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Rudy Vallée Papers and Memorabilia

 Collection
Identifier: SpC MS 0598

Scope and Contents

The papers of a popular vocalist in the U.S. during the 20th century. Included are correspondence from 1917 to 1984, newspaper clippings, scores, photographs, scrapbooks, phonograph records, megaphone, and other memorabilia.

Dates

  • 1917-1984

Creator

Restrictions on Access

Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.

Use Restrictions

Information on literary rights available in the Library.

Biographical Note

Rudy Vallee was one of the most popular vocalists of the pre-swing era. With his megaphone and nasal voice, he will forever be remembered as the archetypal image of the early crooners. Born in Island Pond, Vermont, in 1901, Hubert Prior Vallee grew up in Westbrook, Maine, where he played drums in his high school band. He dropped out of school and joined the Navy in 1917, at the start of America's involvement in WWI, but was soon discharged when the Navy discovered that he was only fifteen years old. Returning home, he found work as a movie projectionist and began to study the clarinet but switched to the saxophone when he first heard recordings of sax player Rudy Wiedoeft. He also re-entered high school and graduated, enrolling at the University of Maine in 1921. Hubert's fraternity brothers, knowing of his great admiration for Wiedoeft, nicknamed him 'Rudy' Vallee, a name which stuck. In the fall of 1922, Vallee transferred to Yale University, where he worked for his tuition by playing at country clubs, social functions, and school dances, often as a member of the Yale Collegians. He also began to sing, using a megaphone to enhance his voice. It quickly became one of his trademarks and, in those days before electric amplification, was later copied by other vocalists. His career included theater, Broadway stage, screen, radio, TV, composer, author, recordings, singer, actor, stand-up comedian, orchestra leader, musician, night club, college, military service, and a career longevity span from 1921 to 1986. He introduced the Maine Stein Song on his radio show in 1930. It became an instant hit. He died in 1986.

Extent

12 linear feet (12 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The papers of a popular vocalist in the U.S. during the 20th century. Included are correspondence from 1917 to 1984, newspaper clippings, scores, photographs, scrapbooks, phonograph records, megaphone, and other memorabilia.
Title
Guide to the Rudy Vallée Papers and Memorabilia
Status
Box And Folder List Available
Date
2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for uncoded script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Repository

Contact:
5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States
207-581-1686