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Stanley Paul Papers

Identifier: spe-c00009

Scope and Contents

The collection documents Stanley Paul’s career and life as a musician. Given his high-profile position in the Pump Room, Chicago’s most celebrated club, Stanley Paul met many stars of stage and screen and developed friendships that endured. Included in the collection are personal notes and photographs from people such as Lita Grey Chaplin, Bette Davis, Judy Garland, Irv and Essee Kupcinet, Ethel Merman, Gloria Swanson, and Oprah Winfrey.

Of particular note are the music scores, most of which have been arranged specially for Stanley Paul and capture the grandeur of the Pump Room at its height. The collection also contains scrapbooks compiled by Paul throughout his career as well as material about the fashion scholarship Paul established in honor of his sister, Raelene Mittelman.


  • circa 1929-1991

Conditions Governing Access

The Stanley Paul Papers were donated to the Visual and Performing Arts Division by Mr. Paul over several years beginning in 1991. The collection was transferred to Special Collections in 2013. Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Access

Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.

Researchers are restricted from making photocopies or any other reproductions of musical scores by Stanley Paul until January 1, 2035.

Biographical / Historical

Stanley Paul has been Chicago’s favorite society bandleader and pianist ever since he came to town in 1964, to play music at the Pump Room of the Ambassador East Hotel at State and Goethe Streets. Born in 1938 in Pennsylvania, Mr. Paul’s musical talent was evident at a young age, when he could skillfully play the piano in his family’s home. He was an honor student at Penn State University, then after graduation in 1960 moved to New York City. In both New York and Chicago, he met, worked with, and/or performed for many show-business legends, including Bette Davis, Judy Garland, Ethel Merman, Fred Astaire, Jimmy Durante, Peggy Lee, Cab Calloway, Ethel Waters, Carol Channing, Liberace, Joan Crawford, Bette Midler, Pearl Bailey, Phillis Diller, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Sophie Tucker. In 1972 Mr. Paul shifted the emphasis of his career from the Pump Room to private bookings, including parties, weddings and other gatherings.

In addition to performing, Mr. Paul is well known for his interest in art deco and his appreciation of fashion. His homes have been featured in photo shoots and newspaper articles and his house parties are well known in the socialite circles of Chicago. In addition to frequently modeling and hosting fashion events, Mr. Paul founded the Stanley Paul-Raelene Mittelman Scholarship in 1990 in honor of his sister, Raelene Mittelman. The scholarship is awarded to fashion-design students in the Chicago area.


42.25 Linear Feet (in 67 boxes)

Language of Materials



Stanley Paul was the band leader of Chicago’s Pump Room in the Ambassador East Hotel from 1964 through 1974, leading the orchestra with style, class and verve. At the time the Pump Room was the watering hole of the best-known celebrities in the world and the grandeur of those years is evident in the collection, with photographs and personal notes from people such as Bette Davis, Judy Garland, Irv and Essee Kupcinet, Ethel Merman, Gloria Swanson and Oprah Winfrey. The collection documents his career and life as a musician, before, during and after Mr. Paul’s years in the Pump Room.


The collection is arranged into 11 series:

Series 1: Programs, 1962-2017

Series 2: Scores, circa 1960s-2000s, undated

Series 3: Correspondence and Invitations, 1960-2017

Series 4: Books, Writings, Art, circa 1972-2018

Series 5: Stanley Paul-Raelene Mittelman Scholarship, 1990-2016

Series 6: Scrapbooks, 1960-2010

Series 7: Photographs, circa 1930s-2014

Series 8: News Clippings, circa 1940-2017

Series 9: Recordings by Stanley Paul, circa 1961-2011

Series 10: Honors for Stanley Paul, 1993-2014

Series 11: Artifacts, 2008-2014

Physical Location

Materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please request materials at least 24-hours prior to your research visit to coordinate access.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Stanley Paul Papers were donated to the Visual and Performing Arts Division by Mr. Paul over several years beginning in 1991. The collection was transferred to Special Collections in 2013. Mr. Paul donated additional materials in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Related Materials

Ambassador East Hotel Collection

Ann Gerber Photograph Collection

Balaban & Katz Collection

Roy G. Butler Collection

Barrett Deems Collection

Dunghill Family Papers

Clarence Hintze Jazz Drummer’s Collection

Juanita Hall Papers

Old Pops & Piano Music Single Sheets

Guide to the Stanley Paul Papers
Rebekah McFarland, supervised by Morag Walsh, in 2014, accruals added 2019 by Morag Walsh. Updated and ingested into ArchivesSpace by Michelle McCoy, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Unit at Harold Washington Library Center Repository

Harold Washington Library Center, 9th Floor
Chicago Public Library
400 S. State Street
Chicago IL 60605 United States
(312) 747-4875