Brooklyn-born writer and photographer William P. Gottlieb documented the jazz scene in New York City and Washington, D.C. both in words and pictures from 1938 to 1948, a time now often described as the “Golden Age of Jazz”. He studied economics at Lehigh University and wrote for the weekly campus newspaper and became editor-in-chief of The Lehigh Review. In 1938 during his last year at college he started writing a weekly jazz column for The Washington Post. When the Post decided that it could not afford to pay a photographer to shoot photos for the jazz column and unperturbed Gottlieb went out and purchased his own press camera.
After a stroke he died in 2006, the New York Times wrote:
William P. Gottlieb, who with a boxy, old-fashioned press camera indelibly defined what jazz looked like in a brief, magical time when both early legends like Armstrong and Ellington and the emerging beboppers ruled the bandstands and radio waves.
Would you like to support Flashbak?
Please consider making a donation to our site. We don't want to rely on ads to bring you the best of visual culture. You can also support us by signing up to our Mailing List. And you can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For great art and culture delivered to your door, visit our shop.