“Bunny Berigan of
Digital Collection Goes Live
By Julie Flemming
The “Bunny Berigan
of Fox Lake” Digital Collection has gone live for all to enjoy. It is a collection of original materials that
have been digitalized by the UWDCC (University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Center) and were selected by the Fox Lake Public Library. The work was made possible by a LSTA (Library
Services and Technology Act) grant and awarded to the Fox Lake Public Library
by the Department of Public Instruction.
This collection is now one of the collections that are part of the
The idea of doing this grant was first
proposed by Rhonda Puntney who works for the
Mid-Wisconsin Federated Library System of which the Fox Lake Public Library is
a member. She had taken a vacation in
Upon making a personal visit to the
Library and seeing the scope of the materials she decided that there was at least 1,000 pages of written material about Bunny and
probably 200 pictures. The grant was
written to digitalize the 1,000 pages and 200 pictures during the year of 2010,
with the total local cost to the community of
Once the Library was notified that it had the grant the material to be digitalized needed to be selected. Some materials had already been cataloged in the Harriet O’Connell Historical Room, but many of the materials were still in boxes. The boxed materials had been donated by Ken Hansen’s family at the time of his death. Ken was the husband of Bunny’s daughter, Joyce, and had been a long time fan of Bunny Berigan. He had saved many, many materials and the task for the grant was to look at each piece of paper and each picture to determine what should be included in the collection.
After the work of choosing the
materials was finished they were loaded up and taken in person by
representatives of the Fox Lake Public Library to the
This project will make significant historical material about Bunny Berigan available to local historians, Berigan fans, and jazz fans around the world. Bunny Berigan is a well known trumpet player who grew up in Fox Lake, WI, and went on to have a career in New York and playing with such bands as Benny Goodman, the Dorsey Brothers and Paul Whiteman in the 1930’s and 1940’s. He is credited with being in a band the first time “swing” was played by a dance orchestra and his musical talent is still lauded to this day by those who appreciate his ability.