Vaughn Monroe

Portrait of Vaughn Monroe

Vaughn Wilton Monroe was an American baritone singer, trumpeter and big band leader and actor, most popular in the 1940s and 1950s. He has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for recording and radio.

Monroe was born in Akron, Ohio on October 7, 1911. He graduated from Jeannette High School in Pennsylvania in 1929 where he was senior class president and voted "most likely to succeed." After graduation, he attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he was an active member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity. Monroe also attended New England Conservatory for one semester in 1935, studying voice with Clarence B. Shirley.

He formed his first orchestra in Boston in 1940 and became its principal vocalist. He began recording for Victor's low-priced Bluebird label. That same year, Monroe built The Meadows, a restaurant and nightclub on Route 9 in Framingham, Massachusetts, west of Boston.  Monroe is probably best remembered as the host for many years of the radio and TV program "Camel Caravan which he broadcast from The Meadows starting in 1946. Sadly, The Meadows burned to the ground in December 1980.

Monroe recorded extensively for RCA Victor until the 1950s and his signature tune was "Racing with the Moon" (1941). Among his other hits were "In the Still of the Night" (1939), "There I Go" (1941), "There I've Said It Again" (1945), "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" (1946), "Ballerina" (1947), "Mule Train" (1949), "Riders in the Sky" (1949), "Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You)" (1949), "Sound Off" (1951), and "In the Middle of the House" (1956). During his heyday, Monroe was the winner of four Gold Records; he had five Number One hit singles and twenty-five songs in the Top Ten. Monroe also wrote a number of songs ranging from "Army Song" to lesser-known ones like the "Jeannette High School Alma Mater".

Movies also beckoned, although he did not pursue it with vigor. Monroe appeared in Meet the People (1944), Carnegie Hall (1947), Singing Guns (1950), and The Toughest Man in Arizona (1952). He co-authored The Adventures of Mr. Putt Putt, a children's book about airplanes and flying, published in 1949. He hosted The Vaughn Monroe Show on CBS television from 1950–51 and from 1954–55, and also appeared on Bonanza and The Mike Douglas Show, as well as The Ed Sullivan Show, Texaco Star Theatre, The Jackie Gleason Show, The Tonight Show, and American Bandstand. Monroe was a major stockholder in RCA and appeared in print ads and television commercials for the company's TV and audio products. Monroe died on May 21, 1973 at Martin County Memorial Hospital, shortly after having stomach surgery. He was buried in Fernhill Memorial Gardens and Mausoleum in Stuart, Florida.

- Wikipedia (Accessed 16 September 2011)

Physical description

This collection consists of papers, musical scores, audio materials. Two flat manuscript boxes contain photographs and a large scrapbook. A size estimate and inventory of the music and audio materials in this collection is not available at this time. Photographs


The Vaughn Monroe Collection was donated to the NEC library in late 1968 by Vaughn Monroe and his wife.

Access and Copyright

Access to the photographs and the scrapbook in the Vaughn Monroe collection is by appointment with the Archivist. Appointments must be scheduled in advance. Access to the photographs in this collection is not restricted. However, due to its fragile condition, the scrapbook is not available to researchers; a microfilm copy is available for use in the library. Also you may access the scrapbook online (please note: downloads take several minutes). Scrapbook

The use of any photographs or materials in the scrapbook for publication requires the permission of the Archivist. The citation should read: NECA 18.21. Vaughn Monroe Collection, New England Conservatory Archives, Boston, MA.

NEC does not hold copyright ownership for any music materials in the Monroe Collection. Copies of band arrangements can be made available for performance if the requestor has been able to obtain permission from the copyright holder, usually identified through ASCAP.
Most of the audio materials remain unprocessed although a small number of radio programs have been transferred to modern format and can be heard in NEC’s Firestone Library. There is an archival (collection) record for the 78rpm discs.  There is also individual cataloging available in the online catalog for those discs that have been transferred to CD. The group of 7 inch reel-to-reel tapes from the early 1950s will be reformatted in the future. Audio Materials

Among the list of performers on the recordings that have been reformatted are: The Norton Sisters, Rosemary Calvin, Jimmy Fitzpatrick, Mona Poli, Bert Parks, Ilka Chase, Ogden Nash, Yvette, Marilyn Duke, Jay Blackton, Tommy Dorsey, Gertrude Niesen, and Alexander Brailowsky. For further information, do a search for the "Vaughn Monroe collection" in the library catalog. Classic Catalog

Scope & Content

The Vaughn Monroe collection is organized into four series:

  1. Photographs
  2. Scrapbook
  3. Music scores and parts (in process)
  4. Audio materials (in process)

The first series contains thirty-seven black and white 8 x 10 photographs. These include: publicity stills from Monroe's films including Meet the People (1944), Carnegie Hall (1947) Singing Guns (1950),and Toughest Man in Arizona (1952); Monroe with guests at various functions; pictures of Monroe with staff from The Meadows; and pictures of Monroe with early bands he belonged to while living in Pennsylvania. The collection also includes a framed membership certificate from ASCAP and a framed advertisment from the Dec. 27, 1952 issue of Collier's that has Monroe promoting Camel cigarettes. Notable people photographed include Spike Jones, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Ginny Simms, Charlie Spivak, Ella Raines, Walter Brennan, Jeff Corey, Ward Bond, Joan Leslie, Benny Goodman, Bob Hawk, Jimmy Durante, and Martin and Esther Block.

The Vaughn Monroe scrapbook (on Microfilm 247) includes top 40 listings, news clippings, items from professional magazines on Monroe's band, the Camel Caravan Radio and Television programs, his Rodeo appearances and films for Republic Pictures.

The Vaughn Monroe collection includes the manuscript scores and parts for 2,148 band arrangements. These were written by some of the finest jazz and popular music orchestrators of the "swing" era, including those of Johnny Watson, Don Costa, Gene Hammett, Eddie Sauter, and Bill Finegan. The arrangements, which span the years 1937-1962, were used for the "Camel Caravan" radio and TV shows, college appearances, club dates and performances at army camps.

Audio materials in the collection comprise approximately 1,300 acetate disc and 48 reel to reel tape recordings of radio shows recorded live in various studios between Nov. 11, 1940 and Oct. 1, 1952. These include the Vaughn Monroe Show, the Camel Caravan, the Kate Smith Show, the Ford Show and the Senior Swing Program. In addition to Monroe, vocalists and other guests on the recordings include Phil Silvers, Peggy Lee, Jo Stafford, Victor Borge, Page Cavanaugh, Minnie Pearl, Claude Thornhill, the Stroud Twins, Vera Vauge, Beryl Cais, and Shirley Booth. There is an archival (collection record) for the 78rpm discs.  There is also individual cataloging available in the online catalog for those discs that have been transferred to CD. The group of 7 inch reel-to-reel tapes from the early 1950s will be reformatted in the future.