Soon after the Bill Schurk Sound Archives (then named the Audio Center) was established in 1967 it was decided to create a vertical file collection of material related to musicians and musical groups that was otherwise not appropriate to be piece-cataloged.  Pictures, both original photographs and secondary images, biographical information, and other artist-related material that reflects their popularity are included in these files.

  • The pictures include publicity photos acquired principally from record companies, radio stations, publicists, and record reviewers, privately taken photos, and pictures taken from published articles in magazines and newspapers.
  • Biographical material in the files comes from an array or sources, including publicity releases issued by record companies, photocopied articles from newspapers and magazines, and magazine articles pulled from individual issues.
  • In addition the files also include small uncatalogable booklets and pamphlets and smaller concert flyers and programs.  Larger folio-sized concert programs are cataloged for the collection but smaller publicity driven printing is included in the vertical files.
  • Even though there are some original newsprint articles most of them are actually photocopies with the date and name of the publication attached, and some newspaper articles that include photographs have an attached enlargement of those photos.

The importance of these files lies in the fact that much of the material cannot be readily found in any other sources.  Publicity material created by record companies is only distributed when those artists are under contract to that label.  Once they are no longer associated with that label the artists’ files are deleted by that company.  Many publicity biographies also biographical information that is valuable to both the researcher and also to the Library catalogers, especially for birthdates and cities of origin.

Even though many photos are not dated they can prove to be most valuable because they show artists at a certain point in their careers and also they depict that image that the record companies wished to evoke to most successfully market that commodity.  The pictures also show artists in various situations, from studio shots, with and without their instruments, with their fellow musicians or group, and many times in a concert venue.

To date, the collection contains materials related to over 17,000 musicians. Contributions to the collection come from a number of sources, with significant contributions from the following individuals:

  • Bill Anderson, Cleveland Public Library librarian
  • R. Serge Denisoff, former BGSU faculty member and author
  • David Ginsburg, Central Michigan University librarian and journalist
  • Anastasia Pantsios, Cleveland journalist 
  • Bill Randle, Cleveland radio personality and collector
  • Bob Sarka, BGSU alumnus and former ML/BSSA student assistant

To discover materials in the collection, try a keyword search in the catalog for "promofile [artist name]" (for example: "promofile Rasputina").  If you'd like to use any materials from this collection, simply click the "Schedule for Use" button adjacent to the object you want to view locally, or send us an email if you are not able to visit locally.