Guide to the Abe Laufe Papers, 1937-1980 CTC.1983.01

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Abe Laufe Papers
Creator
Laufe, Abe
Collection Number
CTC.1983.01
Date
1937-1980
Extent
4.0 linear feet (8 boxes)
Abstract
Throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, Abe Laufe was actively interested in musical theater in the United States. He engaged in scholarly research and published several books, gave popular lectures, and composed music. The collection contains manuscripts, revision pages, typescripts, and drafts of all published books and several that were unpublished. It also contains clippings, program announcements, guest books, and other materials chronicling Laufe's career as a popular lecturer on musical subjects.

Preferred Citation

Abe Laufe Papers, 1937-1969, CTC.1983.01, Curtis Theatre Collection, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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Biography

Dr. Laufe was born on May 25, 1906 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was educated at the University of Pittsburgh earning a B.A. in 1928, an M.A. in 1935, and a Ph.D. in 1952. He was active as a public school educator in the Arnold, Pennsylvania, Public School System between 1928 and 1942. In 1942, he joined the United States Army, Special Services, and served with distinction until the end of the war in 1945. He was awarded the Legion of Merit in 1946. After the war he moved to New York City and worked as an editor between 1945 and 1947 and then returned to the University of Pittsburgh. Between 1947 and 1952, he served as a lecturer and then an instructor. In 1953 he was promoted to an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor in 1956, and eventually a full Professor in 1967, serving in that capacity until 1972. Mr. Laufe became a lecturer and radio speaker on theatre, musical comedy, and Hollywood music and continued in that capacity for many years. He was known as Pittsburgh's Victor Borge and authored numerous scholarly books and articles. Mr. Laufe died in Pittsburgh on February 9, 1984 after a long illness.

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Scope and Content Notes

The Abe Laufe Papers pertain chiefly to English Professor Laufe's long career as a popular lecturer and author on musical and American theater. These papers document his interest in American popular music, Hollywood music, and Broadway musicals as well as his scholarly contributions. Included are five scrapbooks, additional memorabilia, manuscripts and publications (8 titles), and miscellaneous notes compiled by Dr. Laufe for his lectures. Publications include his own copy of the History of the School of Special Services, U.S. Army 1945, and   Easy Swing Time Novelties, 1945. Manuscripts include various drafts of two published works,  Broadway's Greatest Musicals and  The Wicked Stage, as well as four unpublished works.

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Arrangement

The collection is arranged in the following series.

Series I. Publications and Manuscripts

Series II. Lecture Notes

Series III. Photographs

Series IV. Scrapbooks

Series V. Miscellaneous Memorabilia

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, 2009

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Abe Laufe between 1969-1983. Additional items added by Hannah E. Bechtel in 1984.

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Related Materials

Related Material

The Curtis scrapbook collection contains two scrapbooks of materials pertaining to Abe Laufe's sister, Anna Laufe Perlow.

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Controlled Access Headings

Genre(s)

  • Manuscripts (Document genre)
  • Memorabilia
  • Notes
  • Personal papers
  • Photographs
  • Publications
  • Records (Documents)
  • Scrapbooks

Geographic Name(s)

  • United States -- Intellectual life

Personal Name(s)

  • Laufe, Abe

Subject(s)

  • College teachers -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Performing arts -- United States
  • Theater
  • Theater -- United States

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Previous Citation

Abe Laufe Papers, 1937-1969, CTC.1983.01, Curtis Theatre Collection, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh

Abe Laufe Papers, 1937-1969, CTC.16, Curtis Theatre Collection, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh

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Collection Inventory

Series  I. Publications and Manuscripts, 1945-1979 

Scope and Content Notes

Series IV contains publications and manuscripts for both published and unpublished works. There are multiple drafts of all published works and unpublished works, plus revision pages. These are arranged by book title and collected into 21 folders and tied volumes. Drafts of works that were never published are in quotations rather than italics.

  BoxFolder
"American Theater: Its Growth and Decline" 11
  Folder
Broadway's Greatest Musicals - early draft, introduction and first seven chapters 2
  Folder
Broadway's Greatest Musicals - early drafts, chapters  South Pacific – Late 1950s 3
  Folder
Broadway's Greatest Musicals - miscellaneous revision pages 4
  BoxFolder
Broadway's Greatest Musicals - later draft, p. 1-90 21
  Folder
Broadway's Greatest Musicals - later draft, p. 91-213 2
  Folder
Broadway's Greatest Musicals - later draft, p. 214-333 3
  Folder
Broadway's Greatest Musicals - later draft, p. 334-492 4
  Folder
Broadway's Greatest Musicals - later draft, p. 493-590 5
  Folder
Broadway's Greatest Musicals - later draft, p. 591-appendix 30 6
  Folder
Broadway's Greatest Musicals - type setting copy, name and title indicies, 1973 7
  Folder
Broadway's Greatest Musicals - incomplete galleys, 1973 8
  BoxFolder
Broadway's Greatest Musicals - patch galleys, 1973 31
  Folder
Broadway's Greatest Musicals - revised edition MS, 1979 2
  Folder
Broadway's Greatest Musicals - revised title index 3
  Folder
Broadway's Greatest Musicals - revised name index 4
  Folder
Easy Swing Time Novelties - Baker's Plays, 1945 5
  BoxFolder
History of the School for Personnel Services, Army Service Forces U.S. Army, 1945 41
  Folder
"Pace Setters: Firsts in American Theater" - not published see also "They Were the First" 2
  Folder
"Show Biz Quiz" - first draft 3
  Folder
"Show Biz Quiz" - submitted copy 4-5
  Folder
"They Were the First" - final draft see also "Pace Setters" 6
  BoxFolder
"They Were the First" - final draft see also "Pace Setters" 51
  Folder
The Wicked Stage - early draft 2
  Folder
The Wicked Stage - drafts 3-5
  BoxFolder
The Wicked Stage - final draft 61

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Series  II. Lecture Notes 

Scope and Content Notes

Series V contains loose leaf pages of notes on materials for lectures.

  Folder
Lecture notes 2

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Series  III. Photographs 

Scope and Content Notes

Series I contains photographs of the collection’s creator from various periods of his life. They include snapshots, studio portraits, and portrait photographs.

  BoxFolder
Portraits of Abe Laufe 71

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Series  IV. Scrapbooks, 1937-1979 

Scope and Content Notes

Series II material relates to Dr. Laufe’s lectures to various organizations on popular topics. The material includes clippings, announcements, programs, news releases, and reviews of books published. They are arranged in scrapbooks and the material is arranged chronologically. Scrapbook 5 has reviews of books.

  Folder
Scrapbook 1 - Lectures, etc., 1937-1960 2
  Folder
Scrapbook 2 - Lectures, etc., 1960-1963 3
  Folder
Scrapbook 3 - Lectures, etc., 1962-1976 4
  BoxFolder
Scrapbook 4 - Lectures, etc., 1969-1978 81
  Folder
Scrapbook 5 - Publications, 1965-1979 2

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Series  V. Miscellaneous Memorabilia, 1952-1980 

Scope and Content Notes

Series III contains miscellaneous memorabilia including two army medals, the guestbook from the publication reception of Broadway's Greatest Hits, and also phonorecordings of music with lyrics by Laufe. The final folder in the series contains letters, journal articles, and certificates.

  Folder
U.S. Army Good Conduct and Legion of Merit Medals 3
  Folder
Guest book for Broadway's Greatest Musicals publication reception, Sardi's, 28 May 1968 4
  Folder
University of Pittsburgh Professor of English Emeritus certificate 5
  Folder
U.S. Army phonorecordings 6
  Folder
Miscellaneous memorabilia, 1952-1980 7

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