Special Collections and Archives
researched by Music Librarian Christopher Popa
One of Berigan's daughters, Joyce, and her husband, Ken Hansen, established a Bunny Berigan Archive at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Mills Music Library.
"All of our stuff . . . will go there," Hansen told me in 2004.
Besides an impressive collection of hundreds of Bunny's recordings, there are some other primary source materials.
"We've got letters and pictures and clippings from, oh, Bunny's sister-in-law, Loretta, who died and left her memorabilia with us," he said.
The letters are about Bunny, not written by him.
"We'd love to have something written personally by Bunny, but we don't," he commented.
"I know someone stole his horn and mouthpiece, never got it back," Joe Aguanno, who played trumpet in the Berigan band during 1939-40, said. "I did all the research I could through the American Federation of Musicians and we couldn't get it, but we have an idea who copped it - a drummer by the name of Johnny ____. I think he stole his library and his horn, too."
The thief evidently took advantage of his situation.
"Yeah, because later on in the years, he started to play some dates with Bunny Berigan at one of the ballrooms on 42nd Street when I wasn't with him," he recalled. "I think they had a quartet: it was Buddy Koss and Morty Stuhlmaker on bass, and Bunny, and Johnny ___. We couldn't stand him, no one liked him."
"That's one of my long-time goals: I'd like to track that trumpet down," Hansen stated. "I don't know if it's even possible."
The thief is now deceased, according to Aguanno.
What of the manuscript music for I Can't Get Started?
"I have one of [arranger] Joe Lippman's copies, myself, here," he said. "Kenny [Hansen] has the original, I guess."
In October 2007, a "Bunny Berigan Trumpet" was listed for sale on eBay, described as "the Conn 22B trumpet given to Bunny by his grandfather in 1923," serial number 202021.
As shown below, Berigan's hometown of Fox Lake, WI remains proud of him, and holds an annual celebration, the "Bunny Berigan Jazz Jubilee" in May.
Joe Aguanno. Interview with author, Nov. 13, 2004.
Bunny Berigan Jazz Jubilee, http://www.bunnyberiganjazzjubilee.com/.
eBay listing, "Bunny Berigan Trumpet," item number 170155291944, Oct. 2007.
Ken Hansen. Interview with author, Nov. 14, 2004.
Wisconsin Music Archives: Papers and Manuscripts: Bunny Berigan Collection,