One of the most comprehensive collections of material relating to musical stage and film productions, the collection consists of an assortment of material including sheet music written specifically for or included in stage and screen musicals, television programs, Big Band performances, and radio. Some productions may have been produced under more than one title, especially if the production was presented internationally.
The collection is arranged alphabetically by title of production or personality using proper name. Folders for each entry may include sheet music, ephemeral items related to that specific production or personality such as theater programs, reviews, and posters. There are a number of costume design drawings. Folders will rarely include full printed scores. Published scores were separated from this collection before donation.
The collection is divided into six series.
Series 1, Stage Musicals and Vaudeville, 1866-2007, undated
Subseries 1.1, United States Stage Musicals, 1866-2007, undated
Series 6, Ephemera and Single Sheet Music, 1908-2005, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Donald J. Stubblebine was born on February 4, 1925 in Reading, Pennsylvania, to Edgar W. and Emma Stubblebine. He had an older brother Edgar W. Stubblebine, Jr. His father was a sheet metal worker employed by the railroad in Reading. Stubblebine was first exposed to musicals through motion pictures. His mother attended "dish night" with her son twice a week. During the Great Depression, in order to draw an audience, theaters would give out dishes with each admission. He credited this with beginning his love of musicals. By the 1940 United States Census his mother is listed as a widow. Stubblebine attended the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania. After graduation he was employed for forty years as controller by the Chilton Publishing Company. He retired in 1994.
As a lifelong film and theater fan, Stubblebine began collecting sheet music, programs, and ephemera from stage and film musicals in the early 1970s. As his collection grew, so did his expertise in the history of musical theatre and film. He eventually authored four reference books dealing with United States and British stage and film musicals as well as films from Canada and Australia. He became an often sought-after expert in stage and film music. His obsession with collecting eventually filled his Philadelphia apartment with one of the largest collections of material centered on music in the United States. He collected not only the sheet music and scores from musicals but often collected copies of reviews, programs, photographs, and costume sketches.
Stubblebine died on May 1, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Donated to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smitsonian Institution by Joseph Regis Hauber in memory of Donald J. Stubblebine, in 2010.
The collection is open for research but is stored offsite. Arrangements must be made with the Archives Center staff two weeks prior to a scheduled research visit.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Reproduction restricted due to copyright or trademark.