'Fresh Air' Remembers Jazz Archivist And Historian Michael Cogswell

Historians in the News
tags: museums, obituaries, historic preservation, archives, jazz, music history, Louis Armstrong

transcript of radio broadcast:


This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross.


DAVIES: Michael Cogswell, whose life's work was devoted to preserving the legacy of Louis Armstrong, died last week at the age of 66 from complications of bladder cancer. Cogswell was a musician with a master's in jazz studies, when in 1991 he responded to an advertisement for an archivist to handle the Louis Armstrong collection. It began Cogswell's 27-year association with and dedication to the musician.

Cogswell became the executive director of the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, Queens, New York, which Cogswell helped renovate and preserve. It's the house Louis Armstrong lived in for the last 30 years of his life with his wife Lucille. The collection includes 650 reel-to-reel tape recordings of songs and conversations, 5,000 photographs, 350 pages of autobiographical manuscripts, 86 scrapbooks, 240 acetate discs of live recordings Armstrong made at home, five trumpets and more. Cogswell was also the author of the book "Louis Armstrong: The Offstage Story Of Satchmo."

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