Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Search Results

Collections Search Center
2 documents - page 1 of 1

Ray Brown Papers

Creator:
Brown, Ray (Jazz musician)  Search this
Composer:
Allen, Steve, 1921-2000  Search this
Musician:
Clarke, Kenny, 1914-1985  Search this
Clayton, John  Search this
Ellis, Herb  Search this
Harris, Gene, 1933-2000  Search this
Jackson, Milt  Search this
Lewis, John, 1920-2001  Search this
Peterson, Oscar, 1925-  Search this
Shank, Bud  Search this
Singer:
Fitzgerald, Ella, 1917-1996  Search this
Producer:
Granz, Norman  Search this
Extent:
8 Cubic feet (8 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographic prints
Posters
Clippings
Music
Audiotapes
Awards
Scrapbooks
Correspondence
Business records
Date:
circa 1940-2010
Summary:
Ray Brown was an African-American musician, composer, bandleader, manager, music teacher and promoter. He became best known for his collaborative work with Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, the Oscar Peterson Trio and Norman Granz' s Jazz at the Philharmonic. Over the course of his career, Brown received awards and accolades from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Jazz Hall of Fame, Down Beat and Playboy. Brown's papers document his professional music career from 1944 to 2002 and include music compositions and notes, publicity materials, photographs, and some recordings of his performances.
Scope and Contents:
The collection primarily documents the near sixty-year music career of upright bass player, bandleader, composer, and instructor Raymond Matthews (Ray) Brown and the various bands that he played with. The materials consist of music manuscripts, musical arrangements, published sheet music, photographs, programs, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, posters, audio and video recordings, honors and awards, correspondence, and publications. There is very little information about Brown's education, family or other aspects of his personal life.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into six series.

Series 1: Musical Compositions and Notes, 1940s-2000s, undated

Series 2: Publicity Materials, 1950s-2002, undated

Series 3: Photographic Materials, 1940-2003, undated

Series 4: Personal Papers, 1954-2010

Series 5: Audiovisual Materials, 1978-1993, undated

Subseries 5.1: Moving Images, 1992-1993, undated

Subseries 5.2: Audio Recordings, 1978-1985, undated

Series 6: Performance Materials, 1964-1995, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Raymond Matthews Brown was an African American musician (double bass and cello) born on October 13, 1926 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He became known for his collaborative work with Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald (to whom he was married for a few years), and others. He was a composer, bandleader, manager, music teacher, and promoter. His professional music career lasted almost sixty years, dating from 1944 to 2002.

Brown's career began with a risky move to New York City in 1945, as a recent high school graduate, which resulted in his being hired on the spot to play with Dizzy Gillespie. Brown continued to play with Gillespie and others in various groups, recording songs such as "One Bass Hit" and "Night in Tunisia," before leaving in 1947. Brown married notable jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald that same year. He and Fitzgerald adopted a son, Raymond Matthew Brown Jr., and performed together in Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic. Granz's tours, which Brown participated in from around 1949 to 1958, allowed him to travel and play all around the world. After being introduced to Oscar Peterson during a Philharmonic tour, Brown became a founding member of the Oscar Peterson Trio in 1952. His growing commitment to the group, along with other factors, led to Brown and Fitzgerald's divorce in 1953. However, the two would continued to collaborate and perform together, as friends and colleagues.

Brown worked with Peterson and other prominent jazz musicians to find the Advanced School of Contemporary Music in Toronto, which lasted from 1960 to 1965. He left the Peterson trio in the late 1960s and moved to Los Angeles to work as a composer, manager, educator, and publisher. In California, he worked for several movie and television show orchestras, became bassist for all of Frank Sinatra's television specials, and accompanied some noted singers, including Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Tony Bennett. He composed the theme song to Steve Allen's show, "Gravy Waltz," for which they both won a Grammy Award in 1964. He also managed the Modern Jazz Quartet, and Quincy Jones. In the 1980s, he formed the Ray Brown Trio with pianist Gene Harris, which lasted nine years. He also directed events such as the Monterey Jazz and Concord Summer Festivals, and consulted for the Hollywood Bowl Association. Brown continued to play and record with his trio and various other groups, such as the Oscar Peterson Trio and the Modern Jazz Quartet, for the rest of his life. He also published an instructional book for the bass, Ray Brown's Bass Method, through his own company in 1999. Over the course of his career, Brown received awards and accolades from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Jazz Hall of Fame, Down Beat, Playboy, and many more. Ray Brown died in 2002 at the age of seventy- five.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Charismic Productions Records of Dizzy Gillespie NMAH.AC.0979

Ella Fitzgerald Papers NMAH.AC.0584

Duke Ellington Collection NMAH.AC.0301

Duke Ellington Oral History Project NMAH.AC.0368

Edward and Gaye Ellington Collection of Duke Ellington Materials NMAH.AC.0704

Ruth Ellington Collection of Duke Ellington Materials NMAH.AC.0415

Leslie Schinella Collection of Gene Krupa Materials NMAH.AC.1220
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the Archives Center in 2015 by Ray Brown's widow, Cecilia Brown.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
African Americans -- Music  Search this
Music -- Performance  Search this
Music -- Songs  Search this
Musicians  Search this
Musicians -- United States  Search this
Jazz musicians -- United States  Search this
African American music -- 20th century  Search this
Jazz  Search this
African American musicians  Search this
Music -- 20th century  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographic prints
Posters
Posters -- 20th century
Clippings
Music -- Manuscripts
Audiotapes
Awards
Scrapbooks -- 20th century
Correspondence -- 20th century
Business records -- 20th century
Citation:
Ray Brown Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1362
See more items in:
Ray Brown Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep81f8e32db-ee2a-4eb0-9267-48e04a1fdec8
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1362

Aladdin Industries, Inc. Records

Creator:
Johnson, Victor S., Sr., 1882-1943  Search this
Johnson, Victor, Jr., 1906-  Search this
Aladdin Industries, Inc. (Nashville, Tenn.).  Search this
Names:
Allen, Steve  Search this
Reagan, Ronald  Search this
Extent:
50 Cubic feet (120 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Newsletters
Commercial art
Picture postcards
Laboratory notebooks
Patents
Design drawings
Business records
Advertisements
Scrapbooks
Date:
1889-2003
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of approximately 50 cubic feet of material documenting Aladdin Industries Inc., manufacturers of vacuum ware and lunch boxes. The majority of the material dates from 1947 to the 1970s. The strength of the collection is with the lunch box documentation and product development, marketing, and sales records. There is some interesting labor history—specifically United Steel Workers agreement. The files of Victor S. Johnson, Sr. and Victor S. Johnson, Jr. form the core of the collection and provide rich documentation on the company's activities.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into seventeen series.

Series 1: Historical and Background Materials, 1919-1997

Series 2: Victor S. Johnson Sr. Files, 1916-1945

Series 3: Victor S. Johnson Jr. Files, 1906-1983

Series 4: Employee and Personnel Records, 1910-2001

Series 5: Research and Development Records, 1910-1976

Series 6: Patent Records, 1889-1973

Series 7: Sales Records, 1939-2000

Series 8: Advertising and Marketing Records, 1931-2001

Series 9: School Lunch Kits, 1952-1989

Series 10: Lamps and Kerosene Heaters, 1911-2000

Series 11: Temp-Rite, 1972-2000

Series 12: Competitors, 1963-2001

Series 13: Style Guides, 1966-1998

Series 14: Newsletters, 1943-1998

Series 15: Photographs, 1923-1986

Series 16: Scrapbooks, 1908-1962

Series 17: Audiovisual Materials, 1993-1996
Biographical / Historical:
Victor Samuel Johnson Sr., (1882-1943) was born in Nebraska. As a soap salesman for the Iowa Soap Company, he became interested in kerosene mantle burners. Dissatisfied with the available kerosene lamps, he began selling and dealing U.S. made mantles and incorporated the Mantle Lamp Company of America in Chicago in 1908. Johnson selected the name "Aladdin" from the famous story, "Aladdin; or The Wonderful Lamp." Johnson began research and development of a mantle lamp that gave off a steady white light and did not smoke. The Mantle Lamp Company began manufacturing lamps in 1912, with Plume & Atwood Manufacturing Company burners, and marketed them as "Aladdin Lamps." The company diversified in 1917 and began producing insulated cooking dishes, known as Aladdin Thermalware jars, for the U.S. military. These jars had an aluminum or steel jacket wrapped around a heavy glass receptacle. The space between was filled with cork. The introduction of the thermalware began the company's venture into heat and cold retaining receptacles.

In 1919, Johnson organized a subsidiary of the Mantle Lamp Company of America, Aladdin Industries, Inc., to market and sell the Aladdin thermalware jars and vacuum ware. At the same time, Mantle lamp Company of America formed Aladdin Limited in Canada and England to sell thermalware as well as Pathfinder Radio Corporation, Cadillac Photograph Corporation, Aladdin Chemical Corporation, Aladdin Phonograph Corporation, Johnson Laboratories, Inc. (radio components), and Aladdin Radio Industries (magnetic and radio research). Pathfinder, Cadillac, Aladdin Chemical and Aladdin Phonograph all failed. In 1926, the Mantle Lamp Company acquired Lippincott Glass Company of Alexandria, Indiana, where it manufactured and fabricated glass chimneys, shades and lamp bases, mantles, wicks, and metal lamp bases. The Alexandria plant closed in 1952 and eventually moved to Nashville.

In 1943, Victor S. Johnson Sr. died and his son, Victor S. Johnson Jr. (1906-), succeeded him as president of Aladdin Industries Inc. Johnson Jr. moved Aladdin from Chicago to Nashville, Tennessee in 1949 to place the company strategically in mid-America to distribute its products. Aladdin's general offices, vacuum bottle production, and electric lamps and kerosene completed the move by 1952.

In 1950, Aladdin began illustrating flat metal school lunch kits (lunch boxes with liquid containers) with images of popular radio, movie and television figures. Hopalong Cassidy was the first character kit. This innovative marketing decision produced an explosive growth in the lunch kit market and made Aladdin a pioneer in image licensing. Character lunch boxes became a large part of the childhood experience and are collector's items today. Over the years, Aladdin extended the range of characters depicted and began manufacturing plastic and soft, vinyl lunch kits with printed themes. It also introduced "3D" embossing on the flat metal kits. Embossed metal lunch kits were completely phased out in 1986 due to high production costs. In addition to the school lunch kits, Aladdin also introduced wide mouth vacuum bottles (pint and quart size) in 1953. The wide mouth bottles also carried "adult" themes such as the "Angler" fisherman's bottle. The thermosware line eventually moved from metal to plastic jackets and from a glass insulated filler to foam.

In 1965, Aladdin purchased the Stanley steel bottle operation from Landers, Frary and Clark in New Britain, Connecticut. Aladdin's diversification strategy led to the introduction in 1968 of the Temp-Rite® meal distribution plan, an insulated thermal tray service for hospitals, the airline industry, and prisons. The Temp-Rite® system gave rise to a full line of products and services and Aladdin formed a subsidiary, known as Aladdin Synergetics, Inc., to handle its health care and food service operations. Aladdin Synergetics was sold to Welbilt Corporation in 1998; the new operation was named Aladdin Temp-Rite. Other products added over the years included electric lamps, shades, kerosene stoves, and an electronics division in 1956. This division was established from a small technical research group whose function was patent licensing. As a subsidiary of Aladdin Industries, it produced transformers and radio and telephone filters. The subsidiary was sold to Vernitron in October, 1979.

At various times, Aladdin established offices in Alexandria, Indiana; Chicago, Illinois; Nashville, Tennessee; Portland Oregon, Canada; Hungry; France; Australia, New Zealand; England; Iraq, Iran, Brazil, Japan, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Uruguay, France, Germany, Iceland, Sweden, and South Africa to market and sell its products.

Aladdin was financially mismanaged in the 1990s and rapidly declined. Aladdin Industries Inc. reorganized in 1999 and became known as Aladdin Industries LLC. High labor costs and unsuccessful efforts to develop new products led to further decline. By January, 2002, Aladdin had sold its remaining product lines and closed its Nashville plant. Aladdin lamps are still sold today by the Aladdin Mantle Lamp Company of Clarksville, Tennessee.
Separated Materials:
The Division of Cultural History (now Division of Cultural and Community Life) holds 30 lunch boxes and 28 thermos bottles from Aladdin Industries, Nashville, Tennessee. Additionally, there is a pair of lamps. See Accession 2003.0255. Although the children's steel lunch boxes predominate, the collection represents the full spectrum of Aladdin box designs including vinyl, hard plastic, and fabric.
Provenance:
Donated to the Archives Center by Aladdin Industries in 2003.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but the oversize map folders are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Lunchboxes  Search this
Character merchandising  Search this
Celebrities  Search this
Food containers  Search this
Food container industry  Search this
Thermos bottles  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- 20th century
Newsletters -- 20th century
Commercial art
Picture postcards -- 20th century -- United States
Laboratory notebooks
Patents -- 20th century
Design drawings -- 1950-2000
Business records -- 20th century
Advertisements -- 20th century
Scrapbooks -- 20th century
Citation:
Aladdin Industries, Inc. Records, 1889-2002, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0844
See more items in:
Aladdin Industries, Inc. Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8fd6fbc8e-2f6e-4e4c-9521-d11b05b2e4de
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0844
Online Media:

Modify Your Search







or


Narrow By
  • Archives Center, National Museum of American History