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Dean Earl papers, undated

Identifier: BCA-010

Scope and Contents

The collection comprises pedagogical arrangements created and/or compiled by pianist, Berklee faculty member, and Berklee alumnus Dean Earl ('56) as teaching aids for Piano department courses in harmony and piano performance. The arrangements are primarily popular music and jazz standards, as well as some musical exercises.


  • Creation: undated


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research by appointment. Advance notice is required for access because materials are stored offsite. These materials have been digitized and are available online.

Biographical Note

Pianist, arranger, and educator Everett G. “Dean” Earl (1910-2002) was born in Brooklyn, New York and began playing piano as a young boy. He toured with a vaudeville band in the 1930s, ultimately moving to Boston to accept an offer to work as the resident piano man at the Railway Club. Earl freelanced at Boston jazz clubs such as Little Harlem, Southland, and Alpini’s, for several years; completed a stint in the Army Air Corps Service Band during World War II; and then returned to Boston, where he became a regular at the Hi-Hat, the Saxony, Wally's, and other clubs. In 1953 he enrolled at Schillinger House (soon to be Berklee School of Music and later Berklee College of Music) on the GI Bill, studying piano under Harry Smith. After graduating in 1956, he remained a mainstay of the Boston jazz scene, playing shows with Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Billie Holliday, Sonny Stitt, and Sarah Vaughn. Earl joined the Berklee faculty in the Piano department in 1961. In addition to regular courses and private instruction, Earl also taught Berklee’s Correspondence Course in modern harmony arranging, orchestration, and improvisation. One of the earliest Black faculty members at Berklee, Earl’s teaching career spanned forty years, up to his death in 2002.


4.5 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



Pedagogical arrangements of popular music and jazz standards created and/or compiled by pianist, Berklee faculty member, and alumnus Dean Earl as teaching aids for Piano department courses in harmony and piano performance.


Arrangement reflects the order of the collection as originally received.

Custodial History

The original mimeographs were originally housed in hanging files in a file cabinets before being transferred to archival storage in four large plastic containers.

Digitized Materials

These materials have been digitized and are available online here

Processing Information

Photocopies were made of the arrangements on acid-free paper and retained in original order; the original folder names were transcribed verbatim as titles, including some apparent typographical or grammatical errors, and acronyms of unclear meaning such as "CHO" "PNO" and "T 4 2."

For unknown reasons, the mimeographs, stored across four large plastic containers, are no longer in original order reflected in the inventory.

Finding aid created and encoded in Fall 2013 by Anne Mansella, Simmons GSLIS intern. Physical processing, including digitization, was completed prior to October 2012 under the supervision of Ernie Gillis, Manager of Learning Resources Web Development. Revisions to the finding aid, including expanded description and box/folder assignments, were completed by Ashley Gray, Processing Archivist, in 2021 and 2023.

Dean Earl papers, undated
Anne Mansella, Simmons GSLIS intern (2013), with revisions by Ashley Gray (2021, 2023)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
The processing of this collection and the creation of this finding aid were completed with support from a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Repository Details

Part of the Berklee Archives Repository

1140 Boylston St
Boston MA 02215 USA