Houston Public Library, Houston Metropolitan Research Center

Jewel Brown Collection MSS.0337

Descriptive Summary

Creator Brown, Jewel
Title: Jewel Brown Collection
Dates: Bulk, 1960-1969
Dates: 1950-1988, 1960-1969
Identification: MSS.0337
Quantity: 5.0 Linear feet, 2 document boxes, 1 negative box
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library

Biographical Note

Jewel Brown is the true to life, born-and-bred Houston jazz artist. She was born in Houston’s Third Ward on August 30, 1937. She attended Black Elementary School and then Jack Yates High School. At an early age she began singing in the choir at Rosehill Baptist Church and first perfomed at the age of nine at the Masonic Temple in the Fourth Ward. Her first professional singing job was at the age of 12 at the Manhattan Club in Galveston.

She continued singing professionally while in school; however, her singing was secondary in importance to her studies. Even before she graduated, her vocals were in demand. During her senior year, she was invited to accompany Lionel Hampton’s group to tour Europe. Upon graduation it was understood in Ms. Brown’s immediate family that she would pursue a singing career full time; she had decided against college, because she felt it would be a burden on her parents. Until that time, she sang locally with her brother’s group, performing at clubs with her mother accompanying. When she did begin singing with (all male) groups on tour, however, her career was almost stifled by the concerns of an extended family member that the entertainment business was unsavory. Ms. Brown’s mother relented against the cynicism and encouraged her daughter toward her chosen goals.

Ms. Brown is best known as a vocalist with Louis Armstrong’s All Star Band. Whether or not Ms. Brown would audition for this position was precarious at the time, because the former singer for the band had died recently and it wasn’t known how well received Ms. Brown would be under the circumstances. The audition did turn out to be a success, and Ms. Brown was soon welcomed into the All Stars. During her career, Ms. Brown toured internationally with Armstrong’s band and also performed with Carrol Garner, Earl Grant, Arnett Cobb, as well as many others. She also performed on her own and took responsibility for managing herself. Among the many venues in which she was hired included the Ebony and Angelo’s in Houston, the Tidelands in San Antonio, and the Sovereign Club in Dallas. In 1971, Ms. Brown retired from singing for 15 years to care for her ailing parents.

When not singing, Ms. Brown has owned and operated the Sir Brown’s Hair Palace on Dowling St. in Houston with her brother Alphonse. She has also worked as a successful insurance agent and owns a child care facility. In 1988, Ms. Brown was celebrated as Jazz Artist of the Year at the annual Houston Jazz Festival.

Scope and Contents

The Jewel Brown Collection is comprised primarily of photographs that span the career of Ms. Brown. There are two oral history interviews of Jewel Brown which are transcribed.



Series 1: Promotional Materials and Reviews
Series 2: Photographs


Access Restrictions


Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Jewel Brown Collection must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center or the appropriate copyright holder.

Index Terms

Armstrong, Louis, 1901-1971
Brown, Jewel
Performance artists--Texas--Houston

Related Material

Oral History tapes #OH-451 and #OH-452

Jewel Brown Oral History, HMRC Oral History Collection, October 3, 1988

MSS 322 Arnett Cobb Collection

MSS 252 Milton Larkin Collection

MSS 403 Illinois Jacquet Collection

MSS 345 Jimmy Ford Collection

MSS 442 Herb Brochstein Collection

MSS 390 Campbell Tolbert Collection

MSS 349 I.H. Smalley Collection

MSS 336 Florence "Bu" Pleasant Collection

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Jewel Brown Collection. Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library.

Acquisition Information

Collection donated by Jewel Brown.

Processing Information

Processed by: Charles Stephenson and Tammy Jordan, January 2007.

Detailed Description of the Collection


Promotional Materials and Reviews

Box Folder
1 1 This Month in Dallas; Jewel Brown, p. 51 January, 1961
March 17, 1962
May 14, 1958
February 26, 1962
March 29, 1962
June 6, 1963
Souvenir program from Denmark
Box Folder
1 2 Zest Houston Chronicle, "Houston Jazz Singer Jewel Brown ends 15 years of retirement" Cover story by Michael Spies, August 21, 1988
Dec. 9-15; Dec. 16-22; Dec. 23-29 (2 copies) June 2-8, 1961
Advertisement: “Louis Armstrong and His All Stars; New Latin Quarter, Magatacha, Chiyodu-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Box Folder
1 3 Personal letter from Dennis Paget, William Morris Agency; February 5, 1962; Attached is a column by Charley Channel; Sunday News, February 4, 1962
February 3, 1962
Personal letter from Robert B. Pope, a disabled veteran, Dorchester, Massachusetts
Christmas Card to Jewel Brown from Lucille and Louis Armstrong
December 14, 1951
October 23, 1961
February 7, 1963: Review of performance of Louis Armstrong and His All Stars. One paragraph devoted to Jewel Brown;
Box Folder
1 4 Correspondence: Management Contract Agreement with Sunset Enterprises, 1501 Broadway, New York, N. Y., December 13, 1961
Newspaper clippings
Statement of Account, Dallas Branch, American Guild of Variety Artists, to Jewel Brown
Box Folder
1 5 Catalogues of exhibits containing the works of Mrs. Cherry
Newspaper clippings
No date
No date
date missing
date missing
date missing
date missing
date missing
date missing
March 28, 1963
February 5, 1963
Box Folder
1 6 "Satchmo gets huge ovation;" John Herron, Staff Reporter, The Albertan (Canada); Friday, January 19, 1968

The Greatest Night For The Cats;The Domif performance of Louis Armstrong and His All Stars; one paragraph devoted to Jewel Brown"The Greatest Night For The Cats;"The Domif performance of Louis Armstrong and His All Stars; one paragraph devoted to Jewel Brown
February 15, 1963
May 4, 1964
March 16, 1963
April 28, 1962
April 16, 1963
August 30, 1962
March 18, 1963
January 12, 1963
"Satchmo Plus Welk – Why Not?” November 28, 1963 contains one paragraph about Jewel Brown
December 15, 1962
Box Folder
1 7 May 6, 1962 "A Trumpet, A Smile and Goodwill " The Otaga Daily Times, Monday, March 16, 1963
March 16, 1963
March 18, 1963
March 16, 1963
Box Folder
1 8 "A Gem of a Twister" a story about Jewel Brown; New Zealand Truth, Welling, N. Z., March 19, 1963
May 5, 1962
February 7, 1963
February 5, 1963
December 22, 1961
December 15, 1962
March 22, 1963
May 25, 1962
Box Folder
1 9 "Rousing ovation for jazz troupe" The Christchurch Star, New Zealand, Monday, March 11, 1963
Vendredi, 18 mai, 1962
May 24, 1962
May 24, 1962
March 14, 1963
Box Folder
1 10 Billboard Music Week, February 24, 1962
Concert program in Japanese
Box Folder
1 11 "Brown and friends gather at Miller Theatre Honoring the Crown Jewel of Houston Jazz " Tim Carman; The Houston Post, Friday, August 26, 1988



Box Number
2 MSS-337.042 Louis Armstrong, trumpeter and singer; Jewel Brown in background
MSS-337.043 Jewel Brown and a fan at The Brant Inn, Ontario, Canada
MSS-337.044 Louis Armstrong playing trumpet, Norway
MSS-337.045 Jewel Brown and Trummy Young, Norway
MSS-337.046 Louis Armstrong and Trummy Young, Norway
MSS-337.047 Louis Armstrong
MSS-337.048 Jewel Brown during a performance in Norway
MSS-337.049 Louis Armstrong: publicity photograph by Associated Booking Corporation, Joe Glaser, President
MSS-337.050 Jewel Brown and Eddie Curtiss, lyric man; at wedding at Eagle Street home, Houston, Texas. Miss Brown was seventeen years old
MSS-337.051 Jewel Brown wearing academic cap and gown
MSS-337.052 Jewel Brown: publicity photograph by Associated Booking Corporation, Joe Glaser, President
MSS-337.053 Jewel Brown, publicity photograph
MSS-337.054 Jewel Brown and Howard Duff, actor, Los Angeles, California
MSS-337.055 Cora Woods who performed with Jewel Brown in San Antonio, Texas. Handwritten message suggests being in a wheelchair later
MSS-337.056 Jewel Brown; autographed photograph
MSS-337.057 Louis Armstrong: rear view, nude, in dressing room, New York City
MSS-337.058 Close-up photograph of Ray Charles during a concert with Louis Armstrong in France
MSS-337.059 George Gobel, comedian
MSS-337.060 Autographed photograph of Chuck Edwards, Houston guitarist who recorded exclusively for Duke Records, Houston, Texas
MSS-337.061 Jewel Brown during a performance at Club Ebony at Dowling and Rosewood Sts, Houston, Texas; in 1988 name changed to Club Supreme
MSS-337.062 George Gobel, comedian: with personal autograph for Jewel Brown
MSS-337.063 Louis Armstrong, Jewel Brown and Trummy Young, composer of the song “Strange Fruit,” 1961
MSS-337.064 Jewel Brown during a performance at the Living Room Club, Chicago, Illinois, 1965-1966
MSS-337.065 Jewel Brown at a club in the Catskill Mountains, 1963-1964
MSS-337.066 Jewel Brown in her dressing room, Leipzig, Germany, c. 1962-1963
MSS-337.067 Eddie Curtis, guitarist, and Jewel Brown’s ex-husband; personal autograph to Jewel Brown, New York City
MSS-337.068 Jewel Brown, 1958
MSS-337.069 Jewel Brown during a performance, 1961
MSS-337.070 Jewel Brown during a performance, 1965-1966
MSS-337.071 Jewel Brown during a performance, 1963-1964
MSS-337.072 Collage of Louis Armstrong and His Band during a performance: nine photographs
MSS-337.073 Jewel Brown during a performance
MSS-337.074 Eddie Curtis, guitarist for Decca Records; ex-husband of Jewel Brown; personal autograph to Jewel Brown
MSS-337.075 Eddie “King” Curtis playing vibraphone
MSS-337.076 Preston Keeling Brown, brother of Jewel Brown; Louis Armstrong; Mildred Brown, wife of Preston Brown and Jewel Brown. Photograph of folding cover from the Chi-Chi Starlite Room, Palm Springs, California
MSS-337.077 Theater marquee advertising performance of Louis Armstrong and His Band with Jewel Brown as soloist, South America
MSS-337.078 Souvenir folder from Gerry Dunn’s Pavilion, Bala, Ontario, Canada: crowd listening to Jewel Brown
MSS-337.079 Jewel Brown, publicity photograph
MSS-337.080 Louis Armstrong playing his trumpet, in Norway
MSS-337.081 Souvenir folder from Birdland, New York City: Jewel Brown and friend, Alton _____, whom she met in San Francisco, California
MSS-337.082 missing photograph
MSS-337.083 Initialized ring of Louis Armstrong on Louis Armstrong’s hand which is holding a cigarette: blurred face in background; somewhere in Scandinavia
MSS-337.084 Louis Armstrong and His Band in Toronto, Canada: Billy Kyle, piano; Trummie Young, trombone; Jewel Brown, singer; Joe Dannenburg, clarinet; Danny Barcelona, drums; Billy Cronk, bass, with Louis Armstrong, center-left
MSS-337.085 Jewel Brown during a performance in Europe
MSS-337.086 A-L Bound album of photographs of Jewel Brown in Prague, Czechoslovakia
Box Number
3 MSS-337. 001 Opinion, Auckland, New Zealand, Thursday March 14, 1963; newspaper personal account - Jewel Brown
MSS-337.002 Members of the Louis Armstrong Band: Doc Pugh, Armstrong’s personal valet; Trummy Young, Trombonist; Joe Darrenburgh, clarinetist; and Danny Barcelona. Sun Valley, 1962. In 1988, Danny Barcelona was doing seminars for a drum manufacturing corporation
MSS-337.003 Preston Brown, brother of Jewel Brown; Louis Armstrong and Jewel Brown; c. 1961 or 1962
MSS-337.004 Preston Brown, brother of Jewel Brown; Louis Armstrong and Jewel Brown. Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1962
MSS-337.005 Inez Keeling Brown, mother of Jewel Brown
MSS-337.006 Jewel Brown
MSS-337.007 Jewel Brown, age 15
MSS-337.008 Jewel Brown, age 7
MSS-337.009 Jewel Brown, age 15
MSS-337.010 Jewel Brown
MSS-337.011 Billy Kyle, piano; Trummie Young, trombone; Billy Cronk, bass; Joe Dannenburg, clarinet: members of Louis Armstrong Band
MSS-337.012 Jack Carter, comedian
MSS-337.013 Billy Kyle, piano; Billy Cronk, bass; Joe Dannenberg, clarinet; Danny Barcelona, drums; Louis Armstrong. Sun Valley, Idaho, 1962
MSS-337.014 Members of Louis Armstrong Band: Doc Pugh, Armstrong’s personal valet; Trummy Young, trombonist; Joe Dannenburg, clarinet; Danny Barcelona, drums; Jewel Brown
MSS-337.015 Robert Sherman and Louis Armstrong, Sun Valley, Idaho, 1962
MSS-337.016 Son of Jewel Brown, age 8
MSS-337.017 Trummy Young; Jewel Brown, Billy Kyle; Louis Armstrong; Joe Dannenburg and Danny Barcelona, April, 1962
MSS-337.018 Eddie Curtis, guitarist; once married to Jewel Brown; Divorced in 1956
MSS-337.019 Buckingham Palace
MSS-337.020 Louis and Lucille Armstrong
MSS-337.021 Lola Sung and Jewel Brown
MSS-337.022 Pete Sellers and Jewel Brown
MSS-337.023 Jewel Brown; postcard photograph
MSS-337.024 Jewel Brown, postcard
MSS-337.025 Jewel Brown