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Paul Francis Webster Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: -
Date: circa 1971

Biographical History

Paul Francis Webster was born in New York in 1907. He attended New York and Cornell Universities, where he majored in journalism and philosophy. After serving some time in the Merchant Marines, he returned to the United States where his first song lyrics were published in 1930. He wrote many award-winning international song hits, both for singers such as Doris Day and Bing Crosby, and for Hollywood productions. He collaborated with such composers as Oscar Straus, Rudolph Friml, Duke Ellington, and Hoagy Carmichael. He is the author of the story "Hoar Prentiss" and the book "The Children's Music Box."

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Paul Francis Webster Papers consists of correspondence, subject files, manuscripts, published material, and clippings.

Correspondence includes both incoming and outgoing correspondence of Paul Webster, including a telegram and letter from Pearl S. Buck. There is also a small amount of correspondence of others.

Subject files contains photographs, drawings and notes.

Manuscripts consists of discography addenda and song lyrics. The majority of the lyrics are in oversize scrapbook-style binders; each volume contains the author's detailed list of its contents. Songs include the title tracks from the movies Love is a Many Splendored Thing, How Green Was My Valley, Inn of the Sixth Happiness, Giant, Beloved Infidel, and the television documentary "The Young Man from Boston," about John F. Kennedy. Other movies represented in the collection include Dr. Zhivago (Lara's Theme), Calamity Jane (Black Hills of South Dakota, The Deadwood Stage), Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras March, Loyalty, and A Fiddle, a rifle, an axe, and a Bible), Peyton Place (Theme from Peyton Place), and many more.

Published material includes a brochure from the Kennedy television special as well as a copy of the film itself, several record albums from various movies, sheet music collected in several binders, and a tape recording of an interview with Webster and some song clips.

Clippings contains clippings relating to Mr. Webster's songs, theater playbills and Academy Award Brochures. This material is in large black boxes, labeled and organized as received from the donor.

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by sender. Subject files and Published material are arranged alphabetically by type. Clippings are arranged chronologically, as received from the donor.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has the collection of several composers and lyricists who wrote for the movies and television, including Franz Waxman and Miklos Rozsa. For a complete listing, please refer to the SCRC Subject Index .

Subject Headings


Webster, Paul Francis.


Composers, United States.
Lyric writing (Popular music)
Lyricists, United States.
Motion picture music, Scores.
Motion picture music, United States.
Music, 20th century.
Musicians, United States.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Musical scores.
Programs (documents)
Sheet music.
Songs (document genre)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Paul Francis Webster Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Paul Francis Webster, 1967-1972, 1974, 1977.

Table of Contents

Biographical Material


Subject File


Manuscripts, bound volumes

Published material