Vanderbilt University/NMAAM Collections Initiative: Recent Acquisitions

Selected Images from Recent Acquisitions:

A sepia toned headshot of a young Dizzy Gillespie posing with his trumpet. He wears a suit and tie and has a tidy mustache. The inscription reads

Headshot of Dizzy Gillespie with dedication to his mother, c. 1955.

This sepia tone headshot of a young Gillespie is inscribed "To Mom, Love and Kisses, Your Son, Dizzy."

A black and white photograph of Dizzy Gillespie playing with his band. Dizzy is standing in front of a microphone playing trumpet with his characteristic blown out cheeks. Three saxophonists are seated directly behind him.

Dizzy Gillespie onstage, date unknown.

A black and white photograph showing Gillespie performing on the trumpet. 

A black and white photography probably taken by UPI that shows Dizzy Gillespie charming a large snake while on tour in Karachi, Pakistan, in 1956. Gillespie is seated with the snake draped around his neck while he plays the trumpet; his wife seated next to him, appears to be frightened of the snake.

Dizzy Gillespie charms a snake in Karachi, Pakistan, while on tour in 1956

One of the many images documenting Dizzy Gillespie's groundbreaking state tour of the Middle East in 1956. Gillespie's personal scrapbooks from his tours were acquired for the Vanderbilt/NMAAM Collections Initiative.

A black and white photograph of Dizzy Gillespie posing with Fozzie Bear and Jim Henson backstage at the Muppet Show. Henson is operating the puppet.

Dizzy Gillespie poses backstage at the Muppet Show with Fozzie Bear and Jim Henson, 1979

Dizzy Gillespie appeared as the guest star in episode 413 of the Muppet Show, which aired in early 1980. The Gillespie Collection includes the Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy puppets used in this episode.

Nelson Mandela, Dizzy Gillespie and Hage Geingob pose together in 1990.

Nelson Mandela, Dizzy Gillespie, and Hage Geingob, Namibia, 1990

Dizzy Gillespie was invited to perform for the inauguration ceremony of Sam Nujoma, the first president of independent Namibia. Gillespie met Nelson Mandela and Hage Geingob (the current president of Namibia).

A photograph of a piece of staff paper with the printed phrase

A fragment of music in Dizzy Gillespie's hand

A tiny gem from the Dizzy Gillespie collection that shows a fragment of music notated in Gillespie's own hand.

Recent Acquisitions:

Collections Initiatives Purchases, FY2021:

  • The John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie Collection - a rich collection of photographs, scrapbooks, and personal records that document the life and career of Dizzy Gillespie. A major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz, Gillespie was a trumpet player, composer, band leader, composer, and educator. Of particular note are the scrapbooks compiled by Gillespie during his groundbreaking 1956 state department tour of the Middle East. More information on the collection is available in the VU News Story, "Vanderbilt Heard Libraries are new home to Dizzy Gillespie Collection.
  • Janet Jackson, Rhythm Nation Tour Stage Worn Coat, custom made by Richard Tyler, 1990.
  • Rissi Palmer Papers - Rissi Palmer is a groundbreaking country singer-songwriter who amplifies Black, Brown, and Indigenous voices in country music through her Color Me Country streaming program on Apple Music Country. Palmer's papers include six songwriting notebooks that span her career and several outfits, including the dress that she wore onstage during her premiere at the Grand Ole Opry in 2007. More information is available in the VU News Story, New Heard Libraries collection documents challenges for country artists of color.