- Harburg, Edgar Yipsel (“Yip”)
- (1896-1981)The son of Jewish Russian immigrants, Yip Harburg was born Isidore Hochberg in New York City. He graduated from the City College of New York in 1917 and traveled and worked in Latin America before returning to New York, where he helped establish an electrical supply business in 1920. The company failed following the Wall Street Crash, but Harburg was already writing songs and in 1932 scored a major success with “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” He also wrote, with Vernon Duke, “April in Paris” (1932), and, with Harold Arlen, “It’s Only a Paper Moon” (1932). He worked with Ira Gershwin on the review Life Begins at 8:40 in 1934, and again with Arlen on the movie The Wizard of Oz (1939). One of the songs for which he provided the lyrics in The Wizard of Oz was “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” which won an Academy Award. He and Arlen also wrote songs for the film Cabin in the Sky (1943). Harburg’s greatest success came after the war with the stage musical Finian’s Rainbow (1947) and his hit songs “How Are Things in Glocca Mora?” and “Old Devil Moon.” However, in the 1950s Harburg was blacklisted because of his membership in organizations sympathetic to the Soviet Union in the 1940s. Unable to work in Hollywood, he returned to writing for Broadway and was successful with Arlen once more with Jamaica in 1957. His later work was not as well received.See also Music.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.