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Ray Evans Papers: Overview

Ray Evans was the lyricist for one of the world's most successful song-writing teams. Both he and his partner Jay Livingston were born in 1915 and grew up in small towns; both graduated first in their high-school classes; and both attended the University of Pennsylvania, where they met in 1934 through the Beta Sigma Rho fraternity. Ray graduated from Wharton in 1936, and Jay graduated from the college in 1937. Their song-writing career was interrupted by World War II, but in 1945 they began work at Paramount Studios, where they earned three Academy Awards for best original song: "Buttons and Bows," "Mona Lisa," and "Que Serà, Serà." The duo later freelanced, doing eight movies with Universal, including the Oscar-nominated song "Tammy" for Tammy and the Bachelor. They also wrote theme songs for television shows, including the series Bonanza and Mr. Ed. Their first Broadway musical opened in 1958. Livingston and Evans were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1977 by the Songwriters Guild of America, which in 1982 bestowed the prestigious Aggie Award "in recognition of a treasure house of songs." They received their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1995, among many other awards achieved in their long and prolific career.

In 2010 the Ray & Wyn Ritchie Evans Foundation honored the University of Pennsylvania Libraries by donating the papers and memorabilia of Ray Evans and his wife Wyn. Already home to the collections of several well-known figures in the world of music, such as Eugene Ormandy, Leopold Stokowski, and Marian Anderson, Penn's Rare Book & Manuscript Library will serve as the permanent repository for the study and appreciation of Evans's career. Through the generous support of the Ray & Wyn Ritchie Evans Foundation, the library will not only make the original materials readily accessible on campus but also create digital facsimiles available via the Internet.