Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Guide to the Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music, Series 6: Moving Pictures and Movie Stars

Collection ID:
DeVincent, Sam, 1918-1997
Physical Description:
42 Flat boxes
Sam DeVincent loved music and art and began collecting sheet music with lithographs at an early age. Series 6: Moving Pictures and Movie Stars forms part of the DeVincent collection. An overview to the entire DeVincent collection is available here: Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Subseries 1: Academy Award Songs, contains the song sheets of academy award winning movies from 1934 1986. The songs are listed chronologically and the movie and movie stars are listed in the container list. This subseries also contains four academy award winning movie scores, a grammy award winning instrumental theme, a Cannes Film Festival winner, and the song composed for the 50th anniversary of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Professional music sheets, which are intended for use by professional singers only and do not have illustrated covers, are in the last folder.
Subseries 2: Child Stars, begins with a folder on minor child actors and then lists the major stars alphabetically. Many of the minor stars are from the silent film era and the song sheets are not associated with their movies. Instead the actor's image appeared on the cover to help promote the song. In those cases the song title and publishing year are listed. If the song is in a movie with the child star, the movie title and year are listed. The material for the major stars is organized by movies, recorded songs, professional music sheets, and song folios for each of the stars. The list states when a song is reissued in a movie that does not feature the original child actor. The last folder contains nonspecific song folios of child star music.
Subseries 3: Dance Folios, contains publications of movie music composed for paino with banjo, ukulele, and guitar accompaniment. The music is selected from various movies and the stars' images are included in some of the folios. The words to the songs are not always provided. The folios are organized alphabetically by publishing company and the copyright year (if printed) and the folio title are listed. There are several editions of Robbins M.G.M. Hollywood Dance Folios without publishing dates that are arranged by volume number.
Subseries 4: Disney Productions and Other Cartoon Movies, includes song sheets from Walt Disney movies, cartoons, and series as well as material from movies not produced by Disney. Mickey Mouse songs and songs written about or for Mickey have separate folders. Movies released by Paramont Pictures are grouped together and this sub subseries includes all Popeye songs because Paramont made the recent movie Popeye starring Robin Williams. Cartoon movies produced by other companies are classified togther, and Li'l Abner and Little Orphan Annie fall in this category. The unillustrated professional music sheets and song folios for Disney music are held in the last two folders.
Subseries 5: Female Stars, is arranged alphabetically by star. Sam DeVincent created separate files for certain stars, and subseries five and six organize those folders. The song sheets for each star are ordered chronologically by the year of the movie. When the star's image appears on the covers of songs not played during a movie, the year and song title are listed. This occurs most often with the silent film stars. Many actresses are not found in this series because the material of the collection focuses more on their early recorded or Vaudville songs. Examples are Doris Day, Frances Langford, Billie Burke, and Evelyn Nesbit. The material will be included in the upcoming series on performers. The division of male/female acting teams is also based on the focus of the material. The Gracie Allen and George Burns song sheets are from their movies together so they are placed as a team in this subseries. The movies Joan Blondell and Jeanette MacDonald featured in without Dick Powell and Nelson Eddy are in this subseries, but the movies of the couples are contained in subseries 6.6. Since there are few song sheets from Janet Gaynor's movies without Charles Farrell, all of the material on Janet Gaynor is in subseries 6.6. Other references can be useful for finding movies a star appeared in, but the song sheets are in the costar's folder. There are very few professional copies in this subseries, so they incorporated with the popular song sheets. The content list only mentions professional copies if there are no popular song sheets for the movie. A single song folio also does not have its own folder.
Subseries 6: Male Stars, has the same arrangement and conditions as subseries 5. Unfortunately this subseries does not include the material for Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Eddie Cantor, Eddie Fisher, Russ Columbo, Frank Sinatra, and Rudy Vallee. The sheet music in these files are of the star's recorded songs more than the songs performed in movies, therefore the entire collection has been reserved for the upcoming series on performers. Be sure to note these and other references.
Subseries 7: Movie Music, is the series for all song sheets that did not fit in any other category. The movies are listed in alphabetical order and the publication date on the song sheet is listed to the right. If that date does not correspond to when the movie came out, no year is given. The songs actually played during a silent film are contained in this subseries. The songs which used silent films to promote themselves are in the next subseries, Silent Films. The professional copies are also alphabetically arranged by movie, and the song folios are alphabetically ordered by folio title.
Subseries 8: Silent Films, holds the cue sheets for six movies which are listed in alphabetical order. Most of the song sheets, however, were not performed during the movie. These songs are dedicated to directors of movies, the movies themselves, or the stars. Often the song sheets were then sold in the lobby of a theater at the end of the show. There are three main sections to this subseries; promotion by director, promotion by movie, and promotion by star. Some songs are "inspired by" a movie and some covers only have stars in poses without any dedication. These song sheets show the rising popularity of moving pictures and movie stars. Albums of generic piano and organ music for common scenes in movies are in the last folder.
Subseries 9: Songs About the Movies, is mostly song sheets of nonmovie music. The songs are given in alphabetical order and the song's publication date is to the song title's left. The songs about Hollywood are separated from songs just about the movies. The professional copies and one song folio are in the last two folders. Many of the songs were written when movies first came out and reveal the country's mixed views about the movie industry.
Ephemera File, contains the most material for subseries five and six on female and male stars. For each there are several magazines and newspaper articles on individual stars. There are six books and some publicity items. For example, there are several Jerry Lewis Fund mailings. Subseries two and four, Child Stars and Disney Productions and Other Cartoon Movies, have fewer magazines and articles, but more promotional material.
Duplicates, are from all the subseries, but once again the most are from subseries five and six. The total number of duplicate copies is 2,840.
Note: The year's of movies were found in Ephraim Katz's The Film Encyclopedia (New York, Thomas Y. Crowell, Publishers, 1979).

Arranged in 11 subseries.
  • 6.1: Academy Award Songs
  • 6.2: Child Stars
  • 6.3: Dance Folios
  • 6.4: Disney Productions and Other Cartoon Movies
  • 6.5: Female Stars
  • 6.6: Male Stars
  • 6.7: Movie Music
  • 6.8: Silent Films
  • 6.9: Songs About the Movies
  • 6.10: Ephemera
  • 6.11: Duplicates

NMAH Staff
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection was purchased by the Smithsonian Institution in 1988 from Sam and Nancy Lee DeVincent.

Digital Content
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Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
The Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
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.

Materials in Other Organizations
Materials in Other Organizations
Sam DeVincent Collection of American Sheet Music, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
This collection contains duplicates of materials in the Smithsonian collection, as well as materials acquired by Mr. DeVincent after the donation to the Smithsonian. The phonograph records described above were transferred to the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Donald J. Stubblebine Collection of Musical Theater and Motion Picture Sheet Music and Reference Material, 1843-2010 (AC1211)

Forms Part Of
Forms Part Of
Series 6: Moving Pictures and Movie Stars forms part of the Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music.
An ongoing, updated list of DeVincent topical series is available via the Smithsonian finding aid portal.

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012