Mills acquires Ben Sidran’s archives

May 30th, 2018
Boxes containing Ben Sidran's personal archives
Ben Sidran performing, 1990. Archives of Ben Sidran

Ben Sidran performing, 1990. Archives of Ben Sidran

Ben Sidran is many things–jazz and rock keyboardist, composer, producer, lyricist, author, teacher, record label owner, and radio broadcaster, to name more than a few–and he has accumulated many things over the course of being engaged in his various pursuits over the past five-plus decades. Mills Music Library acquired his personal archives recently, and the nearly 100 boxes of materials include personal and professional correspondence, music manuscripts and drafts of song lyrics, master tapes, unedited radio interviews, research notes, photographs, and posters. This acquisition will enhance our Wisconsin Music Archives greatly, complement our holdings of Sidran’s recordings and books, and provide ample opportunities for students and researchers–once we process all the material.

Ben Sidran, 1972. Outtake from the photo shoot for the cover of his 1973 album Puttin' In Time On Planet Earth. Archives of Ben Sidran

Ben Sidran, 1972. Outtake from the photo shoot for the cover of his 1973 album Puttin’ In Time On Planet Earth. Archives of Ben Sidran

Sidran grew up in Racine, graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1967, and has resided in Madison since the early 1970s. He was honored by the Wisconsin Alumni Association in 2012 with its Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes the most prestigious graduates of UW-Madison for their professional achievements, contributions to society, and support of the university. The UW-Madison Libraries official announcement of the acquisition includes the following quote from Sidran: “All my memories—of discovering jazz, studying history, raising a family, writing books—everything of importance to me, really, happened in Wisconsin. I am happy and proud to have my work live on at the University of Wisconsin.”

Promotional poster for Jazz Class, a one-hour special that aired November 13, 1985, on WHA-TV, featuring Richard Davis and Ben Sidran. Archives of Ben Sidran

Promotional poster for Jazz Class, a one-hour special that aired November 13, 1985, on WHA-TV, featuring Richard Davis and Ben Sidran. Archives of Ben Sidran