Scope and arrangement
The Carolyn Leigh papers are arranged in four series:
This series includes notes, drafts of lyrics, scripts, outlines, meetings notes, correspondence, clippings, and production records. These papers provide information about the development of ideas for shows and the evolution of lyrics from early drafts to the finished product. They also provide a glimpse of Ms. Leigh's method of approaching creative problems: that is, collecting background information, jotting down words, phrases and rhymes, and writing and rewriting a lyric.
All of Ms. Leigh's produced musicals are documented: Peter Pan (1954), Wildcat (1960), Little Me (1962), How Now Dow Jones (1967), Something to Do (1967), and Hellzapoppin (1967). Less completely documented are her television productions, Heidi, The Merry Widow, The Great Waltz, and The Chocolate Soldier all in 1955 and I'm a Fan in 1972. Many unproduced shows and shows completed by other artistic teams, notably Smile, are also documented. In addition to musicals, there are drafts for books, lecture notes, and scripts for Ms. Leigh's appearances as a lecturer and performer. The lyrics for a musical, Forty-Eight, and a draft for a diet book, The Thin Book, contain important biographical information.
Ms. Leigh filed a small amount of correspondence concerning productions with the artistic material and these items have been retained there. However, the bulk of correspondence concerning shows will be found in the Papers, 1944-1985 series and the Legal Records, 1948-1985 series. Press releases, clippings, and messages from well wishers on opening nights will be found in the Scrapbooks, 1951-1983 series.
Note that shows which fill an entire record box are listed at the end of the series. Thus, Caesar's Wife, Flyers, etc., follow You're Nobody til Somebody Loves You.
This series, arranged alphabetically, includes greeting cards from and correspondence with friends, family, associates, and professional organizations. Correspondence with collaborators and associates concern professional as well as personal matters. Many of these letters include discussions of career opportunities and artistic and other problems with shows being developed. The correspondence with Ruth Dickson, a school friend and writer (Married Men Make the Best Lovers, 1967 and Marriage is a Bad Habit, 1968), includes personal information about both Ms. Leigh and Ms. Dickson. Correspondence with Mr. Cunningham is often very informative as well. Much of Ms. Leigh's correspondence is written with the wit and humor one might hope to find in a writer of musical comedy.
Note that some of this material is restricted, and its usage requires prior permission from the donor.
The scrapbooks contain clippings, programs and messages from well wishers on the opening of shows. Listings of show receipts from Variety and Billboard listings of top pop hits make up a significant portion of the clippings, particularly in the early years. The clippings in the scrapbooks are in rough chronological order and trace Ms. Leigh's career from her first published song to her death. See the chronology of the major personal and artistic events of Ms. Leigh's life to determine in which book a particular event might be located. References to such successful works as "Young at Heart" and Peter Pan continue throughout the books.
This series is made up of appointment calendars that list appointments, meetings, and expenses and one calendar that lists income from 1969-1983.