Larry Fotine Music Collection

Guide to the Larry Fotine Music Collection
by Jonathan Rhodes Lee and Barbara Fotine Atkins

This collection comprises the library of the composer and jazz band leader Larry Fotine (1911–1990). Born Lawrence Constantine Fotinakis in Camden, New Jersey, this son of a Greek immigrant father and an American mother enjoyed a long and prosperous career as a jazz band leader, arranger, recording artist, and performer. Fotine directed his own bands beginning in the 1930s, with many million-plus seller recordings and residencies in New York, Atlantic City, Memphis, Chicago, and elsewhere. Fotine composed over 300 songs, including the popular “You were Only Fooling (While I was Falling in Love)” and, in collaboration with Duke Ellington, “I Ain’t Got Nothin’ but the Blues.” He arranged music for Sammy Kaye’s band (1940–1945), Blue Barron and Art Mooney (1945–1947), and Lawrence Welk (1958–1960). Many famous artists recorded Fotine’s songs, including Gene Autry, Patsy Cline, Chet Atkins, and Fotine’s own orchestras. Fotine composed music for the Buttons and Rusty cartoon shows at the end of his career in the 1980s.

The library includes manuscript scores, printed sheet music of works by Fotine, ASCAP agreements and contracts, photographs (including a digital photograph collection), published and archival/demo recordings, correspondence, books by Fotine, and memorabilia.

Access to Materials
Use the Guide to the Collection at this link to view a master index of the contents.

Access to physical materials may be arranged by contacting the Shaw Center.

Conditions Governing Use
Materials may be examined on site at UNLV, which owns the tangible assets of the collection. Intangible assets (copyrights) are maintained by True Blue Music Publishing Company/Barbara Fotine Atkins. Requests for duplication, performance, or broadcasting of the contents of this collection should be directed to the copyright holder through the Administrator for True Blue Music: Spirit Music Group,

Administrative information
Collection accepted:
   Kenneth Hanlon (2017)

Processed, annotated, published:
   Jonathan Rhodes Lee (2024)

Collection Overview

Click here to access Master Index and Guide to the Collection

  • Series I: Manuscript Scores (8 boxes)
  • Series II: Published Material by Fotine (2 boxes)
  • Series III: Papers, Contracts, and Memorabilia (2 boxes, plus a digital photograph collection)
  • Series IV: Reel-to-Reel Recordings (14 boxes)
  • Series V: Published Records and Cassette Tapes (7 boxes)

Image: Fotine promotional shot
ca. 1944.