Village jazz photo collection finds new home

Frank Driggs displays a few samples of his jazz photography collection. Photo via the New York Times.

Frank Driggs displays a few samples of his jazz photography collection. Photo via the New York Times.

Last week the New York Times reported that a large collection of jazz photographs, an archive painstakingly assembled over six decades by the record producer and writer Frank Driggs, had been donated to Jazz at Lincoln Center. Mr. Driggs, a resident of Charlton Street in the Village for many years, was reluctant to part with the collection during his lifetime, but made provisions for the collection to be donated after his death.

Frank Driggs at his Charlton Street home. Photo via the New York Times.

Frank Driggs at his Charlton Street home. Photo via the New York Times.

Before he died in 2011, Frank Driggs’ collection of more than 78,000 photographs was stored in eight filing cabinets in an 1827 town house on Charlton Street, in the Charlton-King-Vandam Historic District. Dan Morgenstern, director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University who presented a lecture about the Village’s place in jazz history for GVSHP in 2010, appraised the collection at $1.5 million eight years ago.

According to the Times,”many of the photographs had been given to Mr. Driggs, a former producer for Columbia Records, by the musicians themselves during decades when he haunted New York’s jazz clubs. The collection is widely regarded as unique in its size and scope: there are 1,545 images of Duke Ellington; 1,083 shots of Louis Armstrong; and 692 photographs of Benny Goodman.” While the collection no longer lives in the Village, we here at Off the Grid are excited to see it in a new home.

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Sheryl
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Sheryl Woodruff was GVSHP's Senior Director of Operations until December 2014.

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