Bob Hope and his family donated his personal archive to the Library of Congress in 1999, with subsequent additions through 2018. The materials in Hope's personal collections span the length of his career, multiple mediums, and several subject areas. Recordings of radio and television performances and programs, film, jokes, scripts, correspondence, photographs, sheet music, memorabilia, and more make up this extensive collection documenting the life, career, and legacy of one of America's greatest entertainers.
Access to the collection is available through several research centers at the Library. This page describes where the various materials in the collection can be viewed, listened to, and used for research. Don't hesitate to get in touch with reference librarians in any of the research centers listed below for more information about Hope's materials or conducting research at the Library of Congress.
Audio materials related to Bob Hope in his own and other collections can be accessed in the Recorded Sound Research Center. Audio holdings in the collections include:
The Recorded Sound Research Center also provides access to the manuscript materials in the Bob Hope Collection. See the catalog record below for more information:
Moving image materials from the Bob Hope Collection, as well as film and video from other collections that feature Hope, can be viewed in the Moving Image Research Center. These items include video tapes, feature films, home movies, television specials, and footage of Hope's USO tours.
Over the course of his career, Bob Hope employed over one hundred writers to create material, including jokes, for his famous topical monologs. For example, for radio programs Hope engaged a number of writers, divided the writers into teams, and required each team to complete an entire script. He then selected the best jokes from each script and pieced them together to create the final script. The jokes included in the final script, as well as jokes not used, were categorized by subject matter and filed in cabinets in a fire- and theft-proof walk-in vault in an office next to his residence in North Hollywood, California. Bob Hope could then consult this “Joke File,” his personal cache of comedy, to create monologs for live appearances or television and radio programs.
The Joke File has been scanned into an internal database that is accessible on-site in both the Recorded Sound and Moving Image Research Centers.
Bob Hope was a musical entertainer as well as a comedian, and so many musical scores and sheet music were part of his donation of materials to the Library. Transferred to the Music Division, these scores can be accessed in the Performing Arts Reading Room. See the catalog record below for more information: