Archival Adventures: Saving ASCAP’s Library

As folks who follow this blog know, I’ve been engaged in a semi-successful effort to track down transcripts of Supreme Court oral arguments related to IP from before they started recording audio in OT 1955.  One organization that I figured would have a couple of such transcripts, including from the foundational 1917 case of Herbert v. Shanley, was the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, or ASCAP.

The invaluable Dean Kay, author of the Dean’s List email many of you already receive daily, brokered the connection with ASCAP’s Senior VP Richard Reimer, who informed me that ASCAP was moving offices shortly, and I should move fast.  Upon arriving at ASCAP’s (former) offices, it was made clear to me that they wouldn’t have room for their library in their new offices, and it needed a new home.  About half the books were already boxed up, and I boxed up about 10 more boxes, loaded everything into the car, and drove it down to the Jacob Burns Library at the George Washington University School of Law, where I’d arranged for the books to join the collection.  The Law Library put up a nice piece about the collection here.

At first glance, one volume of particular interest to the broader public is the one related to Nathan Burkan’s defense of Mae West on charges of obscenity related to her play The Pleasure Man.  There’s a nice writeup of the story here, which I won’t repeat.  However, I have scanned the entire section of the book related to the Mae West and put it online (I didn’t scan the rest, dealing with People v. Joseph Flinn – there’s only so many hours in the day).  It’s available here, and it includes legal arguments about cross-dressing not being obscene as well as a complete draft affidavit for Mae West’s signature detailing the entire history of the production.

Below the jump I’ve included a list of the cases which have papers included in the ASCAP collection now at the GW Law Library.  This list is not complete and is just meant to help those looking for information on a particular case.

  • Arnstein v. ASCAP
  • Tobis v. Chaplin
  • US v. ASCAP
  • US v. Schmidt
  • Voteur v. Columbia Pictures
  • Paull-Pioneer Music Corp. v. Johns & Johns Printing Co.
  • Plain Talk Magazine, Inc. v. Columbia Pictures Corp.
  • Russell & Stoll v. Oceanic Electrical Supply Co.
  • Sheldon v. Barnes (the “Letty Lynton” case)
  • Sheldon & Barnes v. Moredall Realty Corp.
  • Smalley v. Columbia Pictures Corp.
  • Spitz v. Motion Pictures’ Greatest Year, Inc.
  • Berry v. Hughes
  • Buck v. Kozlouski (lots of cases involving Gene Buck, who served as ASCAP’s President)
  • Cohan v. Richmond
  • Cohan v. Robbins Music Corp.
  • Davies v. Columbia Pictures Corp.
  • DeBekker v. Stokes
  • Eisman v. Samuel Goldwyn
  • Murphy & Gallagher v. Warner Bros. Inc.
  • Buck v. Gallagher
  • Buck v. Case
  • Longson v. Belasco
  • Buck v. Elm Lodge
  • Carroll v. Morosco
  • International Film Service v. Affiliated Distributors
  • Curwood v. Affiliated Distributors
  • Buck v. The Voice of Brooklyn
  • Buck v. Landis
  • Gibbs v. Buck
  • MGM Corp. Educational Film Exchanges, Inc. v. Bijou Theatre Co.
  • Union St. v. Feist
  • Smith v. Maurel
  • International Film Service Co. v. affiliated Distributors
  • G. Ricordi & Co. v. Mason
  • G. Ricordi & Co. v. Columbia Graphaphone Co.
  • Herbert v. Shanley (2nd Circuit only, no SCOTUS material)
  • Longson v. Belasco
  • in re Waterson, Berlin & Snyder
  • Tiffany Productions et al v. DeWing
  • 174th St. & St. Nicholas Amusement Co. v. Maxwell
  • Demille v. Casey
  • Lambs, Inc. v. Dressler
  • O’Neill v. General Film Co.
  • Swanson v. Buck
  • Vanderbilt v. Whitney (very public custody case, record on appeal is four large volumes)
  • Numerous divorce cases
  • Burkan v. Leary
  • Gershwin v. K-91, Inc.
  • US v. ASCAP / In re Shenandoah Valley Broadcasting, Inc.
  • Levy v. Annenberg
  • Franklin v. Columbia
  • Miriam Blumenthal v. Picture Classics, Inc. and Max J Weisfeldt
  • Steinwall v. Movietonews et al
  • Morini v. Kahn
  • Burton v. Albany Art Union
  • Jacob v. Schiff
  • Franklin v. Columbia
  • Schering & Glatz v. A.P.C. et al
  • Adolf J. Mainzer, Inc. v. Coleman Gruberth
  • Smith v. American Pharaceutical Inc.
  • Bixby v. Dawson
  • Adams v. Brown
  • Empire Trust Co. v. Buck
  • Jacobsen Publishing Co. Inc. v. Columbia Pictures Corp.
  • Leviton v. Leviton
  • Redmond v. Columbia Pictures Corp.
  • Ryan v. Ryan
  • Wanger v. Paramount Public Corp.
  • Williams v. Adams
  • In re Burkan for a mandamus order against Ex-Lax Inc.
  • Karp v. baker
  • Loeb v. Cohen
  • People ex rel Flinn v. Barr
  • Scholtz v. Blumenthal
  • Torquay Corp. v. Chelsea Exchange Corp.
  • Baker v. Vitapack
  • Bengue v. American Pharmaceutical Co.
  • Blumenthal v. Abbot
  • Buck v. The Voice of Brooklyn, Inc.
  • Burkan v. Pan-American Petroleum & Transport Co.
  • Consolidated Film Industries, Inc. v. Weiss, Agfa Raw Film Corp.
  • Davis v. Cohn
  • In re August Luchow
  • Minutes of a Conference held at the Offices of ASCAP, Wednesday, September 20, 1922

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