Skip to Main Content

Johnny Mercer: Southern Roots

A guide to one of the most prominent figures of 20th century American popular music.

Southern Roots

Born November 18, 1909 in Savannah, Georgia into a respected family of comfortable means, songwriter Johnny Mercer forever remained a Savannahian at heart. In later years, he remembered his childhood as idyllic, especially the summers, which were spent at the family’s home outside Savannah at Vernon View.

In 1922, Mercer entered Woodberry Forest School, a boys’ preparatory school in Orange, Virginia; he completed his formal education there in 1927. The school and its traditions helped to broaden and confirm his Southern heritage, and remained close to his heart throughout his life.

Mercer returned frequently to Savannah after moving away to pursue his career. He eventually purchased property along the Back River, which was renamed Moon River in 1962 in honor of the Johnny Mercer/Henry Mancini song of the same title. The house at this location is still called the Moon River house.

Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections and Archives
Music and Popular Culture Collections

Phone: (404) 413-2880
Fax: (404) 413-2881

Mailing Address:
Special Collections & Archives
Georgia State University Library
100 Decatur Street, SE
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3202

In Person:
Library South, 8th floor

Employee Directory