Cuje collection charts Cream City music
Some people take the Milwaukee music scene -- past and present -- for granted, with realizing how many great bands -- in many genres -- have local roots. Thankfully, there are people out there trying to inform and educate others about the music of Milwaukee.
In the basement of Marquette University's Memorial Library (1415 W. Wisconsin Ave.) is a place many Milwaukeeans have never heard of or been to. The Jean Cuje Milwaukee Music Collection includes cassettes, compact discs, videos, vinyl records and related items.
Classical, jazz, folk and rock are just some of the styles represented in this archive of music by artists who have spent a majority of their careers residing and performing in the Milwaukee area. Some of the more popular (and recent) ones are The Gufs, Citizen King, Violent Femmes, Paul Cebar and BoDeans.
The music has been gathered through donations and is intended to serve the local community.
"The point is to collect the music of Milwaukee musicians, past and present," said Bruce Cole, the Jean Cuje Collection Development Librarian. "There are really no guidelines in terms of what we will or will not accept."
The collection also includes a lot of rare vinyl, which can't be circulated.
"Right now you can hear anything in the archives, but we hope to get a lot of CD's to make things suitable for circulation," Cole said.
Visitors will find that playing equipment is provided for them, and the collection is open to anyone, whether you're a Marquette student or a Milwaukee resident.
"There are private rooms, and it's a great place to do research or just listen to music," Cole said.
Jean Cuje was a local resident and library cataloger who died in November 1992. The collection was started in 1993 to commemorate Jean's passion for music as well as her dedication to providing people with educational and recreational materials through libraries. She worked at Marquette from 1979-'92. According to Cole, Cuje always dreamed of this type of collection at Marquette.
The goal is for the collection to always get bigger and better.
"We want to keep it growing and we need donations," Cole said. "And we're always looking for memorabilia."
If you would like to help out, please mail donations to the following address.
Memorial Library c/o Bruce Cole
1415 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53201-3141
Donations can also be dropped off in person. The Jean Cuje Milwaukee Music Collection is located in the Special Collections Department in the basement of the Memorial Library. For additional information, please contact Bruce Cole at (414) 288-2148.
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