In Search of Very Early DownBeats

OK, the Jazz Collector community gets a chance to solve another difficult challenge. I have been contacted by a researcher from the Oxford English Dictionary and he is searching for DownBeats between 1934 and 1936.  He has found all DownBeats in some form from 1937 on, but no luck on the earlier ones. “The purpose of all this is that the Oxford English Dictionary likes to record the earliest uses of words and phrases, and DownBeat is full of interesting and new terms for the time,” he writes. He doesn’t need the issues, just access to the content. So here it is, we have a chance to contribute once again to the historical record. If you have any ideas — or if you have any of these issues — please respond to this post. Thanks.


  • Have him contact the Yale School of Music in New Haven. They have all the early editions on microfiche(!)

  • Hi Rich – According to the online catalog of the Yale School of Music, they have Down Beat on microfilm from 1937 onward, but no issues from the first three years. Did you see any issues there from 1934-6? And did you see them on microfilm or microfiche?

  • Hi Ammon, I was there a number of years ago doing research on Carl Kress. My memory says that they have COMPLETE years of Downbeat from 1937 on – BUT – they have earlier issues on microfiche. You probably have to sweet talk someone to actually go look in the archives for you.
    Hope this helps!

  • Madelyn Gibson Antonich

    Hello! I have two old Downbeat issues from my dad, a former sax and clarinet man who played with Henry Mancini back in PA. I would like to sell them. They are from the 40’s. Where should I start?

    I also have four Norman Granz Jazz at the Philharmonic Festival of Modern American Jazz Stan Kenton magazine. Do you know of anyone who would be interested in these items? Thank you.

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