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Arnold Shaw Papers (MS-00432)

Abstract

The Arnold Shaw papers (1927-2006) contain correspondence, newspaper articles, journal entries, promotional materials, and photographs. Shaw was a prolific writer and his papers also include articles, short stories, plays, and biographies written by him. In addition there are proofreader's notes, research material, and scratch copies for each of his fourteen books. The collection also contains papers from the various vocal groups and companies under contract with Shaw's music company, Mansion Music. Sheet music, some of which was written and produced by Shaw, assorted printed materials, and sound reels are also included.

Finding Aid - PDF
Date
1927 to 2006
Extent
28.7 Linear Feet (71 boxes)
Resource Type
Papers
Creator/Contributor Links
Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be protected by copyrights and other rights. See Reproductions and Use on the UNLV Special Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permissions to publish.

Collection Type
Scope and Contents

The Arnold Shaw papers (1927-2006) contain correspondence, newspaper articles, journal entries, promotional materials, and photographs. Shaw was a prolific writer and his papers also include articles, short stories, plays, and biographies written by him. In addition there are proofreader's notes, research material, and scratch copies for each of his fourteen books. The collection also contains papers from the various vocal groups and companies under contract with Shaw's music company, Mansion Music. Sheet music, some of which was written and produced by Shaw, assorted printed materials, and sound reels are also included.

Biographical / Historical Note

Music composer, arranger, author, and music historian Arnold Shaw, birth name Sokolof, was born in Brooklyn, New York on June 28, 1909. He received his BA in English literature from the City College of New York in 1929 and his MA from Columbia University in New York City in 1931. He pursued further studies in American Literature at New York University. His personal interest in songwriting led him to pursue a career in the popular music publishing field, where he served as an administrator for a variety of publishing houses that included Leeds, Hill and Range, and Edward B. Marks.

During his publishing house career, Shaw began what became a long and prolific writing career. His music reviews, liner notes and articles number in the hundreds and he authored fourteen books, some of which have been translated into as many as eleven different languages. Twice winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award in 1968 and 1979, Shaw was also posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame for his book "Honkers and Shouters: The Golden Years of Rhythm and Blues." He is recorded in "Who’s Who in America," "Who’s Who in the World," and in "Groves and Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians." One of his most popular books, "The Street that Never Slept: New York’s Fabled 52nd Street" is a documentation of the two blocks of jazz clubs that presented virtually the who's who of the jazz world during the roughly two decades of their existence. His books of rock and soul music, as well as his biographies of Frank Sinatra and Harry Belafonte are also significant contributions to popular music history. Shaw's last two books were "The Jazz Age: Popular Music in the 1920s" and "Let’s Dance: Popular Music of the 1930s."

After 16 years of running three large publishing companies, Shaw retired to spend his time composing music and writing books about music. He moved to the West Coast, shuttling between Los Angeles, California and Las Vegas, Nevada before finally settling in Las Vegas in 1968.

In 1979 Shaw proposed the creation of a music literature course titled "History of Rock Music," that he would teach on a part-time basis for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Music Department. His proposal was accepted and he began teaching the course in the fall of 1980. His purpose was to see how students perceived popular music and the sociological implication of those perceptions.

During the ensuing years, Shaw created an event which would be held intermittently throughout the school year known as a "Rap with the Artist." The purpose of these rap sessions was to create a vehicle by which popular music stars could interact with university students, both through lectures and discussions. The sessions were recorded and added to the interviews of popular music stars that Shaw recorded in the process of authoring his many books.

The UNLV Special Collections Department has over 900 hours of these tapes. The creation of this tape archive was the official beginning of the Popular Music Research Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas College of Arts and Letters. After Arnold Shaw's death in 1989, the Center was named for him.

1929
B.A. in English Literature, City College of New York
1931
M.A., Columbia University, New York City, New York
1945
Authors "Gene Krupa: Life Story of America's Ace Drummer Man"
Joins Leeds Music Corp. as Director of Publicity and Advertising
1950
Joins E.B. Marks Corp. as Director of Marketing and Publicity
Authors "Lingo of Tin Pan Alley"
1954
Authors "The Money Song"
1957
Founds Mansion Music Corp.
1960
Authors "Harry Belafonte: A Biography"
1968
Winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award
Relocates to Las Vegas, Nevada
1969
Authors "The Rock Revolution: What's Happening in Todays Rock Music and Pop Music Scene. Reissued in 1977 as "52nd Street: The Street of Jazz"
1970
Authors "Black America's Contribution to the Pop Music Scene"
1974
Authors, "Frank Sinatra: Retreat of the Romantic"
Authors "The Rockin' 50s: The Decade that Transformed the Popular Music Scene
1978
Authors "Honkers and Shouters: The Golden Years of Rhythm and Blues"
1983
Authors "Dictionary of American Pop Rock Music"
1984
Authors "Sinatra: The Entrtainer"
1985
Founds the Popular Music Research Center at University of Nevada, Las Vegas
1986
Authors "Black Popular Music in America
1987
Authors "The Jazz Age: Popular Music in the 1920s"
1989
The Popular Music Research Center is named after Arnold Shaw
Authors "Let's Dance: Popular Music of the 1930s," published postumously
Arrangement

These records are organized into nine series:

Series I. Personal papers, 1937-2002;

Series II. Organizational papers, 1934-1998;

Series III. Legal papers, 1942-1986;

Series IV. Mansion Music Company records, 1958-1968;

Series V. Creative writing papers, 1949-1990;

Series VI. Book manuscript papers, 1963-1990;

Series VII. Printed and audiovisual materials, 1940-2001;

Series VIII. Music scores, undated;

Series IX. Additional material, 1931-1989.

Preferred Citation

Arnold Shaw Papers, 1927-2006. MS-00432. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

EAD ID
US::NvLN::MS00432
Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were donated in 2001, 2003, and 2006 by Ghita Shaw; accession number 2001-13.

Processing Information

Material was processed by Joyce Marshall Moore in 2001, 2003, and 2006. In 2014, as part of a legacy finding aid conversion project, Joyce Moore revised and enhanced the collection description to bring it into compliance with current professional standards and entered the data into ArchivesSpace.

Separated Materials

Cassette tapes were removed and stored in the UNLV Special Collection's oral histories cabinet. Tapes are arranged alphabetically and are accessible.

Finding Aid Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
English