Guide to the Mack Gordon Papers

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.1363
Creators:
Myrow, Josef
Gordon, Mack, 1904-1959
Dates:
1926-1977, undated
Languages:
English
Collection is in English.
Physical Description:
1 motion picture film
3 Cubic feet
9 boxes
Repository:
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
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
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
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.

Administration
Processing Information
Processed by Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., archivist; supervised by Vanessa Broussard-Simmons, archivist, 2016.
Author
Franklin A. Robinson, Jr.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution by Jack Gordon, son of Mack Gordon, in 2015.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Mack Gordon Papers, 1926-1977, undated, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
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.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Motion pictures -- 1930-1940 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Motion pictures, American Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Motion pictures and music -- 1930-1970 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Motion pictures (visual works) -- 1930-1950 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Motion picture stills Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Motion picture actors and actresses Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Passports Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Contracts -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Theater Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Musicals Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Business records -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Music -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Motion pictures Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Musical theater Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Music -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks -- 1930-1940 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Composers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photograph albums -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Songs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Writings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scripts (documents) Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sheet music -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Warren, Harry, 1893-1981 -- 20th century Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Revel, Harry -- 20th century Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Oakie, Jack, 1903-1978 -- 20th century Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Langford, Frances -- 20th century Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
O'Hara, Maureen -- 20th century Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dailey, Dan Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fisher, Eddie -- 20th century Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lombard, Carole -- 20th century Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gable, Clark, 1901-1960 -- 20th century Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Merman, Ethel -- 20th century Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Crosby, Bing, 1904-1977 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Castle, Nick -- 20th century Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Berle, Milton Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Grainger, Edmund -- 20th century Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Taurog, Norman -- 20th century Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Henie, Sonja, 1912-1969 -- 20th century Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Payne, John -- 20th century Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cantor, Eddie, 1892-1964 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Faye, Alice -- 20th century Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Taylor, Robert -- 20th century Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dunne, Irene -- 20th century Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jolson, Al, d. 1950 -- 20th century Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Power, Tyrone, 1914-1958 -- 20th century Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives