Crosby Collection at Gonzaga

Crosbyana Room
Crosbyana Room

Click here to view images of the Crosbyana Room (Flash)

Bing Crosby began to donate items to Gonzaga University in preparation for the opening of the Crosby Library in 1957.   Bing donated gold and platinum records, trophies, placques, and photographs to addorn the room.  In addition to the generous donations of materials by Bing prior to his death, Crosby fans and family began to recognize the Crosby Library as the home of all things Crosby.  In June 1993, the University received the entire collection from the Bing Crosby Historical Society in Tacoma, Washington.  Additionally, several collectors have given major donations of Crosby recordings. 

Stretch to Health Device
 Stretch to Health Device
Today, the Crosbyana Room in the Crosby Student Center serves as a museum for Crosby fans.  Each year over 2500 visitors sign the guest book in the Crosbyana Room.  These visitors come from all fifty states and at least 20 foreign countries.  Crosby fans recognize Spokane and Gonzaga as being his hometown and alma mater and make the trek to see the sites.  Visitors can see approximately 200 items, including the duplicate Oscar he won in 1944 for "Going My Way".  There are twenty-two gold and two platinum records from such titles as "White Christmas," "Silent Night", and “Swinging on a Star.”  Also displayed are movie stills and photographs, record albums, books, and sheet music.  There are many trophies and awards he received over the years from various organizations.  There are also items from the Crosby Research Foundation, such as the “Trip Trap,” a mousetrap that the foundation invented.  There is also a health device that Crosby endorsed called "Stretch to Your Health with the Stars.”

What you see today in the Crosbyana Room is just a portion of the total amount of trophies and citations that Bing won over the years.  Space does not permit us to show all of his treasures.  What is not on display is housed in the Special Collections vault in the Foley Center Library. This vault also houses the University’s Rare Book Collection, the University Archives, the Jesuit Oregon Province Archives, and other manuscript collections. (Click here to see images from the vault)

The Crosby Collection includes: approximately 1400 records and albums, 800 audio cassettes, 2000 discs of radio shows, 300 pieces of sheet music, and an extensive magazine and clipping file about Bing's life and career.  There are numerous scrapbooks created by his adoring fans, Crosby's correspondence with Gonzaga, and hundreds of photographs depicting his high school, college, and career days.   The collection also contains books by and about Bing and his contemporaries, and publications by various Crosby fan clubs from throughout the world.            

radio disc
 Radio disc

A major donation to Gonzaga University from Bing Crosby in 1957 was the massive collection of his radio shows.  Nearing 2000 discs, the collection contains “The Bing Crosby Show,” “Kraft Music Hall,” “Minute Maid Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice,” “Philco Radio Time,” and other titles.  In all, this is a major holding of Crosby’s radio work from 1943 to 1954.  What makes this collection even more impressive is the fact that these 16-inch discs are in excellent playing condition and they are fairly complete.     

The Gonzaga Collection has a few of his personal effects.  Some of these items such as his pipes can be viewed at the Crosby Alumni House.  Located at 508 E. Sharp this building, which was Crosby's boyhood home, is open weekdays to the public free of charge.

Scope of the Crosby Collection

The collection is the largest public Crosby collection containing his 1944 Oscar for "Going My Way," gold and platinum records, trophies and awards, photographs, correspondence, newsclippings, radio disks, records and cassettes, and other memorabilia.

Original Manuscripts:
Materials such as some correspondence by Crosby, his family; friends and contemporaries such as Bob Hope, Al Rinker, Rosemary Clooney, and Frank Sinatra. Also includes materials relating to Crosby organizations, such as the Bing Crosby Historical Society. There is an on-line inventory available through the Northwest Digital Archives.

A few collections have been processed.  Please click on the following titles to see the on-line inventory.

Photographs:
Bing, his family, friends, and contemporaries, and places associated with him: such as his boyhood home in Tacoma.

There are also images of the Bing Crosby Statue located in front of the Crosby Library at Gonzaga University.  The inventory to the Bing Crosby Statue Photograph Collection is available on-line.

Audio-visual:
Recordings of his music, including phonograph records (33 1/3s and 78s), Compact disks, and cassettes; radio show broadcasts. Commercial copies of his movies on video tapes or laser disks;

Paintings and artwork:
Artwork of Bing;

Books and other Secondary Material:
Books in various editions by Crosby; and other books either about Crosby, his family, friends, and contemporary entertainers, or giving background information, such as places associated with him. Contemporaries to Crosby include Bob Hope, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra, etc. Also, includes books owned by Crosby.

Newsclippings about Crosby and his family, sheet music, Bing Crosby Pro-Am Golf Programs, Scrapbooks about Crosby created by his fans.

The Library receives gift subscriptions of periodicals donated by the various Bing Crosby fan clubs, such as Club Crosby and the International Crosby Circle.

Research Material:
Materials gathered by scholars and fans about him. This includes correspondence, research notes, manuscripts and galleys for books or other publications.

Realia:
Includes three dimensional objects relating to Crosby, such as: Bing Crosby ice cream cartons, Crosby coloring books, buttons, Crosby clothing, etc.

The University collects donations of Crosby material. Books and audio-visual formats, such as compact disks and videos, about Crosby are purchased. These materials are cataloged and are housed in the Special Collections area. Manuscript materials, periodicals of Crosby fan clubs, and realia are only received as donations. Some manuscript material is located in the University Archives as it relates to Crosby's relationship with the University.

The holdings for the book and media collection are available on the on-line catalog. The inventory to the Bing Crosby Collection is being processed. Please contact the Special Collections Department for more information.

Bing Crosby Fan Club Periodicals

The Bing Crosby Fan Club Periodicals lists the holdings of various periodicals of Crosby fan clubs from throughout the world. The library continues to receive subscriptions for some periodicals.  Click here for a listing of the fan club periodicals.

Bing Crosby Historical Society Collection

In 1993 Gonzaga University received the entire collection of the Bing Crosby Historical Society (BCHS) of Tacoma, Washington. This collection includes materials relating to the life and career of Bing Crosby, business files of the Bing Crosby Historical Society, as well as correspondence, newsclippings,  photographs, and Crosby memorabilia.  The on-line inventory available through the Northwest Digital Archives.

Bing Crosby Radio Shows

Gonzaga University has a large collection of Bing Crosby radio discs including:

  • The Bing Crosby Show : 1949 - 1954
  • Kraft Music Hall: 1943 - 1946
  • Minute Maid Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice: 1949 - 1950
  • Philco Radio Time: 1946 - 1949
  • Miscellaneous: 1936 - 1960

For a complete inventory, please contact the Special Collections Department.

How to Donate:

The Bing Crosby Collection at Gonzaga has been created due to generous donations from Bing Crosby, his family, his friends, and his fans.  There is no budget dedicated to purchase Crosby related items, so the library relies heavily upon donations of materials or money to support its Crosby acquisitions activities.  Kathryn Crosby has shown her support by writing the attached letter.

For more information about donations, please contact:

Special Collections Department
Foley Center Library
Gonzaga University
Spokane, WA 99258
Call (509) 323-3847 or 323-3822
email: spcoll@gonzaga.edu

Thank you for your support!

Recent Donations: 

  • "Chronological Bing Crosby", CD, vols. 1-49
  •  1966 Oldsmobile Toronado toy car with Bing's likeness on roof used as a promotional item for Pro-Am Golf Tournament
  • Large Bing Crosby Sound Recording Collection of 78s, 33 1/3s, and CDs
  • Photographs of Bing Crosby Stadium in Virginia
  • Race track program signed by Bing Crosby
  • Scrapbook on Bing
  • Bing Crosby swim medals
  • Photo from "Waikiki Wedding"
  • "Bulldogs of Gonzaga" sheetmusic

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