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Finding Aid for the Howard Morehead Papers 1945-2003
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Howard Morehead Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1945-2003
    Collection number: 142
    Creator: Morehead, Howard 1926-2003
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Performing Arts Special Collections
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Abstract: Howard Morehead was a highly regarded Los Angeles still and video news photographer. Over the course of his career, he photographed many of the important jazz musicians of his time, including Ray Charles (album covers), Aretha Franklin, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, among others. The collection consists of photographs, taken by Morehead, of jazz musicians in Los Angeles. Finding aid in process. Former title Howard Morehead Collection of Photographs and Papers


    COLLECTION PARIALLY STORED OFF-SITE: Advance notice required for access. Contact UCLA Performing Arts Special Collections for paging information.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Music Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Howard Morehead Papers, 142, Music Library Special Collections, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift; Howard Morehead; 2003.


    Howard Morehead was born and raised in Topeka, Kansas where he graduated from Topeka High School. Upon graduation, he joined the Air Corps, becoming a pilot in Tuskegee, Alabama. In 1946, after his tour of duty he moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA. He transferred to Los Angeles City College were he earned a degree in photography. He later studied journalism at Los Angeles State College. He attended the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles, to further study motion picture photography. Howard joined the staff of the Los Angeles Sentinel newspaper in 1950, later freelancing for various newspapers and magazines. He became the first West Coast staff photographer for Johnson Publishing Company. He subsequently became known for the many covers he photographed for Ebony magazine and for the Jet magazine centerfold. In 1970, Howard became the first African American in Los Angeles hired as a staff cameraman for television station KTLA. After a year, he moved to KABC-TV where he spent seventeen years as a cameraman before retiring.
    Morehead photographed most of the important jazz musicians of his time, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis and others. He shot album covers for Ray Charles and jazz great Dexter Gordon. His photographs appeared in newspapers, magazines, books, television and album covers. He had two tunes recorded in his honor: "Blues for Howard" by Buddy Collette and "Ballad for a Bronze Beauty" by Teddy Edwards. The latter piece was created because Howard was the producer of the popular Miss Bronze California Beauty Pageant and the Bronze Beauty calendar, which won awards for Best Glamour Photography from the Calendar Marketing Association.
    Morehead also traveled extensively, and photographed in China, Russia, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, East and West Africa. He died in July, 2003.

    Scope and Content

    Predominantly photographs taken by Morehead of jazz musicians and venues in Los Angeles. Also includes some correspondence, personal and business papers, as well as books, videotapes, and LP recordings from his personal collection.
    The collection is organized into the following series:
    • Series 1. Photographs by Howard Morehead
    • Series 2. Correspondence
    • Series 3. Business Documents, Articles, Essays and Stories
    • Series 4. Books
    • Series 6. Video Cassettes
    • Series 7. Sound Recordings

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Jazz musicians--Portraits
    Jazz--California--Los Angeles