Dennis Owsley Jazz Collection | Webster University

Dennis Owsley Jazz Recording Collection


One of Saint Louis' most avid jazz fans, Dennis Owsley, in 2012 donated his entire 54-year collection of jazz recordings to Webster University, to be housed in Emerson Library in the Dennis Owsley Jazz Recording Collection. This gift is a benefit to our students and faculty, to the community, to historians and researchers, and to all who love this wonderful art we call jazz.

Dennis Owsley has been hosting a weekly radio show, Jazz Unlimited, on St. Louis Public Radio since 1983. He has been a jazz album collector, aficionado, and historian since 1958 and has seen most of the major artists in jazz in live performance.  He is the author of an award-winning book, City of Gabriels—The Jazz History of St. Louis 1895-1973.

Nearly all the music heard on Jazz Unlimited is from Owsley's personal collection, a collection that now resides at Webster University's Eden Library. 

This collection is of particular note because it includes LPs from the 60's and 70's that document Gaslight Square and the Black Actors Group. These LPs are a treasure for historians of Saint Louis.

Much of the Owsley Collection is available for circulation in the Emerson Library stacks. 

Dennis Owsley with President Beth Stroble as we recognize his extraordinary gift.