Highlights from the Collections
Richard E. Stamz papers
Patrick Roberts, professor of history, biographer, and, after a decade of interviewing and spending time with Richard Stamz, a family friend, released the official Stamz biography in 2010, as co-author. The CBMR hosted a celebration in honor of Stamz’s illustrious radio career, the donation of his personal papers to the CBMR Library and Archives, and the book release. Guest speakers at the event included radio personalities from the heyday of black-oriented radio in Chicago, Stamz’s daughter, and Roberts. Roberts also played sound clips from the songs of the day, which Stamz featured in his daily broadcast on WGES, along with recordings of his on-air announcements.
The collection of Stamz’ personal papers is housed in the CBMR archives and is available for research. Given the varied and rich life led by Stamz, the collection can support the in-depth exploration of a number of topics. From entrepreneurship and mobile marketing, the music business and the rise of Record Row and its role in the development of early soul music from local blues, gospel and vocal groups, the creation of independent record labels, and the Chicago sound, to black-oriented radio and television in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The collection can also support research in Chicago politics, since Stamz was active in local politics from the 1940s through the 1990s by canvassing precincts and joining causes to improve the Englewood neighborhood.
Visitors and researchers may browse the extensive collection of photographs that date from the 1940s to the 1990s, spin 45s, listen to hits from local record labels large and small, analyze the extensive marketing and demographic information that Stamz collected to sell air time to sponsors, view actual print ads, or read his fan mail. Perhaps a visitor can solve the mystery of the accounts payable and accounts receivable ledgers from Vee-Jay Records, a local label that, like Motown, went national. Though Stamz never worked for the Vee-Jay label, the accounting books were in his possession.