Name and location of repository
Level of description
- 1890-present (Publication)
Approximately 300 linear feet
Name of creator
Robert “Bob” Grimes (February 18, 1922 – October 8, 2011) was born one of six children in Longview, Texas. Grimes served the Army during World War II, and later worked as a salesman for Patrick & Co. Stationery Firm in San Francisco. Grimes adopted three children, and received several honors during his lifetime, including having a Bob Grimes Day dedicated to him in San Francisco and receiving a Certificate of Honor.
During his lifetime, Grimes amassed one of the largest sheet music collections in the United States. From his early teens, when he bought his first piece of sheet music, "All My Life" from the little-seen 1936 musical "Laughing Irish Eyes," Grimes was an avid collector. Not only did he collect sheet music, he also collected books and LPs.
Name of creator
Raymond Charles Offenberg, known professionally as Ray Charles (and who jokingly referred to himself as "the other Ray Charles" for much of his later career), was an American singer, arranger, and conductor. He is most famous for working with Perry Como as the arranger and director for the Ray Charles Singers, Como's backing group for over 30 years. He also served as the musical consultant for the Kennedy Center Honors gala.
Charles was born in Chicago. By the time he was in high school he was already the host of a 15-minute radio show. He attended the Chicago Musical College and continued singing, arranging, and conducting for various choral groups and radio shows. He changed his name to Ray Charles around the same time he was drafted, in 1944. During World War II Charles wrote and arranged music for the women's branch of the Naval Reserve (WAVES) and trained the WAVES "Singing Platoons". After the war he went right back to working on the radio; among other roles, he worked as an arranger-conductor for "The Big Show", one of the last well-known radio variety shows.
The bulk of Charles's career was spent working with Perry Como, beginning in about 1948. He arranged music for and conducted Como's backing group, which would become known as the Ray Charles Singers. The group, which was not a consistent group of vocalists, also recorded a number of albums in the 1960s that arguably founded the "easy listening" genre. They were also responsible for several popular commercial jingles. Charles also arranged music for a variety of television specials during the same period.
Beginning in 1982, Charles was also acted as a musical consultant for the Kennedy Center Honors gala, selecting and arranging the songs for the annual program. He did so every year through 2014. He also served in a similar capacity for over a decade's worth of Independence Day and Memorial Day concerts for PBS. He also wrote the song "Fifty Nifty United States," which many elementary school children continue to learn.
Charles died of cancer at the age of 96.
Name of creator
Michael Jay Feinstein (born September 7, 1956) is an American singer, pianist, and music revivalist. He is an interpreter of, and an anthropologist and archivist for, the repertoire known as the Great American Songbook. He currently serves as Artistic Director for The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana.
Feinstein was born and raised in Columbus, OH, where he started playing the piano by ear at age 5. He worked in local piano bars after graduating from high school and moved to LA when he was 20, where he was introduced to Ira Gershwin in July 1977. Feinstein became Gershwin’s assistant for six years; this assignment led to six years of researching, cataloguing and preserving the unpublished sheet music and rare recordings in Gershwin's home which earned him access to numerous unpublished Gershwin songs, many of which he has since performed and recorded.
By the mid-1980s, Feinstein was a nationally known cabaret singer-pianist famed for being a dedicated proponent of the Great American Songbook. In 1986, he recorded his first CD, Pure Gershwin (1987), a collection of music by George and Ira Gershwin. He followed this in quick succession with Live at the Algonquin (1986); Remember: Michael Feinstein Sings Irving Berlin (1987); Isn't It Romantic (1988), a collection of standards and his first album backed by an orchestra; and Over There (1989), featuring the music of America and Europe during the First World War.
By 1988, Feinstein was starring on Broadway in a series of in-concert shows and in the early 1990s, Feinstein embarked on an ambitious songbook project wherein he performed an album featuring the music of a featured composer, often accompanied by the composer; he proceeded to release a number of albums on several labels through 1989. In 1999, Feinstein lent his name to a new nightclub in New York located in the Regency Hotel, as Feinstein's at the Regency became a venue for sophisticated cabaret entertainers including its namesake. In the late 1990s, Feinstein recorded two more albums of Gershwin music: Nice Work If You Can Get It: Songs by the Gershwins (1996) and Michael & George: Feinstein Sings Gershwin (1998).
In 2000, the Library of Congress appointed Feinstein to its newly formed National Recording Preservation Board, an organization dedicated to safeguarding America's musical heritage. Feinstein earned his fifth Grammy Award nomination in 2009 for The Sinatra Project, his CD celebrating the music of “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” His Emmy Award-nominated TV special Michael Feinstein – The Sinatra Legacy, which was taped live at the Palladium in Carmel, IN, aired across the country in 2011. Feinstein was named Principal Pops Conductor for the Pasadena Symphony in 2012 and made his conducting debut in June 2013 to celebrated critical acclaim. He launched an additional Pops series at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in Palm Beach, Florida in 2014. Feinstein's memoir The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs about working for Ira Gershwin was published in the fall of 2012, accompanied by a CD of Feinstein performing the Gershwin brothers' music discussed in the book. Feinstein opened his new nightclub, Feinstein's at the Nikko in San Francisco's Nikko Hotel in May 2013, Feinstein's/54 Below at New York's Studio 54 in 2015 and also plans for a future nightclub in London.
Content and structure elements
Scope and content
This artificial collection comprises all donations of books. Subjects include: analysis and criticism of the Great American Songbook; biographies and autobiographies of the Songbook's composers, lyricists, and performers; the history of American musical theater and musical comedy; and commentary on the technology and culture of the 20th century. The collection also contains reference materials such as publishers' lists of sound recordings.
System of arrangement
The majority of this collection has been cataloged and can be found in our LibraryWorld catalog (link can be found on homepage) arranged by Library of Congress call numbers.
Conditions of access and use elements
Conditions governing access
All material is open to the public without restriction. Copyright laws of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) govern the making of photocopies or other reproductions.
Conditions governing reproduction
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to the Great American Songbook Foundation. Music written prior to 1923 is in the public domain. For more information, please consult the staff of the Library & Archives.
Languages of the material
Scripts of the material
Language and script notes
Acquisition and appraisal elements
Immediate source of acquisition
NOTE: Collections with mixed content that include books are linked in the "Related Descriptions" below.
A2011-004 Received from Richard Basore on March 10, 2011.
A2011-011 Received from David Wilk on May 27, 2011.
A2012-006 Received from Michael Feinstein on February 9, 2012.
A2013-001 Received from Alfred Holden on January 2, 2013.
A2013-008 Received from Michael Feinstein on March 8, 2013.
A2013-020 Received from Jane Miller on September 26, 2013.
A2015-017 Received from Michael Feinstein on September 17, 2015.
A2016-006 Received from Michael Feinstein on January 22, 2016.
A2017-004 Received from Lisa Bennett on June 7, 2017.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information
Related materials elements
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related archival materials
- Citation: Book Collection, The Great American Songbook Foundation.
Description control element
Rules or conventions
AtoM description created by Ashlee James, November 2017.