Tune-Dex cards, circa 1942-1963 PASC-M.0274

Melissa Haley, 2015; machine-readable finding aid created by Caroline Cubé.
UCLA Library Special Collections
Finding aid last modified on 8 March 2016.
Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
Box 951575
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
Title: Tune-Dex cards
creator: Goodwin, George, 1900-1966
Identifier/Call Number: PASC-M.0274
Physical Description: 3.4 Linear Feet (17 shoe boxes)
Date (inclusive): circa 1942-1963
Abstract: Collection consists of two sets of Tune-Dex cards and unfiled cards.
Physical Location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

Restrictions on Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Tune-Dex Cards (PASC-M 274). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

UCLA Catalog Record ID

UCLA Catalog Record ID: 5331550 


The Tune-Dex card system was introduced in 1942 by George Goodwin, a radio station program director, as a subscription service for radio stations, music professionals, and musicians to keep track of popular songs. Each index card included song title, songwriter, date of original publication, licensing and rights information, and arrangements and orchestrations available, with keys and prices noted. The cards also provided the basic melody or chorus and lyrics for each song. The cocktail lounge music trend in the 1940s and 1950s, which often required musicians to take requests and know numerous songs, contributed to the popularity of the Tune-Dex card system. Goodwin created approximately 25,000 cards over the course of the service's existence. Tune-Dex ceased operations in 1963 and Goodwin died in 1965. The concept of the Tune-Dex system eventually morphed into the more-portable fake books.
(See Barry Kernfeld, The Story of Fake Books: Bootlegging Songs to Musicians; Scarecrow Press, 2006.)

Scope and Content

This collection consists of two sets of Tune-Dex cards, each arranged alphabetically by title, as well as a small amount of unfiled cards. Songs are mostly pop tunes from the 1940s and 1950s, and include titles such as "From a School Ring to a Wedding Ring" (1956), "Marshmallow Moon" (1952), and "E-Bob-O-Lee-Bop" (1946).

Organization and Arrangement

The collection is organized into the following series:
  • Series 1. Set 1
  • Series 2. Set 2
  • Series 3. Unfiled cards

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Popular music -- Fake books


Series 1. Set 1

box 1

Titles A - Bo

box 2

Titles Br - Di

box 3

Titles Do - Gl

box 4

Titles Go - I Don't

box 5

Titles I Double - I'm Nothing

box 6

Titles I'm On - Let

box 7

Titles Let's - Mi

box 8

Titles Mo - Ol

box 9

Titles On - R

box 10

Titles Sa - St

box 11

Titles Su - To

box 12

Titles Tr - Which

box 13

Titles While - Z


Series 2. Set 2

box 14

Titles A - Ill

box 15

Titles I'm - Sh

box 16

Titles Si - Z

box 17

Series 3. Unfiled cards

Scope and Content

Some unfiled cards are in their original, pre-folded state.