University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Edward Jablonski and Lawrence D. Stewart:

An Inventory of Their Collection of Gershwin Research Materials at the Harry Ransom Center

Descriptive Summary

Creator Jablonski, Edward, and Lawrence D. Stewart
Title Collection of Gershwin Research Materials
Dates: 1931-1973
Abstract The collection was generated by the collaborative literary efforts of Jablonski and Stewart during the writing of The Gershwin Years (1958, and 2nd edition 1973) and The Gershwin Years in Song (1973), a music song book with illustrations and text. Among the papers are the authors' research materials, correspondence, transcripts of interviews, outlines, holograph and typed manuscripts, galley proofs, page proofs, layout dummies, illustrations and captions, bibliographical notes, and press clippings.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-02140
Extent 8 document boxes, 2 oversize boxes, and 5 galley folders (4 linear feet)
Language: English
Repository: Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Edward Jablonski, 1922-2004

Edward Jablonski was born in 1922 in Bay City, Michigan. His love for the music and lyrics of the Gershwin brothers began as a teenager. Jablonski initiated his correspondence with Ira Gershwin with a fan letter which began a life long friendship. From 1942 to 1946 Jablonski served in World War II as a member of the U.S. Army Field Artillery Corp. After the war he moved to New York City to launch his writing and music career. In 1949 he helped found Walden Records which specialized in American music and in 1950 he completed his B.A. at the New School for Social Research. In 1951 he also did graduate work in anthropology at Columbia University.

His first article, on the exiled Hungarian composer Bela Bartok, appeared in Twelfth Street, a small literary magazine. Throughout his career he contributed to such periodicals as Saturday Review, American Record Guide, and Stereo Review. In 1958 he co-authored, with Lawrence D. Stewart, The Gershwin Years, which brought together many previously unavailable materials from the personal archives of Ira Gershwin and many of the Gershwins' friends and associates. The authors also compiled a comprehensive bibliography of songs and lyrics, with their first performance dates. This book contributes to research in American popular music of the "Jazz Age" and the Gershwin brothers.

The Gershwin Years was followed by other musical biographies and histories. In 1961, Jablonski published Harold Arlen: Happy with the Blues, a musical biography about the composer and his contributions to such Hollywood and Broadway classics as The Wizard of Oz, A Star Is Born and House of Flowers. In 1961 Jablonski contributed to the new edition of Isaac Goldberg's Tin Pan Alley: A Chronicle of American Popular Music, originally published in 1930 with a forward by George Gershwin. For this new edition Jablonski wrote a supplement section entitled "From Sweet and Swing to Rock n' Roll."

During the early 1970s, Jablonski concentrated his writing on critical analysis of aerial warfare, which he derived from his personal war experiences. In 1973 a second edition of The Gershwin Years was published that included corrections to the first edition as well as further material on Ira Gershwin's career in Hollywood following George's death in 1937. This edition also included an expanded discography and a supplement on existing Gershwin archives, including the Gershwins' non-musical works (i.e., sketches and paintings). The Gershwin Years was adapted for and produced on television, with narration by the celebrated songwriter Richard Rogers. In 1973 Jablonski and Stewart also published in collaboration with The New York Times The Gershwin Years in Song, a song book interspersed with illustrations and text. In 1981 Jablonski edited the Encyclopedia of American Music and in 1992 he published Gershwin Remembered.

Lawrence Delbert Stewart, 1926-2013

Lawrence D. Stewart was born in Champaign, Illinois, in 1926. After attending several colleges he obtained his B.A. in 1948, his M.A. in 1949 and the PhD. degree in 1952, all from Northwestern University. He taught English at the University of California at Los Angeles from 1952 to 1954 and at California State University at Northridge from 1969 to 1977. From 1977 to 1979 he was a Fulbright scholar in Iran and India.

Between teaching positions during the years 1955 to 1968, Stewart served as archivist for Ira Gershwin's private letters, papers, and memorabilia collected from the joint careers of George and Ira Gershwin. It was while serving in this capacity that Stewart met Jablonski and they began their joint book project. The free access and intimate relationship that Stewart enjoyed with Ira Gershwin and his family helped provide unique information and research materials for The Gershwin Years. In 1959 Stewart wrote the booklet entitled The Gershwins: Words upon Music for the Verve Records release Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Song Books. Much of this material was incorporated into the second edition of The Gershwin Years.

Stewart is interested in the creative method of artists, musicians, and writers with whom he was personally associated. Stewart believed that this interest helped formulate his attitudes toward the relationship between life-as-lived and life-as-literature. Consistent with this philosophy, Stewart has written a critical analysis of the writing of Paul Bowles. This work, Paul Bowles: The Illumination of North Africa (1974), includes reflection on both Bowles's personal and professional relationships, as well as his parallel career as a musician and composer. He is also the author of John Scott of Amwell (1956), concerning the 18th century Scottish Quaker poet. In 1984 Stewart published Artichokes, Lilacs and the Houses of Monterrey.

For more information on Edward Jablonski and Lawrence D. Stewart see Contemporary Authors.

Scope and Contents

The Jablonski and Stewart Collection, 1931-1973 (bulk 1957-1973), was generated by the collaborative literary efforts of Edward Jablonski and Lawrence D. Stewart during the writing of The Gershwin Years (1958, and 2nd edition 1973) and The Gershwin Years in Song (1973), a music song book with illustrations and text. Among the papers are the authors' research materials, correspondence, transcripts of interviews, outlines, holograph and typed manuscripts, galley proofs, page proofs, layout dummies, illustrations and captions, bibliographical notes, and press clippings. Much of the authors' research material was derived from Ira Gershwin's private archives and from personal interviews of the Gershwin brothers' friends and colleagues. The manuscripts have been profusely revised and constitute a record of the "work in progress." Also included are a few original manuscripts of both George and Ira Gershwin, which were a gift from Ira Gershwin to Jablonski and Stewart.

The materials are arranged in two series: Works, 1932-1973 (bulk 1957-1973), and Gershwin Manuscripts, 1931-1955. The Works are arranged in three subseries: The Gershwin Years (1st ed., 1958), The Gershwin Years (2nd ed., 1973), and The Gershwin Years in Song (1st ed., 1973). Materials in each of these subseries follows a chronological order that reflects the process of research, writing, revision, and publication. Often the material reflects the individual contributions of the co-authors.

Among the earliest items is a scrapbook which serves as an early model of The Gershwin Years. The scrapbook contains clippings of articles and photographs from newspapers, magazines and other publications, catalogs, interviews, programs, holograph and typed notes, outlines, and early typed drafts of the text. Of special interest in the scrapbook is the reproduced correspondence of George Gershwin and Dubose Heyward, 1932-1937, that documents the planning and development of their collaborative efforts on the opera Porgy and Bess.

Although the bulk of the correspondence concerns research, illustrations, permissions, and other publication matters, several significant correspondents are included: Carl Van Vechten, Paul Whiteman, Dubose Heyward, Eva Jessye, Vinton Freedley, Vernon Duke, Harry Ruby, Eva Ganthier, Francis Robinson, Paul and Kathie Mueller, and Francis "Frankie" Godowsky. Also among the correspondence is the sixteen page manuscript "Gershwiniana" by Edward Kilenyi, which discusses the formal music training George Gershwin received under Kilenyi's guidance. The correspondence for the 2nd edition also includes a series of letters between Jablonski and Stewart (1972-1973), concerning personal matters as well as the revision. A list of all correspondents in the Jablonski/Stewart Collection is located at the end of this inventory.

The Gershwin Manuscripts, 1931-1955, include original manuscripts by both George and Ira Gershwin. George is represented by a single holograph piano/voice score of "Gone, Gone, Gone," from Porgy and Bess. The Ira Gershwin items include holograph and typescript drafts of lyrics written for the film A Star Is Born. The several versions of these lyrics show Ira Gershwin's creative process in construction of song lyrics. There is also one holograph manuscript of the lyric for the song "Of Thee I Sing."



Open for research

Index terms

Duke, Vernon, 1903-1969.
Gershwin, George, 1898-1937.
Gershwin, Ira, 1896-1983.
Godowsky, Frances Gershwin.
Heyward, DuBose, 1885-1940.
Jablonski, Edward.
Jessye, Eva, 1895-1992.
Kilenyi, Edward, 1884-1968.
Robinson, Francis, 1910-1980.
Ruby, Harry
Stewart, Lawrence D. (Lawrence Delbert), 1926- .
Van Vechten, Carl, 1880-1964.
Whiteman, Paul, 1890-1967.
Document types
Galley proofs.

Related Material

Other Gershwin materials at the Ransom Center are located in the following manuscript collections:

Alfred A .Knopf, Inc.

Merle Armitage


Morris Ernst

George Gershwine


Sinclair Lewis

Gloria Swanson

An original watercolor by George Gershwin, entitled "April", a portrait of a young girl, dated July 19, 1929, is located in the Ransom Center Art Collection.

Administrative Information


Gift, 1975

Processed by

Virginia Maze, 1987; David Hatfield Sparks, 1993

Folder List

Series I. Works 1932-1973

Subseries A: The Gershwin Years (1st ed. 1958)
Research Materials
box folder
1 1 Scrapbook, nd. Clippings and typescript arranged as a "prototype" manuscript; includes carbon typescripts of the correspondence between George Gershwin and Dubose Heyward, 1932-1937
2 Scrapbook binder labeled The Gershwin Years, and portrait of George Gershwin
3 Index cards of song titles compiled with first appearance in show, includes dates and names of theaters
4 Outline and notes for entire book, including some draft text and page layout ideas
5 Outline, Notes, and Book Proposal. "Work outline," time lines, bibliography notes and rough draft of book proposal
6 Notes for annotated bibliography, Works and Songs of George and Ira Gershwin, compilation of various song and cast lists, shows, composers and lyricists, including opening nights and dates of performance runs
7 Interviews, lists, questionnaires, transcripts
box folder
1 8 Paste-up of possible illustrations, annotated
9 Photo permissions, credits, sources
10 Photo captions, notes and research
box folder
2 1 Shows, theaters, photos and clippings
Correspondence, 1951-1958
box folder
2 2 Permissions and research, Includes manuscript "Preface to Gershwiniana" by Edward Kilenyi, 1951-1958.
3 Jablonski - Stewart, nd. Incomplete letter and a note
box folder
2 4 I [Front matter], Introduction and Preface. Introduction - "A Birthday Carnation for George," Carl Van Vechten's typed drafts and setting copy with corrections. Preface, by L. D. S. and E.J., typescript with corrections. Paste-ups for title page and dates for chapter headings
5 I [Chapter 1], 1896-1917."L. D. S.(first draft)." Stewart's holograph and typescript drafts with corrections
6 II [Chapter 2], 1918-1923."E. J. (Two early drafts)." Jablonski's holograph and typescript drafts
7 III [Chapter 3], "The Golden Years.""From the Rhapsody through Porgy and Bess," typescript with corrections; "I.G. and Political Operettas," typescript drafts with corrections
8 IV [Chapter 4], "Porgy and Bess - E. J."Jablonski's notes, chapter outline, and revised draft finished Feb. 25, 1955
9 "Hollywood Years,""Early drafts" - typescript with corrections and holograph notes; "January carbon" - typescript with Jablonski's and Ed Rawlinson's corrections
10 Carbon copy of complete draft with corrections
box folder
3 1 Setting of complete draft with corrections
Galleys (3 galley files)
box folder
3 2-4 Proof "Dummy Sheets," with printer's marks
box folder
4 1-2 Page proofs ( 6/16/58), with corrections
3-4 Repro proofs ( "Blues"7/2/58)
box folder
4 5 Catalogues - Walden Records, New World Publishing, The Play Pictorial #282, 291, 324 (cut-outs used for illustrations), "Selections from A Star Is Born "piano/voice arrangements
6 Original folders with holographic annotation by authors
Subseries B: The Gershwin Years (2nd ed. 1973)
Research Materials
box folder
5 1 Typescript and holograph research notes and drafts for additions and corrections to 2nd edition
2 Articles for research, some holograph notes
Correspondence, 1972-1973
box folder
5 3 Permissions and Research, 1972-1973
4 Permissions, research and publishing, 1972-1973
5 Stewart - Jablonski, 1972-1973
box folder
5 6 Inserts, new material, discography, index, typescript and holograph
7-9 "Book Dummy,"12 Feb. 1974, transmittal letter, typescripts and photocopies of pages from 1st edition, with corrections and printer's markings
Galleys (2 galley files)
"Dummy Spreads," layout with illustrations (oversize box 7 (p. 1-203) and oversize box 8 (p. 204-403))
Subseries C: The Gershwin Years in Song (1973)
box folder
6 1 Research materials, illustration notes for publisher
2 Stewart - Jablonski correspondence, 1973
box folder
6 3 Typescript and holograph drafts of foreword, flap copy, page counts, photo captions, catalog blurb, with additions and corrections
4 Unbound gatherings with dust jacket

Series II. Gershwin Manuscripts, circa 1931-1955

Subseries A: George Gershwin, 1933-1955
box folder
6 5 Holograph manuscript in pencil sketch of the music and lyrics for "Gone, Gone, Gone" from Porgy and Bess [circa 1933-1934], with holograph note from Ira Gershwin to Jablonski, Christmas 1955.
Subseries B: Ira Gershwin, 1931-1953
box folder
6 6 Holograph draft of lyrics for "Of Thee I Sing,"1931
7 Song lyrics for A Star Is Born,1953. List of proposed songs in sequence, holograph and typescript drafts of lyrics:
1. "The Man that Got Away"
2. "You've Got to Have Me Go with You"
3. "Get that Long Face Lost"
4. "It's a New World" (Motel Song)
5. "What Am I Here For?"

Index of Correspondents

  • Alexi, Zinaida (Quadrangle/New York Times Book Co.)--6.2
  • Beach, Robert A. Jr. (University of Maryland)--5.4
  • Bennett, Jean (Doubleday)--5.4
  • Borden, William H. (Evergreen Records)--5.4
  • Bowes, Clay (secretary to Paul Whiteman)--1.12
  • Bowlby, Clark (Music Publishing Holding Corp.)--1.12
  • Braun, Kathy T. (Columbia Records)--1.12
  • Brown, Irving R. (George Gershwin Memorial Foundation, B'nai B'rith)--1.12, 5.4
  • Carter, Edgar (for Ira Gershwin)--6.2
  • Duke, Vernon, 1903-1969--1.12
  • Durham, Frank--1.12
  • Dushkin, Samuel--1.12
  • Ellis, Barbara (Doubleday)--1.12
  • Freedley, Vinton--1.12
  • Ganthier, Eva--1.12
  • Gershwin, George, 1898-1937--1.1
  • Gershwin, Ira, 1896- --6.4, 6.5
  • Godowsky, Frances Gershwin--5.4
  • Green, Stanley--5.4
  • Greenberg, Natalie (Doubleday)--1.12
  • Haas, Max Peter--1.12
  • Hardy, Rex Jr.--1.12
  • Haven, Kathleen (Museum of Modern Art)--1.12
  • Heyward, Dorothy (married to Dubose Heyward)--1.12
  • Heyward, DuBose, 1885-1940--1.1
  • Heyward, Mrs. Jane (mother of Dubose Heyward)--1.1
  • Hirsch, Selma M. (Music Publisher's Holding Corporation)--1.12
  • Jablonski, Edward--1.12, 5.3, 5.5
  • Jackson, William A. (Houghton Library, Harvard University)--1.12
  • Jessye, Eva, 1895- --1.12, 5.4
  • Knubel, Fred (Columbia University)--5.4
  • Kopaz, Chester--5.4
  • Kuebler, Harold (Doubleday)--5.4
  • La Monica, Peter (United States Post Office)--5.4
  • Loving, Linda (Museum of Modern Art)--5.4
  • Mahon, Mary (Vox Productions)--5.4
  • Marion, Andre (secretary to Igor Stravinsky)--1.12
  • Martin, Paul (Everyman Opera Company)--1.12
  • Menick, Jim (Doubleday)--5.4
  • Miller, A.V. (New York Herald Tribune)--1.12
  • Mueller, Kathie--5.4
  • Mueller, Paul--5.4
  • Parks, Melvin (Friends of the Theatre and Music Collection of the Museum of the City of New York)--5.4
  • Reinheimer, Howard E.--1.12
  • Robinson, Francis, 1910- (Metropolitan Opera)--5.4
  • Ruby, Harry--1.12
  • Shilkret, Nathaniel--1.12
  • Sirmay, Albert (Dr.)--1.12
  • Stewart, Lawrence D. (Lawrence Delbert), 1926 - --5.4, 5.5, 6.2
  • Strear, Joseph (Lynn Farnol Agency)--1.12
  • Van Vechten, Carl, 1880-1964--1.12
  • Weiser, Norman.S. (Chappel Music Publishers)--5.4
  • Weston, Brett--1.12
  • Whiteman, Paul, 1890-1967--1.12