I Read the Journal-American Today, Oh Dear: Beatles Files Part 2

By Karen Burke
April 1, 2014
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Publicity still from the film A Hard Day's Night [1964]. Image ID: 5089510

Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles will be on view at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (LPA) from February 6 through May 10, 2014. A project of The GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE and Fab Four Exhibits, it covers the brief time in which the Beatles toured for live concerts.

As part of the project, LPA developed the section of the exhibition on the first tour – the week of February 7 – 13, spent mostly in New York City. The Performing Arts Museum worked with the Music Division to locate material and curate what ended up in a 5-case mini-exhibition. It was based on the research that the staff and last spring’s interns began and the Winter Inter-session interns continued and finalized. This, the second of two posts on the research, is on Beatles material in the Music Division.

I have been working in the Music Division since 1997 and have been a Beatles fan since I was ten years old.  So, over the years, I have made an effort to keep track of any new Beatles’ related material that we acquire.  The Music Division, like the theatre division, also has extensive clipping and photo files.  In fact, we have so many clipping files on The Beatles that we have had to organize them by the year that the clippings were published. In the folder dated 1969 we found the complete November 24, 1969 Life Magazine cover and article which confirmed for many fans that Paul was alive and well and living in Scotland.

Our photography files hold mostly Capital and, a few Apple Record publicity photographs.  There is also a postcard showing The Beatles leaving via the back entrance after their Carnegie Hall concerts on February 12th.  These files also contain a number of fan trading cards as well. 

Most of the published material that The Music Division owns on The Beatles is listed in The Library’s online catalog.  Performing a keyword or subject search on Beatles will pull up everything that has Beatles in the title or that is written about them.  It will also pull up any material that may be in archival collections. 

This search led me to the Nicholas Schaffner Papers

Schaffner was an American author who wrote several books on The Beatles and other British Invasion bands.  His book, The Beatles Forever (1977) established him as an authoritative source of knowledge on the band.  The papers contain photographs, publications, memorabilia and, other items on The Beatles.  There are several items from the papers that are located in the exhibit cases:

  • Diary, 1965 (made in Scotland; 4x3 inches; day planner with pictures and facts about the Beatles)
  • A Hard Day’s Night advertising booklet, c.1964
  • Stamp booklet, 1964 (100 stamps)
  • Plastic television set, c.1964 (hologram image of John Lennon and “I’m John/Beatles”)
  • Pennant, 1964 (yellow with images of Beatles’ heads)

Like LPA, the GRAMMY Museum has an active oral history program and we will be collecting visitors’ memories throughout the project. We will also be presenting a wide variety of guest blogs on this exhibition web site. Check them out—and leave a comment of your own.