Organized in three series: Series 1: Medieval and Renaissance Music Research and Instruction (1855-2007), Series 2: American Popular Music Research and Instruction (1794-2007), and Series 3: Tangential Research Files and Personal Papers (1800-2007). Series 1 is organized in three subseries: Subseries 1: Research Files, Subseries 2: Instruction Files, and Subseries 3: Correspondence. Series 2 is organized in three subseries: Subseries 1: Research Files (1794-2007) arranged by primary topical subject area, Subseries 2: Instruction Files (1923-2001) arranged alphabetically by course title or subject and then chronologically thereunder, and Subseries 3: Correspondence (1973-2007) arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Series 3 is organized in three subseries: Subseries 1: Organological Research and Instruction Files, Subseries 2: Reference and Other Research Files, and Subseries 3: Professional Papers and Correspondence.
Lawrence "Larry" Arthur Gushee (1931-2015) was born in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania to Lawrence and Mary McEachern Gushee, and grew up in the areas of Boston and Philadelphia. After graduating from William Penn Charter School, Gushee earned a BA in the History of Music from Yale University, and then a Ph.D. in Musicology Studies from Yale in 1962. His teaching career includes posts at Yale (until 1967), University of Wisconsin-Madison (1967-1976), and finally University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1976-1997). Gushee was a classically-trained clarinetist as well as a musicologist, and later in his career he became involved in traditional jazz and ragtime performance. He later formed his own band, the New Golden Rule Orchestra. Gushee's study of American popular music had grown from his initial interest in Medieval and Renaissance trouveres and troubadours; his work in early music included the genealogy of important musicians and the tracing of song origins. Such endeavors were highly influential upon his work with American music. The bulk of his scholarly research focused on medieval music and early jazz, with particular expertise on Jelly Roll Morton and the Original Creole Band of New Orleans. From this expertise came the publication of his book Pioneers of Jazz: The Story of the Creole Band (2005). Additionally, Gushee's written work in these fields appears in American Record Guide and Jazz Review, and he has provided liner notes for Smithsonian reissues of King Oliver, Freddie Keppard, and Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers Recordings. His most influential contribution as a scholar was the promotion of early jazz as a legitimate scholarly field.