University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Franz Jackson Papers 1949-2004

© 2008 University of Chicago Library


The Franz Jackson Papers were processed and preserved as part of the "Uncovering New Chicago Archives Project," funded with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Descriptive Summary


Jackson, Franz. Papers




2.5 linear feet (4 boxes)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Franz Jackson, jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, vocalist. The Franz Jackson Papers contain correspondence, newspaper articles, publications, brochures, programs, and photographs documenting his performances, recordings, and life as a prominent jazz musician.

Information on Use


Series IV, Audio-Visual, does not include access copies for part or all of the material. Researchers will need to consult with staff before requesting material from this series.

The remainder of the collection is open for research.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Jackson, Franz. Papers, [Box#, Folder#], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Franz Jackson was born on November 1, 1912, in Rock Island, Illinois. When he was thirteen, his family moved to the South Side of Chicago. Jackson played clarinet, tenor saxophone, bassoon, and was also a vocalist. He first taught himself how to play saxophone out of books, then received additional training on saxophone as well as clarinet at Tilden Vocational high school. He also studied arranging and composition at Chicago Musical College. Jackson married the singer Maxine Johnson. He later married Virginia and they adopted two children.

In 1930, Jackson played with Albert Ammons, as well as Al “Punch” Miller, Carroll Dickerson and Jimmy Noone. In 1937, at the age of 25, Jackson replaced Ben Webster in Roy Eldridge’s band. The following year, Jackson again replaced Webster in Fletcher Henderson’s Orchestra. Jackson also wrote arrangements for Henderson.

During the 1940s, Jackson lived in New York and spent some time living in Sweden. He played with Earl Hines, Fats Waller, Benny Carter, the De Paris brothers, Cab Calloway, Frankie Newton, James P. Johnson, and Red Allen. He wrote arrangements for Pearl Bailey and Cootie Williams. He toured with United Service Organization camp shows in the Pacific Theatre from 1947-1948, and continue to tour Europe from 1948-1949. Jackson served as composer and arranger for Earl Hines, Jack Teagarden, and Raymond Scott. He also worked with Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Benny Goodman.

In 1950, Jackson returned to Chicago and in 1957 he formed the “Original Jazz Stars,” who performed at the Red Arrow Club in Stickney, Illinois. Band members included Bob Shoffner, Al Wynn, Joe Johnson, Lawrence Dixon, Bill Oldham, and Richard Curry. From 1957-1967, the band recorded seven albums. Starting in 1960, Jackson managed the Red Arrow Jazz Club. That same year, he started Pinnacle Records.

In the 1950s and beyond, Jackson played regularly at numerous other Chicago locations, including Jazz, Ltd., Old Town Gate, Dick’s Last Resort, Andy’s-Jazz at Noon, Braxton Seafood Bar and Grille, and Joe’s Be-Bop Café. He also played at the Rib Exchange in Schaumburg, The Hide Away in St. Charles, and Pops for Champagne in Highwood. Jackson also toured the country and the world. He played at events such as the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Detroit Jazz Festival, Circus Museum Parade and Jazz Jubilee in Milwaukee, Elkhart Jazz Festival, La Crosse Jazz Festival, and Valparaiso University in Indiana. Some of his international appearances include the University of Windsor in Ontario, Jazz Festival in Ascona, Switzerland, and other events in Israel, Germany, France, and Holland.

In 1996, Jackson was a recipient of the Arts Midwest Jazz Masters Award, along with Eddie Johnson. That same year, he earned the “Man of the Year” Award at the Elkhart Jazz Festival. Posthumously, he received the 2008 Theodore Thomas History Maker Award for Distinction in the Performing Arts from the Chicago History Museum. He was interviewed by Studs Terkel for Steppenwolf Theater’s TRAFFIC series on improvised music in 1997, appeared on the Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keller in 2002 and was featured on the cover of Chicago Jazz Magazine in 2004. He was honored in 2005 as one of the five world’s greatest living jazz saxophonists by the American Heritage Jazz Series and received the Jazz Institute’s Walter Dyett Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. He was also nominated for the 2007 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Fellowship and was featured at the 2007 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Jackson performed for nearly eighty years. He was once quoted, “For me jazz is like liberty and freedom. As long as there is freedom and liberty there will be jazz – because that’s the kind of music it is.” His last performance was three months before his death.

Franz Jackson died at the age of 95 on May 6, 2008.

Scope Note

The Franz Jackson Papers contain correspondence, newspaper articles, publications, brochures, programs, and photographs documenting his performances, recordings, and life as a prominent jazz musician. The Franz Jackson Papers are divided into five series: Series I, Personal; Series II, Performances; Series III, Reviews; Series IV, Audio-Visual; Series V, Publications and Oversize.

Series I, Personal, contains correspondence, newspaper articles, a personal calendar and datebook, ephemera, and a poem dedicated to Jackson.

Correspondents include David Bernstein, Moira Du Brul, Otto J. Kubik, Hugh Leal, Darryl R. Parks, Robert J. Studer, Dempsey Travis, Lym Trok, and Betty van Rossum.

Series II, Performances, contains newspaper articles, programs, brochures, and photocopies of announcements, reviews, and advertisements for performances by Jackson.

Series III, Album Reviews, contains newspaper articles and photocopies of reviews and announcements by Jackson's recorded albums.

Series IV, Audio-Visual, contain photographs and photocopies of photographs primarily of Jackson performing. There is also audio of his performances.

Series V, Publications and Oversize, contains various jazz publications as well as a menu from the 1995 Cod Fish Ball, where there was a dish called “Franz Jackson Bucket.”

Related Resources

Browse finding aids by topic.

Subject Headings


Series I: Personal

Box 1    Folder 1

Address Book, undated

Box 1    Folder 2

Biographical, 1961-1992

Box 1    Folder 3

Calendar, 1990

Box 1    Folder 4

Correspondence, 1991-1998

Box 1    Folder 5

Ephemera, 1994

Box 1    Folder 6

Newspaper Articles, 1988-1999

Box 1    Folder 7

Newspaper Articles, People, 1980-1998

Box 1    Folder 8

Poem Dedicated to Franz Jackson by Tetsuya Fukushima [in Japanese], 1996

Series II: Performances

Box 1    Folder 9

Andy's, Chicago, undated

Box 1    Folder 10

Art Hodes Tribute, Chicago, 1992-1998

Box 1    Folder 11

Battle of the Dixieland Bands, Des Plaines, IL, 1982

Box 1    Folder 12

Blues in the Night, Madison, WI, undated

Box 1    Folder 13

Bop Shop, Chicago, 1994

Box 1    Folder 14

Bronzeville, Chicago, 1999

Box 1    Folder 15

Butterfield Firehouse, 1957

Box 1    Folder 16

Canada, 1991-1996

Box 1    Folder 17

Carey's Cove, undated

Box 1    Folder 18

Chicago Jazz Festival, 1992

Box 1    Folder 19

Chicago Jazz Brunch, 1981-1982

Box 1    Folder 20

Chicago Cultural Center, 1994

Box 1    Folder 21

Chicago Historical Society, undated

Box 1    Folder 22

Chicago Kool Jazz Festival, 1982

Box 1    Folder 23

Chicago Teachers College, undated

Box 1    Folder 24

Christ United Methodist Church, Deerfield, IL, 1993, 1999

Box 1    Folder 25

Community Symphony Orchestra, Chicago, 1949-1953

Box 2   Folder 1

DePaul University, 1956

Box 2   Folder 2

Dick's Last Resort, Chicago, IL, 1989-1992

Box 2   Folder 3

Dogwood Fine Arts Festival, Dowagiac, MI, 1993

Box 2   Folder 4

East Bank Emporium, South Bend, IN, 1983

Box 2   Folder 5

Elkhart Jazz Festival, 1993

Box 2   Folder 6

Emporium of Jazz, Mendota, MN, 1990

Box 2   Folder 7

Europe, 1982-1991

Box 2   Folder 8

Evolution in Jazz, Chicago, circa 1967

Box 2   Folder 9

Festival of Traditional Jazz, Rosemont, IL, 1980-1981

Box 2   Folder 10

Fitzgerald's Music Festival, Chicago, 1994

Box 2   Folder 11

The Flame of Countryside, Countryside, IL, 1995

Box 2   Folder 12

Franz Jackson's 80th Birthday, 1992

Box 2   Folder 13

Franz Jackson's Chicagoan's, New York, undated

Box 2   Folder 14

Great Circus Parade, Milwaukee, WI, 1991

Box 2   Folder 15

Great River Fest, La Crosse, WI, 1993

Box 2   Folder 16

The Green Mill, Chicago, circa 1990s

Box 2   Folder 17

The Hunt Club, Berwyn, IL, undated

Box 2   Folder 18

The Illiana Club of Traditional Jazz, Chicago, 1992

Box 2   Folder 19

Israel, 1992-1996

Box 2   Folder 20

Jassathon No. 2, Lombard, IL, 1957

Box 2   Folder 21

Jazz Institute of Chicago, 1991-1997

Box 2   Folder 22

Jazz Jubilee, Milwaukee, WI, 1990-1994

Box 2   Folder 23

Jazz Showcase, Chicago, undated

Box 2   Folder 24

Joe's Be-Bop Café, Chicago, undated

Box 2   Folder 25

Kerrytown Concert House, Ann Arbor, MI, 1995

Box 2   Folder 26

Mississippi Blues Festival, Davenport, IA, 1997

Box 2   Folder 27

New Year's Eve Jazz Revisited Concert, Ann Arbor, MI, 1995

Box 2   Folder 28

Newport Jazz Festival, Chicago, 1994

Box 2   Folder 29

On the Waterfront, Rockford, IL, undated

Box 2   Folder 30

Pops for Champagne, Chicago, 1992-1995

Box 2   Folder 31

Preview Lounge, Chicago, 1958-1959

Box 2   Folder 32

Ravinia, 1959, 1992-1995

Box 2   Folder 33

Red Arrow, Chicago, 1956-1958

Box 2   Folder 34

The Rib Exchange, Schaumburg, IL, 1980

Box 2   Folder 35

Riverside-Brookfield High School, Riverside, IL, 1958

Box 2   Folder 36

Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago, 1997

Box 2   Folder 37

United Service Organization Tour, 1967-1970

Box 2   Folder 38

University of Notre Dame, 2004

Series III: Album Reviews

Box 3   Folder 1

"Chicago – The Living Legends," 1994

Box 3   Folder 2

"The Fabulous Franz Jackson," 1998

Box 3   Folder 3

Franz Jackson Catalog, undated

Box 3   Folder 4

"Franz Jackson/Marcus Belgrave Live at the Windsor Jazz Festival," 1995

Box 3   Folder 5

"I Is What I Is," 1998-2000

Box 3   Folder 6

"Let's Have a Party," circa 1980

Box 3   Folder 7

"A Night at the Red Arrow," 1994

Box 3   Folder 8

"No Saints," 1957

Box 3   Folder 9

"Snag It," 1992

Box 3   Folder 10

"Swing Thing," 1995-1996

Series IV: Audio-Visual

Box 3   Folder 11

Andy's, 1994

Box 3   Folder 12

Autographed Photographs, undated

Box 3   Folder 13

Caricatures, undated

Box 3   Folder 14

Elkhart, IL, 1993

Box 3   Folder 15

Franz Jackson and the Original Jass All-Stars, undated

Box 3   Folder 16

Franz Jackson with Art Hodes and Isham "Rusty" Jones, undated

Box 3   Folder 17

Franz Jackson with Barrett Deems, undated

Box 3   Folder 18

Franz Jackson with Joe Johnson and Truck Parkham, 1994

Box 3   Folder 19

Franz Jackson with Truck Parkham, undated

Box 3   Folder 20

Franz Jackson's Entertainers, undated

Box 3   Folder 21

Jazz Institute of Chicago Concert, undated

Box 3   Folder 22

La Crosse, WI, 1988

Box 3   Folder 23

Madison, 1989

Box 3   Folder 24

Negatives, undated

Box 3   Folder 25

Paintings of Jazz Musicians, undated

Box 3   Folder 26

Performances, undated

Box 3   Folder 27

Photocopies, undated

Box 3   Folder 28

Press Kit Draft, 1991-1993

Box 3   Folder 29

Publicity Shots, undated

Box 3   Folder 30

Tack Room, Illiopolis, IL, 1993

Box 3   Folder 31

United States Army, undated

Box 3   Folder 32

University of Chicago, 1990

Box 3   Folder 33

Unlabeled, undated

Box 3   Folder 34

Cassette, "Let's Have a Party!," Franz Jackson with the Jazz Entertainers, undated

Box 3   Folder 35

Record album, Jeanne Carroll with Franz Jackson and the Original Jass All-Stars, undated

Series V: Publications and Oversize

Box 4   Folder 1

Cod Fish Ball, 1995

Box 4   Folder 2

"100 Club News," 1982

Box 4   Folder 3

Allegro, Associated Musicians of Greater New York, 1992

Box 4   Folder 4

Chicago Tribune Magazine, 1993

Box 4   Folder 5

Jazz Beat, 1991

Box 4   Folder 6

Jazz Express, 1982

Box 4   Folder 7

Jazzgram, 1994-1994

Box 4   Folder 8

"Midwest Museum Bulletin," 1985

Box 4   Folder 9

Hyde Park Herald, 1972

Box 4   Folder 10

Intermezzo, 1994-2000

Box 4   Folder 11

International Musician, 1992, 1996

Box 4   Folder 12

The Mississippi Rag, 1982-1994

Box 4   Folder 13

"Notes to You," Illiana Club of Traditional Jazz, 1980-1981