Irving Caesar is perhaps best known as the lyricist of "Tea for Two," "Swanee," "Just A Gigolo," and "Animal Crackers in My Soup." A composer, writer, inventor, and advocate as well as a popular lyricist, Caesar wrote and published over 700 songs in his lifetime. He also:
- wrote the official musical setting for the Pledge of Allegiance and donated all rights to the U.S. government, so that anyone can perform the piece without owing royalties;
- grew up on New York's Lower East Side, where he learned to play the piano at Music School Settlement (now known as Third Street Music School Settlement) and attended P.S. 20, whose other famous alumni include Jacob Javits and the Gershwins;
- associated with a teakettle that whistled the tune for "Tea for Two," one of his famous songs from the musical No, No, Nanette;
- served as a stenographer on Henry Ford's Peace Ship in 1915-1916;
- wrote the song "Swanee" (a hit for Al Jolson, among others) with George Gershwin in 1919-before ever having seen the river.
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This website is hosted by The ASCAP Foundation, a publicly supported charitable organization. The ASCAP Foundation was named the final beneficiary of all of Irving Caesar's assets (copyrights), including those held under his lifetime trust and those retained in his wholly owned publishing company as well as his memorabilia. Follow this link to view the press release.
In line with this bequest, The ASCAP Foundation supports programs designed to ensure the preservation of the great Caesar legacy. These efforts include music education and musical theater programs in Irving Caesar's name with the goal of providing enjoyable and meaningful music experience for young people with an emphasis on the economically disadvantaged.
For more information on the programs supported by the Irving Caesar Fund, contact The ASCAP Foundation.