Skip to main content

Eric A. Gordon's Mark the Music: The Life and Work of Marc Blitzstein Collection

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: Coll2012-121

Scope and Contents

The collection comprises correspondence, playbills, programs, clippings, photographs, notes, grant proposals and other research material collected for the book, Mark the Music: The Life and Work of Marc Blitzstein (St. Martin's Press, 1989), by Eric A. Gordon. An American composer and gay man, Marc Blitzstein is perhaps most well-known for his 1937 musical, The Cradle Will Rock, his opera Regina, as well as his adaptation of The Threepenny Opera. The Marc Blitzstein Resource Material Series includes photocopied and original materials documenting Blitzstein's life and musical works. The bulk of the Correspondence and Research Series includes correspondence (and related notes) between biographer Eric Gordon and Blitzstein's family, friends and collaborators. The Publication Records Series includes grant proposals, photographs, promotional material, permissions and other administrative records in the publication and promotion of Gordon's biography on Blitzstein.

Dates

  • 1850 - 2011
  • Majority of material found within 1980 - 1991

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the ONE Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Biography on Marc Blitzstein

Marc Blitzstein was born in Philadelphia, March 2, 1905. At the age of 6, he played his first solo piano recital in public; at 16, he performed a piano concert with the Philadelphia Symphony. He went on to study with teachers such as Nadia Boulanger in Paris. While in Europe, Blitzstein came to be influenced by modernists like Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.

Upon returning to the United States, he began writing his own political operas, notably the pro-union musical, The Cradle Will Rock (1936), and No For An Answer (1940). The same year in which The Cradle Will Rock was produced, Blitzstein's wife, Eva Goldbeck, died after three years of marriage.

In 1942, Blitzstein enlisted in the Air Force and spent three years in the military. Out of this experience came his Airborne Symphony (1946). After the Air Force, Blitzstein wrote for films and theater, including Regina, Juno, and adaptations of Mother Courage and The Threepenny Opera. He was commissioned to compose an opera based on the Sacco and Vanzetti case of the 1920s. He completed two acts and outlined a third when, while on vacation in Fort-de-France, Martinique, Blitzstein got into a physical confrontation with three merchant seamen and subsequently died of a brain injury on January 22, 1964.

Source: Box 3, folder 30, Eric A. Gordon Collection on Marc Blitzstein, Coll2012-121, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California

Biography on Eric A. Gordon

Born in 1945, Eric A. Gordon is a graduate of Yale University, and holds both an M.A. (in Latin American studies) and a Ph.D. (in history) from Tulane University. In the 1980s, he worked as a publicity manager for the music publishing house of G. Schirmer. Beginning in 1995, Gordon was the director of the Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring, Southern California District.

A member of the National Writers Union, he served on the board of the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, on the Western Region Administrative Committee of the Jewish Labor Committee, and on the editorial advisory board of Jewish Currents magazine. In the late-1970s, Gordon began his research for a biography on American composer Marc Blitzstein, Mark the Music, which was published in 1989. In addition to Mark the Music, Gordon is the co-author of Ballad of an American (Scarecrow Press, 1997), as well as hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles.

In 2012, Eric Gordon continues to live in Los Angeles, CA.

Source: http://www.marcblitzstein.com/pages/biblio/articles/mark.htm (last accessed October 25, 2012.)

Extent

6 Linear Feet (5 archives boxes + 1 archive binder box + 1 archive flat box.)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Correspondence, playbills, programs, clippings, photographs, notes, grant proposals and other research material collected for the book, Mark the Music: The Life and Work of Marc Blitzstein (St. Martin's Press, 1989), by Eric A. Gordon. An American composer and gay man, Marc Blitzstein is perhaps most well-known for his 1937 musical, The Cradle Will Rock. The collection includes materials documenting Blitzstein's musical works, as well as correspondence files between biographer Eric A. Gordon and Blitzstein's family, friends and collaborators.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Eric A. Gordon, April 12, 2011.

Separated Materials

Following items have been separated from the collection:

Denson, Joan. Except for One Little Problem: Memoir of a Life in Hiding. Fort Lee, NJ.: Barricade Books, 2001. (signed copy to "Susan")

The Making of "From Walls to Roses" [sound recording], produced by Eric A. Gordon, 1978. (1/4 in. open reel audiotape)

Show: The Magazine of the Arts. New York: Hartford Publications, Inc. Vol. IV, No. 6 (June 1964)

Processing Information

Collection processed by Kyle Kaplan and Loni Shibuyama, November 2012.

Creator

Title
Finding Aid to Eric A. Gordon's Mark the Music: The Life and Work of Marc Blitzstein Collection, 1850-2011
Status
Completed
Author
Loni Shibuyama
Date
(c) 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is inEnglish.
Sponsor
Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Repository Details

Part of the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries, University of Southern California Repository

Contact:
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles California 90007 United States
(213) 821-2771