Sweethearts of Rhythm More all-women bands

Other notable all-women bands: Historic and current

Note: historic bands were, for the most part, all-white or all-black, hence the two different columns  

Historic black women bands

Historic white women bands 

Current bands with founding dates

The Harlem Playgirls, 1930s

Lil Hardin Armstrong's All-woman band

The Dixie Sweethearts

Eddie Durham's All-Star Girl Orchestra

The Prairie View College Co-Eds, 1940s

Many women also led all-male bands:

Lil Hardin Armstrong, trumpeter-singer Valaida Snow, and white sax player

L'Ana Webster

A few of the all-women bands in other countries: In Cuba, Concepcion Castro's All-woman Anacoma Orchestra; in Japan, Harumi Miyagama's 14 piece all-woman swing band; in England, The Rhythm Girls, The Boston Belles, Marie and her Orchestra

The Bluebells, 1920s

Bobbie Grice's Fourteen Bricktops

The Bon John Girls, 1930s

Babe Egan and Her Hollywood Redheads

The Ingenues

Rita Rio's All-girl Band 

Ina Ray Hutton and her Melodears, 1930s-40s

Ada Leonard's All-American Girl Orchestra, 1940s

Peggy Gilbert and her All-Girl Band, see below for a book about her

Two of the more commercial bands had their own weekly radio programs: The Hormel Girls, 1940s- '50s (sponsored by Hormel) and Phil Spitalney and his All-Girl Orchestra, 1934-1955

Maiden Voyage, 1979 

Ann Patterson, sax-leader

Kit McClure Band, NYC, 1988  Kit McClure, sax-leader

DIVA, NYC, 1993  

Sherrie Maricle, drums-leader

Add your favorite

all-woman band to

Susan's Comment Page! 

Peggy Gilbert and Her All Girl Band

By Jeannie Gayle Pool

Foreword by Lily Tomlin & Jane Wagner


“A joyful celebration of one woman's extraordinary life.”

Leonard Maltin

Pool profiles the life of this multi-talented saxophone player, arranger, bandleader, and advocate for women instrumental musicians. Based on oral interviews and Gilbert's collection of photographs, news clippings, and other memorabilia, this book includes material not previously available on all-women bands from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, and highlights the contributions of Gilbert and other notable West Coast female jazz musicians.

Jeannie Gayle Pool Ph.D. is a musicologist, composer, documentary filmmaker, and producer. An expert on music for motion pictures, she is a consultant for Paramount Pictures Motion Picture Music Department.