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Johnny Mercer contracts collection

Identifier: M212

Scope and Content of the Collection

The collection (1933; 1939; 1952-1978) consists of 24 contracts signed by the American lyricist Johnny Mercer and one signed by his son, John J. (Jeff) Mercer. Primarily, the contracts concern individual songs, though one applies to songs published by Palm Springs Music Co., one to Mercer's work with composer Matty Malneck, one to his work with composer Bernard D. Hanighen, and two to the film Dangerous When Wet. Three contracts are not with Mercer personally, but his corporation, Commander Publications. A few of the contracts include associated correspondence.

A number of the contracts were associated with Vernon D. Wood, a Hollywood-based business manager (Wood graduated from Cornell University in 1923: Cornell Alumni News, July 1935).

11 pieces in the collection had been elaborately framed and were removed and rehoused.


  • 1933, 1939, 1952-1978


Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access. All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the Worldwide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult the reference archivist to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.

Historical Note about Johnny Mercer

John Herndon Mercer (1909-1976), a native of Savannah, Georgia, was one of the foremost figures of 20th century American popular music. His song catalog includes many numbers that have become American classics, and his activities as lyricist, composer, performer and businessman span a period of nearly five decades.


1.25 Linear Feet (in 1 box)

Language of Materials



The collection consists of 24 contracts (dated 1933;1939; 1952-1978) signed by American lyricist Johnny Mercer (1909-1976), some with associated correspondence; and one contract signed by his son after his death.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Circa Savannah, LLC, April 2008, and George Houle Rare Books and Autographs, February 2011.

Related Archival Materials

Related Materials in This Repository

Separated Materials:

During processing various materials were separated to other Popular Music and Culture Music Collections. Please contact Special Collections for access.

Popular Music Signatures Collection

  1. Laura, autographed sheet music
  2. Summer Wind, autographed sheet music
  3. When the World Was Young, autographed sheet music

Processing Information

Processed by Stephen Zietz, May 2008. EAD finding aid created by William Hardesty, May 2008.
Johnny Mercer's Contracts:
A Guide to the Collection at Georgia State University Library
Georgia State University Library
May 6, 2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-413-2881 (Fax)