In Memoriam: 1980s
Michael Bruce Cogswell (Col ’83 CM) of New York City died April 20, 2020. After three semesters at UVA, he dropped out to play music professionally and spent the next 18 years performing jazz, swing, R&B and rock with bands in Boston, Washington, D.C., and Charlottesville. He eventually returned to the University, where he received a bachelor’s in musicology. After several years working in UVA’s Music Library and performing with his own group, The Mike Cogswell Quartet, he left Charlottesville to attend the University of North Texas in Denton. He completed a master’s degree in musicology focusing on free jazz and worked in the school’s music library archives. He also played with the Pinky Purington Big Band of Dallas. In 1991, Mr. Cogswell moved to New York City to process Louis Armstrong’s personal collection as an archivist at Queens College. Over the next 27 years, he established the Armstrong Archives and opened the Armstrong home in Corona, New York, now known as the Louis Armstrong House Museum. He also earned a master’s in library science at Queens College and published Louis Armstrong: The Offstage Story of Satchmo. As the founding executive director of the museum, he spent the last decade of his career working to build a $23 million education center across the street from the Armstrong house. Scheduled to open in 2021, the center will hold the archives, an exhibition gallery, a jazz club, a performance space and a museum store. It broke ground in 2017, the year before health issues caused Mr. Cogswell’s retirement. He is survived by his wife, Dale VanDyke (Col ’74, Educ ’77), and two brothers.