Scope and arrangement
The Jane Jarvis papers document Jarvis's personal life and career as a performer and composer, dating from 1896 to 2004, with the bulk of material dating from 1972 to 1999. The collection contains correspondence, scores, photographs, scrapbooks, recording and performance contracts, studio session notes, set lists, programs, and personal papers. This material covers Jarvis's work as a radio performer, baseball stadium organist for both the Milwaukee Braves and New York Mets, programming and recording executive at Muzak, and jazz pianist in New York City. Correspondence in the collection details Jarvis's friendships with many jazz musicians. Her manuscript and annotated scores show the range of her composing efforts, with songs for Muzak recording sessions, baseball arrangements, jazz compositions, and scores for musical theatre productions. Jarvis's performances as an accompanying artist and bandleader throughout the 1980s and 1990s are thoroughly documented in her scrapbooks and personal files.
The Jane Jarvis papers are arranged in five series:
- 1945-20044 boxes
This series contains personal and professional correspondence dating from 1945 to 2004. General correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent's surname. Jarvis's personal relationships with jazz musicians Roy Eldridge and Richie Kamuca are well documented through letters; though infrequent, her correspondence with nationally-known entertainers Red Skelton and Hoagy Carmichael are also included. Business correspondence from Jarvis's Muzak career show other executives' and customers' reactions to her programming decisions, and also contain requests to purchase recordings from the company.
The radio sub-series, arranged chronologically, contains postcards and letters from listeners which discuss Jarvis's radio appearances or request photographs and autographs. A small portion of the correspondence originates from radio station management, discussing their impressions of Jarvis's work as a radio performer.
The Mets sub-series, also arranged chronologically, is primarily composed of fan mail, with some memos and letters from the team's owners and management. Fan mail includes autograph and song requests, discussion of Jarvis's performance of national anthem, and inquiries about Jarvis's baseball compositions published in The New York Mets Songbook.
- 1939-20004 boxes and 1 oversize folder
The photographs series contains images arranged by topic and dating from 1939 to 2000. In addition to black-and-white and color prints, a small number of negatives and slides are also included. Photographs include images of Jarvis at work for Muzak, organ promotional tours and performances in the 1960s, family photographs, and formal portraits used for publicity from her early radio career in the 1940s to her solo and group tours in the late 1990s. The bulk of the photographs, filed under "Jazz," show Jarvis in performance at concerts, small clubs, and festivals. Many jazz photographs show Jarvis with her frequent accompanists Milt Hinton, Earl May, Benny Powell. Images of her recording sessions from the early 1970s are also included in the jazz photographs, showing Jarvis and session musicians in the studio.
Milwaukee Braves and Mets photographs cover her stints as a baseball stadium organist. The Braves folder includes shots of Jarvis at the organ as well as the team's player portraits from the late 1950s. Mets photographs show Jarvis playing in Shea Stadium, with professional photographs of her during games as well as promotional photographs by the Thomas Organ company. Frequent announcements about Jarvis on the scoreboard, as well as fan signs declaring her the Mets' most valuable player are also photographed. Jarvis returned to Shea Stadium in the late 1990s or early 2000s, and a select number of photographs from this appearance are included.
- 1907-200019 boxes and 3 oversize folders
The compositions series is arranged alphabetically by song title and is arranged into three sub-series. Jarvis compositions include sheet music and scores written or arranged by Jarvis, as well as original compositions by accompanists that she published. The compositions appear as draft manuscripts, revised versions, published, and annotated. Many of Jarvis's compositions originate from her work at Muzak; these pieces are identified as being published by Litt Music Publishers or directly by Muzak. Jarvis's baseball compositions are included with her arrangements of popular sports and Mets-related songs used during baseball games. She frequently collaborated in songwriting with her children, Brian and Jean Jarvis, as well as publishing under the pseudonym Jeanne Rollefson. Also of note are portions of three musical theater scores composed by Jarvis with Michael Suchomel throughout the 1990s; these titles include Take/2, Golden Rules, and The Devil is a Woman.
The Muzak compositions sub-series contains original scores and arrangements written for Muzak studio sessions produced by Jarvis. Muzak compositions are arranged alphabetically by composer name. Other compositions contains published sheet music owned by Jarvis, and ranges from jazz standards to pop and rock songs. These titles are arranged alphabetically by song title, with Hoagy Carmichael songs at the end of the sub-series.
- 1896-20035.25 boxes and 3 oversize folders
This series dates from 1896 to 2003 and details each stage of Jarvis's career as a performer, as well as her work in music production and publishing. The personal papers sub-series contains her writings about jazz, journals, and family-related research and correspondence. Outlines and draft chapters of Jarvis's 1998 memoir are included. These chapters detail Jarvis's early interest in playing music, and recount the tragic details of her parents' death. An abstract of Jarvis's oral history interview with the Smithsonian's Jazz Oral History program provides insight into her impressions on being a working musician, working woman, and one of few female musicians in her genre.
The Muzak sub-series includes employment-related files and office memos from Jarvis during her time as an executive at the company. These memos, as well as her more formal publications for Muzak, detail the technical theories behind composing and programming for Muzak.
The songwriting sub-series contains drafts, revisions, and notes about lyrics that Jarvis composed to accompany her music. Her correspondence with amateur composers, and suggestions for their work, are included here. The sub-series also contains draft scripts of two of Jarvis's musical theatre works, with comments and revisions from co-composer Michael Suchomel.
Performance files cover Jarvis's shows and tours from her early 20s to her appearances with the Statesmen of Jazz. Her regular engagements in New York City, festival appearances, and tours are documented through notes, contracts, set lists, and programs. This sub-series also includes notebooks from Jarvis's tenure with the New York Mets, which list her game song selections, organized by game date. These notes often list song title, composer or publisher, and the time during the game at which they were played.
Recording and publishing files document her work as a recording artist, record producer for Muzak, and music publisher. Copyright applications and songwriter contracts list Jarvis's song titles, co-composers, and publishing company. The sub-series also contains copyright applications and contracts for other artists and Muzak titles that were published through Jarvis's Goldcast Music Publishing. In addition to Goldcast, files from Jarvis's Heavenly Music Company, through which she published her work in the 1960s, and Sportsmusic, for her baseball-related compositions with Frank Hunter, are also included. These records highlight the financial and legal aspects of the recording and publishing industry, which Jarvis handled for herself, Muzak recordings, and other jazz musicians.
Clippings in this series are arranged by subject and cover her work as a baseball organist, tenure with Muzak, solo and small group performances, and tours with the Statesmen of Jazz. The clippings include announcements for her shows, interviews with Jarvis, reviews of her jazz performances and recordings, and ephemera. The earliest clipping in the sub-series announces her radio debut at the age of 12.
- 1945-19912.75 boxes
The scrapbooks series contains 7 scrapbooks compiled by Jarvis, with material dating from 1945 to 1991. The scrapbooks include clippings, photographs, letters, and printed ephemera related to all aspects of Jarvis's career. A small amount of the scrapbook material relates to Jarvis's earliest gigs as a radio performer in the Midwest, as well as her first job as a baseball stadium organist in Milwaukee. Her work with the Mets is documented in two scrapbooks, with additional Mets clippings interspersed through other volumes. The bulk of the scrapbooks concentrate on her time as a working jazz musician, particularly from the 1960s to the 1980s. General scrapbooks also contain material related to Jarvis's work at Muzak.