The Hugo Keesing popular music memorabilia finding aid describes all popular music memorabilia throughout the Keesing Collections at the University of Maryland. The listed materials belong to six separate collections on popular music and culture. All materials are gifts of Dr. Hugo Keesing, a former professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, and Dr. Keesing's brother, Wouter Keesing. Included are items such as ticket stubs, apparel, jewelry, games, cups, and stickers. The bulk of the material covers the periods 1964 to 1991, and 2012 to 2013.
The collection is open for research use. Materials from this collection must be used in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Contact the curator for an appointment: http://www.lib.umd.edu/scpa/contact
Copyright was not transferred with the donation of the materials; all rights remain with the creators and rights holders.
The materials described in the Hugo Keesing popular music memorabilia belong to six separate collections on popular music and culture: The Hugo Keesing collection on The Beatles, The Wouter Keesing collection on Fats Domino and New Orleans R&B, The Hugo Keesing collection on Roy Orbison, The Hugo Keesing collection on Elvis Presley, The Keesing collection on popular music and culture, and The Hugo Keesing collection on One Direction. Included are items such as ticket stubs, apparel, jewelry, games, cups, and stickers. The dates of the collection span from 1957 to 2013, though the bulk of the material covers the periods 1964 to 1991, and 2012 to 2013.
[See finding aid for the Hugo Keesing collection on popular music and culture for information on Hugo Keesing]
Since the development of institutions such as Hard Rock Café and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in the 1970s and 1980s, collecting music memorabilia has become a popular and profitable hobby for rock enthusiasts. Items that a layperson might pass over—a Bon Jovi T-shirt, a Kiss lunchbox, or a Beatlemania pin, for example—hold significant cultural and monetary value to collectors. As a result of the work and dedication of these collectors, a wealth of artifacts survives from American popular music culture.
Scholars of popular music study not only recordings, but also the cultural context in which the recordings were made. This includes everything from an artist’s politics to fashion trends followed by their audience. A piece of memorabilia connects music with its cultural environment.
This connection may be evident in an artist’s iconography. An artist is represented visually in official merchandise in the way that the artist wishes to be understood by their fans, or how their record label wishes to depict them. Likewise, unofficial or fan-created merchandise depicts an artist in the way that they are perceived by their audience. Memorabilia can also provide demographic information about audiences themselves. Objects such as beer cans and bottle openers suggest an older audience than board games and school supplies. Clothing items may be examined in relation to fashion trends: apparel that conforms to mainstream fashion suggests a different demographic than apparel that fits a counterculture aesthetic.
Memorabilia not produced by an artist or their record company can provide information about an artist’s popularity or significance at a particular time. Manufacturers producing collector’s items will make a decision regarding which artists to feature. A researcher will ask why the featured artists are considered to be more important than others, and which cultural authorities make these decisions.
These are merely several ways in which memorabilia is an important component of music research. Just as an audio recording captures sound, a piece of memorabilia captures an action or idea associated with that sound. By examining these artifacts, scholars are able to develop a more complete picture of American popular music culture.
The materials cataloged in this finding aid belong to six separate collections on popular music and culture:
The series/box/folder number indicates the location of each item within its respective original archival collection. More detailed information on each item is available from this spreadsheet [link to CCo sheet].
All materials are gifts of Hugo and Wouter Keesing and Gabby Lucia. Each collection has been processed separately.
Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library