The Notebooks

~44 pounds.

~44 pounds.

“Someday I think you should come down and weigh my scrapbook.” -W. Eugene Smith

We have now heard all of the digitized audio material made from the tapes found in W. Eugene Smith’s collection. These notebooks hold the paper version of my notes as well as the contributions of fellow listeners Hank Stephenson, Will Harris, Beth Turner, Lauren Brenner, and Margaret Hennessey. Special thanks to these individuals for sharing in the discovery of Smith’s audio. And to Sam Stephenson, for creating the Jazz Loft Project and allowing me to hear this collection, in addition to sharing in the discovery of the wonders found in and beyond Smith’s recordings.  We are grateful for the support of our friends at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona Libraries as well as our friends here in Durham at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

This work would not have been possible without the generous support of the Reva and David Logan Foundation. Likewise, we are deeply grateful to the Heirs of W. Eugene Smith.

We are also thankful for crucial funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (The Grammy Foundation), the Duke University Office of the Provost, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Ken and Amelia Jacob, and Kimpton Hotels.

Many people have contributed to this listening and cataloging work. In thinking of people to thank, the list begins to grow towards the size of the list of names of people who passed through the loft at 821 Sixth Avenue. And there is a good deal of overlap in these two lists. We are very fortunate and most thankful to have met and heard the stories of many who lived in, worked in, and visited this loft building.  And we are fortunate to collaborate with a wonderful community of partners, archivists, audio  engineers, colleagues, advisors, work study students, interns, friends, and fellow Rome builders. Thank you!

At this juncture, we are working with our partner institutions on the next steps in the prospect of archiving this enormous collection so  that it may be made available to the public in the future.

-Dan Partridge

Photo by Harlan Campbell.

Photo by Harlan Campbell.


  1. Sam Said,

    December 21, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

    Duke University should give Dan an honorary masters or doctorate for this mammoth, unique achievement. I can’t say enough about what he’s done. Not even Smith heard all of these tapes (there were times when Smith rolled the tapes and left the room or building). Huge kudos and warm gratitude to Dan.

    This is a momentous point in the life and times of the Jazz Loft Project. Who knew? What I do know is that it took rare patience, curiosity, and depth to do what Dan did.

    -Sam Stephenson

  2. admin Said,

    December 21, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

    Thanks Sam! I should also mention a special thanks to JLP coordinators Sarah Moye and Lauren Hart. Their work on the project made it considerably easier for me to focus on cataloging the audio. -Dan