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Victor Young papers

Collection Data

The Victor Young Papers document the career of a composer and publicist whose career was centered in New York City.
Young, Victor, 1889-1968 (Creator)
Davis, Helen (Creator)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1918 - 1951 (Approximate)
Library locations
Music Division
Shelf locator: JPB 00-47
Songs with piano
Biographical/historical: The Victor Young (1889-1968) represented by this collection is not to be confused with Victor Young (1900-1956), band leader of numerous recordings from the 1930s and Hollywood film compsoser, most notably of Around the World in Eighty Days. Albert Victor Young (he dropped his first name by the time he was twenty) was born in Bristol, Tennessee, on April 9, 1889. His initial musical education took place in Knoxville, TN. He attended the Cincinnati College of Music where he studied with Romeo Gorno, Carl Kohlmann, and Herman Bellstedt. Continuing his studies at New York University, his teachers included Frederick Schleider and composition teachers Adolf Schmid and Mortimer Wilson. Young also spent time in Paris, where he studied with Louis Victor Saar, Paul Le Flem (the latter of the Schola Cantorum of Paris), and piano with Isidor Philipp. Young made his debut as pianist with the Russian Symphony, and toured toured the United States, Canada and Europe. At various times in the outset of his career he was director of music at Miami Military Institute in Germantown, Ohio, assistant conductor of the South Musical Festivals at the University of Tennesse. He also taught at Sweetwater College in Sweetwater Tennesse and at Henderson-Brown College in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. From 1919-1927, Young was a pianist and musical director for Thomas A. Edison. He functioned as a talent scout for Edison, making trips to Europe (Germany in particular) to seek out perfomers who could be potential Edison recording artists. He also made several solo piano recordings for the Edison company. It was during this period that Young came into contact with another Edison recording artist, soprano Helen Davis (later she was billed as a mezzo-soprano). Apparently from New York City, Davis performed recitals locally, and made appearances with the Kneisel Quartet. Young and Davis put together a program of eighteenth century works which they would perform in contemporaneous costume. Victor Young married Helen Davis during this period. Young is reputed to have written scores for many films at the outset of the sound period in motion pictures, including In Old California (1929). A still from one of his scrapbooks indicates that, for an opera sequence within a silent film directed by Fred Niblo, he played the role of Scarpia in Tosca (the title of this film has not been determined). He appeared in the film Musical Justice, along with Rudy Vallee and Mae Questal, where he plays a judicial bandleader (the script for this short is part of the collection). Much of Young's later career was spent being a song promoter for the publishing firms of Oliver Ditson, John Church, and Theodore Presser, operating out of an office in the Steinway Building near Carnegie Hall. He appeared to have done some composing on the side, and his songs were sung by leading opera singers of the day. Victor Young died in Ossining, New York, on September 2, 1968.
Content: The papers concentrate on Young's compositions. There are also scripts for radio and motion pictures which Young wrote or participated in, as well as a small amount of biographical material (including photographs of Young and his wife, Helen Davis) in his scrapbooks.
Physical Description
Extent: 2 linear ft. (8 boxes)
Type of Resource
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b15030405
MSS Unit ID: 20254
Archives collections id: archives_collections_20254
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 00cb5dd0-c2ca-0138-caa4-33e3ca33d743
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