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Finding Aid to Eric A. Gordon's Mark the Music: The Life and Work of Marc Blitzstein Collection, 1850-2011

Finding aid prepared by Loni Shibuyama, (c) 2012

Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Summary Information

Repository
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
Creator - Creator
Gordon, Eric A., 1945-
Title
Eric A. Gordon's Mark the Music: The Life and Work of Marc Blitzstein Collection
Collection no.
Coll2012.121
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1980-1991
Date [inclusive]
1850-2011
Extent
6.0 linear feet., 5 archives boxes + 1 archive binder box + 1 archive flat box.
Language
English
Abstract
Correspondence, playbills, programs, clippings, photographs, notes, grant proposals and other research material collected for the book, Mark the Music: The Life and Work of Marc Blitzstein (St. Martin's Press, 1989), by Eric A. Gordon. An American composer and gay man, Marc Blitzstein is perhaps most well-known for his 1937 musical,  The Cradle Will Rock. The collection includes materials documenting Blitzstein's musical works, as well as correspondence files between biographer Eric A. Gordon and Blitzstein's family, friends and collaborators.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder #, or item name] Eric A. Gordon's Mark the Music: The Life and Work of Marc Blitzstein Collection, Coll2012-121, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

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Biography on Marc Blitzstein

Marc Blitzstein was born in Philadelphia, March 2, 1905. At the age of 6, he played his first solo piano recital in public; at 16, he performed a piano concert with the Philadelphia Symphony. He went on to study with teachers such as Nadia Boulanger in Paris. While in Europe, Blitzstein came to be influenced by modernists like Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.

Upon returning to the United States, he began writing his own political operas, notably the pro-union musical, The Cradle Will Rock (1936), and  No For An Answer (1940). The same year in which  The Cradle Will Rock was produced, Blitzstein's wife, Eva Goldbeck, died after three years of marriage.

In 1942, Blitzstein enlisted in the Air Force and spent three years in the military. Out of this experience came his Airborne Symphony (1946). After the Air Force, Blitzstein wrote for films and theater, including Regina,  Juno, and adaptations of  Mother Courage and  The Threepenny Opera. He was commissioned to compose an opera based on the Sacco and Vanzetti case of the 1920s. He completed two acts and outlined a third when, while on vacation in Fort-de-France, Martinique, Blitzstein got into a physical confrontation with three merchant seamen and subsequently died of a brain injury on January 22, 1964.

Source: Box 3, folder 30, Eric A. Gordon Collection on Marc Blitzstein, Coll2012-121, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California

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Biography on Eric A. Gordon

Born in 1945, Eric A. Gordon is a graduate of Yale University, and holds both an M.A. (in Latin American studies) and a Ph.D. (in history) from Tulane University. In the 1980s, he worked as a publicity manager for the music publishing house of G. Schirmer. Beginning in 1995, Gordon was the director of the Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring, Southern California District.

A member of the National Writers Union, he served on the board of the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, on the Western Region Administrative Committee of the Jewish Labor Committee, and on the editorial advisory board of Jewish Currents magazine. In the late-1970s, Gordon began his research for a biography on American composer Marc Blitzstein,  Mark the Music, which was published in 1989. In addition to  Mark the Music, Gordon is the co-author of  Ballad of an American (Scarecrow Press, 1997), as well as hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles.

In 2012, Eric Gordon continues to live in Los Angeles, CA.

Source: http://www.marcblitzstein.com/pages/biblio/articles/mark.htm (last accessed October 25, 2012.)

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Scope and Contents

The collection comprises correspondence, playbills, programs, clippings, photographs, notes, grant proposals and other research material collected for the book, Mark the Music: The Life and Work of Marc Blitzstein (St. Martin's Press, 1989), by Eric A. Gordon. An American composer and gay man, Marc Blitzstein is perhaps most well-known for his 1937 musical,  The Cradle Will Rock, his opera  Regina, as well as his adaptation of  The Threepenny Opera. The Marc Blitzstein Resource Material Series includes photocopied and original materials documenting Blitzstein's life and musical works. The bulk of the Correspondence and Research Series includes correspondence (and related notes) between biographer Eric Gordon and Blitzstein's family, friends and collaborators. The Publication Records Series includes grant proposals, photographs, promotional material, permissions and other administrative records in the publication and promotion of Gordon's biography on Blitzstein.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
(c) 2012
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, California, 90007
(213) 821-2771
askone@usc.edu

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the ONE Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Eric A. Gordon, April 12, 2011.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Kyle Kaplan and Loni Shibuyama, November 2012.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials

Following items have been separated from the collection:

Denson, Joan. Except for One Little Problem: Memoir of a Life in Hiding. Fort Lee, NJ.: Barricade Books, 2001. (signed copy to "Susan")

The Making of "From Walls to Roses" [sound recording], produced by Eric A. Gordon, 1978. (1/4 in. open reel audiotape)

Show: The Magazine of the Arts. New York: Hartford Publications, Inc. Vol. IV, No. 6 (June 1964)

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Controlled Access Headings

Personal Name(s)

  • Blitzstein, Marc

Subject(s)

  • Gay and lesbian writers
  • Gay composers
  • Gay musicians
  • Jewish gay men
  • Musical theater
  • Opera

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Collection Inventory

Series 1:  Series 1.  Marc Blitzstein resource material 1905-2011   3.0 linear feet.

Series Description

This series comprises playbills and programs, photographs, clippings, notes, manuscripts, correspondence, flyers, an FBI report and photocopies of Blitzstein's personal papers, compiled by Eric Gordon, documenting Blitzstein's life (1905-1964) and creative works. Materials document Blitzstein's compositions, theatrical and concert productions (contemporary and posthumous), his activism in the Jewish community, his interpersonal relationships, his political activities and his murder in 1964. In particular, this series includes annotated photographs of Blitzstein throughout his life.

Arrangement

Photographs and a file about Marc Blitzstein's parents have been placed at the end of this series. The remaining files are arranged chronologically.

Box Folder

 1905-1914 1905-1987 

1 1

 Chronology of activities, compositions and writings; miscellaneous contracts, letters, royalties 1905-1983 

1 2

 Research outline notebook circa 1905-1989 

1 3

 1920s 1924-1987   [2 folders]

1 4-5

 Piano Sonata (1927) 1979-1981 

1 6

 Traveling Salesman 1929 

1 7

 Guggenheim fellowships 1929-1940 

1 8

 1930s 1930-1988   [14 folders]

1 9-22

 Cain (1930) 1930-2008 

1 23

 Piano Concerto (1931) 1931-1988 

1 24

 Surf and Seaweed (1931) 1931-1980 

1 25

 The Condemned 1932-1933 

1 26

 Orchestra variations 1934-1988 

1 27

 Eva Goldbeck 1935-1936 

1 28

 Send for the Militia--Parade (1935) 1935-1988 

1 29

 Chesapeake Bay Retriever (1936) 1984-1985 

1 30

 The Cradle Will Rock 1936-2001 

1 31-42
Box Folder

 The Cradle Will Rock (1937) 1936-2000   [4 folders]

1 31-34

 The Cradle Will Rock (1947-8) 1947-2001 

1 35

 The Cradle Will Rock (1960) 1960 

1 36

 The Cradle Will Rock recording (1964-5) 1964-1965 

1 37

 The Cradle Will Rock TV 1983-1986 

1 38

 The Cradle Will Rock film 1984-1988 

1 39

 The Cradle Will Rock (Recklinghausen) 1984 

1 40

 The Cradle Will Rock (London) 1985 

1 41

 The Cradle Will Rock (other productions) 1979-2001 

1 42

 I've Got the Tune 1937-1970 

1 43

 Mercury Theater Julius Caesar and  Danton's Death (1937) 1937-1981 

1 44

 Theater Arts Committee 1939 

1 45

 1940s 1940-1989   [5 folders]

2 1-5

 Valley Town 1941-1981 

2 6

 Federal Theater Project AAA Plowed Under 1941-1987 

2 7

 World War II 1942-1989   [2 folders]

2 8-9

 Native Land 1942-1989 

2 10

 No For An Answer (1942) 1942-2002   [2 folders]

2 11-12

 No For An Answer (1989) 1988-1989 

2 13

 Airborne Symphony 1943-1991 

2 14-16
Box Folder

 Airborne Symphony (1946) 1943-1945 

2 14

 Airborne Symphony (London, 1986) 1986 

2 15

 Airborne Symphony (Seattle, 1991) 1990-1991 

2 16

 American-Soviet Music Society (1946-1947) 1946-1981 

2 17

 The Guests (1949) 1949-1987 

2 18

 Regina 1949-2000 

2 19-34
Box Folder

 Regina (1949) 1949-2000 

2 19

 Regina (92nd St. Y, 1952) 1952 

2 20

 Regina (New York City Opera, 1953) 1953 

2 21

 Regina (New York City Opera, 1958-1959) 1958-1985 

2 22

 Regina (recording) 1958-1959 

2 23

 Regina (Encompass, NY, 1977) 1977 

2 24

 Regina (Detroit, 1977) 1977 

2 25

 Regina (Colorado, 1980) 1980 

2 26

 Regina (Houston, 1980) 1980 

2 27

 Regina (Kansas City, 1981) 1981 

2 28

 Regina (Wolf Trap, 1982) 1982 

2 29

 Regina (Opera Ensemble, NY, 1984) 1984 

2 30

 Regina (Augusta, 1985) 1985 

2 31

 Regina (Baton Rouge, 1986) 1986 

2 32

 Regina (Boston, 1991) 1991 

2 33

 Regina (other productions) 1968-2000 

2 34

 1950s 1950-1989   [6 folders]

2 35-40

 Threepenny Opera 1952-2008   [3 folders]

3 1-3

 Reuben Reuben (1955) 1955-1985 

3 4

 Mother Courage 1956-1981 

3 5

 This is the Garden (1957) 1956-1983 

3 6

 The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny 1958-1970 

3 7

 Juno (1958) 1958-2008   [2 folders]

3 8-9

 Juno (Vineyard) 1991-1992 

3 10

 1960s 1960-1981   [2 folders]

3 11-12

 Italy 1960-1961 1960-1987 

3 13

 Sacco and Vanzetti 1960-2001   [2 folders]

3 14-15

 Israel 1962 

3 16

 Martinique and death 1962-1987   [2 folders]

3 17-18

 Tales of Malamud 1963-1991 

3 19

 FBI report circa 1964 

3 20

 Blitzstein! (1966) 1965-1966 

3 21

 Among Marc Blitzstein's papers 1983 

3 22

 Composers' Showcase, April 28, 1985 1985-1988 

3 23

 Soho Rep Blitzstein Evening 1987-1988 

3 24

 The Informer, Agnes De Mille (American Ballet Theater) 1988 

3 25

 A Blitzstein Cabaret 1990 

3 26

 1990-1992   [3 folders]

3 27-29

 1993-2011 

3 30

 Posters circa 2000-2011   [1 oversize folder]

7 1

 Sam and Anna Blitzstein (parents) 1975-1983 

3 31

 Photocopies of Blitzstein images   [2 folders]

5 28-29

 Photograph Undated   [1 oversize photograph] [1 photograph: b&w.]

7 3
Box

 Photographs circa 1850-1964   [74 photographs: b&w, col.]

6

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Series 2:  Series 2.  Correspondence and research 1921-1992   2.5 linear feet.

Series Description

This series comprises correspondence, interview notes, clippings and other material related to Eric A. Gordon's research for his book, Mark the Music: The Life and Work of Marc Blitzstein. The bulk of the material is Gordon's correspondence with individuals who knew or worked with Blitzstein.

Arrangement

This series is arranged alphabetically by correspondent's last name.

Box Folder

 A 1979-1989 

4 1

 B 1958-1989   [2 folders]

4 2-3

 Bernstein, Leonard 1946-1990 

4 4

 C 1979-1992   [2 folders]

4 5-6

 Curtis, Mina 1938-1968 

4 7

 D 1979-1989   [2 folders]

4 8-9

 Davis (Christopher, Josephine, and Stephen) 1978-1989 

4 10

 E-F 1981-1989 

4 11

 G 1978-1989   [2 folders]

4 12-13

 Goldbeck, Eva 1922-1936 

4 14

 H-I 1979-1989 

4 15

 Hewitt, Bill 1944-1988 

4 16

 J-K 1979-1989 

4 17

 L 1979-1989 

4 18

 Lehrman, Leonard 1979-1989   [2 folders]

4 19-20

 M 1977-1989 

4 21

 N-O 1979-1991 

4 22

 P-Q 1980-1992 

5 1

 R 1980-1991 

5 2

 S 1980-1990 

5 4

 Simon, Louis and Stella 1927-1989 

5 5

 Skildelsky, Berenice 1921-1988 

5 3

 T-U 1980-1991 

5 6

 V-W 1980-1990 

5 7

 X-Z 1980-1987 

5 8

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Series 3:  Series 3.  Publication records 1850-1991   0.5 linear foot.

Series Description

This series comprises correspondence, grant proposals, notes, bibliographies, permissions and releases, financial records, promotional and other administrative material from the publication of Gordon's biography on Blitzstein, Mark the Music (1989). This series includes Gordon's various project proposals sent to potential funders and information regarding archives of Blitzstein's sound recordings.

Arrangement

This series is arranged alphabetically.

Box Folder

 Bibliography 1977-1989 

5 20

 Boosey and Hawkes 1986-1987 

5 18

 Cover layout circa 1989 

7 2

 Dictionary of Opera 1980-1982 

5 11

 Discography 

5 9

 Grant applications 1976 

5 13

 Grove Dictionary 1983-1989 

5 12

 Mark the Music correspondence 1990 

5 19

 Mark the Music records 1991 

5 24

 Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture 1980 

5 23

 National Endowment for the Humanities 1980 

5 15

 Performing Arts, "The Roots of Regina" April 1980 

5 21

 Permissions signed 1988   [2 folders]

5 25-26

 Permissions pending 1988 

5 27

 Proposal 1986 

5 14

 Publishers 1963-1975 

5 22

 State Historical Society of Wisconsin 1981-1989 

5 17

 When the Wind Blows 1984 

5 16

 Miscellaneous notes Undated 

5 10

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