Women in the Performing Arts

A Swingin' Time: Mildred Bailey

29-cent Mildred Bailey stamp
This Mildred Bailey stamp was issued September 17, 1994.

Swing music was largely popular in America throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Jazz music greatly influenced the development of swing music; so many jazz artists later became involved with the swing scene as well. One artist who produced both jazz and swing music was Mildred Bailey.

Mildred Bailey (1907-1951) greatly contributed to the 1930’s jazz and swing music scenes. She greatly influenced the musical career of her childhood friend Bing Crosby, and also acted as a mentor to Billie Holiday. In addition to encouraging the careers of other musical legends from her lifetime, Bailey also became the first woman to tour with a band when she joined the Paul Whiteman orchestra. Later in her career, Bailey had great success on the radio when her and her husband, Red Norvo, started their own radio show.

The Mildred Bailey stamp was issued in Greenville, Mississippi, during the Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival. The stamp was designed by Howard Koslow for the American Music Series: Jazz Singers Issue.