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Louise Tobin and Peanuts Hucko Jazz Collection

Identifier: 2008.003

Scope and Contents

The Louise Tobin and Peanuts Hucko Jazz Collection documents almost seventy years of jazz history from the early 1930s to the late 1990s. While the collection is heavily centered in the late 1960s-1990s, many valuable artifacts survive from Tobin and Hucko's early careers.

Series I, Concerts, Tours, and Other Public Appearances includes all paperwork, programs, and ephemeral items related to Tobin and Hucko's numerous concerts and tours throughout the course of their careers. The concert programs date as early as 1939 and include programs from several major concerts and parties, including the Gibson and Odessa Jazz Parties. The concert paperwork subseries includes all documentation from their public appearances including correspondence with promoters and organizers, travel and financial details, itineraries, and set lists. This series also includes program and poster mock-ups, program notes and biographies, and a small number of commemorative programs. This series provides a nearly comprehensive view of their public performances.

Series II, Correspondence contains all correspondence received and a small number of copies of outgoing letters. This series primarily contains personal correspondence with family and friends, including many well-known jazz musicians, as all correspondence related to concerts and tours is organized with Series I.

Series III, Personal Papers and Effects includes all paperwork, ephemera, realia, and photographs of a personal or family nature. Of primary interest are the subseries Family Records and Ephemera. The Family Records subseries contains a scrapbook (available as photocopies or as a digital object) containing newspaper and magazine clippings created by Louise Tobin's sisters documenting her early career. This subseries also contains Tobin family genealogical materials. The Ephemera subseries contains, among other unique items, all ephemeral materials related to Peanuts Hucko's Navarre Restaurant including menus, employment applications, and advertisements.

Series IV, Publications contains all paper publications including books, jazz serials and magazines, and newspaper clippings.

Series V, Sheet Music includes Tobin's and Hucko's entire sheet music collection. The Band/Combo/Orchestral Arrangement subseries contains over 150 arrangements. Where possible, the archivist noted the name of the arranger but as these copies were clearly used, revised, and recopied numerous times the name of the arranger was often excluded. The archivst recorded the existence of a full score, the key, the parts available in the collection, and the arrangement's number as assigned by the donors. This series also contains vocal and piano sheet music, instrumental solos and method books, and miscellaneous lyrics, charts, and lead sheets.

Series VI, Photographs and Negatives contains photographic material including photographs, slides, and negatives. This series is arranged chronologically by concert or other event. Of particular interest are the files containing unique and candid photographs from Peanuts Hucko's time with the Glenn Miller Band and his tours with Louis Armstrong. There are also photographs from Louise Tobin's time with Benny Goodman. Family photographs are located in Series III.

Series VII, Audio and Video contains all audio and video recordings. This series contains rare and unique live recordings from both Tobin's and Hucko's career. Recordings from Hucko's time at Eddie Condon's club in New York City are of particular interest. Also available are live recordings of performances at Navarre, Peanuts Hucko's restaurant and club. There are also recordings from numerous jazz parties, clubs, and recording sessions. The video portion of this series primarily contains video from their later career. There are also several audio and video oral histories with both Tobin and Hucko available.


  • 1925-2011, inclusive
  • Majority of material found within 1967-1998,


Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection are protected by applicable copyright laws.

Biographical / Historical

Mary Louise Tobin was born November 11, 1918, in Aubrey, Texas. One of eleven children, Louise grew up in a musical family although she was the only child to pursue a career in music. In 1932, Louise won a CBS Radio Talent Contest and began touring Texas as part of the Interstate Theater Circuit performing under the direction of Hyman Charninsky and Al Kvale. She met trumpeter Harry James (1916-1983) after joining the Art Hicks Orchestra in 1934. The band toured Texas, Oklahoma, and Ohio, but disbanded after arriving in Albany, New York. Louise, age 16, and Harry, age 18, married in secret in May 1935 in New York. Returning to Texas, Louise found work singing in orchestras led by Ligon Smith, Charlie Davis, and Carlos Shaw, while Harry worked in Shreveport with the Herman Waldman Orchestra.

The couple traveled to Chicago at the height of the depression after Harry was invited to join Ben Pollack’s Orchestra. Louise worked for a variety of bandleaders and entertainers during this difficult period, including Leonard Keller, Mike Todd, and Harry Savoy. In 1936, Harry joined the Benny Goodman Orchestra where he performed in the renowned 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert before leaving to form his own band. Late one night, Louise heard a young Frank Sinatra singing on WNEW New York radio. Knowing her husband was struggling to put his band together, she recommended Harry track the singer down. Harry met Sinatra and hired him on the spot. Harry went on to have an extremely successful career as a bandleader, musician, and actor.

Louise worked in New York for Bobby Hackett and a variety of other musicians before she herself joined the Benny Goodman Orchestra in 1939 after being discovered singing in Greenwich Village by jazz critic and producer John Hammond. She recorded "There’ll Be Some Changes Made," "Comes Love," "What’s New?," "Scatterbrain," "Love Never Went to College," "Blue Orchids," and "Louise Tobin Blues" with Goodman.

Louise, yielding to her husband’s wishes, left the Goodman Orchestra in 1939 to start a family. She briefly recorded with Will Bradley singing "Deed I Do" and "Don’t Let It Get You Down" before giving birth to sons Harry, Jr. and Tim in 1941 and 1942, respectively. By 1943, Harry was a Hollywood star due to roles in popular movies such as "Private Buckaroo" and "Springtime in the Rockies". Harry left Louise to marry actress Betty Grable that year.

Louise dedicated the next several years to raising her sons, accepting only the occasional invitation to perform. During this period she recorded and performed with Tommy Jones, Emil Coleman, Skippy Anderson, Ziggy Elman, and Jackie Gleason. Louise accepted an invitation from George Simon to record for his label and sing at the 1962 Newport Jazz Festival. It was at Newport that she would meet her future husband, clarinetist Peanuts Hucko.

Michael Andrew "Peanuts" Hucko was born April 7, 1918, in Syracuse, New York. Originally a tenor saxophonist, Peanuts’ early career included performances with Will Bradley, Charley Spivak, and Joe Marsala. During World War II, Peanuts joined the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band and switched from the tenor saxophone to the clarinet, which would become his primary instrument in his post-war career. Prior to meeting Louise, Peanuts performed with Benny Goodman, Ray McKinley, Eddie Condon, and Jack Teagarden. He worked as a studio musician for CBS and ABC in the early 1950s before joining the Louis Armstrong All-Stars from 1958 to 1962. With Japanese clarinetist Shoji Suzuki, Peanuts’ recording of "Suzukake No Michi" broke the record for jazz record sales in Japan. Peanuts is best known for his rendition of the jazz tune "Stealin’ Apples."

After Newport, Peanuts and Louise performed together frequently. In 1964, they attended the first of Dick Gibson’s Jazz Parties in Colorado. Peanuts would go on to become a regular performer at subsequent Gibson Jazz Parties. He and Louise performed at the Gibson-inspired Odessa Jazz Parties in Texas through the 1970s. The couple married in 1967 in Denver and became co-owners of the restaurant and club Navarre, where they also performed in the house band. Peanuts accepted an offer to perform on the Lawrence Welk Show starting in 1970, prompting the couple to relocate to California. In 1974, Peanuts led the Glenn Miller Orchestra, touring worldwide with Louise and other musicians.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Louise and Peanuts continued touring the world performing jazz concerts. They recorded the albums Tribute to Louis Armstrong and Tribute to Benny Goodman, with Louise singing several numbers on both. In 1992, Peanuts and Louise’s vocal duet "When You’re Smiling" was issued on Peanuts Hucko and his All Star’s album Swing That Music. This would be their last recording together. They continued to perform until 1998. Peanuts Hucko died in 2003. Louise lives in Dallas, Texas, with her son, Harry, Jr


53 Linear Feet ((plus one media storage cabinet) )

Language of Materials


Louise Tobin and Peanuts Hucko Jazz Collection
Andrea Ellis Weddle
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections, Waters Library, Texas A&M University-Commerce Repository