Meeropol, Abel [Lewis Allan] (1903-1986)
Scope:
The Abel Meeropol collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, printed material, audio recordings, and other items.

Manuscripts by Meeropol in the collection include both literary writings and musical works. The majority of the literary material consists of over one hundred scripts and librettos for television, movies and radio, most present in variant drafts. A large amount of material is present for Siegel Street, a musical based on Yuri Suhl’s "One Foot In America" and "Cowboy On a Wooden Horse." Also included are several different ideas and story treatment drafts for series, plays and other dramatic works, as well as short stories, speeches, essays, notes, reviews, and poems, the latter in multiple drafts.

Musical works by Meeropol include several hundred scores and lyrics, mainly for songs, including Meeropol’s original manuscripts for the song “Strange Fruit” (written under the name Lewis Allen), made famous by Billie Holiday.

Manuscripts by other authors are also present in the collection, including music, lyrics, plays, essays, poems, speeches, and sermons by various writers. Writings by Meeropol’s wife, Anne Meeropol, include essays and lyrics, as well as the play Ernestine Rose, an adaptation of Johnny Tremain. Also present are writings by Michael and Robert Meeropol, the birth children of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg who were adopted by the Meeropols after their parents’ execution by the government on charges of conspiracy to commit espionage. These include various letters, school reports, songs, and speeches by Robert, as well as a musical score and a short autobiographical essay by Michael.

Correspondence in this collection dates from 1925 to 1978, with several undated letters. There are many letters between Merropol and other musicians, composers and publishers, as well as a good deal of correspondence between Meeropol and his family. Notable musical figures among the correspondents include Pearl Bailey, Theodore Bikel, Agnes Cunningham, Marvin Hamlisch, Ivo Havlu, Libby Holman, Martin Kalmanoff, Johnny Mercer, Earl Robinson, Pete Seeger, Beverly Sills, and Kurt Weill. Other notable correspondents include Bella Abzug, Saul Bass, Stephen Vincent Benet, Stokely Carmichael, Carmine Coppola, Countee Cullen, Ossie Davis, Sammy Davis, Jr., W. E. B DuBois, Jane Fonda, Jean Hersholt, James Earl Jones, Bernard Malamud, Thomas Mann, George McGovern, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sean O’Casey, Benjamin Spock, and Yuri Suhl.

Photographs in the collection include about two dozen images of Abel and Anne Meeropol; twelve photos of Robert and Michael Meeropol, taken in the 1950s and 1960s; theatrical production photos; and other miscellaneous photos.

Printed material in the collection is extensive, and includes several printed musical scores, librettos, lyrics, skits, and poems, all by Abel and Anne Meeropol. Also present are several press releases, advertisements, programs and reviews about the Meeropol’s songs and productions, as well as a number of articles written about them. In addition, there are dozens of magazines, newspapers, and newsletters in the papers. Titles include ASCAP Today, Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian, Jewish Currents, Mad, The Nation, The New Leader, People’s Songs, Players, Plays and Players, Sing Out!, Theatre Arts, The Washington Monthly, American Guild of Authors and Composers, American Institute for Marxist Studies, Hear Now, In Search, International Bulletin, New Unity, and Peace and Freedom.

Audio recordings in the collection include several reel-to-reel tapes and some cassettes and long-playing records of Meeropol performing various songs, including “Strange Fruit.” Also present are some cassette recordings of interviews with Abel and Anne Meeropol.

Other items in the collection include some financial papers; Meeropol’s will; teaching reports; Meeropol’s petition for the guardianship of Robert and Michael (Mar. 29, 1954); several address books, calendars, and diaries kept by the Meeropols (1930-1975); and a transcript of Earl Robinson’s testimony to the House Un-American Activities Committee (Apr. 11, 1957).

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Notable Figures
1. Meeropol, Abel, 1903-1986
Associated Subjects
1. Music Collections Subject Guide
2. Radio Subject Guide
3. Jewish Studies Subject Guide
4. Civil Rights Subject Guide
5. Lyricists -- United States
6. Composers – United States
7. Music – 20th century
8. Audiotapes