Go behind the scenes (or stacks) in the Songbook Archives from the comfort of your own living room. Stay up to date on our preservation efforts and explore the hidden gems that we have made accessible virtually!
Interested in researching in the Songbook Archives and Library?
Take a virtual tour of the Archives
"I preserve things that are significant to me. Only time will determine what is important in the long term. But something can be rediscovered only if someone has collected and preserved it."
Grey silk evening gown with a black silk and velvet floral overlay worn by the singer on stage in the 1960s Ella Fitzgerald opened at the Empire Room of the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, March 30, 1971 with special guest Louis Armstrong. She wore this timeless gown more than once in her career. Photos from the 1960s feature her wearing this dress.
Mint green silk costume heavily adorned with rhinestones, faux pearls and fringe on the sleeves and waistline worn by the singer on stage. This costume was worn by Ella Fitzgerald in a performance with Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis of The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra in Copenhagen Denmark in April 1970.
Sammy Davis Jr. Arrangements
The Sammy Davis Jr. arrangements were donated to the Foundation's Archives by Michael Feinstein. This royal blue trunk - heavily marked with stickers from hundreds of shows - holds arrangements used during the Sammy Davis Jr. Show.
Step into the Archives & Library . . .
The Great American Songbook Archives & Library exists to preserve the physical artifacts of the Songbook so that current and future generations can experience them.
It is the only facility dedicated to preserving the Great American Songbook.
"With American music such as jazz and rock 'n' roll outlawed in Soviet states, music enthusiasts would ransack the garbage at medical facilities for discarded X-rays. They'd cut the X-rays into circles and press albums onto them." Read more about "The secret stash of music history..."
"The fact that people would go to those lengths to listen to something that at that time we would have taken for granted is very touching. It's also very courageous."
- Michael Feinstein
Lost Songs from Meredith Willson's The Music Man
It was wonderful to see the songs for the first time. I particularly remember coming across the song "The Think System", which is a cut number for the Mayor to sing to the townspeople when he has discovered that Harold Hill is a fraud. The Mayor wants them to rise against Hill but because the Mayor isn't very bright, he keeps getting his metaphors mixed and the song keeps breaking down.
- Dominic McHugh, musicologist at the University of Sheffield