Tree Ref (Click this to browse the collection catalogue)POAAAM
Extent73 shelves and 3 plan chest drawers
TitlePaul Oliver Archive of African American Music
Datec18th century-2017
ContentDescriptionPlease note that the catalogue includes the titles of published material, some of which contain overtly racist or racially offensive terms. These have been retained as part of the historical record but do not reflect the views of Oxford Brookes University or its staff.
DescriptionThe Paul Oliver Archive of African American Music consists of material collected and accumulated by Paul Oliver (25 May 1927 - 15 August 2017), an eminent architecture and blues scholar who wrote, edited, and contributed to numerous books on blues music. The collection includes papers and documents relating to his research and writing - which extended to journalism, lectures and radio scripts in addition to books - as well as a substantial quantity of audio material and photographs. The audio includes field recordings made by Oliver, including the set of interviews with blues artists from his 1960 US field trip; recordings of BBC radio programmes presented by him; tapes relating to his research on Texas blues (many of them from his collaborator Mack McCormick); and commercial recordings in various formats (78s, 45s, LPs, CDs).
ArrangementThe collection has been arranged in four series: Papers; Music scores; Audio and visual material; and Photographs. Where possible, original order has been maintained. The music scores were originally from the collection of John Anderson, and have been kept together as a group; some additional music scores stored with Oliver's own research papers can be found under POAAAM/1/2/6.
Creator NameOliver, Paul Hereford (1927-2017)
Administrative HistoryPaul Oliver (25 May 1927 - 15 August 2017) was born in Nottingham and was a noted historian of both Architecture and African American music. He grew up in Pinner, North West London and attended Harrow Art School, where he began his lifelong interest in African American music. In 1960 he won a grant from the State Department and received financing from the BBC to go to the United States and record Blues Artists. The resulting interviews and photographs from this trip were included in an exhibition at the American embassy in London, as well as providing research for further books. In 1978 he came to Oxford Brookes to join the Architecture department, and continued to research and work in both his fields of interest. He died in Oxfordshire in 2017 at the age of 90.

His publications include a book and LP giving his educational insight into blues, ‘Blues Fell this Morning’; a book containing his interviews from the 1960 American field trip, ‘Conversation with the Blues’; considered to be the first comprehensive history of the genre, ‘The Story of the Blues’; and a book on the vocal traditions on Race Records, ‘Songsters and Saints’.
Custodial HistoryTransferred from Paul Oliver's house and some books from University of Gloucestershire.
Related MaterialSee Paul Oliver Vernacular Architecture Library (POVAL)

Paul Oliver Archive of African American Music

Access ConditionsAccess in the special collections reading room only.
SubjectBlues musicians
Blues (Music)
Archivist NoteThe music scores were catalogued by Louise Willis and Jodi Wilkinson, 2018. The research papers, audio reels and photographs were catalogued by Elizabeth Stubbs and Fabian Macpherson, 2021-2022.
Access statusOpen
DS/UK/50Oliver; Paul Hereford (1927-2017); MBE; architectural historian and writer on the blues and other forms of African American music1927-2017
Add to My Items