Item #4788 The Bonnie Bergstrom Archive. Bonnie Bergstrom.
The Bonnie Bergstrom Archive

The Bonnie Bergstrom Archive

1930-1970. Item #4788

Bonnie Bergstrom (1915 – 1983) was a jazz trombonist, pianist, accordionist, and singer with several touring bands throughout the 1930s and ‘40s. Bergstrom performed with the Bon John Orchestra, the Platinum Blondes of America, the Diplomettes of Rhythm, the Hollywood Debutantes, and the Hollywood Ingenues. This archive documents Bergstrom’s professional and personal life with ephemera and diaries gathered from tours through Cuba, the Midwest, the South, and West Coast, which are largely housed in photo albums and scrapbooks. The archive illuminates an under-documented time period for women jazz musicians, combining images, text, and ephemera to illuminate the daily life of working women musicians on the road. A highlight of the archive is a tour diary, ephemera scrapbook, and photo album documenting her tour of pre-revolutionary Cuba, in its heyday as an American vacation colony.

This documentation gives a sense of the close relationships between band members, the grueling tour schedule, the complex hierarchies and gender relationships between the female band members and male colleagues and admirers, and the hard-partying lifestyle that was a cornerstone of jazz culture. Detailed descriptions of nights spent at clubs in New York, Havana, and elsewhere document the day-to-day lives of these young and talented musicians. The archive is collected in one bankers’ box and three museum boxes.


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