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Irving Berlin Sheet Music Collection

Identifier: P-878

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains approximately 238 pieces of original Irving Berlin sheet music.


  • 1908-1952


Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility, or privacy.

Use Restrictions

No permission is required to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection, as long as the usage is scholarly, educational, and non-commercial. For inquiries about other usage, please contact the Director of Collections and Engagement at

For reference questions, please email:

Biographical Note

Irving Berlin (1888-1989) was born Israel Isidore Baline (Beilin) in Russia, possibly in what was then Belarus. Berlin was one of eight children born to Moses and Leah Lipkin Beilin. Berlin’s family immigrated to the United States and settled in the Lower East Side of New York City in 1893 after living through pogroms in their native land. Moses had been a cantor in Europe but found that he could not find a comparable position in New York and became a kosher butcher. He died five years after their arrival in New York. Berlin’s family struggled to support themselves and Irving eventually ran away from home where he became a street performer.

Berlin eventually took jobs as a singing waiter and became known to various performers and music publishers. In 1911, Berlin became an overnight success when he performed his “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” at the Friar’s Frolic of 1911. Berlin went on to become one of Tin Pan Alley’s and Broadway’s most prolific songwriters of his day and eventually scored many Broadway shows and movie musicals.


  1. "Irving Berlin." Wikipedia. Accessed January 17th, 2013.


3 Linear Feet (3 Oversized OS4 size boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection contains approximately 238 pieces of original Irving Berlin sheet music.


The collection is arranged into a single series chronologically as follows:

Acquisition Information

Acquisition information is unknown

Related Material

P-844 Ludwig Satz papers, undated, 1916-1955, 1970

The American Jewish Historical Society library also contains several biographies on Mr. Berlin.

Guide to the Irving Berlin Sheet Music Collection, 1908-1952   *P-878
Processed by Tanya Elder and Sheldon Moline
© 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Revision Statements

  • October 2020: RJohnstone: post-ASpace migration cleanup.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States