Dinah Shore Collection

Identifier: MSS.1020

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

The Dinah Shore collection preserves the personal and professional materials of Dinah Shore, an award-winning singer and television host. The collection spans a wide timeframe, ranging from the 1920s to the 2010s, with the bulk of the materials from 1960-1989, coinciding with the peak of Dinah’s television career. The collection is organized into several series. The Personal series encompasses papers related to her family and friends, as well as Shore’s studies at Nashville Junior High, Hume Fogg High, and Vanderbilt University. The Correspondence series includes personal as well as professional letters, alongside a collection of fan mail. The Professional series delves into her musical and TV career, housing materials such as travel documents, business papers, and documents related to her radio and TV shows. Furthermore, it showcases her longtime passion for golf, as well as cross-stitching patterns and bedsheet sets with her designs. Moreover, it includes a collection of recipes and cookbooks. The Photographs series includes both professional and personal photographs. The Clippings series presents newspapers and magazines clippings spanning from the 1940s to the 1990s. The Artifacts series includes paintings, TV and sports awards. Finally, the Audiovisual series houses a diverse array of media formats such as cassettes, reels, VHS tapes, CDs, and DVDs, offering a comprehensive representation of her career as a singer, actress, and radio and TV personality.


  • 1920s-2010s

Conditions Governing Access

This collection may be viewed only in the reading room of Special Collections in the Jean and Alexander Heard Library. Collections should be requested 2-3 days prior to visiting in order to facilitate easier access. For questions or to request a collection, contact specialcollections@vanderbilt.edu.

Biographical / Historical

Dinah Shore was born Frances (Fanny) Rose Shore on February 29, 1916 in Winchester, Tennessee. While still a child, her family moved to Nashville, Tennessee where Dinah graduated from Hume Fogg High in 1934 before attending Vanderbilt University, earning a degree in sociology in 1938. Afterwards, she moved to New York City where she launched her professional career in radio with a solo spot on the Eddie Cantor Show in 1940. While her singing and radio careers were peaking, Dinah participated in multiple USO tours in Europe to support troops during WWII. During this time period, she met, and in 1943 married, actor and soldier George Montgomery. When his service tours ended, they moved to California, where they had two children, Melissa Ann (Missy), born in 1948, and John David (Jody), adopted in 1954. After her divorce from George Montgomery in 1962, Dinah briefly married tennis instructor Maurice Smith in 1963 before divorcing in 1964. She did not remarry again before her death, but had several high-profile relationships, including with actor Burt Reynolds, from 1971-1975.

Dinah’s television career spanned several decades, consistently hosting her own televisions shows from 1951-1991. Notable television programs include the "Dinah Shore Show”, a twice-weekly 15-minute variety show that ran from 1951-1957. In 1956, Dinah’s partnership with Chevrolet allowed her to launch “The Dinah Shore Chevy Show”. This hour-long program ran from 1956-1961; Dinah and Chevrolet ended their partnership in 1961 and the show returned to the name the "Dinah Shore Show” from 1961-1963. Dinah headed up various television specials over the next several years until “Dinah’s Place”, a 30-minute daily (Monday-Friday) chat show that ran from 1970-1974. After the cancellation of “Dinah’s Place” in 1974, Dinah began hosting “Dinah!”, a 60–90-minute talk show focused on guest stars in entertainment. “Dinah!” ran from 1974-1979 before changing its name to “Dinah! & Friends” for its final season, 1979-1980. Dinah returned to television in 1989 with “A Conversation with Dinah”, a 30-minute program consisting of one-on-one interviews with notable guests in entertainment and politics that ran until 1991. Throughout her long career in television, Dinah won many awards including Primetime and Daytime Emmys, a Peabody, a Golden Globe Award, and was nominated to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame, among others.

In addition to her long career in entertainment, Dinah was active in both tennis and golf, helping to found the Colgate Dinah Shore tournament in 1972, which evolved into the Nabisco Dinah Shore tournament (now the Chevron Championship); it remains one of the largest purses in the LPGA tour. She also published three cookbooks: “Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dinah”, “The Dinah Shore Cookbook”, and “The Dinah Shore American Kitchen”, designed her own line of needlework kits and bed sheet sets, and was an accomplished painter. Dinah Shore died on February 24, 1994, of ovarian cancer.


70 Linear Feet (47 Paige boxes; 2 Hollinger boxes; 5 flat boxes; 5 loose items)

Language of Materials



The Dinah Shore collection consists of the personal and professional materials of Dinah Shore, an award-winning singer and television host. The collection spans the 1920s through the 2010s, with the bulk of the materials from 1960-1989, coinciding with the peak of Dinah’s television career. Materials include photographs (both professional and personal), newspaper clippings, limited correspondence, books and booklets, and manuscripts. Highlights include the professional photographs, which are extensive, the production paperwork from her television programs, and fan club materials.

Physical Location

Offsite Storage, Special Collections & Archives

Finding Aid for the Dinah Shore Collection
In Progress
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Library
1101 19th Ave. S.
Nashville TN 37212 United States


About this Site

This site contains collection guides, or finding aids, to the archival collections held by Vanderbilt University Special Collections and University Archives, the History of Medicine Collection, and the Scarritt Bennett Center. Finding aids describe the context, arrangement, and structure of archival materials, allowing users to identify and request materials relevant to their research.

Requesting Materials

Each finding aid contains a link to request materials from the collections. Collections can also be requested by emailing the repository directly through the library website. Each repository has its own location, hours, and contact information. Please consult the repository with questions about using the materials. Collections are non-circulating and must be used in the repository’s reading room. In many cases, the collections are stored off-site and require advance notice for retrieval.