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GREENE SISTERS

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4670
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/london-metropolitan-archives/Pages/ ›
Full title: GREENE SISTERS
Date(s): 1940-2000
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 2 linear metres
Name of creator(s): The Greene Sisters | singing group

Context

Administrative/Biographical history:

The Greene Sisters, stage names Judy, Gertie and Jeanette were a close harmony singing trio. The girls were three of five children born to Rebecca Lazarus and Jacob Greenbaum in the East End of London; Gillian (1912-2000), Marcus (1914-1983), Janetta (1921-2007), Juliet (1922-2008) and Sylvia (1928- 2009).

Their father Jack worked in the leather trade and encouraged his daughters singing career over the years. Rebecca their mother was the daughter of Jacob Lazarus a founding members of the staunchly orthodox Machzikei Hadath Synagogue in Spitalfields.

The trio were discovered by Sidney Phillips, bandleader and arranger in the late 1930's. They spent their early years touring Britain appearing on stage in Bradford, Liverpool, Aberdeen, Dundee to name but a few, and on the London Stage including Empire, Finsbury Park and the London Coliseum. They also performed in fundraising concerts in 1941 in aid of General Jewish Hospital (Shaare Zedek) Jerusalem and in aid of 10th London and 33rd Middlesex Battalions, Home-guard Welfare Fund.

They were a hard working trio moving from live stage performances to radio and latterly Television broadcasts, but they were probably most well known as performers on the popular radio series 'Hi Gang!' 'Hi Gang!' featured Ben Lyon and his wife, Bebe Daniels the Jewish Hollywood couple. Along with Vic Oliver, the well-known entertainer, they broadcast 'from the heart of London”'each week between May 1940 until 1949 to a home and forces audience.

Sadly the trio never made it in America as their father prevented them crossing the Atlantic to perform on Bing Crosby's wartime show. However the Sisters continued performing and in 1954 appeared on 'Showcase' where Benny Hill introduced artists and acts new to Television.

Sylvia was a gifted composer and wrote and arranged music for her sisters as well as occasionally performing with them or on her own. She also wrote a musical play 'A Great Guy' which was never performed but was published and copies of the play and the music also written by Sylvia survive in the collection.

The family moved to North West London in the 1940's to a home named 'The Harmonies' and although none of the children married they remained close.

Content

Scope and content/abstract:

Records of The Greene Sisters mainly relating to their professional life: correspondence concerning their working life, organising concerts and issues with their agents Foster's, copies of their wartime contracts as well as examples of publicity material particularly play bills for variety performance they appeared and a few programmes.

There are copies of radio broadcasts including some from the series 'Hi Gang' recorded between 1951-1952.

Included are both professional photographs and family photographs of The Greene Sisters, Jeanette, Gertie and Judy as well as their brother Marcus and youngest sister Sylvia; their parents Jack and Rebecca.

There is a series of papers of Sylvia Greene the youngest sister which include the book, lyrics and music for a musical play 'A Great Guy' written by Sylvia.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English

System of arrangement:

The records are arranged as follows:
LMA/4670/A Correspondence
LMA/4670/B Contracts

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright rests with the City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at: http://search.lma.gov.uk/opac_lma/index.htm

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited in November 2014.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Added July 2015.

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