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The Herb Pomeroy Jazz Collection

Identifier: MC-0683

Content Description

The Herb Pomeroy Jazz Collection consists primarily of musical recordings and scores from the duration of Pomeroy’s career as a jazz performer, bandleader, and teacher. While these materials comprise the bulk of the collection, also included are photographs, correspondence, clippings, student notebooks, concert programs and posters, promotional materials for Pomeroy’s bands, travel materials and souvenirs, and background material. The collection spans from the 1930s to the late 2000s, and shows the influence Pomeroy had on the local, national, and international jazz scenes. Series 1: Biographical Materials, contains six subseries: Biography, Student Notebooks, Correspondence, Interviews, Memorial Service and Tributes, and Childhood recordings. Included in the subseries Biography is Pomeroy’s unfinished memoir, resumes, articles about Pomeroy, biographical writings Pomeroy wrote about other people, photographic prints of Pomeroy and a publication from the Williston School.

The subseries Student Notebooks consists of Pomeroy’s notebooks while he attended Schillinger House from 1950 to 1952.

The subseries Correspondence consists of letters, mail, and official correspondence to and from Pomeroy. It is arranged in alphabetical order and dates from 1963 to 2007.

The subseries Interviews includes transcripts and audio recordings of interviews with Pomeroy.

The subseries Memorial Service and Tributes includes awards and certificates, audio recordings, programs, and speeches relating to celebrations of Pomeroy’s life, anniversaries, and accomplishments. Material in this subseries dates from 1983 to 2015 and is intellectually arranged chronologically.

The subseries Childhood Recordings consists of audio recordings of Pomeroy created when he was very young. Material in this subseries dates from 1941 to 1942 and consists of audio recordings.

Series 2: Music Scores and Parts, includes scores and parts collected and numbered by Pomeroy. They are in his original order with non-numbered scores and parts at the end.

Series 3: Audio and Video Recordings, includes recordings made on a variety of physical media much of which has been reformatted into digital form. Audio recordings in this collection may be on either or both physical media and digital media. For analog recordings that have been converted to digital, the audio recordings require a digital audio player for audible access to the digital files. Access copies are in the .mp3 digital audio file format. Material in this series dates from 1950 to 2006.

Series 4: Professional Performance Materials, contains materials related to Pomeroy’s activity in the professional music scene. It includes music scores, concert programs and posters, clippings, gig notebooks, contracts, promotional press kits, and digitized audio of performances from throughout his career. The series consists of four subseries: News Clippings and Promotional Materials, Contracts and Concert Tours, Photographs, and Professional Affiliations.

The subseries News Clippings and Promotional Materials, includes newspaper and magazine clippings about Pomeroy, his music, and various bands. There are also many posters, flyers, and programs for various performances. This subseries is arranged chronologically and dates from the 1940s to 2009.

The subseries Contracts and Concert Tours, includes documents related to specific performances such as C-1 forms, correspondence, set lists, signed payment acknowledgement forms, programs, newspaper advertisements and reviews, and a few photographs. Contracts date from the 1950s to the 2000s.

The subseries Photographs contains photographic prints including professional portraits and images of Pomeroy with his bands during performances. These images date from

The subseries Professional Affiliations contains newsletters for groups that Pomeroy was affiliated with such as The Duke Ellington Society and Seacoast Jazz. It also contains promotional packets, scores, and parts sent by others to Pomeroy. There are also photographs of Margaret Stedman Chaloff, mother of musician Serge Chaloff.

Series 5: Teaching Materials, contains materials relating to Pomeroy’s teaching career. It consists of three subseries: Berklee/MIT/NEC, Malaysia and Other Teaching, and Adjudicating and Jazz Festivals.

The subseries Institutional Teaching contains material related to Pomeroy’s time teaching and leading bands at Berklee, MIT, and the New England Conservatory (NEC). Berklee related materials include class registers from 1959 to 1975, grade books from 1961 to 1993, course catalogs dating from 1971-1972 to 1990-1991 school years, digitized recordings of line writing classes, and an incomplete run of Jazz in the Classroom albums. These recordings by Berklee students and instructors reflect the jazz taught at Berklee at the time. There are also materials relating to Pomeroy’s retirements at Berklee, MIT and NEC. Material related to teaching that Pomeroy did at Duke and the University of New Hampshire is also included in this subseries.

The subseries Radio Malaysia consists of materials related to Pomeroy’s US State Department-funded work with Radio Malaysia in 1962 and includes photographs, souvenirs and travel brochures, correspondence, news clippings, official reports, and his travel bag.

The subseries Adjudicating and Jazz Festivals consists of material collected by Pomeroy during his experience as adjudicator or guest conductor at Jazz Festivals. Pomeroy was an active figure in high school jazz education throughout New England, particularly in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. He was a frequent adjudicator and guest conductor for countless middle school, high school, and college level jazz festivals.

The subseries includes programs and judge sheets for Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festivals, All State Jazz Ensembles, Quinnipiac Intercollegiate Jazz Festivals, and Nathanial College Jazz Festival among others.


  • approximately 1930-2009


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.


Irving Herbert “Herb” Pomeroy III, 1930-2007, was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts. He began playing the trumpet at the age of 11. By age 14, he was playing professionally in and around Gloucester. He also played in his high school band, first at Gloucester High School and later at Williston Academy in Easthampton, Massachusetts.

Pomeroy attended Harvard University for one year and then left to begin taking classes at Schillinger House in Boston, which later became the Berklee College of Music. As he continued his education, he performed with Charlie Parker, Stan Kenton, Lionel Hampton, Jaki Byard, and Serge Chaloff as both a section player and a soloist.

In the 1950s Pomeroy formed the Herb Pomeroy Orchestra which recorded several albums, including Life is a Many Splendored Gig in 1957. They played primarily at The Stable in Boston’s Copley Square, but they performed at New York venues such as Birdland and the Apollo Theater. In 1958 they took the stage at the Newport Jazz Festival. Pomeroy continued to lead iterations of his jazz band through the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, performing extensively throughout Massachusetts and around the world. He appeared as a guest conductor internationally, including engagements in Sweden, Denmark, and Malaysia. Pomeroy began teaching at the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1955 and remained on the faculty for 40 years, teaching classes in line writing, arranging, composition, orchestration, and arranging in the style of Duke Ellington. Pomeroy also led the Berklee Concert Jazz Orchestra, which was originally called “the Recording Band.” Berklee bestowed Pomeroy with an honorary doctorate after he retired in 1995, and he continued to teach at the college part time.

At MIT, Pomeroy began conducting the Techtonians – later renamed the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble (FJE) – in 1963, and became a teacher, coach, and role model to many MIT students. In just a few years under Pomeroy’s leadership the FJE successfully participated in major collegiate jazz festivals. In 1970 the FJE was one of only three collegiate bands to be invited to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. He was with the Director of Jazz Bands at MIT until 1985.

After retiring as a Professor at Berklee in 1995, Pomeroy continued to teach part-time as an Adjunct Professor. In 2002, he extended his teaching role to the New England Conservatory of Music, where he continued to work with students until his death in 2007. While most of his teaching took place at Berklee and MIT, Pomeroy’s reach as an educator went beyond the Boston area. He lectured at such institutions as Harvard, Yale, Case Western Reserve University, Michigan State University, and Indiana University. He also worked with high school jazz education throughout New England, particularly in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire through his work as adjudicator and guest conductor for middle and high school jazz festivals.


80.5 Cubic Feet (157 containers)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Audio recordings in this collection may be on either or both physical media and digital media. For analog recordings that have been converted to digital the audio recordings require a digital audio player (software such at VLC player) for audible access to the digital files. Access (Use) copies are in the .mp3 digital audio file format. Recordings that have not been reformatted (transferred) from the original media are not accessible.

Physical Location

Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.

Processing Information note

Some collection descriptions are based on legacy data and may be incomplete or contain inaccuracies. Description may change pending verification. Please contact the MIT Department of Distinctive Collections if you notice any errors or discrepancies.

Guide to the Herb Pomeroy Jazz Collection
Dana Hamlin, Greta Kuriger Suiter, Allison Blanning
June 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US