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Mack Gordon Papers

Composer:
Myrow, Josef  Search this
Revel, Harry -- 20th century  Search this
Warren, Harry, 1893-1981 -- 20th century  Search this
Creator:
Gordon, Mack, 1904-1959  Search this
Actor:
Berle, Milton  Search this
Dailey, Dan  Search this
Dunne, Irene -- 20th century  Search this
Faye, Alice -- 20th century  Search this
Gable, Clark, 1901-1960 -- 20th century  Search this
Henie, Sonja, 1912-1969 -- 20th century  Search this
Lombard, Carole -- 20th century  Search this
O'Hara, Maureen -- 20th century  Search this
Oakie, Jack, 1903-1978 -- 20th century  Search this
Payne, John -- 20th century  Search this
Power, Tyrone, 1914-1958 -- 20th century  Search this
Taylor, Robert -- 20th century  Search this
Singer:
Cantor, Eddie, 1892-1964  Search this
Crosby, Bing, 1904-1977  Search this
Fisher, Eddie -- 20th century  Search this
Jolson, Al, d. 1950 -- 20th century  Search this
Langford, Frances -- 20th century  Search this
Merman, Ethel -- 20th century  Search this
Dancer:
Castle, Nick -- 20th century  Search this
Producer:
Grainger, Edmund -- 20th century  Search this
Director:
Taurog, Norman -- 20th century  Search this
Extent:
1 Motion picture film
3 Cubic feet (9 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Motion picture films
Motion pictures (visual works)
Motion picture stills
Passports
Contracts
Correspondence
Clippings
Business records
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Photograph albums
Songs
Writings
Scripts (documents)
Sheet music
Date:
1926-1977, undated
Summary:
Mack Gordon (1904-1959) was a prolific and successful songwriter, lyricist, and composer. He composed songs for stage and screen. He and Harry Warren won the Academy Award for Best Song in 1943.
Scope and Contents:
The papers document the life and career of songwriter Mack Gordon. They include business records, both personal and business correspondence, contracts, royalty statements, commercially published sheet music, a script for the motion picture Three Little Girls in Blue, photograph albums, a scrapbook of clippings, original music manuscripts, notes and writings that may have served as mnemonic devices for song ideas, an excerpt from the Paramount short film, The Collegians, funeral materials, name change documents, and a passport. The production and creative files give insight into Gordon's creative process, and ideas for lyrics, song titles, and word play are found throughout these files.

The collection is organized in seven series.

Series 1: Production and Creative Files, 1931-1950, undated. This series contains files relating to motion picture and theatrical productions, both produced and unproduced. This series also contains unidentified lyric notes, instrumental sketches, and themes.

Series 2: Business Records, 1931-1975, undated. This series contains business records, royalty contracts, telegrams, correspondence and other business records pertaining to Gordon and his work for theatrical and motion picture companies.

Series 3: Original Music Manuscripts, 1940-1952, undated. This series contains original music manuscripts written by Gordon.

Series 4: Commercial Sheet Music, 1928-1959, undated. This series contains commercially published sheet music. The sheet music was bound by Gordon into volumes he titled, Majors & Minors, there is also a folder of unbound sheet music.

Series 5: Personal and Family, 1935-1977, undated. This series contains personal documents such as passports, life insurance documents, name change documents, the auction catalogue from the sale of furnishings at Gordon's Pacific Palisades home. This series also contains personal correspondence from singer Sandra Werner to Gordon.

Series 6: Photographs, 1933-1956, undated

Series 7: Audio-Visual, 1926
Arrangement:
The collection is organized in seven series.

Series 1: Production and Creative Files, 1931-1950, undated

Series 2: Business Records, 1931-1975, undated

Series 3: Original Music Manuscripts, 1940-1952, undated

Series 4: Commercial Sheet Music, 1928-1959, undated

Series 5: Personal and Family, 1935-1977, undated

Series 6: Photographs, 1933-1956, undated

Series 7: Audio-Visual, 1926
Biographical / Historical:
Mack Gordon was a prolific and successful songwriter, lyricist, and composer who composed songs for stage and screen. Born Morris Gitler (he legally changed his name to Mack Gordon in later life) in Poland on June 21, 1904, his family immigrated to the United States in 1908 and settled in New York. His early career was as a performer in vaudeville and minstrel shows, but by the early 1930s he had formed a songwriting partnership with pianist Harry Revel. Gordon wrote for the Broadway stage and eventually made his way to Hollywood where he worked at a number of different motion picture studios.

In addition to Revel, Gordon worked with such well-known composers as Harry Warren, with whom he won his only Academy Award for Best Song for "You'll Never Know" from Hello Frisco Hello, and Josef Myrow, to name just three. Some of his more famous songs are "Chattanooga Choo Choo," "At Last," and "Did You Ever See a Dream Walking?". He was nominated for the Academy Award nine times and became a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He died on February 28, 1959 in New York City (some biographies have his date of death as March 1), and is entombed at the Corridor of Immortality at the Home of Peace Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California.
Provenance:
Collection donated to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution by Jack Gordon, son of Mack Gordon, in 2015.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
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.
Occupation:
Motion picture actors and actresses  Search this
Composers  Search this
Topic:
Motion pictures -- 1930-1940  Search this
Motion pictures, American  Search this
Motion pictures and music -- 1930-1970  Search this
Theater  Search this
Musicals  Search this
Music -- 20th century  Search this
Motion pictures  Search this
Musical theater  Search this
Music -- United States  Search this
Genre/Form:
Motion pictures (visual works) -- 1930-1950
Motion picture stills
Passports
Contracts -- 20th century
Correspondence -- 20th century
Clippings -- 20th century
Business records -- 20th century
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 20th century
Scrapbooks -- 1930-1940
Photograph albums -- 20th century
Songs
Writings
Scripts (documents)
Sheet music -- 20th century
Citation:
Mack Gordon Papers, 1926-1977, undated, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1363
See more items in:
Mack Gordon Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1363

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