Steve Allen Collection

Best known for his fifty-year career in television comedy, Steve Allen has also worked in radio, motion pictures, theater, and in concert and club venues. His extraordinary versatility as entertainer, pianist, composer, poet and critic are documented in the Steve Allen Collection at the Browne Library.

The Steve Allen Show, television’s first talk show, started on NBC-TV’s New York station in 1953; fourteen months later, it was added to the full network and its title was changed to Tonight. For some time, Mr. Allen hosted both Tonight and his Sunday night prime-time comedy program, in which he performed with such luminaries as Louis Nye, Don Knotts, Tom Poston, Bill Dana, Pat Harrington, Dayton Allen and many star guests. He has also appeared in films, most notably The Benny Goodman Story in which he played the title role. Mr. Allen is the composer and/or lyricist of some 7,800 songs (as of March, 1999), wrote the score for the Broadway musical, Sophie and the CBS-TV production of Alice in Wonderland. His compositions have been recorded by Dinah Shore, Ann Jillian, Judy Garland, Sammy Davis, Jr., Eydie Gorme, Steve Lawrence, Andy Williams, Nat Cole, Bette Midler, and dozens of other stars of the musical world.

Allen’s extensive publications record includes: The Talk Show Murders, How To Be Funny, Die Laughing among others. His last book, Vulgarians at the Gate: Raising the Standards of Popular Culture, was published posthumously in the spring of 2001.

Allen began donating materials to the Browne Library in 1974; the Steve Allen Collection contains manuscripts for books, speeches, and articles, signed hardbound and paperback books, photographs, paintings, posters, awards, and promotional materials. Although the primary mission of the Popular Culture Library is to support teaching and research, it is also open to the general public. Individuals wishing to visit the Browne Library and use the Steven Allen Collection are encouraged to contact the Library in advance.

Related site: “Steve Allen Online”