Guide to the George Jelly Leftwich scrapbook, 1925-1931
George "Jelly" Leftwich joined Duke University in 1926 as conductor of the Duke University Club Orchestra. He is best remembered for having written the words and music to Duke's fight song, "The Blue and White." The scrapbook contains newspaper clippings, photos, programs, invitations, tickets, booklets, advertisements, posters, and memorabilia related to the Duke University music department, as well as George "Jelly" Leftwich's personal photos and documents. The items date from 1925 to 1931.
- Record Group
- George "Jelly" Leftwich scrapbook
- Leftwich, George E., Jr. (Jelly).
- 3 Linear Feet, 4 folders Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English
Four folders contain newspaper clippings, photos, programs, invitations, tickets, booklets, advertisements, posters, and memorabilia related to the Duke University music department, as well as George "Jelly" Leftwich's personal photos and documents. The items date from 1925 to 1931, the bulk of which is from Leftwich's time as conductor of Duke University Club Orchestra. The folders combined consist of approximately 120 pages.
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Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
George "Jelly" Leftwich, a native of Wilmington, NC, was born in 1905. He joined Duke University in 1926 as conductor of the Duke University Club Orchestra, where he remained until 1933. Leftwich is remembered best for having written the words and music to Duke's fight song, "The Blue and White." He ultimately turned over the song's rights to the university.
During his time as conductor, Leftwich elevated both the level of musicianship and number of participants in the music department. His orchestra regularly performed and traveled, while billed as "the South's Finest College Band." Leftwich was never known to have mastered an instrument himself, but was well regarded in his capacity as conductor.
Leftwich's time prior to Duke is unclear. While he is credited in newspapers with having attended the University of North Carolina before transferring to Duke in his sophomore year, there is no official record of him as a student at the university. Certain contents of his scrapbooks indicate that he led the Wilmington, NC Seashore Hotel Orchestra in the summer season and was a member of the Carolinians Orchestra in the time leading up to his acceptance of an offer from Duke.
After his time at Duke, Leftwich changed his name to Lee Dixon and pursued a career as a musician. However, he experienced little success and ultimately left the music business during World War II. Upon his music retirement, Leftwich went into the hotel industry and eventually became the manager of the "Downtown Club" in Richmond, Virginia.
Leftwich married his former vocalist Kay Keeyer, and they had two sons. He died in 1977 in Richmond, Virginia, and was buried in his hometown of Wilmington, NC.
- Biographical Reference Collection, 1972 - 2004. (University Archives, Duke University.)
- Dept. of Music records, 1946- (University Archives, Duke University.)
- News Service Biographical Files, 1960 - 2004. (University Archives, Duke University.)
- University Archives Photograph Collection, 1861-ongoing (University Archives, Duke University.)
[Identification of item], George "Jelly" Leftwich scrapbook, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
The George "Jelly" Leftwich scrapbook was received by the University Archives as a gift in 2005.
Processed by Alyssa Reichardt, October 2007
Encoded by Sherrie Bowser, October 2007
Accession UA2005-0066 is described in this finding aid.