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University of Arizona Vaudeville Collection Continues to Grow

Date: November 15, 2011

Contact: Chrystal Carpenter


With the latest additions to Special Collections’ extraordinary Vaudeville Collection, the University Libraries is taking its place among the foremost archival centers for vaudeville memorabilia.

Jill Corey, the renowned television, film and night club entertainer, has donated all of her original vocal and big band arrangements to the university. These include original orchestrations by such luminaries as Doc Severinsen of the Johnny Carson Tonight Show, Percy Faith, jazz legend Stan Kenton, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Osser and Skitch Henderson. Some of these are arrangements used by Corey on her regular CBS television show in the later 1950s and some were featured on the Ed Sullivan Show as well as at other venues.

In addition, Special Collections recently acquired a collection of photographs, postcards, magazines, playbills and programs collected by Sadie Fearen and A. Harry Chick, vaudevillians from the Boston and New England area in the 1900-1920s.

The Vaudeville Collection came about as the result of a generous donation of major archival material by Frank Cullen and Donald McNeilly from their thriving American Vaudeville Museum (AVM). This museum and its curators have paved the way in the preservation and presentation of vaudeville material which is of considerable historical and cultural interest because it was the major form of American popular entertainment from the 1870s to the 1930s and its influence continues to this day with three generations of new Vaudevillians since the 1970s.

Since the American Vaudeville Museum’s incorporation in 1982, Cullen and McNeilly have served as researchers and historians producing theatre pieces, several radio series, publishing books and articles, curating film series and teaching. As these activities expanded, the AVM established its Publishing Project, Collection Project, Education Project, Performance Project and Cinema Project. The Theatre Museum of New York/Broadway recently honored Cullen and McNeilly with its 2011 Award for Excellence in the Preservation of Theatre History.

Visit the AVM website (www.vaudeville.org) for information about vaudeville and its performers. All 40 back issues of Vaudeville Times are available, as are the first two Porridge Sisters Mysteries, Murder at the Tremont Theatre and Murder at the Old Howard. Pre-orders are accepted for the Porridge Sisters Cookbook of Hearty Vegetarian Fare. AVM members enjoy a discounted price for copies of Vaudeville, Old & New: an Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in America, the critically-acclaimed landmark study of vaudeville.