Jazz Loft Staff

Sam Stephenson
Jazz Loft Project Director


Sam Stephenson is a writer and instructor at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Since 1997 he has researched the life and work of photographer W. Eugene Smith, authoring three books: Dream Street: W. Eugene Smith’s Pittsburgh Project (W. W. Norton, 2001), W. Eugene Smith 55 (Phaidon Press, 2001), and The Jazz Loft Project: Photographs and Tapes of W. Eugene Smith from 821 Sixth Avenue (Knopf, November 2009). He curated a 400-piece exhibition of Dream Street for the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and the International Center of Photography in New York City in 2001-02.  His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Oxford American, Smithsonian, A Public Space, Paris Review, and DoubleTake, among other publications. He has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition, as well as NBC's Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, and the BBC-TV’s 2007 series The Genius of Photography.  His biography of Smith, Picture Paradise, is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.  He is a native of Washington, N.C.

Dan Partridge
Jazz Loft Project Research Associate

Dan Partridge is a research associate at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. As the Jazz Loft Projects audio specialist, he is the primary listener of Smith's immense archive of recordings. He enjoys the challenge of piecing together audio artifacts in order to understand the larger stories of the lives that intersected at 821 Sixth Avenue. He is creating a Jazz Loft Project database with colleagues, archivists, and jazz historians that will serve as an index to the collection. He has also served as videographer for many of the Jazz Loft Project oral history interviews. Previously, he worked as the project coordinator of Sound Shadows at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh, N.C., and contributed to the book Seeing Beyond Sight (Chronicle Books, 2007).  Before joining the Jazz Loft Project in 2003, he worked with Exhibitions and Public Programs at the Center for Documentary Studies.


Lauren Hart
Jazz Loft Project Coordinator

Lauren Hart earned a B.A. from Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., in 2008.  At Hampshire, she studied ethnomusicology and wrote an ethnographic thesis examining the race-and class-based power dynamics that have traditionally informed the process of representing and documenting blues musicians.  She has previously worked for the Music Maker Relief Foundation.  Her love of music, storytelling, and listening brought her to the Jazz Loft Project in September 2008.