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Hugo Keesing collection on Elvis Presley

 Collection 0067-SCPA

Elvis Aaron Presley (b. January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, MS; d. August 16, 1977 in Memphis, TN) was a musician and actor. He is perhaps one of the biggest icons of American popular culture in the 20th century. Often referred to as "The King" of rock 'n' roll, some of his biggest hit singles are "Hound Dog," "Blue Suede Shoes," "Jailhouse Rock," and "All Shook Up." His major breakout year as a recording artist was 1956 and he has since become the highest selling artist worldwide in the histroy of recorded music. He began focusing on acting in the 1960s. The Hugo Keesing collection on Elvis Presley consists of books, serials, clippings, and memorabilia related to his life and music. This collection has been separated into nine series with dates ranging from 1935 to 2002 with the majority of materials dating from 1974 to 1990.


  • 1974-1997
  • Majority of material found within 1974-1990

Use and Access to Collection

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:

Duplication and Copyright Information

Copyright was not transferred with the donation of the materials; all rights remain with the creators and rights holders.


3.50 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Hugo Keesing collection on Elvis Presley covers the period from 1935 to 2002; the bulk of the materials date from 1974 to 1990. This collection contains realia, ephemera, clippings, serials, catalogs, books, and programs relating to Elvis Presley's life and music, with much of the materials pertaining to his late career and following his death. There are a significant number of newspaper clippings, magazines, and magazine articles related to his passing. This collection also contains several pieces of sheet music of songs made popular by Elvis or songs about Elvis.


[See finding aid for the Hugo Keesing collection on popular music and culture for information on Hugo Keesing]

Elvis Presley (January 8, 1935 - August 16, 1977) was one of the first true rock 'n' roll stars. Referred to as "The King of Rock 'n' Roll," Presley had a major influence on popular music and musicians. Teenagers idolized Presley, viewing him as a symbol of liberation, while teachers, clergy, and many other adults saw his hip-shaking stage presence as overly suggestive.

Presley's early music, a combination of rock 'n' roll with country, is described as rockabilly. The gospel and blues elements that also contribute to Presley's sound stem from his earliest musical experiences, singing at the First Assembly of God Church in East Tupelo, Mississippi and listening to legendary blues artists on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. Presley's earliest releases, from 1954, were issued by Sun Records. Presley was the "white man with the Negro sound and the Negro feel" that Sun owner Sam Phillips had been looking for. In late 1955, RCA purchased Presley's contract and in 1956, his debut album, Elvis Presley reached number one on the charts. Between 1956 and 1977, Elvis had nine number one albums on the United States charts and eighteen number one singles. He also appeared in thirty-one feature films, which were usually commercially, if not critically, successful. Presley died in August 1977 of what officials called congestive heart failure, although his death has since been determined to be drug-related.

Both during his lifetime and continuing today, Presley-related merchandise (including posters, clothing, and household items), Elvis impersonators, and the commercial success of his recordings, serve as a testament to the profound and enduring impact Presley has had on popular culture. In 1982, Graceland, Presley's church-turned-mansion home, was opened to the public, and has since hosted millions of tourists.

Arrangement of Collection

This collection is organized into nine series.

  1. Series 1: Realia
  2. Series 2: Ephemera
  3. Series 3: Clippings
  4. Series 4: Serials
  5. Series 5: Catalogs
  6. Series 6: Books
  7. Series 7: Programs
  8. Series 8: Recordings
  9. Series 9: Sheet Music

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Gift of Hugo Keesing received in shipments beginning in September 1996, and is ongoing (as of 2015).

Related Materials

In addition to this collection, the other Keesing materials at Special Collections in the Performing Arts (SCPA) are separated into eleven other collections (see the list below). Also available for access are thousands of LP singles and pieces of sheet music pertaining to popular music in the twentieth century. In addition to the recordings contained within this collection, there are several more Elvis recordings in the singles collection that is part of the Hugo Keesing collection on popular music and culture.

An additional finding aid exists to further describe the memorabilia contained within several of the Keesing collections. The Hugo Keesing collection on popular music and culture, listed above, may contain more items related to Elvis Presley, such as realia and sheet music.

The Keesing collection also contains thousands of cataloged books, available for use in the Lowens room. To view the available titles, visit the Libraries' catalog. Using the "type of search" drop-down menu, select "call number" and type "MKEESING" into the word search box. This brings up a multi-page, browse-able list of Keesing Collection books. The collection contains dozens of books pertaining to Elvis.

Additionally, the following books and CD collections by Dr. Keesing are available for use at the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library:

Keesing, Hugo A. Battleground Korea: Songs and Sounds of America's Forgotten War. Bear Family Productions, 2018. 4-CD boxed set and accompanying 159-page book. Call number: Paged Collections, MCD 19705.

Keesing, Hugo A. Next Stop is Vietnam: The War on Record. Bear Family Records, 2010. 13-CD boxed set and accompanying 304-page book. Call number: Paged Collections, MCD 12460.

Keesing, Hugo A. Incomplete Bibliography of Pop/Rock Music: Key Word Version. Call number: Reference, ML128.R6 K43 1989.

Keesing, Hugo A. "Semper Fi": An Annotated Index of World War II Era Songs about the United States Marine Corps. 1997. Call number: Paged Collections, ML128.W2 K43 1997.

Keesing, Hugo A. Victory Girls: An Incomplete, Annotated Index of World War II Sheet Music Depicting Women in Non-Military Work. 1997. Call number: Reference, ML128.W2 K44 1997.

Keesing, Hugo A. "Youth in Transition: A Content Analysis of Two Decades of Popular Music." 1972. Call number: Lowens Special Collections Room, ML3477 .K44 1972.

An additional finding aid exists to further describe the memorabilia contained within several of the Keesing collections.

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.

Processing Information

Original order was maintained to a reasonable degree. All materials are processed and described at the item level.

Hugo Keesing collection on Elvis Presley
Initially processed by Mary Crauderueff, October 2008, with additional processing by Amanda Weeks in July 2011. Item-level processing and enhanced description by Roslyn Brandes in August 2015. Series 9 processed by Joshua Bermudez in 2016. Items added by Meghan Creek in 2019.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

University of Maryland Libraries
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park MD 20742 United States