The Hogan Jazz Archive is the leading research center for the study of New Orleans jazz and related musical genres, including New Orleans ragtime, gospel, blues, rhythm and blues, and Creole songs. It was founded as the Archive of New Orleans Jazz in 1958 when Richard B. Allen, a Tulane graduate student (and later curator of the Archive), embarked on a jazz oral history fieldwork project for his thesis. William Ransom Hogan, the chair of the Department of History at the time, wrote the initial Ford Foundation grant proposal that funded the project. Today, the Archive has over 2,000 reels of taped oral history interviews with musicians, family members, and observers that document the stories surrounding the emergence of jazz in New Orleans from the late 19th century forward. It is the largest collection of jazz oral history extant.
With jazz historian William Russell as its first curator, Tulane University administered the Archive of New Orleans Jazz through its early collecting and cataloging phase. In that period, it held space in the History Department where Dr. Hogan then served as chairman. In 1965, the Archive moved to the library where it began operation as a research center. Cofounder and oral historian Richard Allen became curator under the administrative supervision of the Director of Tulane University Libraries and the Archive changed its name to the Hogan Jazz Archive in 1974 after the death of William Ransom Hogan.
Residing on the third floor of Joseph Merrick Jones Hall at Tulane University in New Orleans, the William Ransom Hogan Jazz Archive serves the public from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday. Among its holdings are recorded music, photographs, sheet music, orchestrations, scrapbooks, documents, research notes, ephemera and memorabilia, the records of the American Federation of Musicians local 174-496, as well as books, magazines and journals. The collection is non-circulating, on strict reserve in closed stacks. Students and researchers from around the world visit the Archive every year to use its holdings.