Guide to the Frances Klein Papers, 1929-2002


Frances Klein (b. October 19, 1915) is a female jazz musician who began her career in the early 1930s. She played trumpet in a number of jazz bands, most notably the all-female bands led by Irene Vermillion and Ina Ray Hutton. The collection contains materials compiled by Klein from throughout her musical career, consisting of clippings, posters, programs, and photographs of Klein and many other contemporary musicians.

Collection Details

Collection Number
Frances Klein papers
Klein, Frances, 1915-
0.5 Linear Feet, 375 items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Material in English

Collection Overview

The Frances Klein Papers contains materials compiled by Klein that relate to her career as a jazz trumpet player. The collection contains newspaper clippings, concert programs, and other promotional materials related to Klein's musical career from 1933 to 2002, including items from her time with bands led by Irene Vermillion and Ina Ray Hutton along with advertisements for Klein's own bands. Additionally, the collection includes photographs and images primarily related to Klein's musical career. These photographs include candid images and a large number of publicity shots from contemporary colleagues of Klein, including Irene Vermillion and Ina Ray Hutton.

More Biographical / Historical Info

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], Frances Klein Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Contents of the Collection

1. Clippings and Miscellaneous Items Series, 1933-2002

1 box

Three folders are separated into clippings, programs, and miscellaneous items that deal primarily with Klein's musical career. Many of the clippings are of advertisements for bands and concerts led by Klein in local clubs and bars in the Cleveland area in the 1930s and 1940s. Another folder contains concert programs and promotional materials dating primarily to Klein's time in Irene Vermillion's band in the first half of the 1930s. There are also several King trumpet advertisements. The miscellaneous items folder contains, among other items, a eulogy for Lillian Houston, who performed with Klein in Ina Ray Hutton's band, an award certificate to Klein for a performance in 1933, a letter from the King trumpet company, and an invitation to play on a USO tour in an all girl orchestra led by Alfonso D'Artega in 1943.

Box 1
Concert Programs, Posters, Advertisements
Box 1
Miscellaneous items
Box 1

2. Photographs Series, 1929-1959

Five folders include three distinctions in organization: candid images, publicity photographs, and Klein publicity photographs. One folder of candid photographs consists primarily of Klein's time with Irene Vermillion's band in the early to mid 1930s, images of Ina Ray Hutton's band in concert, and Klein with friends in the late 1950s. There are also three folders of publicity photographs of Klein's contemporary colleagues, many of which are autographed and addressed to Klein. Of note are images of Irene Vermillion and Ina Ray Hutton. The fifth folder includes publicity photos of Klein with many images dating from the late 1920s to the mid 1940s.

Candid Photographs
Box 1
Publicity Photographs (3 folders)
Box 1
Klein Publicity Photographs
Box 1

Historical Note

Frances Klein (b. October 19, 1915) is a native of Cleveland, Ohio where she played trumpet in the Glenville High School Band. Around 1935, she was invited to play in Kermit Dart's All-Girl Band, which was led by Irene Vermillion. Klein traveled the country for two years with Vermillion's dance act/revue, "Rhapsody in Red." Upon returning to Cleveland, she was invited to tour with Ina Ray Hutton's All-Girl Traveling Band; after which, she returned again to Cleveland where she performed in a variety of local venues as a part of the Cleveland Women's Orchestra. Around that time, she was also the sole female member of Freddie Shafer's band. Klein led a number of bands, including: Frances Klein's All-Girl Orchestra, Frances Klein and Her Formal Swingsters, Frances Klein and her Moderniers, Frances Klein and Her Rhythm Boys, United States Marine Band (High School), and Frances Klein's All-Girl TV Band. On February 22, 1945, she married David Siskin and legally changed her name to Frances Siskin. In the late seventies, the Siskins moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where Klein continued playing trumpet in groups including the Jacksonville Bulls Pep Band, the Jacksonville Gator Pep Band, and a senior citizens band known as High Society.

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The Frances Klein Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in April 2009.

Processing Information

Processed by Timothy Obert, June 2009.

Encoded by Timothy Obert, June 2009.

Accession 2009-0116 is described in this finding aid.