Gene Lees papers, 1924-2004 [bulk 1990-2004]


Gene Lees papers, 1924-2004 [bulk 1990-2004]

Research materials that Gene Lees amassed in researching and writing of his biography of songwriter Johnny Mercer (Portrait of Johnny: the life of John Herndon Mercer, 2004) make up the papers, 1924-2004. Lees collected source material about the late songwriter, but the bulk of the collection dates from the period when he researched and wrote the book, 1990-2004. Subjects include Mercer's family history, his professional career as a songwriter, and his influence on entertainers and colleagues. Lees consulted a number of people for their personal recollections, including Nancy Mercer Gerard, Mercer's niece; Nick Mamalakis, Mercer family attorney; and the family friend Joan Clarke. His correspondence with the entertainer Steve Allen sheds light on the social life of Johnny Mercer and Allen's great admiration for Mercer's songwriting talent.

.75 linear feet.

Related Entities

There are 2 Entities related to this resource.

Lees, Gene. (person)

Gene Lees (born 1928 in Ontario, Canada) has had a distinguished career as an author about jazz, winning the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for excellence in writing about music three times. Editor and publisher of Gene Lees JazzLetter, he has written a number of books, including fiction, biographies, memoirs, and compilations of his articles, as well as lyrics and liner notes for recordings. His Portrait of Johnny: the life of John Herndon Mercer (2004), won theTimothy White Award for Outstanding Mus...

Mercer, Johnny (person)

Johnny Mercer (1910-1976) was born John H. Mercer in Savannah, Georgia, the son of George Anderson Mercer. He was educated in Savannah public schools and at Woodberry Forest School in Virginia. He worked with his father in the real estate loan business before heading to New York in 1929 with the Savannah Town Theater group for a National Little Theater contest. He remained in New York to try for a stage career. He became a well-known lyricist and moved to California, where he produced many hit s...