Last Look


Mark Morosse

Mark Morosse

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In 1968, when lyricist and poet E. Y. “Yip” Harburg donated his papers to Yale, he also handed over a few objects. Scholars have been visiting the Yale Music Library ever since to see the original lyrics for songs from The Wizard of Oz, but few knew that it also held Harburg’s 1939 Academy Award for the film’s wistful anthem, “Over the Rainbow.” Harburg’s pre–World War II Oscar, about six inches high, is a rarity.

Prior to the Music Library’s move to new space in 1998, its holdings were deposited temporarily at Mudd Library. After the move, the Oscar remained at Mudd, known only to a few librarians. “It was perfectly secure,” says 'Richard Warren ’59, curator of the American musical theater collection, “because nobody knew it was there.” Not anymore. Last summer, rumors of its existence began to circulate, and precautions were taken. The Oscar now lives locked up in an undisclosed location, but interested parties can book appointments with the statuette if they request an audience in advance. 

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