An interesting group of letters to Irene Gallagher, Girl Friday and later assistant to the New York publisher Max Dreyfus, from some of the most prominent songwriters and librettists of Broadway. What is most evident is the universal affection in which she was held by these luminaries; their easy-going banter and humorous asides to her are a delight to read.
Ira Gershwin teases her relentlessly, as evidenced by these excerpts: Dear Hepcat Gallagher, Among other things, Leonore told me, when she returned from New York, that you were looking extremely attractive. I told her you always will be. Naturally, with such an introduction I expect you expect I want something. You're right and I don't know why you like my signature so much. I signed similar papers and sent them on to Mr. D. weeks and weeks ago. However - you ask - I give.> Russel Crouse writes You may breathe easier! Realizing that later, if not sooner, I was going to drive you or Mr. D., or both, nuts with my telephone calls I went out and bought a piano today…Doesn't today seem like a vacation without me on the wire? and George White notes If there happens to be any orchestrations of them laying around somewhere, it would save me an honest dollar. If you can't find any, don't worry about it. I will dig up the honest dollar with which to pay for some if it takes every dollar that my darling boy friend Max Dreyfus has got. And sweetly, "Yip" Harburg writes to her Darling, Darling: My leave-taking was so hectic, what with a switch of reservations, that I had no time to hug you Goodbye, as is my wont. I know, however, that you will understand, and when I reach the Coast I will send you little squeezes via Radar.
Gallagher began working for Dreyfus as a messenger when she was just twelve years old. She seems to have been promoted as a secretary starting in or about 1920 at the publishing firm of T.B. Harms, which Max and his brother had taken over in 1904, and which they continued as Chappell & Co. after 1920. This particular group of letters dates from 1940 - 1948.
The letters are from: Ira Gershwin (3 originals and 1 xeroxed copy of a letter dating between 1940-45, with Gallagher's responses); the publisher Alfred A. Knopf to Jerome Kern, including a note from Kern's secretary; Max Gordon; Russel Crouse; George White; Harry Ruby (4 dated between 1944-1945 with 1 Gallagher response); the publisher J.J. Robbins with response; "Yip" Harburg; Richard C. Jones with response; "Zelda" (unknown who this is); and 4 carbon copies of responses to "Mr. Marx", "Uncle Jerry" (Jerome Kern), "Bert", and "Hy", without their original letters.