The Harry Warren Papers consists of original music manuscripts, scores, song sheets, commercial sheet music, bound scores, scripts, business records, correspondence (business, personal and fan), clippings, magazines, photographs, cassette tapes, LP records, posters and programs and personal memorabilia. The material documents the personal life and professional career of composer, songwriter and lyricist Harry Warren from 1894 to 1981 and to a lesser extent the operation of his Four Jays Music Corporation, circa 1954-2000. The bulk of the collection covers the years 1927-1980. The collection is organized into eight series.
The collection is divided into eight series.
Series 1: Music Manuscripts, 1928-1987
Subseries 1.1: Original Holographic Theatre and Motion Picture Music Manuscripts, 1930-1960
With the possible exception of Irving Berlin, no one has contributed as much material to the canon of American popular song in the 20th century as Harry Warren (1893-1981). Warren was born in Brooklyn, New York, December 24, 1893, to Italian immigrant parents. His birth name was Salvatore Anthony Guaragna. By the time he graduated from grade school, he was known as "Harry Warren". He legally changed his name in 1938. He was educated in the public schools of New York but had no formal musical training. He taught himself to play the organ and piano and also sang in the church choir. Both Warren's sister and brother were performers so the theatrical world was not unknown to him. He worked as an actor and assistant director for the Vitagraph film studio in New York and played mood music for actress Corinne Griffith. During World War I, Warren served in the United States Navy at Montauk Point, New York. For a few weeks after the war, he worked as an insurance examiner for The Travellers Agency.
In December 1918, Warren married Josephine Wensler (1897-1993). Their first child was a son named Harry Warren, Jr. (1920-1937). In 1920, Warren became a song plugger for the music publishing firm of Stark & Cowan. Warren continued writing and in 1922 along with lyricist Edgar Leslie produced his first song hit, "Rose of the Rio Grande." From that point on, Warren composed a continuous stream of hits introduced by such artists as Paul Whiteman and others. By 1925, a second child, Joan (1924-1991), nicknamed "Cookie", was born. Warren continued his success with such songs as "I Love My Baby (My Baby Loves Me)," "In My Gondola" and the very popular 1928 hit "Nagasaki."
By 1929, Warren was the director of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). He held that position until 1933. He also served on the ASCAP Board of Directors. During this time Warren worked with various musicians including Gus Kahn, Bert Kalmer, and Harry Ruby. In 1930, he wrote his first motion picture score for the film Spring is Here. Al Jolson asked him to compose a song for the show, Wonder Bar (1931). During the 1930s, Warren composed three other Broadway shows, Sweet and Low (1930), Crazy Quilt (1931) featuring Fanny Brice, and Laugh Parade (1931) starring Ed Wynn.
In 1932, Warren was hired by Warner Brothers Studios to help write songs for the Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler film 42nd Street (1933). Along with lyricist, Al Dubin, Warren wrote such hits as "We're in the Money" and "The Shadow Waltz". Warren continued composing memorable songs for motion pictures such as Gold Diggers of 1933, The Singing Marine (1937), and Footlight Parade (1933). Gold Diggers of 1935 included Warren's first Academy Award winning song, "Lullaby of Broadway". Warren made cameo appearances in a few films during his stay at Warner Brothers. He and lyricist Dubin can be seen in 42nd Street, Go Into Your Dance (1935), and A Very Honorable Guy (1934). He also appeared in a Vitaphone short entitled Harry Warren: America's Foremost Composer.
Warren left Warner Brothers for 20th Century Fox in 1940. At Fox he helped compose the scores for such motion pictures as, Sun Valley Serenade (1941), Orchestra Wives (1942), and The Gangs All Here (1943) that included the Carmen Miranda standard, "The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat". During this period, he worked with lyricists Ralph Rainger, Mack Gordon and Leo Robin, and others. Hello Frisco, Hello (1943) garnered Warren his second Academy Award for the song, "You'll Never Know". While at Fox, Warren composed "Chattanooga Choo Choo" a song that became the first gold record in the history of the recording industry.
In 1945, legendary musical film producer Arthur Freed at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer courted Warren for his MGM production unit. Freed quipped that Warren would have the office right next door to his--and he did. For Warren the offer to write music at the studio that practically invented the movie musical was irresistible and he left 20th Century Fox for MGM. He joined Freed in writing the songs for Yolanda and the Thief (1945) starring Fred Astaire and Freed's protégée Lucille Bremer. The film was directed by the incomparable Vincent Minnelli. His next high profile score was for The Harvey Girls (1946) composed with renowned lyricist Johnny Mercer. The picture starred Judy Garland and John Hodiak. Directed by George Sidney, it was a major success, due in part to Warren's tuneful "On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe". This song brought Warren his third and what would be his final Academy Award.
While at MGM, Warren worked with lyricists Mack Gordon, Ralph Blane, and others. In 1948, he and Blane composed the song score for Freed and director Rouben Mamoulian's ambitious film adaptation of Eugene O'Neills stage play Ah Wilderness entitled Summer Holiday (1948) starring Mickey Rooney and Gloria DeHaven. This is reported to have been Warren's favorite film assignment, but the film was not an unqualified success. Warren remained at MGM until the 1950s composing for such films as The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), starring Astaire and Rogers, Summer Stock (1950), starring Judy Garland and Gene Kelly and his final film for MGM, Skirts Ahoy! (1952), starring Esther Williams and Vivian Blane. After leaving MGM, Warren wrote the score for the Bing Crosby film, Just for You at Paramount. Warren also served on the Board of Directors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Warren went on to write the music for two Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin films, The Caddy (1953) for which he composed "That's Amore", Artists and Models (1955) and for three Jerry Lewis films, Rock-a-Bye Baby (1958), Cinderfella (1960), and The Ladies Man (1961). Warren also composed instrumental pieces one being a "Mass in Honor of St. Anthony".
Warren returned to Broadway in 1956 with the musical Shangri-La, based on the novel Lost Horizon. The show was not a success and closed after fewer than thirty performances. He composed the title song for the Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr film, An Affair to Remember (1957); this song brought him his last nomination for an Academy Award. The song was later used in the motion picture Sleepless in Seattle (1993) starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
During the 1950s, Warren started his own music publishing company, Four Jays Music Corporation. After writing the songs for The Ladies Man, Warren retired from films but continued to write for piano, even composing the song for the Miss Oklahoma Pageant. His last film effort was to compose one song for the motion-picture Rosie (1968). During the last years of his life Warren composed and ran his music publishing business, but remained largely forgotten as the man who had composed a great deal of America's musical heritage.
With the resurgence in the appreciation of the movie musical in the early 1970s, the tunes composed during Warren's heyday were back in vogue, brought on in a large part by the phenomenal success of MGM's That's Entertainment! (1974). In 1980, he was asked to compose the musical numbers for an upcoming movie musical entitled, Manhattan Melody but it was never produced.
1980 brought the Warren name back to the marquees of Broadway with the David Merrick production of 42nd St.. The full budgeted big Broadway musical used the basic storyline from the 1933 film and drew upon the whole of the Warren and Dubin catalogue for the score. The production proved to be wildly popular, running in excess of five years on Broadway. Warren died in California on September 22, 1981. He was interred in the Sanctuary of Tenderness at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles beside his wife and son. After Warren's death, his daughter Joan "Cookie" Warren Jones administered the music publishing company until her death in 1991.
OF = Original Film, RV = Reference Video, MV = Master Video
The Division of Cultural History has three dimensional objects related to Harry Warren.
Donated to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution by Julia Riva and Jophe Jones, granddaughters of Harry Warren, on December 15, 2000.
The collection is open for research use.
Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audio-visual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an "as needed" basis, as resources allow.
Do not use original materials when available on reference video or audio tapes.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply. All duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by Archives Center staff.
The papers of Matthew Shepard (1976-1998) a gay man who was a victim of a hate crime in Laramie, Wyoming October 1998 resulting in his death. His death gained national and international attention leading to the formation of the Matthew Shepard Foundation and eventual passage of federal hate crime legislation (The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act), signed into law in October 2009.
Papers relating to the life of Matthew Shepard, his beating, death, and its aftermath, leading to the passage of anti-hate crime legislation named for him and James Byrd, Jr. The papers include items from Shepard's early life, his school life, elementary through college, and personal material. The collection includes material from his recycling campaign. It also includes items from theater productions in which he participated. There is correspondence both written and received as well as notebooks and his passports. Travel and general ephemera are also included.
The papers related to the aftermath of his beating and death include funeral memorabilia, programs, flower cards, and photographs of floral arrangements. The bulk of the material consists of condolence cards and letters, expressions of sympathy and condolence, and material from memorial events thoughout the United States. These include not only written correspondence, but graphic and artistic tributes (drawings, poetry, screenplays, and musical compositions.)
There are screenplays, correspondence, and photographs relating to the television motion pictures, Anatomy of a Hate Crime (2001) and The Matthew Shepard Story (2002) starring Stockard Channing, Sam Waterston, and Shane Meier.
The papers have been utilized prior to their donation to the Archives, National Museum of American History by filmmaker Michele Josue and Zeina Barkawi for the award winning documentary, Matt Shepard Is A Friend of Mine (2015). The material was also researched by representatives of Ford's Theater, Washington, DC when Ford's mounted a production of Moises Kaufman's The Laramie Project in 2013.
The collection is arranged in three series.
Series 1, Shepard, Matthew, Personal Papers, 1976-2018, undated
Subseries 1.1: Education and Schooling, 1981-1998, undated
Subseries 1.4: Assorted Papers and Ephemera, 1976-1999,undated
Subseries 1.5: Funeral and Celebration of Life, Estate, 1998 October-2018 October 26
Series 2, Shepard Family and The Matthew Shepard Foundation, Papers and Correspondence Received, 1998-2013, undated
Subseries 2.1: Papers, 1998-2003, undated
Subseries 2.2: Correspondence Received, 1998 October-2009 September
Series 3, Tribute, Vigil, Memorial Services, Memorabilia, and Inspired Works, 1998-2008, undated
Subseries 3.1: Tribute, Vigil, and Memorial Services, 1998, undated
Subseries 3.2: Memorabilia and Inspired Works,1973-2008, undated
Subseries 3.3: Anatomy of a Hate Crime, 1999-2001
Subseries 3.4: The Matthew Shepard Story, 1999-2004, undated
Biographical / Historical:
The life and death of Matthew Shepard have been documented in numerous biographies, motion pictures, and newsprint.
Matthew Wayne Shepard was born on December 1, 1976 in Casper, Wyoming to Judy Peck and Dennis Wayne Shepard. Shepard's early life was spent in Casper, where he attended elementary school, junior high, and high school till the tenth grade. While living in Casper, he participated in local productions at theater companies based in Casper. One of his school projects involved bringing awareness to recycling. He was so successful that he was appointed as the young adult representative to the governor's initiaive on state-wide recycling. In his junior year of high school, Shepard left Casper to attend The American School in Switzerland (TASIS). At that time his mother Judy and younger brother Logan joined Dennis Shepard in Saudi Arabia where Dennis was employed by SAUDI ARAMCO.
While attending TASIS on a school trip to Morocco Shepard was raped by one or more unknown assailants. Although the crime was reported, the perpetrators were never apprehended. This emotional and physical trauma stayed with Shepard the remainder of his life. After graduation from TASIS, Shepard briefly attended Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina. After leaving Catawba he moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, and then returned to Casper, where he enrolled in Casper College, the local community college. He briefly moved to Denver, Colorado, before deciding to enter the Universty of Wyoming in Laramie, his parents' alma mater. He was admitted for the 1998-1999 school year to the University of Wyoming.
It was while living in Laramie on the evening of October 6, 1998 that Shepard crossed paths with Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson at the Fireside Lounge. McKinney and Henderson later drove him to a location outside Laramie, where they tied Shepard to a split-rail fence, robbed, and beat him senseless with the butt of a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver. After beating him they stole his shoes and left him in the near-freezing temperatures.
Shepard was discovered 18 hours later by Aaron Kreifels. He was first transported to Ivinson Hospital in Laramie, and upon the discovery of the severity of his injuries he was transferred to the Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado. His parents immediately flew from Saudi Arabia and were with him when he died in the early morning hours of October 12, 1998.
McKinney and Henderson were arrested and charged. They maintained what is known as a "gay panic defense" claiming Shepard had made sexual overtures to one or both of them. This was ultimately not allowed. Henderson pleaded guilty to the charges of felony murder and kidnapping. McKinney went to trial also facing charges of felony murder and kidnapping. When found guilty, McKinney faced the possibility of the death penalty, but upon the Shepard family's request he received two consecutive life sentences, as had Henderson.
The death of Matthew on October 12, 1998 resulted in an unprecedented national and international outpouring of sympathy and reflection from the public at large. Cards, letters, and donations to what became the Matthew Shepard Foundation were received from not only the United States but the world. The response was overwhelming, many writing, "to express their concern and sorrow about what had happened to Matt and to us as his parents," in the words of Dennis Shepard. Shepard's Celebration of Life was held at the family's home church, St. Mark's Episcopal, in Casper, Wyoming. Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church picketed the funeral.
Over a ten-year period, Judy Shepard and the Matthew Shepard Foundation fought for national hate crime legislation. It was not until 2009 that Congress passed The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, also known as the Matthew Shepard Act, on October 22. President Barack Obama signed the act into law on October 28. The Foundation continues to this day bringing good from evil, empowering individuals, ". . . to embrace human dignity and diversity through outreach, advocacy and resource programs," and, ". . . to replace hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance."
Shepard's ashes were inurned at the Washington National Cathedral in October 2018.
Shepard, Judy. The Meaning of Matthew, My Son's Murder in Laramie and a World Transformed. New York, New York: Hudson Street Press, 2009.
Matthew Shepard Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
St. Mark's Episcopal Church website: http://stmarks.diowy.org/ accessed August 2018.
Matthew Shepard Foundation website: https://www.matthewshepard.org/ accessed August 2018.
Objects relating to Matthew Shepard are held in the Division of Medicine and Science.
Collection donated by Dennis and Judy Shepard in 2018.
Collection is open for research.
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.