USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

University of Southern California

Gospel Music History Archive

Gospel Music History Archive

In 2006, one fire gutted Chicago’s historic Pilgrim Baptist Church, destroying irreplaceable documents, including the original sheet music and letters of Thomas A. Dorsey, the “Father of Gospel Music.” While the tragedy deprived the world a significant part of the historic legacy of of America’s great composers and arrangers, the event also underscored the need for the systematic collection and preservation of the history of gospel music.

The Gospel Music History Archive is an effort to preserve the legacy of gospel music in a state-of-the-art digital archive. The GMHA digitizes and catalogues important documents and makes them available in a searchable database to scholars, gospel artists, librarians, church historians, teachers, and anyone with Internet access. The archive contains original audio and visual video interviews, music files, publicity materials, photographs, film, scholarly articles, and analysis from academic and gospel-community-based experts.

Partners: Center for Religion and Civic Culture, The Gospel Music History Project (The Black Voice Foundation), The Archives of African American Music and Culture (Indiana University), and the USC Digital Library.

View the collection at the USC Digital Library site.