Scope and arrangement
The Susannah McCorkle Papers document the life and career of a great American singer and writer. They consist of 30 linear feet of material dating from 1946-2001, with the bulk dating from ca. 1970 - 2001. The Papers cover all aspects of McCorkle's professional singing and writing careers as well as her personal life. They include sheet music, scores, arrangements and lyrics for songs she performed and recorded throughout her career, including many of the octet arrangements for her albums on the Concord label; papers documenting her performing, touring and educational activities, as well as media clippings and concert programs; published and unpublished writings and journals, including unpublished novellas and a memoir of her early singing career; personal papers and correspondence; performance and publicity photographs and publicity literature from all stages of her career, and books owned by McCorkle. The separated material includes many unreleased sound and video recordings.
Portions of the McCorkle Papers existed only in electronic form on floppy disks. These files were retrieved and printed; not all were fully salvageable. Documents in the collection printed from electronic files contain headers at the top of each page listing the file name, date of file creation when known, and page number. A CD-R containing all original electronic files is in Box 29, Folder 4.
The Susannah McCorkle papers are arranged in twelve series:
- 1957-2001 and undated7 boxes
This series contains McCorkle’s published and unpublished writings. These include fiction stories published in various magazines, non-fiction journalistic pieces and essays published in newspapers and magazines, and McCorkle’s personal journals and her unpublished writings based on them. There are also unfinished writings as well as works-in-progress, including two unpublished novellas and a book-length unpublished memoir. Major portions of this series were retrieved from floppy disks and printed; not all were fully salvageable. Documents printed from electronic files contain headers at the top of each page listing the file name, date of file creation when known, and page number.
- Sub-series 1 – Early Writings, 1957-1968
- Sub-series 2 – Non-fiction, 1967-2001 and undated
- Sub-series 3 – Fiction, 1971-1999 and undated
- 1967-2001 and undated3 boxes
Correspondence is divided into five categories: fan letters, publishing, song research, song suggestions and general correspondence to and from McCorkle. Most of the personal correspondence is to and from friends and colleagues; what little correspondence there is to McCorkle’s family is in Box 10, Folder 10.
- 1974-2001 and undated10 boxes
This series documents the logistical and financial aspects of McCorkle’s career. The bookings sub-series covers McCorkle’s performing and traveling life, while the other two sub-series consist mostly of financial statements.
- Sub-series 1 – Bookings, 1982-2000 and undated
- Sub-series 2 – Financial Papers, 1982-2000
- Sub-series 3 – Record Companies, 1974-2001
- 1946-2001 and undated2 boxes
In addition to Susannah McCorkle's personal papers, this series also contains papers pertaining to McCorkle's mother, Margery, for whom McCorkle was handling financial and medical issues. McCorkle’s papers contain documentation of her jury service, marriages and divorces, insurance and estate planning, documents such as birth certificate and passports, medical records and her high school yearbook. Papers for her mother (McCorkle usually referred to her as “Mimi”) contain information on the trust established for her, bank statements and letters to her mother’s physicians regarding her care. By New York State Law all medical records in this series are sealed from public view.
- 1975-2001 and undated3.5 boxes
This series contains notes, setlists, song lists and lyrics, lighting cues, scripts, correspondence and other documentation regarding McCorkle’s musical career in both performance and recording.
- Sub-series 1 – Performances, 1975-2000 and undated
- Sub-series 2 – Recordings, 1975-2001
- 1963-2000 and undated7 folders
This series does not constitute a definitive collection of programs, but it does provide documentation for every phase of McCorkle’s career, beginning in her high school years. It contains flyers and concert season schedules as well as programs.
- 1972-2001 and undated25 folders
This series contains a very thorough collection of newspaper and magazine clippings about McCorkle, beginning with her earliest press notices in London, 1972, and ending with 2001 posthumous clippings (presumably inserted by the executor of the estate).
- 1975-2001 and undated18 folders
The papers in this series consist of material designed for distribution and marketing, including press releases, biographies and resumes, itineraries, flyers and press quotes. McCorkle constantly updated her press package and the progress of her career can be tracked by the latest press releases her office issued. They typically listed upcoming gigs, projects and record releases and summed up recent events in McCorkle’s career. The series also contains correspondence relating to work done on McCorkle’s behalf by her publicist, Helene Greece, as well as letters she sent to her fan mailing list.
- 1971-2000 and undated2 boxes
This series consists of song lyrics, research and occasional correspondence about song history that McCorkle collected throughout her career, in different forms. For several years in the early 1970s she maintained a growing hand-written notebook of lyrics, attaching numbers to songs for reference. Later notebooks were typed or computer-printed. She also produced a set of index cards with lyrics.
- 1975-2000 and undated28 boxes
The scores are divided into five sub-series: shows, special projects, recordings, general trio arrangements and song collections. The shows, special projects, and recordings often correspond to project documentation files in series V. Most of the scores McCorkle routinely used were for piano trio. The scores for her Concord recordings were usually for octets, and her collaborations with Rayburn Wright were for either jazz big band or full orchestra.
- Sub-series 1 – Shows, 1984-2000 and undated
- Sub-series 2 – Special Projects, 1981-2000 and undated
- Sub-series 3 – Recordings, 1986-2000
- Sub-series 4 – General Trio Arrangements, 1975-1999 and undated
- Sub-series 5 – Song Collections, ca. 1975-1999 and undated
- 1972-2000 and undated3 boxes
This series contains photographs of McCorkle and sketches by McCorkle and others. The photographs are in four divisions: publicity, performance, candid and oversized. Publicity photos are mostly 8”x10” and include proof sheets and negatives. Performance and candid photos are in varying sizes. There are three divisions of sketches: drawings produced by McCorkle (some as part of her therapy during her bout with breast cancer), drawings of McCorkle by others, and drawings by Lee Davis.
- 1949-19951 box
The books in this series contain inscriptions or markings by either McCorkle or the book’s author.