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Fred Ebb Collection



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Fred Ebb Collection, 1964-2002 | Historical Collections

By Caridad Bojorquez, Jesse Branner, Grace Danico, and Barbara Douglass, Pratt School of Information Students; Sara Fetherolf, Brooklyn College Intern

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Collection Overview

Title: Fred Ebb Collection, 1964-2002Add to your cart.

Extent: 3.0 Boxes

Arrangement: Each series--comprised of a specific type of material--is arranged alphabetically by subject (person, play, etc.).

Subjects: Ebb, Fred, Fleming, Rhonda, Green-Wood Cemetery--New York, N.Y., Holmes, Scott, Kander, John, Lane, Burton, Lawrence, Carol, Lewis, Abby, Minnelli, Liza, Musical theater, Pitchford, Dean, Prince, Harold, Reams, Lee Roy, Rivera, Chita

Forms of Material: Correspondence, Ephemera, Newspaper Clippings, Photographs

Languages: English, German, Italian, Polish, Japanese


This collection includes newspaper and magazine clippings, audio recordings, photographs, ephemera, and correspondence relating to Tony Award winning lyricist and composer Fred Ebb and his musical collaborator John Kander.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The collection contains the personal materials of Fred Ebb, and is comprised of four series: correspondence, photographs, ephemera, and newspaper clippings.

Correspondence encompasses 12 folders organized alphabetically by name; individual items are arranged chronologically by date. The series includes drafts by Fred Ebb, and notes and letters from performers such as Carol Lawrence, Rhonda Fleming, Liza Minnelli, and Chita Rivera, as well as miscellaneous correspondence.

The photographs series is comprised of 5 folders containing 45 photographs of Fred Ebb and various other performers, composers, and personal acquaintances. It includes images of: Liza Minnelli, Goldie Hawn, Bob Fosse, Chita Rivera, Rhonda Flemming, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and John Kander. Some of the photographs were originally in envelopes, with brief handwritten notes and contact information about the people in the pictures.

Ephemera is comprised of 15 folders, grouped by subject matter. This series contains a large range of materials, including autographs and business cards collected by Fred Ebb, playbills and memorabilia from productions of his theatrical works, and 2 large reels of magnetic tape, presumably with sound recordings related to Ebb's work.

The clippings series contains 11 folders and is made up of newspaper and magazine selections related to Ebb's work and the various celebrities with whom he worked. Clippings are grouped into folders according to subject matter.

As a whole, this collection gives insight into the life and professional relationships of Fred Ebb, and is notable for its range of materials and the evidence it gives of Ebb's activities in show business over a large number of years.

Collection Historical Note

Fred Ebb (April 8, 1933-September 11, 2004) was an American lyricist. For more than four decades he and composer John Kander collaborated to write the music of many popular Broadway shows.

Fred Ebb was the youngest child of Harry Ebb, a clothing salesman, and Anna Evelyn (Gritz) Ebb. In 1955, he graduated from New York University with a BA in English literature; he earned an MA in English literature from Columbia University in 1957.

Early on, Ebb demonstrated an enthusiasm for the theater, and he began writing lyrics. In 1953, he collaborated with Phil Springer to create the hit song "Heartbroken," performed by Judy Garland. In 1962 he met composer John Kander, and the two made a name for themselves in writing the score of the 1965 musical Flora the Red Menace, starring Liza Minnelli.

Ebb and Kander went on to next write Cabaret, which won Tony awards for Musical of the Year and Best Composer/Lyricist in 1967. The pair were responsible for many successful and influential songs for a variety of outlets, including cabaret showcases, nightclub acts, and the pop charts, but are perhaps best known for their work on Broadway shows such as Cabaret, Chicago, Woman of the Year, and Kiss of the Spider Woman. In addition to working extensively with Liza Minnelli, Ebb and Kander wrote songs for stars such as Shirley MacLaine, Lauren Bacall, and Chita Rivera.

Besides receiving many Tony Awards and nominations, Ebb and Kander were jointly honored at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony in 1998.

Ebb died in 2004 and is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery. In April 2005 the Fred Ebb Foundation, in conjunction with the Roundabout Theatre Company, initiated in honor of Ebb an annual award to aspiring musical theater songwriters.

Sources: "Fred Ebb." The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2007. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 3 Dec. 2012.

"Fred Ebb." Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League, 2001-2013. Web. 8 March 2013.

Subject/Index Terms

Ebb, Fred
Fleming, Rhonda
Green-Wood Cemetery--New York, N.Y.
Holmes, Scott
Kander, John
Lane, Burton
Lawrence, Carol
Lewis, Abby
Minnelli, Liza
Musical theater
Pitchford, Dean
Prince, Harold
Reams, Lee Roy
Rivera, Chita

Administrative Information

Repository: Historical Collections

Processing Information: Accession #: 015-2013

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence],
[Series 2: Photographs],
[Series 3: Ephemera],
[Series 4: Newspaper Clippings],

Series 1: CorrespondenceAdd to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Correspondence--Fred EbbAdd to your cart.
Includes two typewritten pages from Curtains, the musical Ebb was working on when he died, and drafts to author Greg Lawrence regarding a draft for Colored Lights, a book by Kander, Ebb, and Lawrence.
Folder 2: Correspondence--Rhonda Fleming (Actress)Add to your cart.
Includes a fan letter to Rhonda Fleming.
Folder 3: Correspondence--Scott Holmes (Actor)Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Correspondence--Burton Lane (Composer and Lyricist)Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Correspondence--Carol Lawrence (Actress)Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Correspondence--Abby Lewis (Actress)Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Correspondence--Liza Minnelli (Actress)Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Correspondence--Dean Pitchford (Lyricist)Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Correspondence--Harold Prince (Producer)Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Correspondence--Lee Roy Reams (Director, Actor, and Choreographer)Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Correspondence--Chita Rivera (Actress)Add to your cart.
Postcard from Greece.
Folder 12: Correspondence--MiscellaneousAdd to your cart.
Includes a letter from Theodora Zavin, Senior Vice President and Senior Counsel of BMI regarding an award won by Kander and Ebb, as well as 3 personal cards.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence],
[Series 2: Photographs],
[Series 3: Ephemera],
[Series 4: Newspaper Clippings],

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