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Series VIII. Martha Glaser Papers, 1921-2010

Biography

Pioneering Jazz music manager and civil rights advocate, Martha Glaser, was born February 15, 1921 in Duquesne, Pennsylvania, daughter of Samuel and Pearl Farkas, Hungarian immigrants, and sister to Bella Rosenberg. Martha Glaser (nee Farkas) attended Southwestern High School in Detroit and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Government with three minors in Economics, Sociology and History from Wayne State University in Detroit in 1942.

Ms. Glaser planned to pursue a career in public affairs and journalism, but following the Detroit riots of 1943 she became increasingly active in supporting human rights, taking a central role in the formation of the Entertainment Industry Emergency Committee to combat race hatred. Calling to “ensure the right of all people to live in our nation without discrimination,” Ms. Glaser advocated, “a coordinated approach to unleash the optimum weight of the entertainment industry in the offensive against race hate.”

Ms. Glaser was the first Jewish American woman to be hired by the city of Chicago to work for the Human Rights commission to oppose discrimination. As part of that effort, she organized Jazz concerts working first with Norman Granz, promoter of “Jazz at the Philharmonic,” (himself an advocate for the growing civil rights movement) and subsequently with agent/impresario Joe Glaser. She then went to work for the Disc Corporation of America as a publicist and organized the Jazz for justice tours throughout the late 1940’s.

In 1948 she created her own music management company and settled permanently in New York City, where the Jazz scene was in full flower on 52nd Street. It was in that milieu that Ms. Glaser met pianist Erroll Garner, and the course of her life was set. Mr. Garner, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was a self-taught prodigy who astounded the music world with his seemingly limitless ability to improvise on the keyboard, despite a lack of any formal music training. While Garner was an artist, not a businessman, Ms. Glaser found that by combining her love for Jazz, her civil rights advocacy, and her innate business acumen, she was able, after signing an exclusive contract with Mr. Garner, to advance his career onto a level of prestige hitherto unavailable to Jazz artists.

Garner’s 1955 composition “Misty”, quickly became a classic, and was the twelfth most played ASCAP song of the 20th Century, due in no small part to Ms. Glaser’s untiring efforts to promote and maintain Mr. Garner’s image as a world-class composer. Her success in that effort is evidenced in his long list of laurels, including a triumphant appearance at Carnegie Hall, winning the French Prix du Disque, and securing the only Jazz music booking contract with classical music agent Sol Hurok. Mr. Garner shared that roster with Andres Segovia, Isaac Stern, and the Bolshoi Ballet.

Ms. Glaser’s vision encompassed recording as well, and she was a pioneer in producing Mr. Garner’s discs in the then-nascent Long-Playing format. In a singular instance, she instinctively secured a simple tape recording of one of Mr. Garner’s trio shows, in Carmel California, and when it was released as “Concert by the Sea” on Columbia, it became one of the largest selling Jazz releases of all time.

Throughout this unbroken record of success, Ms. Glaser never lost sight of her early devotion to equal rights; she inserted a clause into Mr. Garner’s contracts prohibiting segregation of his audiences, a decade before the Civil Rights Act declared the practice illegal. Mr. Garner’s worldwide fame notwithstanding, Ms. Glaser shunned publicity herself, although her record of success in the music business, which was dominated in the 1950’s by males in executive positions, is testimony to her tenacious hold on a position of equality among her colleagues.

Ms. Glaser was also a pioneer in the concept of musical artists owning the copyrights to their own work, an unusual concept at the time, and one of great benefit to Mr. Garner, who reciprocated with twenty seven years of loyalty to Ms. Glaser and their co-owned publishing and production company, Octave Music. After Mr. Garner’s career was cut short by his untimely death in 1977, Ms. Glaser maintained her tireless effort to keep his music in its premiere position, securing hundreds of licensed usages and overseeing a continual stream of LP and CD releases drawn for her trove of studio productions of the pianist’s work.

Thanks to Ms. Glaser's diligence and perseverance and in keeping with her wishes, the full scope of Garner’s recordings, including many newly discovered unreleased treasures as well as his first known recording in 1937 and his final concert, have been archived. These recordings, photographs, video, symphonic scores, memorabilia, legal and civil rights documentation span the tandem careers of two unique individuals, one an original jazz improviser, and the other a true innovator in the areas of human rights, the arts, and business.

Ms. Glaser died on December 3, 2014 at the age of 93.

Scope and Content Notes:

The Martha Glaser series contains correspondence (personal and business), greetings cards that she received, calendars and daily notes of her activities, poetry and TV scripts created by her, financial documents, family and personal materials, educational records (primary, secondary, and college), race relations (during the 1940s in Chicago, Detroit, and the music industry), photographs, some jewelry, and legal papers.

Subseries 1. Correspondence Outgoing, 1940-2008

Scope and Content Notes:

The Outgoing Correspondence subseries contains personal, legal, and business correspondence organized by date.


Box 68
Folder 1 1940s
Folder 2 1951
Folder 3 1952
Folder 4 1953
Folder 5 1954
Folder 6 1955
Folder 7 1956
Folder 8 1957
Folder 9 1958
Folder 10 1959
Folder 11 1960
Folder 12 1961
Folder 13 1962
Folder 14 1963
Folder 15 1964
Folder 16 1967
Folder 17 1968
Folder 18 1969
Folder 19 1970
Folder 20 1971
Folder 21 1972
Folder 22 1973
Folder 23 1974
Folder 24 1975
Folder 25 1976
Folder 26 1977
Folder 27 1978
Folder 28 1979
Folder 29 1980
Folder 30 1981
Folder 31 1982
Folder 32 1983
Folder 33 1984
Folder 34 1985
Folder 35 1986
Folder 36 1987
Folder 37 1988
Folder 38 1989
Folder 39 1990
Folder 40 1991
Folder 41 1992
Folder 42 1993
Folder 43 1994
Folder 44 1995
Folder 45 1996
Folder 46 1997
Folder 47 1998
Folder 48 1999
Folder 49 2000
Folder 50 2001

Box 69
Folder 1 2002
Folder 2 2003
Folder 3 2004-2008
Folder 4 Undated
Folder 5 Letterhead

Subseries 2. Correspondence Incoming, 1940-2010

Scope and Content Notes:

The Incoming Correspondence subseries contains personal, legal, and business correspondence organized by date.


Box 69
Folder 6 1940s
Folder 7 1950-1956
Folder 8 1957
Folder 9 1958-1959
Folder 10 1960-1963
Folder 11 1964-1965
Folder 12 1966-1969
Folder 13 1970-1975
Folder 14 1976-1977
Folder 15 1978-1979
Folder 16 1980
Folder 17 1981
Folder 18 1982-1983
Folder 19 1984-1985
Folder 20 1986-1987
Folder 21 1988-1989
Folder 22 1990-1991
Folder 23 1992-1993
Folder 24 1994-1995
Folder 25 1996-1997
Folder 26 1998-1999
Folder 27 2000
Folder 28 2001
Folder 29 2002
Folder 30 2003
Folder 31 2004
Folder 32 2005-2010
Folder 33 Undated
Folder 34 Undated

Subseries 3. Greeting Cards, c. 1944-2005

Scope and Content Notes:

The Greeting Cards subseries contains personal and business correspondence organized by card genre.


Box 70
Folder 1 Valentines Day, c. 1944-2000
Folder 2 Easter/Passover, c. 1960-2003
Folder 3 Halloween, c. 1980
Folder 4 Hanukkah, c. 1960-2005
Folder 5-14 Christmas, c. 1950-2005
Folder 15 Birthday, c. 1960-2005
Folder 16-18 Thank You, c. 1970-2000
Folder 19 Get Well, c. 1980-2005
Folder 20-23 General, c. 1950-2005
Folder 24-26 Post Cards, 1950-1999
Folder 27 Letters, 1947-2001
Folder 28 Photographs found w/ cards
Folder 29 Stamps
Folder 30 Envelopes

Subseries 4. Clients and Family Correspondence, 1952-2000

Scope and Content Notes:

The Clients and Family Correspondence series contains letters from Bella Rosenberg, Tiny Grimes, and Bill Farrell.


Box 71
Folder 1 Bella Rosenberg (sister), 1960-1998
Folder 2-4 Tiny Grimes, 1962-1964
Folder 5-6 Bill Farrell, 1954

Subseries 5. Calendars, 1969-2002

Scope and Content Notes:

The Calendar subseries contains sparsely populated information about Glaser and are in chronological order.


Box 71
Folder 7 1969
Folder 8 1972
Folder 9 1972
Folder 10 1972
Folder 11 1974
Folder 12 1975
Folder 13 1975
Folder 14 1976

Box 72
Folder 1 1978
Folder 2 1979
Folder 3 1989
Folder 4 1990
Folder 5 1991
Folder 6 1996
Folder 7 1997
Folder 8 1999
Folder 9 2000
Folder 10 2002

Subseries 6. Daily Notes, 1953-2000

Scope and Content Notes:

The Daily Notes subseries contains daily typed or handwritten sheets of paper that act as a diary recording the daily activaties of Glaser.


Box 72
Folder 11 1953
Folder 12 1955
Folder 13 1957

Box 73
Folder 1 1958
Folder 2 1959
Folder 3 1960
Folder 4 1964
Folder 5 1969
Folder 6 1970
Folder 7 1971
Folder 8 1973
Folder 9 1974
Folder 10 1975
Folder 11 1976
Folder 12 1977
Folder 13 1978
Folder 14 1979
Folder 15 1980
Folder 16 1981
Folder 17 1982
Folder 18 1983
Folder 19 1984
Folder 20 1985
Folder 21 1986
Folder 22 1987
Folder 23 1988
Folder 24 1989
Folder 25 1990s
Folder 26 2000s
Folder 27 Undated
Folder 28 Undated

Subseries 7. Creative Writings, 1946-2001

Scope and Content Notes:

The Creative Writings subseries contains manuscripts, poems, short stories and TV ideas written by Glaser over the course of her long career.


Box 74
Folder 1 It Happened on Wax Manuscript, 1948-1996
Folder 2 It Happened on Wax Manuscript, 1948
Folder 3 Hot Rod Years Manuscript, 1949
Folder 4 Hot Rod Years incomplete, 1948
Folder 5 Hot Rod Years incomplete, 1948
Folder 6 Hot Rod Years incomplete, 1948
Folder 7 Hot Rod Years Complete, 1949
Folder 8 Poems for Hot Rod Years, 1946-1948
Folder 9 Songs for Hot Rod Years, 1946-1948
Folder 10 Poems
Folder 11 Poems
Folder 12 Poems
Folder 13 Daily Ideas, 1948-2001
Folder 14 TV Ideas, c.1953
Folder 15 Radio Ideas, c. 1945
Folder 16 Short Stories
Folder 17 Short Stories
Folder 18 Short Stories
Folder 19 Erroll Garner Biography Notes, c. 1980-1990
Folder 20 Inspirational Newspaper Clippings

Subseries 8. Financial, 1947-2008

Scope and Content Notes:

The Financial subseries contains royalty information, receipts, and statements relating to Erroll's music.


Box 75
Folder 1 Royalty, 2001-2004
Folder 2 Royalty, 2005-2006
Folder 3 Receipts, 1955-2005
Folder 4 Letters, 1957-2008
Folder 5 Letters
Folder 6 Financial Statements
Folder 7 Financial Statements
Folder 8 Tax Returns, 1947-1959
Folder 9 Stock,1960

Subseries 9. Family and Personal, 1921-2000

Scope and Content Notes:

The Family and Personal subseries contains Farkas family correspondence, family history, reflections on Erroll, and personal writings.


Box 75
Folder 21 Family History 1843-1942
Folder 22 Farkas Family Correspondence (Hungarian) 1939
Folder 23 Farkas Family Correspondence
Folder 24 Farkas Family Correspondence
Folder 25 Farkas Family Correspondence

Box 76
Folder 1 Farkas Family Correspondence
Folder 2 Farkas Family Correspondence
Folder 3 CV, Resume, References, Grades, 1944
Folder 4 Employment
Folder 5 Martha and Dr. Robinson Correspondence, 1977
Folder 6 Address Books
Folder 7 Travel, 1957-1970
Folder 8 Martha on Judaism 1947-1960
Folder 9 Martha on Judaism 1947-1960
Folder 10 Reflections on Erroll
Folder 11 Holiday Gift List and Thank You Notes
Folder 12 Personal Writings
Folder 13 Jazz Articles
Folder 14 Newspaper Clippings, 1941-1947
Folder 15 Rhapsody in Black, 1935
Folder 16 Art Work
Folder 17 Publications (Also see o/s box #)

Subseries 10. Education, 1932-1941

Scope and Content Notes:

The Education subseries contains assignments, class notes, and other material from Glaser elementary, high school, and college years.


Box 77
Folder 1 Elementary School and Memory Book
Folder 2 Highschool Notes and Assignments, 1934-1938
Folder 3 Highschool Valentines Day Cards
Folder 4 Highschool Composition Books, 1934-1938
Folder 5 Highschool Autographs
Folder 5 Published Poetry
Folder 7 Prospector 1934-1938
Folder 8 Prospector
Folder 9 Prospector
Folder 10 Prospector
Folder 11 Wayne State University Blue Books, 1939-1941
Folder 12 Wayne State University Blue Books, 1939-1941
Folder 13 Wayne State University Notes, 1939-1941
Folder 14 Wayne State University Notes
Folder 15 Wayne State University Notes

Box 78
Folder 1 Wayne State University Notes
Folder 2 Wayne State University Notes
Folder 3 Wayne State University Notes
Folder 6 Wayne State University Commencement Certificate, 1942
Folder 4 Student Defense Committee
Folder 5 The Detroit Collegian, 1940-1942

Subseries 11. Race Relations, 1943-1946

Scope and Content Notes:

The Race Relations subseries contains material on the fight for race equality in Chicago, Detroit, and in entertainment.


Box 78
Folder 7-10 Chicago, 1945-1946
Folder 11 Detroit, 1943-1946
Folder 12 Race Dialogue
Folder 13 Articles about Race in Jazz
Folder 14 Race connected to Music

Subseries 12. Photographs, c. 1921-2010

Scope and Content Notes:

The Photographs subseries contains photos of Martha, Erroll, and the Farkas family, starting from the early 1900s to 2010.


Box 79
Folder 1 Farkas Family Hungarian, c.1900-1950
Folder 2 Martha’s Parents Sam and Peral Farkas, c. 1930-1950
Folder 3 Peral Farkas (Martha's Mother), c.1915-1955
Folder 4 Sam Farkas (Martha's Father), c. 1915-1960
Folder 5 Farkas Family Soliders, c. 1940-1945
Folder 6 Farkas Family Children
Folder 7-8 Martha Early Years c. 1921-1975
Folder 9 Martha Later Years, c.1976-2010
Folder 10 Susan Rosenberg c. 1956-1980
Folder 11 Bella Rosenberg c. 1921-1980
Folder 12 Martha and Erroll
Folder 13 Frakas Family Single
Folder 14 Frakas Family Group
Folder 15 New York City, 1992

Box 80
Folder 1-2 Portraits
Folder 3-4 Photomatic c. 1940
Folder 5 Negatives

Subseries 14. Legal [RESTRICTED] 1921-2007

Scope and Content Notes:

The Legal subseries contains Glaser birth certificate, last will and testament, and power of attorney. Access to it is currently RESTRICTED.


Box 80
Folder 6 Birth Certificate, 1921
Folder 7 Social Security Card
Folder 8 Marraige and Divorce Records, 1939-1947
Folder 9 Passports, 1967-1996
Folder 10 Last Will and Testament, 1980
Folder 10 Last Will and Testament, 1980
Folder 11 Power of Attorney, 1996
Folder 12 Condo Rights, 2007
Folder 13 Cemetery Deed, 1960
Folder 14 Deposition, 1977
Folder 15 Deposition, 1992
Folder 15 Martha Lawsuit vs. Lehrer-McGovern (scaffold accident), 1957, 1989-1998
Folder 16 Martha Lawsuit vs. Lehrer-McGovern (scaffold accident), 1989-1998
Folder 17 Martha Lawsuit vs. Lehrer-McGovern (scaffold accident), 1989-1998
Folder 18 Martha Lawsuit vs. Lehrer-McGovern (scaffold accident), 1989-1998

Subseries 13. Realia, c.1921-1970

Scope and Content Notes:

The Realia subseries contains jewelry and desk items from Glaser.


Box 81
Item 1 Earrings
Item 2 Diamond Earring
Item 3 Makeup Case
Item 4 Cubic Zirconia Earring
Item 5 Cubic Zirconia Ball Earring
Item 6 Pattern Earring
Item 7 Pearl Ring
Item 8 Lose Cubic Zirconia
Item 9 Paper Weight
Item 10-12 Pins
Item 13 Rosary Beads
Item 14 Pink Cubic Zirconia Earring
Item 15 Watch
Item 16 Buttons
Item 17 Tie Clips