Bing & Mildred

MAC 100 Stories: A Centennial Exhibition - Story 14

Singers Bing Crosby and Mildred Bailey shared humble beginnings in Spokane's jazz scene. Bailey was singing the blues in a popular Los Angeles speakeasy when her brother, Al Rinker, lured Crosby into his Spokane band. Eventually, both Rinker and Crosby joined Paul Whiteman's famous orchestra, and Bailey became its vocalist - the first female singer in a major orchestra. She helped integrate the music world when the Benny Goodman Trio formed at one of her parties; it later became the first mixed-race recording group to receive national recognition. Meanwhile, Crosby's mellifluous voice allowed him to reach audiences through film, radio and eventually television.

MAC 100 Stories: A Centennial Exhibition is told on the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture campus in Spokane's Browne's Addition, with additional highlights at 15 sites in Spokane and eastern Washington. The exhibit experience (February 22, 2014 - January 2016) weaves stories and programs about Inland Northwest people, places and events by capitalizing on the MAC's extraordinary collection. www.northwestmuseum.org

Spokane Historical presents 15 regional and city tours in partnership with the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture and its 100 Stories exhibition.

Images

Crosby's Spokane Visit, 1950

Crosby's Spokane Visit, 1950

Bing Crosby made many return visits to Spokane. In this photograph Spokane resident, Phyllis LaPoint, appears to be pinning something to Crosby's collar. Perhaps a token from an adoring fan... Image L87-1.64455-50 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture View File Details Page

Mildred Bailey, 1931

Mildred Bailey, 1931

Born in Tekoa, Washington in 1907, Mildred Bailey is credited with giving her brother, Al Rinker, and his band mate, Bing Crosby, a start in radio performance in 1925. A few years later the three were performing together in Paul Whiteman's Orchestra Image courtesy of the University of Washington Special Collections View File Details Page

Mildred Bailey, 1931

Mildred Bailey, 1931

Mildred Bailey moved to Seattle when she was 17, became involved with the Seattle jazz scene and quickly rose to fame. Image Courtesy of the University of Washington Special Collections View File Details Page

Bing Crosby, 1936

Bing Crosby, 1936

Born in Tacoma and raised in Spokane, Bing Crosby became a break out solo star soon after leaving Paul Whiteman's Orchestra in 1931. Image courtesy of the University of Washington Special Collections View File Details Page

A Letter to Bing, 1932

A Letter to Bing, 1932

After Bing Crosby's 1931 solo radio debut, he received a letter from Spokane's Chamber of Commerce congratulating him on his success. Image L87-1.687-32 courtesy of the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

“Bing & Mildred,” Spokane Historical, accessed June 24, 2017, http://spokanehistorical.org/items/show/410.
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