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The E.Y. Harburg Collection

Call Number: MSS 83

Scope and Contents

The E. Y. Harburg Collection documents Harburg's life and career as a lyricist for musicals, films, and popular songs chiefly through his writings. The Collection also contains correspondence, publicity, reviews, and memorabilia.


  • 1929-1968 (inclusive)


Language of Materials

Materials chiefly in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to researchers by appointment. There are no restricted materials in the collection. Please contact the Special Collections staff to schedule an appointment.

Some of the materials may be stored at the Library's off-campus shelving facility, so researchers should allow at least two business days to have the appropriate boxes paged.

Conditions Governing Use

The E.Y. Harburg Collection is the physical property of the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library of Yale University. Copyrights belong to the composers and authors, or their legal heirs and assigns.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The E.Y. Harburg Collection was established at Yale University by E. Y. Harburg in 1968.


In 2 series as follows: I. Writings. II. Harburgiana.


30 Linear Feet (26 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Writings and other papers by and about the American lyricist E.Y. ("Yip") Harburg

Biographical / Historical

Edgar Yipsel ("Yip") Harburg was born Irwin Hochberg on April 8, 1896, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. (Some sources give the year of his birth as 1898.) He showed his flair for light verse at an early age, but after graduating from the City College of New York in 1917, he pursued a career in business, while continuing to write in his spare time. After a period of prosperity, his electrical supply company failed in the late 1920s, and he decided to change careers.

Harburg quickly achieved great success as a lyricist. Over the years, he collaborated with many composers, including Jay Gorney, Vernon Duke, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, Burton Lane, Sammy Fain, and Jule Styne. Harburg wrote the lyrics for shows such as Finian's Rainbow and films such as The Wizard of Oz. His long list of hit songs includes "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?," "April in Paris," "It's Only a Paper Moon," "Over the Rainbow," and "How are Things in Glocca Morra?"

Harburg's Hollywood career came to a halt in the early 1950s when he was blacklisted. A staunch advocate of a variety of left-leaning causes, Harburg was never a member of the Communist Party. The blacklist did not prevent him from working on Broadway, but his musicals after Finian's Rainbow did not match the success of his earlier works.

Yip Harburg died on March 5, 1981 in Brentwood, California.
Register to The E.Y. Harburg Collection
Compiled by Tulin Duda, 1984Revised by Bruce Durazzi, 2000Revised by Stefanie Acevedo, 2013
Language of description
Finding aid is in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2007-08-24: music.mss.0083.xml converted for compliance with Yale EAD Best Practice Guidelines with music-migrate-02.xsl (yn2007-08-24).
  • 2007-03-21: music.mss.0083.xml converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 with v1to02.xsl (yn2007-03-20).
  • 2010-01-26: Transformed with yale.addEadidUrl.xsl. Adds @url with handle for finding aid. Overwrites @url if already present.
  • 2012-10-18: Updated information about access, to reflect the transfer of service responsibility from HSR to regular special collections staff.
  • 2013-12-18: Numerous corrections, resulting from a folder-by-folder inventory project by Stefanie Acevedo.
  • 2016-06-10: Oversized items re-boxed into Box 28.

Repository Details

Part of the Yale University Music Library Repository

120 High Street
PO Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520 US
(203) 432-0497