Hitch's Happy Harmonists, which included Hoagy Carmichael, at the Gennett studios.
Hitch's Happy Harmonists at Gennett studios


Location: The United States
Dates: 1920s-1981

The Hoagy Carmichael Collection at the Archives of Traditional Music represents the largest holding of materials pertaining to Hoagy Carmichael available anywhere in the world. Materials related to Hoagy Carmichael are held at three different special collections on the IU Bloomington campus. Approximately 56 letters and manuscripts are held by the Lilly Library, the Indiana University Archives holds 270 pieces of correspondence, press-related materials, and photographs, and the Archives of Traditional Music holds over 3500 items, including 750 recordings featuring Carmichael as composer or performer. The collections at the ATM also include films, photographs, lyrics, original manuscripts, correspondence, scrapbooks, scores, personal effects, and other miscellaneous materials.

Hoagland "Hoagy" Carmichael (1899-1981) grew up in Bloomington, Indiana and graduated from the Indiana University School of Law. He composed his enduring pop standard, "Star Dust" while he was finishing his studies at IU. It was at Indiana that he befriended Bix Beiderbecke and began to pursue a career as a jazz musician more seriously. He made his first recordings at the studios of Gennett Records in Richmond, Indiana, the same place where Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Thomas Dorsey, and Gene Autry made their first recordings. Carmichael's career shifted from jazz musician to songwriter and he eventually became one of the most important jazz and popular song composers of the 1930s through the early 1950s. Songs such as "Stardust," "Up a Lazy River," "Georgia on my Mind," and "The Nearness of You," remain part of the standard repertoire for jazz and popular musicians today. He appeared in several Hollywood films and won Grammy and Oscar awards for his work.

Significant portions of the collection at the ATM were digitized in 1999 as part of a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS). A website was created as part of the project (see: https://dlib.indiana.edu/collections/hoagy/index.html), which is no longer updated. Instead, the Finding Aid to the Hoagy Carmichael Collection is available on Archives Online which includes links for digital access to the recordings, photos, documents, and other materials in the collection. 

Hoagy Carmichael's most famous song, "Stardust," was added to the National Recording Registry by the Librarian of Congress in 2004. The original manuscript for "Stardust" resides at the Archives of Traditional Music.

Sample 1: Bone Yard Shuffle. May 19, 1925. Hitch's Happy Harmonists, under the direction of and accompanied by Hoagy Carmichael (Fred Rollison, cornet; Jerry Bump, trombone; Harry Wright, clarinet; Rookie Neal, C-melody sax; Dewey Neal, bass sax; Maurice Mays, banjo; Earl McDowell, drums). Gennett Records 3066. ATM accession number 86-208-C.

Sample 2: Edited selections from a 1979 interview with Hoagy Carmichael for a documentary film "Stardust Road" that was never released. Interview conducted by Hoagy's son, Hoagy Bix Carmichael. ATM accession number 98-006-F.

Holdings associated with Hoagy Carmichael are organized across multiple accession numbers too numerous to list here. However, for a brief sampling of catalog records visit: 86-611-F86-712-F86-741-F86-754-F86-765-F, and 86-803-F.

The recordings in the collection, including those excerpted above, are available online to IU students, faculty, and staff through Media Collections Online. Links to items in Media Collections Online can be found in the catalog records for recordings, or can be browsed in the Media Collections Online collection directly.  Usage restrictions will apply according to copyright laws and library policies.