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Bettye Miller and Milt Abel Collection

Identifier: MS-0067

Scope and Contents

The Bettye Miller-Milt Abel Collection was gifted to the UMKC Libraries by Linda Abel, wife of the late Milt Abel, in April 2006. The collection focuses on the time that Bettye Miller and Milt Abel spent together as musicians and as husband and wife. The couple was locally and nationally known in the jazz community and performed together in cities all over the country.

Housed in LaBudde Special Collections, the manuscript collection includes correspondence, contracts and programs; photographs capturing Miller and Abel personally, socially, and performing; musicians’ union publications; newspaper clippings; honors and awards; and a binder of miscellaneous ephemera such as musicians’ union cards, business cards, ticket stubs, matchbooks, cocktail napkins with inscriptions and sketches, postcards, song request cards, and other items. In addition, there are documents and ephemera associated with Abel after the death of Miller in 1977, such as his time on the board of the Women’s Jazz Festival as well as other events and performances in which he was involved. The collection also includes approximately 200 pieces of published sheet music and dozens of manuscript music scores.

In summer 2012, LaBudde Special Collections was gifted additional materials from the Abel family to augment the existing collection. Inclusive dates range from 1939-2006, while the bulk of the holdings highlight the years 1985-2000. Since Miller passed away in 1977, there are just a few remnants relating to her life, including several photographs, her high school commencement announcement, and several news clippings. The strength of the collection lies within the numerous performance contracts. Also contained in the collection are correspondence, datebooks and calendars, promotional material, various ephemera, photographs and music manuscripts. Some gems of the collection are in the sundry posters, mainly jazz related, including a Count Basie commemorative poster signed by Basie.

Housed in Marr Sound Archives, the audiovisual collection consists of interviews, radio broadcasts, live performances, and rehearsals of Bettye Miller and Milt Abel. The series also contains recordings of various radio jazz programs in Kansas City.


  • 1912 - 2006


Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status is unknown


9 Linear Feet (LaBudde: 16 Manuscript Boxes, 1 Binder, 2 Oversized Drawers.)

6.5 Linear Feet (Marr: 261 Open Reel Audiotapes, 4 CD-Rs, 18 Lacquer Discs, 2 Vinyl Discs, 102 Audio Cassettes, 23 VHS Tapes.)

Language of Materials


LaBudde: Suzanne Golden, Scott Gipson, Kelly McEniry (supervising archivist); Addendum 1: Teresa L. Gipson, Stuart Hinds (supervising archivist). Marr: Erik Blume, Helena Collins-Gravitt, Andrew Hansbrough.
LaBudde: December 2006; Addendum 1: July 2012. Marr: 2015.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Special Collections and Archives Repository