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Bunny Berigan Collection

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The aim of the collection is twofold: to promote research and study of Bunny Berigan and jazz of the 1920s–1940s; to preserve the surviving materials which document the life, career, and musical accomplishments of this Wisconsin musician.

Bunny Berigan (1908–1942), the well known jazz trumpeter who came to prominence in the 1930s, was born in Wisconsin. He spent his formative years in Fox Lake and participated in Madison’s local music scene in the 1920s before going on to become a member of such notable bands as those of Hal Kemp, Paul Whiteman, Benny Goodman, and the Dorsey Brothers. Berigan also led his own group in addition to being an active studio musician. He is often associated with the tune “I Can’t Get Started,” popularized by his 1937 recording.

The Berigan Collection at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Mills Music Library, like all special collections in the library, is available for onsite use by any interested person. For additional information, comments, or questions, contact the library.


The library holds significant groups of original Berigan 78-rpm recordings. Spanning Berigan’s career, these recordings came from the collections of Norm Krusinski (see below), John Grams (250 recordings), and Jack Baker (113 recordings). In addition, the library has a comprehensive collection of Berigan recordings that have been transferred to cassette tape. Ask a staff member for assistance in the use of these recordings.

The library actively collects Berigan’s recordings which have been reissued on LP and compact disc. To locate these, search MadCat, the library’s online catalog. Some recordings may be “In Process.” Ask staff for assistance in locating these.

Robert Dupuis Collection

Author Robert Dupuis has donated the materials he used to write Bunny Berigan: Elusive Legend of Jazz. The Dupuis Collection includes sixty tapes and transcripts of interviews with Berigan’s associates, family, and others knowledgable about him; an extensive group of articles and newspaper clippings; photos; and a copy of the RCA recording logs.

Norm Krusinski Collection

Norm Krusinski described himself as “Bunny’s Number One Fan.” Upon his death in 2002, his vast Bunny Berigan Collection was donated to the Mills Music Library by his children, Todd Krusinski and Norma Dobrochowski. Covering the period from about 1930 to 2000, the collection includes Berigan 78-rpm and LP recordings, autographed photos, newspaper clippings, letters, jazz-related books, films, autographs, magazine articles, sheet music, and recordings of other jazz performers such as Bix Beiderbecke, Bobby Hackett, and Jack Teagarden.

Clippings, Photos & more

The library also has the following resources:

  • A small collection of Berigan photos and newspaper clippings.
  • A taped interview with Merrill Owen, Berigan’s first band leader. Request cassette tape AQW6485.
  • A BBC broadcast documentary on Berigan’s life (on cassette tape).
  • Programs and posters for the annual Berigan Festival in Fox Lake, Wisconsin, including the program for “Bunny Berigan Day” at Fox Lake, May 18, 1974, which contains a biography by Mark Gossink and “Bunny Berigan’s Style” by Bob Davis.

The library has several editions of published music related to Berigan:

  • Bunny Berigan Modern Trumpet Studies. New York: Robbins Music, 1940.
  • Bunny Berigan’s Daily Exercises for Trumpet. New York: Robbins Music, 1939.
  • Feist All-Star Series of Modern Rhythm Choruses. New York: Leo Feist. This collection contains some Berigan musical arrangments for trumpet. Request call number M88 F45 B47 1927 Wisconsin Music Archives.
  • Fifty Swing Phrases for Trumpet. New York: Robbins Music, 1939.
  • Swing Style for the Trumpet, Cornet, Mellophone and Fluegel Horn by Jay Arnold. “Endorsed by Bunny Berigan.” New York: Amsco Music Sales Co., 1936.

A Berigan Bibliography

The following is a selected bibliography of books and articles related to Bunny Berigan. When the item is held by the Mills Music Library, the library’s call number will be found at the end of the entry.

  • Balliet, Whitney. “Jazz: Bunny Berigan.” New Yorker (8 November 1982) 124–27. Memorial Library: AP N5334.
  • Clements, Dan. “Bunny Berigan — Still My Hero.” The Instrumentalist 44/2 (September 1989): 58, 60. ML1 I68.
  • Crosbie, Ian. “Bunny Berigan.” Jazz Journal 27/9 ( September 1974): 8–14. ML5 J316 27
  • Danca, Vince. Bunny : A Bio-discography of Jazz Trumpeter Bunny Berigan. Rockford, IL: Danca, 1978. ML419 B297 D3 Reference.
  • Dupuis, Robert. Bunny Berigan: Elusive Legend of Jazz. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1993. ML419 B297 D8 1993.
  • Zirpolo, Michael P. Mr. Trumpet: the trials, tribulations, and triumph of Bunny Berigan. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2011.

Collection Donors

The Bunny Berigan Collection is comprised of materials from many sources. Donors who have contributed significant resources to the collection include Audrey Baker, Lorraine Berigan, Tom Cullen, Norma Dobrochowski, Robert Dupuis, Ron Flintjer, Phyllis Ger, Jacques Gilbert, John Grams, Joyce and Ken Hansen, William Hunkins, Todd Krusinski, James B. Raue, and Bozy White.

Bunny Berigan, Fox Lake’s Own, Digital Collection

A wonderful online collection of photos, clippings, programs and posters from the Fox Lake Public Library. These materials had been donated by the Ken Hansen family. Ken was the husband of Bunny Berigan’s daughter, Joyce, and had been a long time fan of Bunny Berigan. Thanks to a Library Services and Technology Act grant and the UW Digital Collections Center, a selection of these materials may be browsed or searched fulltext.

Links to Berigan Websites

Bunny Berigan. The Miracle Man of Swing

Biographical and discographical information.

Bunny Berigan: “‘Cause You’re So Supreme”

This article, presented on Christopher Popa’s www.bigbandlibrary.com, contains biographical information, anecdotes, pictures, and sources.

Jazz Trumpet Transcriptions

The site includes a photo, a brief biography, and transcriptions of several solos.

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Last update on 15 May 2014
Wisconsin Music Archives.  Phone: 608-263-1884, Email: askmusic@library.wisc.edu, Fax: 608-265-2754, Address: Mills Music Library, University of Wisconsin--Madison, B162 Memorial Library, 728 State Street, Madison, WI 53706-1494