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Jill Corey Collection 1953-2004 (bulk 1953-1989)

MS 476

Collection Summary

Creator: Corey, Jill
Collection Name:Jill Corey Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1953-2004
Bulk Dates: (bulk 1953-1989)
Physical Description:5.5 linear feet
Abstract:This collection contains magazines, newspapers, sheet music, photographs, DVDs, CDs, records, and other documents relating to the life of Jill Corey. Jill Corey was a famous singer, television star, film actress, and radio personality in the 1950s and 1960s. In the latter half of the twentieth century she made a name for herself in musical theatre. Materials pertaining to both careers are found in the collection.
Collection Number:MS 476
Repository: University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections
University of Arizona
PO Box 210055
Tucson, AZ 85721-0055
Phone: 520-621-6423
Fax: 520-621-9733

Biographical Note

Jill Corey was born Norma Jean Speranza in Avonmore, Pennsylvania. She was the youngest of five children born to Clara and Bernard Speranza. At the age of four, she lost her mother to a serious infection. Alice, her older sister, became the dominant female presence in Jill’s life. Her father and four older brothers worked in a small, private coal mine in order to support the family. Jill started singing at the age of four. From a young age, Jill would perform at family gatherings, local talent contests, and at school. At age thirteen, she won her first competition. The contest was sponsored by a local chapter of the Lion’s Club and the prize was an opportunity to sing on a local radio station. She was an instant hit and as a result, she was given her own local weekly radio show, Dream Time.

In the spring of 1953, Jill graduated from Bell-Avon High School. That same year she was signed by Mitch Miller, the director of artists at Columbia Records in New York. Mitch Miller had Jill audition for Arthur Godfrey, and Dave Garroway. Miller contacted LIFE magazine, who decided to feature Jill Corey in the November 9, 1953 issue. She was offered television contracts and she decided to sign with Garroway. She debuted on prime time television as the lead singer for the Dave Garroway Show. With the help of the Manhattan telephone directory and Garroway’s influence, Norma Jean Speranza became Jill Corey. During this time, Jill Corey recorded her first studio single, the “Robe of Calvary” for Colombia Records. This began a long and fruitful career as a recording artist. Other major hits from Jill Corey include “I Love My Baby”, “Love Me to Pieces”, “Big Daddy”, and “Sometimes I’m Happy, Sometimes I’m Blue”.

In 1954, Jill was a regular on Stop the Music, the Robert Q. Lewis Show with Merv Griffen, and the Johnny Carson Show. In 1957, Jill became a member of the cast of the long-running staple of 50s television, Your Hit Parade. Between 1957 and 1960, Jill appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.

In 1958, Jill became the youngest performer to ever headline at New York’s famed Copacabana. In the same year she filmed the motion picture, Senior Prom, co-starring Paul Hampton and James Komack. At this height in her career, she met Don Hoak, the third baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They married in Pittsburgh in 1961, and Jill retired. In 1965, they had a daughter and named her Clare. In 1969, Don Hoak died of a heart attack, propelling Jill Corey to return to the spotlight. During her second career, she starred in many plays, both off-Broadway and on tour. Some of her plays include Annie Get Your Gun, Sweet Charity, Promises, Promises, and Gypsy at the Carousal Dinner Theater. In 1989, she played at Carnegie Hall to a sold out crowd.

Scope and Content Note

The inclusive dates for this collection are circa 1950s through 2000s. The collection includes materials spanning Jill Corey’s first and second careers. In 1953, Jill Corey was signed by Columbia Records and recorded her first single “Robe of Calvary”. This was the first of many hit singles that Jill Corey would produce. These first records, among others, are housed within this collection. Magazines, recordings, and telegrams highlight important milestones in her early career. Publicity materials, photographs, posters, and a DVD of Senior Prom can be found in the collection as well. This collection also includes the LIFE magazine spread, DVDs of the Ed Sullivan and the Johnny Carson Show, in which she was a regular guest star. Materials from her hit musical play Meet Me in Saint Louis are also found in the collection. Images of the Hoak family can be found in the Audio Visual Materials. After Don Hoak’s death, Jill Corey returned for her second career, making a new name for herself in musical theatre. Publicity materials and newspaper reviews from her second career are represented in the collection as well. In 1989, Jill Corey performed in Carnegie Hall to a sold out crowd. The program and audio recording for this event are found in the collection.


This collection is organized into 6 series.
Series I: Personal, 1957-1989
Series II: Publications, 1954-2004
Subseries 1: Magazines, - 1954-2004
Subseries 2: Newspaper Clippings, - 1954-1990s
Subseries 3: Programs, - 1954-1993
Subseries 4: Publicity Materials, 1950s-1990s
Series III: Sheet Music, 1955-1958
Series IV: Fan Memorabilia and Oversized Materials, 1950-1990
Series V: Photographs, circa. 1940-2000s
Series VI: Audio Visual Materials
Subseries 1: CDs
Subseries 2: Data CDs
Subseries 3: DVDs
Subseries 4: Records



No restrictions


It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents for the University of Arizona, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.

Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Correy, Jill
Hoak, Donald Albert
Nachman, Gerald

Corporate Name(s)
Colombia Records, Inc.

Popular music radio stations --United States
Popular music--United States--1951-1960
Television and Popular Music
Television and Women--United States

Administrative Information

Credit Line

Jill Corey Collection (MS 476). Special Collections, University of Arizona Libraries.

Container List

Series I: Personal
This series is arranged alphabetically and then chronologically. It contains essays written about Jill Corey, résumés, correspondence and financial information.
11 Biographies and Résumés
12 Correspondence Business, 1972-1975
13 Correspondence Business, 1976,1989
14 Correspondence Gerry Nachman, 1972-1973
15 Correspondence Gerry Nachman, 1974,1976,1977
16 Correspondence Gerry Nachman, 1978-1979
17 Financial Documents, January- September 1958, 1989
18 Sets Lists
19 Telegrams, 1957
110 Telegrams, 11957
Series II: Publications
This series is arranged chronologically. It contains magazines, newspaper clippings, programs, and publicity materials about Jill Corey or her performances. Some items are oversized and can be found in Box 7.
Subseries 1: Magazines
111 January- June 1954
112 July 1954- 1955
113 February- May 1956
114 July- September 1956
115 January- August 1957
116 September- October 1957
117 November- December 1957
118 January- April 1958
119 June- October 1958
120 1959-2004
Subseries 2: Newspaper Clippings
121 1954-1964
122 1971-1976
123 1977-1979
1>24 1980-1989
125 1990s
126 Unknown Dates
Subseries 3: Programs
127 1954-1961
128 1973-1977
129 1985-1986
130 1989-1994
Subseries 4:Publicity Materials
131 Publicity Materials
drawer 64 Publicity Materials
Series III: Sheet Music
This series is arranged alphabetically. Folders are organized alphabetically by title of the song. This series contains sheet music of popular songs performed by Jill Corey.
21 A
22 Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
23 Big City 4am (1)
24 Big City 4am (2)
25 Big Daddy-Big Time
26 Bows-Bye Bye Blackbird
31 C
32 E
33 D
34 H
35 I Am What I Am
36 I Am Still Here-If I Ruled the World
37 I Got the Music in Me- I’ve Got a Crush on You
41 I Love My Baby-It Had to Be You
42 J
43 The Last Blues Song-Love Me to Pieces
44 Love What You’re Doing
45 M
51 N
52 O
53 R
54 Say You Say Me-Sing Me
55 Some People
56 Something-Somewhere
57 A Song For You-Sweet Man ‘O Mine
61 Taking a Chance on Love-This Girl Is a Woman Now
62 Today, I Love Ev’rybody
63 W
64 Y
Series IV: Fan,Memorabilia and Oversized Materials
This series is arranged according to the size and the fragility of the materials. It is composed of fan made scrapbooks and art, along with oversized magazines, photographs, and publicity materials.
71 Small Scrapbook
72 Magazines Life, 1953
73 Magazines Companion, 1955
74 Magazines, 1955-1957
75 Magazine Esquire, 1958
76 Magazines, 1958-1960
77 Magazines, 1975,1979
78 Large Scrapbook
79 Gordon Parks Proofs For Life Magazine
710 Head Shot
711 Senior Prom Publicity Prints
712 Publicity Materials
713 Drawing of Jill Corey
Series V: Photographs
This series is arranged by subject and then alphabetically. It contains photographs of Jill Corey in the different stages of her career.
81 Assorted Publicity Stills
82 Gordon Parks Proofs For Life Magazine
83 Magazine Publicity Stills
84 Photo Album Assorted Headshots and Stills (1)
85 Photo Album Assorted Headshots and Stills (2)
86 Photo Album Assorted Headshots and Stills (3)
87 Photo Album Assorted Headshots and Stills (4)
91 Photo Album Family Made (1)
92 Photo Album Family Made (2)
93 Photo Album Family Made (3)
94 Senior Prom
Series VI: Audio Visual Materials
This series is arranged by format and then alphabetically. It contains compiled CDs, Data CDs, DVDs, and records spanning Jill Corey’s career. Some of these materials were created by Albert Kopek. This includes television show appearances on the Ed Sullivan show and the Johnny Carson show.
Subseries 1: CDs
95 Compilations
96 Fan Restoration Compilations
97 Jill Corey program
98 Live Performances
99 National Guard and Ralph Flanagan
910 Radio Recordings
911 Radio Recordings
912 Studio Recordings
Subseries 2: Data CDs
913 Scanned Images
914 Website
Subseries 3: DVDs
915 Assorted Jill Corey Appearances, 1950-2004
916 Clare Hoak, History of Avonmore, Pa
917 Ed Sullivan TV Appearances, Jill Corey Show
918 Johnny Carson TV Appearance
919 Senior Prom (1958)
Subseries 4: Records
10 1985 March of Dimes
10 Ching-A-Ling
10 I love My Baby
10 Let’s Go to Town The National Guard Show
10 Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization “Stars for Defense”
10 Robe of Calvary
10 Sometimes I’m Happy Sometimes I’m Blue
10 Treasury Department “Guest Star” Jill Corey
10 The National Guard Show Programs 1-14