Harburg, E. Y. (Edgar Yipsel), 1896-1981

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E.Y. (Yip) Harburg, Academy Award winning lyricist, was born April 8,1898 in New York City.

Among his best known songs are "Over the Rainbow," "April in Paris," "Brother Can You Spare a Dime," and the musical "Finian's Rainbow." Among his principal collaborators were Harold Arlen, Vernon Duke, Burton Lane, Arthur Schwartz and Jerome Kern.

Mr. Harburg died in Los Angeles in 1981.

From the description of Papers, musical scores, sound recordings, 1913-1985. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122626742

E. Y. "Yip" Harburg, academy award winning lyricist, was born in New York City on April 8, 1898. He received his nickname "Yipsel" (Yiddish for squirrel) during his youth on the Lower East Side. Harburg received his education in the New York City Public School System, eventually graduating from City College. While in college he collaborated with Ira Gershwin, a fellow student, on a light verse column in the school newspaper. It was during this time that Harburg was introduced to the works of Gilbert and Sullivan and was greatly influenced by the lyrical style of W. S. Gilbert.

After graduating from college he went into the electrical supply business which went bankrupt in the stock market crash in 1929. It was the experience of being unemployed in the Depression which led to the beginning of his career as a lyricist, writing the lyrics for the song Brother Can You Spare a Dime with Jay Gorney for the review Americana . From there his career as a lyricist took off with shows such as Garrick Gaieties, Ziegfeld Follies, Life Begins at 8:40, and Hooray For What? Among his early film credits are The Singing Kid, Gold Diggers of 1937, Cabin in the Sky, Can't Help Singing, Centennial Summer and the academy award winning, The Wizard of Oz .

His Hollywood career came to abrupt end however, when he was blacklisted by the film industry after World War II. His outspoken political views and his affiliation with the Hollywood Democratic Committee made him a prime candidate for McCarthyites of the post-war era resulting in his absence from the Hollywood film scene for 12 years and the revoking of his passport.

Banned by the Hollywood studios, Harburg returned to the New York theater where he continued writing lyrics for musicals, including Finian's Rainbow, Flahooley, Jamaica, The Happiest Girl in the World, and Darling of the Day . Of these productions, Finian's Rainbow and Flahooley show marked political and social views. Harburg returned to Hollywood in 1962 with the film Gay Purr-ee, an animated feature film with Judy Garland as the voice of the main character. In 1968 his Broadway musical, Finian's Rainbow was recreated on the screen with Fred Astaire and Petula Clark in starring roles.

Harburg's musical collaborators were numerous. Among them were: Harold Arlen, Vernon Duke, Jay Gorney, Jerome Kern, Burton Lane and Arthur Schwartz. He also wrote plays and among his playwriting credits are Flahooley and Finian's Rainbow, co-authored by Fred Saidy, and What a Day For A Miracle, co-authored by Henry Myers. He also wrote a book of light verse entitled Rhymes for the Irreverent .

Harburg wrote lyrics up until his death. He also lectured and made personal appearances throughout his career. He was a guest speaker in the successful Lyrics and Lyricists Series of the 92nd Street YMHA. He died on March 5, 1981 in Los Angeles, California days before he was scheduled to receive the Johnny Mercer Award of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.

From the guide to the E. Y. (Yip) Harburg papers, 1913-1985, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)

E.Y. "Yip" Harburg, academy award winning lyricist, was born in New York City on April 8, 1898. He received his nickname "Yipsel" (Yiddish for squirrel) during his youth on the Lower East Side. Harburg received his education in the the New York City public school system, eventually graduating from City College. While in college he collaborated with Ira Gershwin, a fellow student, on a light verse column in the school newspaper. It was during this time that Harburg was introduced to the works of Gilbert and Sullivan and was greatly influenced by the lyrical style of W.S. Gilbert.

After graduating from college he went into the electrical supply business. This went bankrupt in the stock market crash in 1929. It was the experience of being unemployed in the Depression which led to the beginning of his career as a lyricist, writing the lyrics for the song " Brother Can You Spare a Dime " with Jay Gorney for the review Americana. From there his career took off with shows such as Garrick Gaieties, Ziegfeld Follies, Life Begins at 8:40, and Hooray for What? Among his early film credits are The Singing Kid, Gold Diggers of 1937, Cabin in the Sky, Can't Help Singing, Centennial Summer, and the Academy Award winning, The Wizard of Oz .

His Hollywood career, came to an abrupt end, when he was blacklisted by the film industry after World War II. His outspoken political views and his affiliation with the Hollywood Democratic Committee made him a prime candidate for the McCarthyites of the post-war era resulting in his absence from the Hollywood film scene for 12 years and the revoking of his passport.

Banned by the Hollywood studios, Harburg returned to the New York theater where he continued writing lyrics for musicals including Finian's Rainbow, Flahooley, Jamaica, The Happiest Girl in the World, and Darling of the Day . Of these productions, Finian's Rainbow and Flahooley show marked political and social views. Harburg returned to Hollywood in 1962 with the film Gay Purr-ee, an animated feature film with Judy Garland as the voice of the main character. In 1968 his Broadway musical Finian's Rainbow was recreated on the screen with Fred Astaire and Petula Clark in starring roles.

Harburg's musical collaborators wer numerous. Among them were: Harold Arlen, Vernon Duke, Jay Gorney, Jerome Kern, Burton Lane, and Arthur Schwartz. He also wrote plays and among his playwright credits are Flahooley and Finian's Rainbow, co-authored by Fred Saidy; and What a Day For a Miracle co-authored by Henry Myers. He also wrote a book of light verse entitled Rhymes for the Irreverent .

Harburg wrote lyrics up until his death. He also lectured and made personal appearances throughout his career. He was a guest speaker in the successful Lyrics and Lyricists Series of the 92nd Street YMHA. He died on March 5, 1981 in Los Angeles, California days before he was scheduled to receive the Johnny Mercer Award of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.

From the guide to the E. Y. Harburg papers, 1936-1981, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Johnny Green additional papers, 1923-1989. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
creatorOf NDWT Archives (University of Guelph). The Happiest Girl in The World / book by Fred Saidy and Henry Myers, lyrics by E. Y. Harburg, music by Jacques Offenbach, story by E. Y. Harburg, 1977 - unproduced reading script. University of Guelph
referencedIn Trumbo, Dalton, 1905-1976. Papers, 1905-1962. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf Corigliano, John, 1938-. Sketch for One sweet morning / John Corigliano. Yale University, Music Library
creatorOf Arlen, Harold, 1905-1986. Bloomer girl / [words by E.Y. Harburg ; music by Harold Arlen] University of Nebraska - Lincoln
creatorOf Palca, Alfred. Blue star : a musical play, 1961 July 6 / by Alfred Palca and Joshua Logan ; music by Burton Lane ; lyrics by E.Y. Harburg. Ohio State University Libraries
creatorOf Harburg, E. Y. (Edgar Yipsel), 1896-1981. Papers, musical scores, sound recordings, 1913-1985. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Harburg, E. Y. (Edgar Yipsel), 1896-1981. E.Y. Harburg papers, 1936-1981. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Howard Bay designs and technical drawings, 1934-1985 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Jay Gorney Papers, 1932-1992 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
creatorOf E. Y. Harburg papers, 1936-1981 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Biberman, H. J. (Herbert J.). Herbert Biberman and Gale Sondergaard papers, 1908-1981. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf Arlen, Harold, 1905-1986. Bloomer girl : a modern musical comedy with old-fashioned charm / music by Harold Arlen ; lyrics by E. Y. Harburg ; book by Sig Herzig and Fred Saidy ; based on a play by Dan and Lilith James ; concert adaption by David Ives, 2001. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Arlen, Harold, 1905-1986. Song of the woodman / music by Harold Arlen ; lyric by E.Y. Harburg. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Shaw Festival Collection (University of Guelph). Lunchtime One-Acts, 2004 - house program. University of Guelph
creatorOf Lane, Burton, 1912-1997. Finian's rainbow / music by Burton Lane ; lyrics by Yip Harburg ; book by Yip Harburg and Fred Saidy ; book adaptation by Arthur Perlman ; based on the presentation by New York City Center Encores! ; original adaptation for Encoes! by David Ives , 2009. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Styne, Jule, 1905-1994. Let's see what happens / words by E. Y. Harburg, music by Jule Styne. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Jo Mielziner papers, 1903-1976 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Austin, Aleine. Oral History of the American Left. Oral histories, 1980-1982. Churchill County Museum
creatorOf Bay, Howard. Howard Bay designs and technical drawings, 1934-1985. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Myers, Henry, 1893-1975. What a day for a miracle : a tale of the Children's Crusade : play / by Henry Myers & E.Y. Harburg (from Henry Myers' novel "Our lives have just begun) ; lyrics by E.Y. Harburg ; music by Larry Orenstein & Jeff Alexander. Ohio State University Libraries
creatorOf E. Y. (Yip) Harburg papers, 1913-1985 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Arlen, Harold, 1905-1986. Things / [words by] Gershwin - Harburg ; [music by] H. Arlen. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Shaw Festival Collection (University of Guelph). Bloomer Girl / music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by E.Y. Harburg, book by Sig Herzig and Fred Saidy, based on a play by Don and Lilith James, music and lyrics adapted by Alan Moon, book adapted by Alan Moon and Jackie Maxwell ; directed by Jackie Maxwell, 2004 - performance files. University of Guelph
creatorOf Lane, Burton, 1912-1997. Finian's rainbow, 1967 Mar. 10 / from the play by E.Y. Harburg and Fred Saidy ; music by Burton Lane. Ohio State University Libraries
referencedIn Johnny Green papers, 1920-1991. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
creatorOf Harburg, E. Y. (Edgar Yipsel), 1896-1981. E.Y. Harburg papers, 1913-1985. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Gorney, Jay, 1896-1990. Jay Gorney scores, 1916-1975 (bulk 1924-1961). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Arlen, Harold, 1905-1986. I got a song / [Harold Arlen]. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Darcy, Samuel, 1905-. Papers, 1924-1985 (bulk 1930-1945). Churchill County Museum
creatorOf Lane, Burton, 1912-1997. How are things in Glocca Morra / words by E.Y. Harburg ; music by Burton Lane. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Samuel Adams Darcy Papers, Bulk, 1930-1945, 1924-1985, bulk 1930-1945 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
referencedIn Jay Gorney scores, 1916-1975, 1924-1961 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
referencedIn The E.Y. Harburg Collection, 1929-1968 (inclusive) Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University
creatorOf Arlen, Harold, 1905-1986. Bloomer girl / words by E.Y. Harburg ; music by Harold Arlen ; arr. by L. Leonardi. New York Public Library System, NYPL
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
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associatedWith Fain, Sammy, 1902-1989. person
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associatedWith Shaw Festival Collection (University of Guelph) corporateBody
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associatedWith Styne, Jule, 1905-1994. person
associatedWith Trumbo, Dalton, 1905-1976. person
associatedWith Tune, Tommy person
associatedWith University of Vermont corporateBody
associatedWith Weidman, John, 1946- person
associatedWith Zolotow, Sam, d. 1993 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States
Subject
Musical films
Musical theater
Theater--Political aspects
Theater--United States
Theater
Occupation
Lyricists
Librettists
Function

Person

Birth 1898-04-08

Death 1981-03-05

Americans

English

Information

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