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Letters to music lyricist and publisher Dallas “Dal” Gray

Identifier: C0344

Scope and Content

Personal and professional letters received by music lyricist and publisher Dallas “Dal” Gray. The majority of the letters are from Gray’s long-time collaborator Jack Kjellin who addresses them to “Old Pal Dal”. These letters, of which there are approximately 53, conclude with the breakup of their collaborative relationship, but the final letter appears to end on a friendly note from Jack. The remaining letters are from mixed senders, such as composer Claude Lapham, and concern personal or financial matters, with several addressed to Gray’s Monmouth Music Publishing Company business. Contents also include a single photograph of Jack Kjellin and his wife, a page of handwritten lyrics, and a flyer advertisement.


  • Creation: circa 1919-1936


Access Restrictions

Theare no access restrictions.

Use Restrictions

The copyright and related rights status of this collection have not been evaluated (See

Biographical Information

Dallas Gray, known as “Dal” to both friends and professional contacts, was a newspaper editor, songwriter, and owner of the Gloucester City, New Jersey based Monmouth Music Publishing Company, with Western offices in Portland, Oregon and Hollywood, California. Jack Kjellin was a composer and lyricist, based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and a long-time collaborator of Gray. While neither man achieved widespread fame, both appear to have had some success in publishing or selling songs, such as Gray’s “Annie” (possibly in collaboration with Kjellin, circa 1930) and Kjellin’s “Just another night” in collaboration with Nick Kenny (1939) and “There's a story going 'round” (1940). Composer Claude Lapham, who communicated with both Kjellin and Gray, saw notable success in providing uncredited compositions for early silent films, including Feet First (1930) starring Harold Lloyd and Charley’s Aunt (1930) starring Charles Ruggles. Lapham passed away in 1957.


.5 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



Personal and professional letters received by music lyricist and publisher Dallas “Dal” Gray, as well as those addressed to his Monmouth Music Publishing Company business. Notable senders include his long-time collaborator Jack Kjellin and composer Claude Lapham.


This collection was arranged into 6 folders based on subject or medium of materials.

Physical Location

R 71, C 1, S 6

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Ian Brabner Rare Americana by Music Librarian Steve Gerber in August 2018.

Related Materials

The Special Collections Research Center also holds sheet music composed by Dal Gray, and other music related collections such as the Sophocles Papas papers and the Sam di Bonaventura papers.


“Claude Lapham - Biography.” n.d. IMDb. Accessed September 13, 2023.

Library of Congress. Copyright Office. 1940. Catalog of Copyright Entries 1940 Musical Compositions New Series Vol 35 Pt 3 For the Year 1940. U.S. Govt. Print. Off.

Processing Information

Processing completed by Meghan Glasbrenner in September 2023. Finding aid completed by Meghan Glasbrenner in September 2023.

Guide to Letters to music lyricist and publisher Dallas “Dal” Gray
Letters to music lyricist and publisher Dallas “Dal” Gray
Meghan Glasbrenner
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections Research Center Repository

Fenwick Library, MS2FL
4400 University Dr.
Fairfax Virginia 22030 United States
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