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Samuel P. Bates Collection on Rudy Vallée

Identifier: SpC MS 1777

Scope and Contents

Collection of memorabilia, recordings, correspondence, and photographs that serves to document the relationship between Samuel P. Bates and his family with Rudy Vallee and his wife Eleanor.


  • Creation: 1914-1990


Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

Rights assessment remains the responsibility of the researcher.

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 World War I, 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.

Biographical Note

Samuel P. Bates and his wife Shirlee were friends with Rudy Vallee and his wife Eleanor. While it's unknown how the couples came to know each other, it is possible Sam and Rudy met at 3M while Rudy was featured in some advertisements. A U.S. Army veteran, Samuel P. Bates enlisted in August 1952 in Pittsburgh and was discharged in August 1954 in Ft. Eustis, Va. Sam worked for 3M for 36 years, the last 16 years as director of public relations for 3M International and traveled to more than 60 countries and six continents. Sam left 3M, moving to Minnesota to work for Hamline University as director of the New Bureau. He passed away in July 2012.


1.5 linear feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Becky A. Bates on behalf of the Samuel P. Bates family in November 2012.

Guide to the Samuel P. Bates Collection on Rudy Vallée
Box And Folder List Available
Elizabeth Russell
August 2018
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Repository

5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States