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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.


  • Creation: 1933, 1939, 1952-1978


Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research use.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Georgia State University is the owner of the physical collection and makes reproductions available for research, subject to the copyright law of the United States and item condition. Georgia State University may or may not own the rights to materials in the collection. It is the researcher's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain permission from the copyright holder before publication, reproduction, or display of the materials beyond what is reasonable under copyright law. Researchers may quote selections from the collection under the fair use provision of copyright law.

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.


The collection is arranged alphabetically.

Acquisition Information

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

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.

Johnny Mercer's Contracts:
A Guide to the Collection at Georgia State University Library
William Hardesty
6 May 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)