top of page

Historic Music
Preservation Project

The Historic Music Preservation Project is a not for profit organization established in August of 2021 created for the collection, curation, recording, and performance of early American Jazz and popular dance music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Inspired by the stewardship of the Herman Kenin Library (see below), the Historic Music Preservation Project serves as a resource library, education center, and performing arts presenter based in Vancouver, WA. The current collection includes over 4000 titles dating between 1880 and 1950.

The Historic Music Preservation Project believes that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion should be cornerstone values of any organization promoting culture and the performing arts, and is dedicated to presenting material that displays the organization’s value and recognition of the earliest roots of jazz, developed in the Black and immigrant communities of America. Please visit our Mission, Values, and Inclusion page for more information.

Board of Directors:

Sammuel Murry-Hawkins

Dr. Carrie Bauer

Matt Goodling

Josh Murry-Hawkins

Janet Lindsley 

Bennie Moten.jpeg

The Historic Music Preservation Project is grateful for the generosity of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 99, Portland, Oregon for the contribution of the Herman Kenin Library, with special thanks to AFM Local 99's board, local President (and International Vice President) Bruce Fife, and local Secretary - Treasure Mont Chris Hubbard. For additional information about AFM, please visit AFM Local 99 here.

The Herman Kenin Library represents Herman Kenin's contribution to live music in Portland, Oregon, with the earliest scores dating from 1880 and the most recent published in 1955. These several thousand scores amassed during Kenin's lifetime remained virtually untouched since Kenin's death in 1970;  The Historic Music Preservation Project is honored to act as steward of the collection, cataloging, preserving, and performing these tunes that otherwise would have been lost to history.

Born in Vineland New Jersey, 1901, Herman Kenin and his family would cross the nation to settle in Portland, Oregon in 1911. The young Herman would find a position with George Olson's Orchestra, performing as the house band for the Portland Hotel. With Olson's popularity on the rise, George and several members of the band headed south to Los Angeles in 1925, leaving the hotel orchestra under the leadership of the 24 year old Herman. Soon, the bright young bandleader would find himself leader of the Multnomah Hotel Orchestra, which would lead to the musician's nationwide success. In 1926, Victor records would travel to Portland for the first time to record the hotel band. The success of these recordings would result in Kenin's relocation to Los Angeles to head the Ambassador Hotel Orchestra.

Kenin would eventually return to the Pacific Northwest, and in 1936 would be elected President of AFM Local 99. With a degree from the Northwestern College of Law to his credit, Herman began serving on AFM's International Executive Board in 1943, and in 1958 would be unanimously elected President of the Federation.

Under Kenin's leadership, AFM would help to establish the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities.

Herman Kenin lead the American Federation of Musicians until his death on July 21st, 1970. He would bequeath his collection of arrangements to AFM Local 99. The Ne Plus Ultra Jass Orchestra is honored to carry on his legacy.

Source: The New York Times

*Photos courtesy of Christopher Tyle and AFM Local 99

bottom of page