LaBudde | William F. Trumbauer Collection


Photographs (Thumbnails)

- Individual Prints
- Scrapbook Photos


Related Cataloged Material

- Books & Recordings


Related Collections By Name

- Frank Trumbauer

Related Collections By Topic

- Music
- Music: Jazz & Big Band
- Music: Kansas City Jazz

Scope and Content of Collection

The Trumbauer Collection was donated to LaBudde Special Collections, UMKC Miller Nichols Library, in June 2006 by drummer Bill M. Trumbauer, son of trumpeter William (Bill) F. Trumbauer and grandson of jazz saxophonist Frank Trumbauer. Included were materials related to Frank and Bill F. An addendum of material was gifted in September 2010 by Bill M. and Mary Trumbauer, widow of Bill F. At that time the collection was separated into two distinct collections: Frank Trumbauer Collection and William F. Trumbauer Collection.

The William F. Trumbauer Collection consists of biographical information, including a scrapbook containing photographs; news clippings and ephemera relating to Trumbauer’s musical background; engagement booklets, posters, photographs and other miscellaneous items.

Related collection: Frank Trumbauer Collection (father).

Biographical Sketch

William (Bill) Francis Trumbauer was born April 9, 1923, in Chicago, Illinois. His parents were Mitzi and Frank Trumbauer. Frank was a well-known jazz saxophonist in the 1920s and 1930s. From the time of his birth, his mother instilled in him the need to seek truth and his father taught him the need to have music in his life.

At an early age, the family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where his father formed the Frank Trumbauer Orchestra. The family also lived in Detroit, Michigan, and New York where Bill started grade school. Bill was awarded the Roosevelt medal from the New York school district for being the most successful student in bringing his grades up to an excellent level. From New York, the family moved to Los Angeles with the Paul Whitemen Orchestra. Here Bill attended school and graduated from the Ralph Waldo Emerson Junior High School in 1938. It was in Los Angeles that Bill started his musical training on trumpet with Manny Klein, a great trumpeter with one of the studio bands. Manny also presented Bill with his first trumpet. Bill was also a member of a famous riding academy in Los Angeles. He also loved gymnastics and became quite good at this sport.

In August 1940, the family moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where Frank Trumbauer had accepted a position with the Civil Aeronautics Administration as assistant to the regional manager. During this period, Bill attended Paseo High School and graduated in 1942. He was a member of the Orchestra and Jazz Band. He was known to his fellow students as “Gabriel”. It was also during the 1940s that the Trumbauer family lived in a cottage on the grounds of Unity Farm during one summer. It was here that Bill became very interested in the Unity movement and started his search for truth.

After high school, Bill joined several bands: Joe Venuti and his Orchestra in New York and the East Coast, and the Charlie Fisk Orchestra traveling throughout the Midwest and the Pacific Coast. He returned to Kansas City after traveling and joined the Warren Durrett Orchestra in 1945. He played extensively with other music groups for many years until his passing in 1978. Bill was elected Executive Board Member of the Kansas City Musicians Association Local 34 for many years. He also had a real estate license with the Real Estate Board of Kansas City, Missouri.

Bill started his studies with Unity Society in the late 1940s and early 1950s and received his first licensed minister or teacher certification in 1952. He taught many of the lessons at the Unity Temple on the Plaza. During the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, he was asked to participate in the Sunday morning worships with Rev. Louis E. Meyer. He was also asked to play his trumpet at some of the morning worships when a trumpet was needed.

In March 1957 he married Mary Louise Freeman at the Unity Temple on the Plaza. On September 22, 1958, their son, William Michael Trumbauer was born. On November 3, 1967, their second son, David Francis Trumbauer was born. David passed away on January 6, 2002, at the age of 34. William Michael has two sons, Tyler and Dane.

Bill was assistant professor at UMKC from 1965 to 1976. He developed and managed the jazz program at the university. He was the Stage Band Director of the jazz band and taught jazz and classical studies for trumpet. He produced and was host of Just Jazz, a weekly program on radio station KCUR-FM from 1975-1977.

William (Bill) Francis Trumbauer passed away on October 21, 1978.


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