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Bix Beiderbecke Museum and Archives

Identifier: 2023-29-Open

Scope and Contents


Spiegle and Cynthia Willcox at the Bix Fest (1995 and 1996)

snapshot of Spiegle Willcox with Bob Crosby Bob Cats on stage

Spiegle Willcox home in New York - exterior

Spiegle Willcox with trombone - one with dog

Jean Goldkette [1899-1962] portrait in sepia tones (1950-1962?)

Goldkette Orchestra reprint with New England Tour Bus


Typed list of Spiegle Willcox repertoire and the keys in which he could play each title

Eastman School of Music Proclamation re: Spiegle Willcox (April 1989)

Bix Jazz Fest Poster (2000)

Spiegle Willcox business cards - 3

Adirondack Brass and Woodwind, Colin MacInnis business cards - 2

Fabiano Pellini business card - 1

clippings re: Spiegle Willcox - 2

Idaho Mountain Express front page re:Spiegle Willcox, laminated (October 1996)

Detroit, MI ballroom publication "Graystone Topics" and "Graystone Garden News" - copies (four issues 1927-1928)

Souvenir Program Paul Whiteman Orchestra - photocopies (ca 1930)

textual documents re:Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke including speech of Richard Sudhalter at Bix Festival

"Bix Beiderbecke: Observing a Genius at Work" by Sandy Sandke (1996)

Bix Beiderbecke memorial Society Case Book (2002)

"Bix-An Interpretation of a Legend" re: Pupi Avati film (1991)

ACCRUAL AUGUST 2023 1 record center carton contains one folder of documents including a biography of Carl Heinrich Beiderbecke (1845-1936)correspondence and translations.

12 Books authored by or owned by Rev. C.H. Beiderbecke or other family members in German, English and Herero languages [best effort to interpret]:

Life Among the Heroes in Africa: The Experiences of H. Beiderbecke, Lutheran Pastor (1922) English language

Gottes Licht im dunklen Erdteil [Mission in Africa??] by Henrich Beiderbecke (1889) German language

The New Testament and Psalms in Otyiherhero (1879) Herero language

Erinnerungen eines afrikanischen Missionars (1922) German language

OMAIMBURIRO [Catechism??] (1879) Herero language

Soldforner [?] appears to be a diary with possible scripture entries-no handwritten entries (no year)

Omahonge ookuleza OTYIHEREROI [appears to be a primer] (1879) Herero language

Omahungi oOmbibela: The Scriptural History published in Calw, translated into Otyiherhero (1879)

Ausmeiner Jugendzeit von D. Traugott Hahn [possibly From My Youth] (1921) German language?

Er siihret mich aus rechter Strasze (1903) German language?

OMAIMBURIRO M'OTYIHERERO (1875) Herero language

Hone's Works Yearbook by William Hone (1892) English language


  • Creation: 1875-1996

Language of Materials

Herero and English

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials are available for use in the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center only.

Request permission before copying materials.

Personal digital cameras and scanners are allowed in the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center on a case-by-case basis. The items that a researcher may want to scan or photograph must be examined and evaluated for physical condition, copyright issues, and donor restrictions by staff.

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of reproductions of copyrighted material.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

Biographical / Historical

Bix Beiderbecke, in full Leon Bismark Beiderbecke, (born March 10, 1903, Davenport, Iowa, U.S.—died August 6, 1931, Long Island, New York), American jazz cornetist who was an outstanding improviser and composer of the 1920s and whose style is characterized by lyricism and purity of tone. He was the first major white jazz soloist.

As a boy Beiderbecke was expelled from Lake Forest Academy in suburban Chicago. In 1923 he joined the Wolverines, a youthful group with whom he first recorded and toured to New York City, and in 1925 he worked in Chicago, where he first heard and played with the great Black innovators Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, and Jimmy Noone. While in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1926, Beiderbecke joined Frank Trumbauer, with whom he maintained a close friendship for most of the rest of his life. The two played in the Jean Goldkette band (1927) and in Paul Whiteman’s outstanding pop music orchestra (1928–30), in which Beiderbecke was a featured soloist. Severe alcoholism disrupted his career and led to his death.

Beiderbecke emphasized the cornet’s middle register, using simple rhythms and diatonic harmonies. His attack was precise, and his tone, often described as “golden” and “bell-like,” was consistently pure. If the simplicity of his materials made Beiderbecke’s playing seem delicate, the vitality of his lyric imagination—he had a rare ability to create melodies, embellishments, and melodic variations—demonstrated his strength. Such recordings as “I’m Coming, Virginia” and “Singin’ the Blues,” both recorded with Trumbauer’s group in 1927, remain jazz classics. Beiderbecke’s approach lived on in the playing of Jimmy McPartland and Bobby Hackett, as well as in that of the many lesser players who formed almost a cult of hero worshipers, possibly fueled by novels and films such as Dorothy Baker’s Young Man with a Horn (1938; film 1950), a novel inspired by (but not based on) Beiderbecke’s life. His compositions include several short piano pieces, most notably “In a Mist,” written in an advanced, chromatic harmonic language that showed the influence of such French Impressionist composers as Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy.

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Bix Beiderbecke". Encyclopedia Britannica, 6 Mar. 2023, Accessed 4 May 2023.


3 Linear Feet (in 1 oversized flat archive box and 1 record center carton.)

Physical Location

Lower Level Lab

Immediate Source of Acquisition



2023-29.August accrual includes books that were owned or authored by Rev. Carl Heinrich Beiderbecke (1845-1936) a missionary to Herero in Africa and one folder of translations of letters, biographical information, correspondence.

2028-29: Phil and Linda Evans/Scott Black Collection & Elizabeth Beiderbecke Hart Collection from Bix Museum

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center Repository

321 Main Street
Davenport IA 52801-1490 United States

About the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center:

The Special Collections Department of the Davenport Public Library was established in 1982. In November of 1999, the newly renovated department opened to better serve its community and was renamed the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center. The Center acquires, arranges, describes, preserves, and makes available local history and genealogical materials concentrating on those pertaining to Davenport, Scott County, and Eastern Iowa.

Books and other printed materials in the collection can be found using a Library Search. For additional digital resources, browse the Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image Archive. For more information about specific subjects relating to Scott County History, please browse the Research Guides.
Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center
Davenport Public Library
321 Main Street
Davenport IA 52801-1490
(563) 326-7902