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http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/28/nyregion/louis-armstrongs-lip-balm.html?ribbon-ad-idx=4
 
Louis Armstrong’s Lip Balm
By BILL SCHULZ AUG. 26, 2016

Louis Armstrong in 1956. Louis Armstrong House Museum
In the mid-1930s, during an extended tour of Europe, Louis Armstrong found himself in Germany with a split lip, a fairly common injury for him. But by luck, he had recently made the acquaintance of Franz Schuritz, a trombonist who also happened to be the inventor of Ansatz-Crème, an invigorating lip balm. Armstrong was an immediate and lifelong convert.
“This is the greatest salve in the world,” he said in an interview in 1952. “I’d be dead without it. Before World War II, I told Joe Glaser, my manager, to buy $250 worth of it. He said, ‘Are you crazy?’ And I said, ‘Man, I can read between the lines. There’s trouble coming. Now buy it, dammit.’”

Louis Armstrong House Museum
Playing a trumpet is notoriously hard on the lips, but Armstrong’s playing was so punishing that the condition is now known among horn players as “Satchmo’s syndrome.” (Armstrong’s nickname, Satchmo, was derived from “satchel mouth.”) By the mid-1950s, Ansatz-Crème was endorsed by Armstrong and the tins were rebranded with his name getting top billing.
The Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, Queens, is a national landmark (and was Armstrong’s home for the last three decades of his life). It is now concluding its monthlong celebration of Armstrong’s 115th birthday, on Aug. 4.
The museum holds 300 artifacts related to Armstrong, including a gold Selmer trumpet given to him by King George V in 1934; a portrait of Armstrong by Tony Bennett; and a bronze life mask, which was discovered hidden behind a bookcase. The lip balm — 500 tins of it — was held in the museum’s off-site storage facility.

Louis Armstrong House Museum
According to Ricky Riccardi, director of the research collections at the museum, the salve is a symbol of Armstrong’s devotion to his instrument. “Some people are so blinded by his smile,” Mr. Riccardi said, “they think he’s just clowning around all the time. But from the minute he woke up to the minute the show started, Armstrong was fixated on getting his chops together for that evening’s show. He told all of his wives, ‘The horn comes first,’ and he wasn’t kidding.”
The trumpet from King George V, engraved “Property of Louis Armstrong,” is the centerpiece of the museum. There is another trumpet at the Armstrong Archives at Queens College. Four others are kept in a safe, though two of them are on loan at the moment.
“Any time I touch the trumpets, whether it’s to show them to a visitor or just clean them, I get the chills,” Mr. Riccardi said. “Those instruments changed history.”



 
 


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