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Register of the Martin (Freddy) Collection, Pt. 2, c1930-1980
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Access Points
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Martin (Freddy) Collection, Pt. 2,
    Date (inclusive): c1930-1980
    Collection number: Mss280
    Creator: Fred Martin Jr.
    Extent: 222 linear ft.
    Repository: University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
    Stockton, CA 95211
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Martin (Freddy) Collection, Pt. 2, Mss280, Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

    Access Points

    personal name

    Martin, Freddy (1906-1983)
    Arnold, Murray
    Austin, Ray
    Ballard, Bob
    Feldkamp, Elmer
    Griffin, Merv
    Lampe, Dell
    Shand, Terry
    Sheasby, Eddie
    Wilson, Stanley

    corporate name

    Ambassador Hotel (Los Angeles, Calif.)


    Big bands -United States
    Big band music -United States
    Band musicians -United States
    Big bands -California
    Band musicians -California
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -History -Sources


    Freddy Martin (1906-1983) was a band leader/saxophonist during the Swing Era and after. He was known for his beautiful tone. Raised in Ohio orphanage, Martin learned instruments in the orphanage band. Encouraged by Guy Lombardo, he formed his own group (1932) and began to play dance clubs in New York and Chicago. Martin appeared on several radio programs during the 1930s and became identified with dance arrangements of popular classics, the most famous of which was probably his theme song, "Tonight we love," derived from the opening melody of Chaikovskii's First Piano Concerto (1941). Martin came west in 1941, first establishing himself at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco and later at the Cocoanut Grove of the Amabassador Hotel in Los Angeles, where he remained for more than twenty-five years. In later years, Martin helped foster a nostalgia craze for the "Big Band Sound." He toured the nation with his group playing arrangements made famous by the many bands of the Swing Era (1965-1980). More a performer and administrator than an arranger, Freddy Martin farmed out the work of creating a "Martin Sound" over fifty years to many arrangers. Among those represented in this collection, Bob Ballard was certainly Martin's principal arranger from 1950 to 1983, but others, including Murray Arnold, Ray Austin, Elmer Feldkamp, Del Lampe, Terry Shand, Eddie Sheasby and Fred Van Eps are also well-represented.

    Scope and Content

    The Freddy Martin collection consists largely of the arrangements Martin's various bands played over the nearly fifty years of his career as a band leader. Series I consists of more than 4000 manuscript band scores with parts. Series II consists of other types of music, including published sheet music, published arrangements and manuscript lead sheets. Series III consists of Freddy Martin biographical materials, including correspondence, lists of arrangements, photographs, programs and memorabilia.
    NUMBERS ON ARRANGEMENTS IN SERIES I BOXES CORRESPOND TO NUMBERS ASSIGNED TO INDIVIDUAL ARRANGEMENTS BY FREDDY MARTIN'S LIBRARIAN. Martin used several numbering systems over the lifetimes of his various bands. The dominant system (Boxes 1-115) was apparently developed in the mid-1950s. The 3,529 arrangements in this group were numbered consecutively as they entered the band's repertoire. Martin's librarian produced an alphabetical file on 3x5 cards that connected the user to the appropriate number. NUMBERS IN THIS DOMINANT SYSTEM ARE GIVEN IN THE FOLLOWING ALPHABETICAL INDEX OF ARRANGEMENTS SIMPLY AS NUMBERS WITHOUT ANY QUALIFYING LETTERS OR OTHER SIGNS.
    Some ten years earlier a Martin librarian took previously alphabetized clumps of arrangements then in use and numbered them consecutively. The earliest of these arrangements bearing a date was created in 1936. Oddly, this numbering sequence begins with titles beginning in the "T"s, proceeds backwards into the "S"s, then jumps to the "H"s and so on without apparent logic. None of the titles in this group (Boxes 116-124) is found in the newer lists. Here numbers are penciled into the upper lefthand corner of the score and then circled. Occasionally numbers are given as "G-#," "A-#," or "B-#." What these letters signify has not been determined. NUMBERS IN THIS SYSTEM ARE PRECEDED IN THE FOLLOWING ALPHABETICAL INDEX OF ARRANGEMENTS BY THE LETTER"E"(for "early"). Several of the scores in this group numbered 200 and higher bear titles or other markings indicating that they were used on the Jack Carson Radio Show. These arrangement numbers are preceded by the letters "JC" (for "Jack Carson"). Martin conducted the "house band" on this program for at least two seasons (1943-44 and 1945-46). There are 424 "early" numbers and of these 9 arrangements are missing. There are also 4 repeated numbers, thus the total number of surviving early numbered arrangements is 419. (Boxes 116-124).
    In the early 1950s the Martin Band had its own television shows. The first of these, probably a local show originating in Los Angeles, was called Band of Tomorrow (1950-1951?). Martin's librarian marked arrangements in this series "BofT-#." The arrangements were placed in rough alphabetical order before being numbered consecutively from BofT-1 through BofT-75. Titles of 18 of these arrangements are known only because they were found on a handwritten list in Martin's papers. Nothing at all is known about another 38 of the "BofT" series. Indeed, more than two-thirds of these arrangements were missing when Holt Atherton Special Collections acquired the Martin Collection. Altogether there are 19 surviving "BofT" arrangements (BOX 125).NUMBERS IN THIS SYSTEM ARE PRECEDED IN THE FOLLOWING ALPHABETICAL INDEX OF ARRANGEMENTS BY THE LETTERS "BofT".
    For one season Martin appeared weekly on a national television program sponsored by Hazel Bishop Lipstick (1951). His librarian assigned Hazel Bishop Show arrangements numbers roughly corresponding to the order in which the arrangements were used on the shows and marked them "HB-#." There are 209 extant arrangements in this group, although a handwritten list confirms the former existence of others (Boxes 127-130). NUMBERS IN THIS SYSTEM ARE PRECEDED IN THE FOLLOWING ALPHABETICAL INDEX OF ARRANGEMENTS BY THE LETTERS "HB".
    Sometime probably in the late 1960s or early 1970s, Martin's librarian began a supplementary numbering system for use on road trips and at nostalgia concerts. This system renumbers arrangements in the dominant alphalist mentioned above and is easily identified by its use of large stamped numbers in the upper right hand corner of parts and scores The clustering of certain functional types of music around certain numbers---Latin dance tunes, ca 300-325; Show Tune medleys, ca 500-550; and Waltzes, ca 600-614---suggests that this numbering system was created for quick "subject" access to key portions of the larger collection. Although some arrangements in the "stamped numbers list" date from the 1940s, the list also contains nearly all of Bob Ballard's last arrangements for FM dating from 1975 through 1980. Many of the parts bear the smaller pencilled numbers of the dominant alphalist as well as their stamped numbers and it therefore seems best to assume that the two lists were used in tandem. NUMBERS IN THIS SYSTEM ARE PRECEDED IN THE FOLLOWING ALPHABETICAL INDEX OF ARRANGEMENTS BY THE LETTER "S" (for "stamped"). The best sources for titles on the "stamped numbers list" are two documents in Series III, Box 1: "Freddy Martin Library Index" and "Florida Index." Titles on these lists seem to indicate that they were prepared as recently as the mid-1970s. Both of the "indexes" arrange titles by tempo and/or type of dance. The highest number occurring in either index is "612" and together the two indexes list 195 arrangements. Of this complement only twenty titles do not occur on the dominant alphalist. Most of these are songs that became popular after 1965. The stamped numbers arrangements that came to Holt Atherton in the Freddy Martin Band's traveling cases have been boxed as a separate group even though most of them could have been interfiled with the dominant alphalist parts and scores. They apparently constitute Freddy Martin's last repertoire (Boxes 134-150).
    There is also, as one might expect, a substantial quantity of unnumbered arrangements in the Freddy Martin Collection (BOX 126). One bloc of these, seemingly dating from the 1930s, consists largely of waltzes and Latin American dance pieces. It is possible that Martin's band played this kind of music less frequently after the War and that the music was factored out of the band's repertoire before Martin's librarian adopted any numbering system. No scores exist for any of these earely unnumbered arrangements. Although a few of the "newer" unnumbered arrangements date from somewhat earlier, many of them were done in the 1970s by Martin's principal arranger of that decade, Bob Ballard. Judging by the frequency with which TV and film title themes occur in this list, it seems likely that several of the arrangements were prepared ad hoc for awards ceremonies. At least some of the others were probably items in the FM Band's standard repertoire that were simply never numbered. Several of this group are characterized on their scores as "disco" arrangements. These must have been among the last arrangements prepared for the Martin orchestra. Many of these arrangements feature scores as well as parts. ARRANGEMENTS IN THIS GROUP ARE INDICATED BY THE DESIGNATION "NO#".