International Sweethearts of Rhythm

The International Sweethearts of Rhythm graced the national stage as the first racially integrated all-female jazz band. While women had been recognized as singers in popular American culture, rarely were they recognized as instrumentalists, much less as brass aficionados. Operating from 1938 to 1946, their boom in popularity came during World War II, when many male jazz artists were serving overseas, leaving an opportunity for women to shine their talents at home. Over time, the group attracted some of the country’s strongest female jazz instrumentalists of the era. One of the group’s standout performers was trumpeter Ernestine Carroll, better known as “Tiny Davis,” who was affectionately referred to as the female Louis Armstrong. Armstrong, in fact, was counted among her fans. 

Meredith Holmgren
Curator, American Women's Music

Because of Her Story