.
  • -  Finding aid available in the Library of Congress Performing Arts Reading Room and at
  • -  Charles Mingus Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.


  • approximately 15,000 items (76 boxes, 25 linear feet)

Call Number/Physical Location

  • ML31 .M56


Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2004598900

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Mingus, Charles. Charles Mingus collection. 1925.

APA citation style:

Mingus, C. (1925) Charles Mingus collection.

MLA citation style:

Mingus, Charles. Charles Mingus collection. 1925.