The Great American Songbook Foundation today launched a website showcasing the archives of composer and playwright Meredith Willson, the man behind the Broadway and cinema hits The Music Man and The Unsinkable Molly Brown
The Meredith Willson Digital Collectionmakes a trove of historic materials accessible worldwide to researchers, musicians and fans of Willson, who also penned such popular songs as “You and I” and “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.”
The Willson materials are part of the vast Songbook Archives & Library housed at the Songbook Foundation’s headquarters, the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana.
Founded by acclaimed performer and preservationist Michael Feinstein to advance the legacy of American popular song, the Foundation oversees collections totaling more than 100,000 items, with highlights that include rare Andrews Sisters memorabilia, orchestrations arranged by Ray Charles, the piano used by composer Richard A. Whiting to write “Hooray for Hollywood,” and Hy Zaret’s original lyrics for “Unchained Melody,” one of the 20th century’s most recorded songs.
The Meredith Willson Digital Collection offers an intimate look into the life and art of a man who became a multimedia celebrity and success story, Songbook Archivist Lisa Lobdell said. Items include photos and musical scores dating to the 1920s; scripts from radio shows he hosted; character sketches and early drafts for The Music Man; personal scrapbook pages; correspondence with such famous figures as former first lady Mamie Eisenhower, a fellow Iowa native who became a close friend; and Vietnam-era letters exchanged with a nephew who later died in combat.
Read the Complete Announcement
Direct to The Meredith Willson Digital Collection