University of Texas at Austin

Jule Styne:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Styne, Jule, 1905-1994
Title: Jule Styne Papers
Dates: 1925-1965 (bulk 1950-1964), undated
Extent: 81 document boxes, 8 card boxes, 2 custom boxes, 6 oversize boxes (45.69 linear feet), 2 oversize folders (osf)
Abstract: The papers of the English-born American composer, producer, and director Jule Styne document his lengthy career in music, theater, and television. The papers include music scores, sheet music, scripts, correspondence, and production records chiefly for his Broadway musicals and plays from 1950 to 1964. Styne's collaborations with a variety of well-known actors, authors, composers, designers, directors, lyricists, musicians, performers, and producers are well-represented in his papers.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-54097
Language: English
Note: The Ransom Center gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, which provided funds to support the processing and cataloging of this collection.
Access: Open for research. Researchers must create an online Research Account and agree to the Materials Use Policy before using archival materials.
Use Policies: Ransom Center collections may contain material with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in the collections without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Ransom Center and The University of Texas at Austin assume no responsibility.
Restrictions on Use: Authorization for publication is given on behalf of the University of Texas as the owner of the collection and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder which must be obtained by the researcher. For more information please see the Ransom Centers' Open Access and Use Policies.

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Gifts of Jule Styne, 1962-1965
Processed by: Joan Sibley and Amanda Reyes, 2017 Note: This finding aid replicates and replaces information previously available only in a card catalog. Please see the explanatory note at the end of this finding aid for information regarding the arrangement of the manuscripts as well as the abbreviations commonly used in descriptions.

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Jule Styne (1905-1994) was one of Broadway's most prolific and successful composers. Born as Julius Stein in the East End of London, Styne acquired an early interest in the theater after an uncle took him to a stage production when he was just three years old. His family moved to the United States and Styne began studying at the Chicago College of Music before he was ten. In his career, which spanned five decades, Styne wrote over 2000 songs, publishing approximately 1500 of them. Roughly 200 of those songs became hits. Styne, who held an unwavering belief in the collaborative process, wrote songs with Sammy Cahn, the team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and Stephen Sondheim. These partnerships garnered several honors during his career, including an Oscar ("Three Coins in the Fountain," 1955) and a Tony (Hallelujah, Baby!, 1968).
While touring with the Ben Pollack Band and performing with the likes of Glenn Miller, Styne's first hit song "Sunday" arrived in 1926. Co-written with Bennie Krueger, Chester Conn, and Ned Miller, Styne said inspiration arose from trying to impress a girl. It did much more than that, leading Styne to Hollywood where he found work as a vocal coach for Twentieth Century Fox, training such notable actors as Shirley Temple. He also wrote songs for major film studios including Republic Pictures, where he met Sammy Cahn, and with whom he created some of his most memorable output, including several Frank Sinatra hits such as "I've Heard that Song Before." In 1947, the duo produced their first Broadway musical, High Button Shoes, featuring Jerome Robbins as choreographer. The production was a success, and Styne found that he had a real taste for the theater. Although he and Cahn continued to collaborate, Cahn ultimately decided to stay in Hollywood while Styne moved on to New York.
The 1950s is considered Styne's most prolific era and he provided music for the hit productions Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1949), Bells Are Ringing (1956), and Gypsy (1959), which he co-wrote with Stephen Sondheim. Styne and Sondheim came to the production of Gypsy after Irving Berlin and Cole Porter declined the project and star Ethel Merman proposed Styne, with whom she had worked and who could tailor music to her unique vocal talents. Based on the life of Gypsy Rose Lee, this production was also the only time Styne worked with Sondheim. The musical was a resounding success, and Styne considered "Everything's Coming up Roses" to be one of the best songs he'd ever written.
Styne's strongest writing partners were probably lyricists Betty Comden and Adolph Green, with whom Styne collaborated on Bells Are Ringing (1956), Peter Pan (1954), Do Re Mi (1960), Fade Out – Fade In (1964), Subways Are for Sleeping (1961), Say, Darling (1958), and Hallelujah, Baby! (1967).
Styne was also a successful Broadway producer on Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1955), which propelled then-unknown Jayne Mansfield into the spotlight, and Mr. Wonderful (1956) starring Sammy Davis, Jr. in a production tailored to introduce him to a wider audience. In 1959, Styne adapted Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice into a musical titled First Impressions.
Although the 1960s were a bit quieter for Styne, he composed the music for the hit musical Funny Girl (1964), which made Barbra Streisand a huge star. His song "People" became a standard for the singer.
The inexhaustible Styne also worked in television, composing music for such disparate productions as Ruggles of Red Gap (1957), Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962), and cult favorite The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood (1965). He even composed music for Freedomland U.S.A. (1960), a production at a short-lived American history theme park, as well as music for a production at the 1964 World's Fair titled Wonderworld.
Styne was married twice (to Ethel Rubenstein, 1927-1952, then to Margaret Ann Bissett Brown, 1962-1994), and had four children (Stanley, Norton, Nicholas, and Katherine). He sometimes collaborated with his son Stanley. Jule Styne died of heart failure in 1994.


Blau, Eleanor. "Jule Styne, Bountiful creator of song favorites, dies at 88." New York Times, 21 September 1994.
"Jule Styne: The Official Jule Styne Website." Accessed February 22, 2017.
Suskin, Steven. Show Tunes 1905-1985: The Songs, Shows and Careers of Broadway's Major Composers. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1986.
Suskin, Steven. The Sound of Broadway Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Taylor, Theodore. Jule: The Story of Composer Jule Styne. New York: Random House, 1979.

Scope and Contents

Music scores, lyrics, scripts for plays, film, and television, correspondence, financial, legal, and business records, and production materials document the diverse professional career of the American composer, director, and producer Jule Styne. The papers are organized into four series: I. Works, 1943-1964; II. Letters, 1950-1960; III. Recipients, 1940-1965; and IV. Miscellaneous, 1936-1965. This finding aid replicates and replaces information previously available only in a card catalog. Please see the explanatory note at the end of this finding aid for information regarding the arrangement of the manuscripts as well as the abbreviations commonly used in descriptions. Four boxes of printed materials never described in the card catalog have been added as series V. Additional Materials, 1925-1964. The Jule Styne Papers were formerly a part of the Center's Theater Arts Manuscripts Collection, but now form a separate, discrete collection.
Series I. Works includes music written by Styne, chiefly for musicals, but also for television and for songs used in films. The works are arranged first by medium (stage productions, television, and songs), and alphabetically by production title, and then alphabetically by song title within that production. All production and song titles are included in the Index of Works in this finding aid.
Stage productions from 1944 through 1964 are each represented to some extent, but those dating from the years 1955 to 1964 dominate: Bells Are Ringing, Do Re Mi, Fade Out – Fade In, Funny Girl, Gypsy, Say, Darling, and Subways Are for Sleeping. Styne's music for an amusement park production, Freedomland U.S.A. and for a production at the 1964 World's Fair, Wonderworld are also present. His work for television in this series includes The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, and Ruggles of Red Gap. Also present are individual songs written for specific artists, such as "Now!" for Lena Horne, or used in films, including All the Way Home, Carolina Blues, Living It Up, Tonight and Every Night, Romance on the High Seas, The West Point Story, and What a Way to Go.
Series II. Letters contains Styne's outgoing correspondence, circa 1950-1960, to colleagues, peers, organizations, friends, and family. The letters are arranged alphabetically by the recipient's name. All correspondent names are listed in the Index of Letters included in this finding aid. Among the correspondents are Anne Bancroft, Harry Belafonte, Claire Bregman (Styne's sister), Nat King Cole, Betty Comden, Johnny Desmond, Eddie Fisher, Adolph Green, Ben Hecht, Judy Holliday, Evan Hunter, Vincente Minnelli, Billy Rose, Maurice "Maurry" Stein (Styne's brother), Hal Wallis, and others.
Series III. Recipient consists of Styne's incoming correspondence, both professional and personal, circa 1940-1965. The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by the author's name. All names are listed in the Index of Recipients included in this finding aid. Styne's incoming mail ranges from files of business correspondence from the William Morris Agency, entertainment attorney Lee Moselle, MCA, and tax consultant Robert Young to letters or thank-you notes from a variety of show business collaborators, colleagues, organizations, and friends, including Steve Allen, Louis Armstrong, George Axelrod, Ralph Bellamy, Polly Bergen, Leonard Bernstein, Buddy Bregman (Styne's nephew), Abe Burrows, Sammy Cahn, Alvin Colt, Betty Comden, Joan Crawford, Sammy Davis, Jr., Robert Downing, Sammy Fain, Judy Garland, Hermione Gingold, Samuel Goldwyn, Oscar Hammerstein II, Lillian Hellman, Garson Kanin, Gypsy Rose Lee, Anita Loos, Jayne Mansfield, Johnny Mercer, Ethel Merman, Harold Prince, Terence Rattigan, Jerome Robbins, Richard Rodgers, Frank Sinatra, Oliver Smith, Stephen Sondheim, Isador Stein (Styne's father), Lee Strasberg, Elizabeth Taylor, Jerome Weidman, and Thornton Wilder along with many others.
Series IV. Miscellaneous encompasses the bulk of the Styne Papers, circa 1936-1965, and consists of works, correspondence, and production records created by third-parties. Materials are arranged alphabetically by creator name, with multiple items for a single creator subsequently arranged alphabetically by description. A detailed listing of the contents of this series is included in the Index of Miscellaneous in this finding aid.
Works by others in this series include music, lyrics, and a variety of scripts written for stage, television, or film by persons other than Styne. Most of these were either produced by Styne, sent for his review, or under consideration for production. Many of the scripts that were produced exist in various states with revisions and changes or as rehearsal or prompt copies. Among the authors, composers, and lyricists represented are George Axelrod (Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?), Abe Burrows (First Impressions), Betty Comden and Adolph Green (Bells are Ringing, Fade Out – Fade In, and Say, Darling), Robert Emmett (The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood), Ben Hecht (Hazel Flagg), Larry Holofcener (Mr. Wonderful), Isobel Lennart (Funny Girl), Anita Loos (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), Robert Merrill (The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood), Nate Monaster (Something More!), John O'Hara (Pal Joey), Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart (Pal Joey), David Shaw (Ruggles of Red Gap), and Frank Tashlin (Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?). Other prominent authors represented include Blake Edwards, Christopher Fry, Aldous Huxley, William Inge, Arthur Laurents, Liam O'Flaherty, Neil Simon, and Preston Sturges among others.
Records are present for several of Styne's production companies: Jule Styne Productions; The Mr. Wonderful Company; The Darling Company (Say, Darling); The Proud Company (First Impressions); and The Success Company (Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?). Much of this material is financial in nature, such as correspondence and bills from various businesses for items such as clothing, hats, and shoes, fabrics, furniture and props, or for services, including electrical work, hotel rooms, insurance, photography, printing, signs, transportation, and typists. Styne staffers Dorothy Dicker and Sylvia Herscher were frequently recipients of correspondence from such vendors and also fielded letters from agents sending lists of actors for casting. Additional types of production records are filed alphabetically by production company name. While each of the following types of materials are not necessarily present for each production, the records often include agreements, audition records, audit reports, bank statements, bills, box office receipts, budgets, cast and staff directories, casting notes, contracts, costume and prop plots, house seats lists, music breakdown and timings, opening night lists, partner lists, payroll, program credits, publicity, rehearsal and performance notes, royalty statements, staff notes, tax information, ticket requests and sales, and tour and travel itineraries.
Series V. Additional Materials, contains four boxes of printed materials dating from 1925 to 1964 that were never described in the card catalog. These have been organized to mirror the arrangement of materials in Series IV. Miscellaneous. More detailed descriptions for these items were interfiled into to the existing Index of Miscellaneous in this finding aid.
Sheet music and theater programs for Styne productions dominate this series, but also present are an award, a cast and staff directory, some casting head shots with resumes, contact sheets, costume design reproductions, financial records, photographs, a printed play, publicity materials, reviews, set designs, and ticket information.
Styne productions represented in this series include First Impressions, Funny Girl, Gypsy, Mr. Wonderful, Say, Darling, Something More!, Subways Are for Sleeping, Two on the Aisle, and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? The sheet music also represents stage and film productions by other composers and lyricists, including six by Rodgers and Hart, and two by Sammy Fain.

Related Material

Additional Jule Styne materials at the Ransom Center are located in the Joseph Abeles Studio Collection, the Robert Downing Papers, the Mel Gussow Collection (including a recording of an interview of Styne by Gussow now in the Sound Recordings Collection), and the Theater Biography Collection.

Index Terms


Axelrod, George
Cahn, Sammy
Comden, Betty
Davis, Sammy, Jr., 1925-1990
Green, Adolph
Hart, Lorenz, 1895-1943
Lennart, Isobel
Loos, Anita, 1893-1981
Mansfield, Jayne, 1933-1967
Merman, Ethel
Rodgers, Richard, 1902-1979
Sondheim, Stephen
Streisand, Barbra
Styne, Jule, 1905-1994


Composers -- United States -- 20th century
Musical theater
Popular music
Television musicals
Motion picture music
Musicals -- New York (State) -- New York -- 20th century

Document Types

Business records
Music scores
Sheet music
Television scripts
Theater programs

Container List