About the Collection

About Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck, a pianist and composer whose legendary career spanned more than six decades, was one of the most popular and innovative musicians in the jazz world. The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s acclaimed 1959 “Time Out” album was the first jazz album to sell a million copies, and the “Take Five” recording from the album became a Top 40 hit and remains the biggest–selling jazz single of all time. His other well-known works that have become jazz classics include “Blue Rondo à la Turk,” “In Your Own Sweet Way,” and “The Duke.”

Beyond Jazz

Brubeck composed numerous classical works, including oratorios and cantatas, a mass, ballet suites, quartet and chamber pieces, and orchestral works. He was a revered performer at international jazz festivals and concert halls and performed at the White House many times. Throughout his career, he received numerous honors and awards including the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a 1954 TIME Magazine cover as the leader of the new jazz age. Brubeck was designated a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress and on his 89th birthday in 2009, he received the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors Award.

Life and Legacy

Dave met his future wife, Iola Whitlock, while they were both students at the College of the Pacific. She was instrumental to Dave’s success, and became his collaborator in life and music, writing lyrics for many of his compositions and working as his manager, booker and publicist all while raising their six children. Dave Brubeck passed away in 2012; Iola Brubeck passed away in 2014. Dave and Iola are survived by 10 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, and four sons who are also musicians: Darius is a pianist and composer; Chris is a bassist, trombonist, and noted composer; Dan is a drummer and producer; and Matthew is a composer, cellist, bassist, and keyboardist.

The Collection Comes to Wilton

In January 2020, it was announced that The Brubeck Collection would be relocated to Wilton Library in the Brubeck family’s hometown of Wilton, Connecticut.

While The Brubeck Collection was established in 2000 at Dave and Iola’s alma mater – the University of the Pacific in California – it started its life in the Brubeck’s first family home in California and crossed the country three times, moving from the family’s California home to their home in Wilton, CT. It finally returned home to Wilton on June 6th, 2021 – the exact day of the dedication of the archival space at Wilton Library.
About The Brubeck Collection
The Collection is housed in a specially designed and constructed archival room at Wilton Library. The distinctive design is reminiscent of the Brubeck family’s former home with its Japanese motif, shoji screens and a unique curved fireplace.

The Brubeck Collection is one of the largest and most important jazz archives in the world dedicated to an individual musician/composer. It is a treasure trove of musical and audio recordings, photographs, manuscripts, correspondence, legal and business documents, and memorabilia. The Collection contains items dating from the early 1900s to the present, and is expected to grow in the coming years.

The Collection has provided source material for numerous articles and books, academic and popular, including two new books published between 2019-2020 to coincide with the celebration of Dave Brubeck’s Centennial: Dave Brubeck’s Time Out by Stephen A. Crist and Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time by Philip Clark.

Iola Brubeck was an assiduous archivist and The Collection is a lifetime accumulation of materials related to Dave and Iola and their family. Comparable jazz collections include those of Ella Fitzgerald at the Library of Congress, Duke Ellington at the Smithsonian, Benny Goodman at Yale University, Louis Armstrong at the Louis Armstrong House Museum/Queens College, and the Mary Lou Williams Collection at Rutgers’ Institute of Jazz Studies.
The Board of Trustees of Wilton Library Association, Inc. wishes to thank:
  • The Brubeck Family
    for entrusting the stewardship of The Brubeck Collection to Wilton Library
  • Dr. Mark & Linda Rubinstein
    Sponsors of the Archival Room
  • Elizabeth Raymond Ambler Trust
    Sponsors of entrance to the archives
  • Rob Sanders Architects LLC