The evolution of the song, "Blue Moon," involves at least three previous iterations—and three previous copyrights—prior to its becoming the iconic song we know today.
To trace its trajectory, we turned in each instance to the material known as the "deposit." This refers to what was actually copyrighted by the U.S. Copyright Office of the Library of Congress. Our inquiry took us to Washington, D.C., where we requested the deposits registered for copyright as unpublished works on July 10, 1933, March 30, 1934, and May 9, 1934. These are referenced in the first section of the Memoir. We also requested the deposit for the published song.
Curiously, on our visit to the Library of Congress to view these materials, we learned that the deposit for the first copyright was missing, and nowhere to be found. This would have been the one closest to what Edward W. Roman actually wrote.
In the sections that follow, we show the deposits for the versions registered on March 30, 1934, and May 9, 1934, and we discuss the deposit for the song "Blue Moon" in its final form.
Deposit: December 5, 1934
The final deposit we wanted to reference was for the iconic song itself. "Blue Moon" was registered for copyright as a published work on December 5, 1934. . .
But that deposit also could not be found—anywhere. Where could it be? And how could it be that the material registered for copyright on one of the most universally recognized songs of the 20th century is, simply, missing?
Our librarian said the "Blue Moon" deposit would be "close to" the published sheet music from the era. Here is an example: