Scope and arrangement
The papers of "Yip" Harburg consist of scripts, speeches, research notes, clippings, interviews and photographs dealing exclusively with his professional career as a lyricist, writer and playwright. The collection is divided into 7 series and encompasses his entire professional life. There are however, very little correspondence and personal materials among the papers. Most of his productions are included in the papers. Among them are Finian's Rainbow, Flahooley, Bloomer Girl, The Happiest Girl in the World and Darling of the Day. Documentation on these include marginalia and handwritten research notes. One major omission is the scarcity of materials on the academy award winning, The Wizard of Oz. The files on this production include very little and there are no personal notes or marginalia.
Insight into Harburg's attitudes and feelings concerning his Hollywood blacklisting are revealed through his handwritten notes and speeches. The papers reflect Harburg the writer and entertainer. Those looking to research the professional aspects of Harburg's career will find a wealth of materials, however the personal man is obscure and researchers looking for Harburg the individual may have a more difficult task with these sources.
The E. Y. (Yip) Harburg papers are arranged in seven series:
- 1913-19822 boxes
This series consists of biographical materials, correspondence, contracts, awards, eulogies and tributes to friends, and subject files dealing with E.Y. Harburg and his personal and professional interests. Biographical materials include clippings, obituaries, memorials, remarks by colleagues at special occasions honoring Harburg, and items documenting Harburg's participation in the Lyrics and Lyricists Series at the 92nd Street Y. There is little correspondence, however of special note is a letter from Pete Seeger with handwritten sheet music for one of Harburg's lyrics and drafts of letters handwritten by Harburg. The awards include honorary degrees and citations of merit. Also included in this series are CCNY publications featuring some of Harburg's earliest writing and cartoons by classmate Ira Gershwin. Examples of Harburg's later satirical poetry is part of this series as well.
- ca. 1940-19791 box
The series consists of photographs of Harburg speaking at the University of Vermont (1971), family snapshots (1949), and contact sheets and negatives of personal and professional photographs ca. 1940s-1970s.
- 1930-19832 boxes
Handwritten notebooks and loose research notes for scripts, speeches, articles, letters and ideas for lyrics, as well as his personal views on political and social questions. Harburg's writings often reflect his views, especially his opinions of politicians and political and social prejudices of the time.
- 1930-199715 boxes
Production files include treatments and synopses, scripts, rewrites, lyrics, clippings, programs, and research notes. Often productions underwent a series of title changes and each production includes all deviant titles within the main title heading. Productions in this series are: Garrick Gaieties, Accidentally Yours, Life Begins at 8:40, The Singing Kid, Hooray for What?, Hold on to Your Hats, Cabin in the Sky, The Wizard of Oz, Bloomer Girl, Finian's Rainbow, Flahooley, Jamaica, The Happiest Girl in the World, The Informer, Darling of the Day and What a Day for a Miracle. Productions with the most complete documentation are Finian's Rainbow, Flahooley, What a Day for a Miracle, Bloomer Girl and The Happiest Girl in the World.
scopecontent on Flahooley - alternate titles were A Genie for Judy; The Little Doll Laughed; Jollyanna; and Do You Believe in Aries?.
scopecontent on The Happiest Girl in the World: alternate title was The Greeks Had a Cure for It.
scopecontent on Darling of the Day: alternate titles were The Great Adventure; Holy Matrimony; and Alice Chalice.
scopecontent on What a Day for a Miracle!: alternate titles were Who Will Walk with Me?; Our Lives Have Just Begun; and Jerusalem.
- 1929-19703 boxes
This series consists of sheets of Harburg's lyrics arranged both alphabetically and chronologically by year of copyright as well as notebooks and folders of handwritten lyrics and light verse. Included in this series is Harburg's song parody Brother Can You Spare a Buck.
- 1968-20014 boxes
Transcripts of Harburg Foundation interviews with designers, playwrights, musicians, lyricists, composers, producers, choreographers, press agents, actors, directors and critics for a book on the American musical theater scene by Ernest Harburgand Bernard Rosenberg. Other interviews are with or about Harburg. Tapes of many of the interviews are available in the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound. See list of separated materials.
- ca. 1976-19791 box
Among the oversized items are awards and citations, sheets of handwritten lyrics, an illustrated letter from Margo Berdeshevsky and a photograph of Harburg.