Paul Karlstrom Papers, 1935-2014
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Brief Description:

Consists of publicity photos, promotional flyers, newspaper clippings, correspondence, photographs, and an LP sound recording documenting Paul Karlstrom's music career between 1958 and 2014. Karlstrom was an University of Illinois alumnus and former instructor at the College of Law. The photographs include handwritten descriptive notes that identify the individuals in most of the images. The photographs and documents also explore Karlstrom's musical experiences with many of the different bands that he performed with including the Everett Cathey, Red Maxfield, Andy Hasnon, Dick Shelton, Wayne Karr, Dick Cisne, Johnny Bruce, and Medicare 7, 8, or 9 ensembles as well as the Paul Karlstrom and his Orchestra dance band whose members included Robert Schallenberg and Ken Gaburo. In addition there are publicity photographs of various big band musicians dating between 1934 and 1954.

An addition to the Paul Karlstrom Papers was donated to the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music on May 18th, 2018 by David Monk. The addition consists of one folder of band publicity and photographs, nine folders of records of the Champaign Federation of Musicians (CFM) and the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), a ledger book of dues paid to the AFM, and two folders of Paul Karlstrom's personal and family papers.

Held at:
The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music
236 Harding Band Building
1103 South 6th Street
Champaign, IL 61820 6223
Phone: 217-244-93093
Fax: 217-244-8695
Email: schwrtzs [at]
Record Series Number: 26/20/206
Created by: Karlstrom, Paul (1920-2014)
Volume: 2.0 cubic feet
Acquired: 08/23/2016. An addition to the Paul Karlstrom Papers was donated by David Monk on 05/18/2018.
Arrangement: Organized into three series. Series 1 consists of band publicity and photographs, and is organized chronologically and/or alphabetically where this information can be identified. Series 2 consists of records from the American Federation of Musicians, and is organized by document type and then chronologically. Series 3 consists of correspondence and news regarding Paul Karlstrom's personal and family life, and is organized by subject.
Biographical Note for Karlstrom, Paul (1920-2014) :

Paul Karlstrom was born Jan. 3, 1920, in Peoria, the son of the Rev. Ossian Leanard and Mabel Olivia Karlstrom. His family moved to Rankin, where his father passed away in 1926. Mr. Karlstrom graduated from the University of Illinois in 1942 and was drafted into the Army. He was aboard ship with the intended invasion force when the atom bombs were dropped on Japan. After discharge as a first lieutenant with occupation forces, he entered the U of I Law School, graduating in 1950. He opened his law office in 1951 on the U of I campus. In 1950, he married Doris June Case of Arcola, who passed away in 1998. He had three sons, Ron, Scott and Kirk (Pam) Karlstrom; two grandchildren, Krista (Clayton) Overstreet and Kai; and one great-granddaughter, Kaitlyn. He was a member and president of the Champaign Exchange Club and a member of the Champaign Kiwanis Club, and served on the Board of Trustees of Augustana College in Rock Island for eight years. He was a member of the Champaign Chapter of the American Federation of Musicians since 1937, serving as secretary since 1966. He also served on the law committee of the International Musicians Union and was president of the Illinois Conference of Musicians. He taught law with the U of I College of Engineering for 27 years, retiring as lecturer emeritus. He was a member of the Illinois Bar Association and the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. He was a member and past president of the University Club. He was organizer and first president of the Campus Businessmen's Association. Mr. Karlstrom began his music career while in high school, playing trumpet at dances in the area with a small group from Hoopeston. Upon enrollment at the U of I in 1937, he found Champaign-Urbana to be a musician's paradise, with five or six full-sized bands playing for the many ballroom dances at fraternities, sororities, Huff Gym and many local ballrooms, including the rooftop of Robeson's Department Store. He also played summer venues in Colorado, Michigan, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Upon returning from the military in 1946, he formed his own band, Paul Karlstrom and His Orchestra, which continued until 1959. In later years, he switched to valve trombone and played a number of dates with Medicare 7, 8 or 9, and continued to play with the group Bud's Band, entertaining local nursing homes weekly.

He passed away on March 19, 2014.

Access Restrictions: Box 2 is restricted to protect the privacy of performers connected to the Champaign Federation of Musicians and the American Federation of Musicians. Please contact the Director of the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music for futher information regarding access to this content.
Subject Index
American Federation of Musicians
Big bands
Gaburo, Kenneth
Law, College of
Medicare 7, 8 or 9
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Acquisition Notes: Gift: Scott Karlstrom  Papers transfered from the Champaign County Historical Archives on August 23, 2016 with Scott Karlstrom's permission.