Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Collection Descriptions

Donald Wolfit's King Lear.

Detail of working plot for Donald Wolfit's production of King Lear, 1950.
Donald Wolfit Papers

There are currently no online finding aids for the following collections, but inventories are available for most of these collections.



Stella Adler (1902-1992) Audio and Video Recordings
Collection Dates: 1958-1992 (bulk 1979-1983)
Size: 1,017 items
Access: A preliminary inventory is available. Please note: Access is strictly limited to recordings for which a viewing/listening copy has been created.
Contact: Performing Arts staff
Related Materials: The Stella Adler recordings were acquired with the Stella Adler and Harold Clurman Papers in 2003.

Stella Adler (1902-1992), founder of the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting, is best known for having taught the principles of acting and character and script analysis to young talents who later came to dominate the American stage and screen. The Stella Adler Audio and Video Recordings consist of 592 video tapes, 421 audio tapes, 3 reels of film, and 1 phonodisc documenting Adler's acting classes at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. With the exception of a few dozen tapes of lectures delivered in Los Angeles during the summer in the early 1980s, all of the tapes appear to have been recorded in New York. The topics covered are Script Interpretation, Scene Study, Character, Technique, American Playwrights, and Play Analysis. Transcripts of some tapes are available in the Stella Adler and Harold Clurman Papers.


Donald Albery (1914-1988) Theater Records
Collection Dates: 1919-1978 (bulk 1941-1978)
Size: 132.5 linear feet
Access: working inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff

Sir Donald Arthur Rolleston Albery, British producer and theatre and ballet executive, joined the Wyndham Theatres Limited in 1932 at age 18 as third assistant in the box office of the New Theatre. By 1941 he was General Manager of the Wyndham Theatres Limited, becoming Managing Director in 1950. He was also General Manager of the Sadler's Wells Ballet Company from 1941 to 1945, and Managing Director of Piccadilly Theatre Limited from 1960.

Between 1953 and 1978 Albery presented 119 plays in his four theatres -- the Criterion, Wyndham's Theatre, the New Theatre (now named the Albery), and the Piccadilly -- and 79 additional plays outside the Wyndham's Theatres Limited group. His first production was Graham Greene's first play, The Living Room (1953).

Consisting of documents purchased by the Ransom Center in June 1982, the Albery records provide a comprehensive portrait of Albery's involvement with post-war British theater. Materials include correspondence, photographs, audition notes, biographical information on actors, Lord Chamberlain's licenses, scripts, prompt copies, tapes, minutes of meetings, published books and journals, lighting and sound plots, set diagrams, details of costume and scenery, stage managers' reports, musical scores, posters, programs, and news clippings. Financial records include profit and loss statements, box office receipts, records of investments, treasury statements, and details of royalties and film rights.

Albery's activities with professional organizations such as the Society of West End Theatre Managers (SWETM), the Theatres' National Committee (TNC), and the Actors' Benevolent Fund, are recorded in minutes of executive and general meetings for SWETM (1968-1976), minutes for TNC (1961-1977) and associated reports, correspondence, and notes. His involvement as founding member and director of Anglia Television, a regional company established as a commercial alternative to the BBC, is similarly documented by minutes of meetings, balance sheets, reports, correspondence, and various publications.


Maxwell Anderson (1888-1959) Collection
Size: ca. 25 linear feet
Access: A Catalogue of the Maxwell Anderson Collection at the University of Texas, compiled by Laurence G. Avery, was published by the Ransom Center in 1968. All of Anderson's published works are described in full, and there is an index of persons represented in the correspondence file. In addition to the Avery catalog, nearly all of the collection is also accessible via the Center's card catalog.
Contact: Head of Reference Services

The archives of Maxwell Anderson, the American playwright, were purchased from Mrs. Anderson in 1961. Included are published and unpublished manuscript materials for plays, poems, and essays; letters, diaries, and scrapbooks; and letters written to Anderson. The play manuscripts are in several drafts and are extensively revised. In July 1973, 16 additional cartons of Anderson's papers were received from Mrs. Anderson that include manuscript materials for plays, stories, scenarios, librettos, and poems; letters from Anderson to his third wife, Gilda; letters to Gertrude, his second wife; letters to Anderson from his first wife, Margaret; and letters from Anderson's parents. Also present are business correspondence, financial papers, personal memorabilia, family photographs, and books from Anderson's library -- all inscribed to Anderson or working copies with his annotations.


Wilson Barrett (1846-1904) Collection
Collection Dates: 1865-1934 (bulk 1871-1904)
Size/Access: The collection is divided between Manuscripts (7.6 linear feet, accessible via the card catalog) and Performing Arts (5.5 linear feet, working inventory available).
Contact: Performing Arts staff and Head of Reference Services
Published Information: Brokaw, John W. "Wilson Barrett's Papers: A Theatrical Legacy." The Library Chronicle of the University of Texas at Austin, New Series no. 7 (1974): 10-20. Thomas, James. "Wilson Barrett's New School 'Othello.'" The Library Chronicle of the University of Texas at Austin, New Series no. 22 (1983): 66-87.

The collection of Wilson Barrett, English actor, dramatist, and producer, includes agreements for the production of plays in Europe, the United States, and South Africa; photographs of Barrett in his various acting roles; financial ledger books showing expenses and income for tours dating from 1872 to 1904; the original manuscripts of three plays written by Barrett (The Sign of the Cross, The Manxman, and Quo Vadis), and scene renderings. The correspondence files date from 1852 to 1904 and include letters to Barrett from authors, performers, and other public figures such as Charles Kean, Sir Henry Irving, Matthew Arnold, Rudyard Kipling, Bret Harte, Eugene Field, Charles Read, John Ruskin, and Charles L. Dodgson. There are also letters from Barrett to members of his family.


The Black Crook Collection
Collection Dates: 1853-1929
Size: 2.5 linear feet
Access: preliminary inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff

From its first performance on Sept. 12, 1866, at Niblo's Theatre in New York, The Black Crook became one of the first successful musicals in the United States. The script from a Faustian melodrama, songs by assorted composers, and the services of a stranded Parisian ballet troupe were combined with elaborate sets and costumes to create a spectacle that spawned 15 subsequent Broadway revivals and numerous touring productions. The Black Crook's scandalously dressed dancers, who were the first to perform the Can-Can on an American stage, delighted and shocked audiences. After attending a performance of The Black Crook in New York, Mark Twain, in a March 3, 1868 column in Alta, California, wrote that the musical "debauched many a pure mind." The Black Crook Collection contains books, sheet music, playbills, programs, clippings, drawings, and photographs related to the musical.

The Museum of the City of New York also holds a Black Crook collection.


Card Photograph Collection
Collection Dates: 1860-1920 (bulk 1880-1910)
Size: 132 document boxes, 23 card file boxes (78.1 linear feet)
Access: A preliminary inventory is available. The contents of boxes 11-144 are cataloged in a database available on the Ransom Center's website.
Contact: Performing Arts staff
Related Materials: Similar photographs, in particular of better known performers, are located in the Theater Biography Collection. See also the Ransom Center's Photography Collections.

The Card Photograph Collection consists of cabinet cards (ca. 20,500) and cartes-de-visite (ca. 3,700), supplemented by a small number of photographic postcards, photographic prints, and tintypes. Most of the collection depicts performers, primarily actors and actresses of the legitimate theater but also figures from the concert stage and popular entertainment, especially vaudeville. Some musical and theatrical ensembles are included, as are notable individuals with no connection to the performing arts. Nearly all of the images are studio portraits; a few were taken in outdoor settings.

The collection is arranged in five series: I. Actresses, ca. 1880-ca. 1910 (90.5 boxes), II. Actors, ca. 1880-ca. 1910 (52.5 boxes), III. Composites, 1860-1920 (1 box), IV. Productions, 1860s?-1909 (2 boxes), and V. Miscellaneous, ca. 1880-ca. 1910 (9 boxes).

Series I and II consist of studio portraits of individual performers, arranged alphabetically by subject. Both series are subdivided into cartes-de-visite, cabinet cards, and postcards.

The Composites series is comprised of more than 150 photomontages, group portraits, and other images featuring more than one sitter or subject. Many items depict vaudeville performers.

The Productions series consists of more than 200 cabinet cards, photographic postcards, and unmounted prints depicting the stage action for a particular play. Actors and actresses are shown in costume and in character, performing a scene. Many of these photographs were taken in the studio of the noted theatrical photographer Napoleon Sarony (1821-1896).

The Miscellaneous series is subdivided into cabinet cards and cartes-de-visite, and organized therein by subject. The majority of the cabinet cards are studio portraits of unidentified men and women dressed in fashionable clothing. About half of the cartes-de-visite depict entertainers working a wide range of performance genres, including magic, circus, opera, and dance.


Montgomery Clift (1920-1966) Costumes and Personal Effects
Collection Dates: ca. 1900 [?]-ca. 1966 (bulk 1940s-1960s)
Size: 72 items
Access: Item-level descriptions are available in a searchable database. Most of this collection is stored offsite and may require up to three business days notice for access in the Ransom Center's Reading and Viewing Room. Please contact the Center before requesting this material.
Contact: Costumes and Personal Effects staff

American film and stage actor Montgomery Clift (1920-1966) began his professional acting career as a teenager in Broadway's Fly Away Home (1935). After many years on the stage, Clift met his first big success as a Hollywood film actor in Red River (1948), co-starring with John Wayne. He received four Academy Award nominations throughout his career, for both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. Very selective in his choice of roles and very private, Clift preferred to live outside of the persistent media spotlight after his ascent into Hollywood stardom. Known for his work in films such as The Search (1947), From Here to Eternity (1953), and Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), Clift is also known for his close friendships with actresses Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, who shared the screen with him during two of his most memorable performances, A Place in the Sun (1951) with Taylor and The Misfits (1961) with Monroe. In 1966, he suffered a heart attack and died at the young age of 45. Clift is remembered for his sensitive, intense portrayals of characters often on the margins of society.

The Montgomery Clift Costumes and Personal Effects include items of personal clothing such as tuxedos, neckties, bathing suits, and a pair of shoes, as well as a few stage or film costumes. The collection gives insight into his sartorial choices as both a public and private figure, in formal and informal dress. Some items have been identified through Hollywood publicity shots, but it is unclear if certain items were worn onscreen or onstage. Two items from the collection were worn during Clift's first Broadway performance in Fly Away Home (1935), while another item was worn during his last film appearance in The Defector (1966). Ranging chiefly from the 1940s to the 1960s, the collection includes a late nineteenth-century morning coat and waistcoat, perhaps worn during one of his performances, as well as a group of Medieval-style costumes worn by himself and his family members while performing for each other as children in France, a poignant insight into the personal life of one of the twentieth century's most influential film actors.

The collection was donated by Clift's sister Ethel McGinnis in 1987 and 1988.


Gordon Conway (1894-1956) Costume Design Collection
Collection Dates: 1916-1936
Size: 61 linear feet
Access: searchable database (available to onsite researchers only)
Contact: Performing Arts staff
Related Materials: Gordon Conway Papers

Gordon Conway, costume designer for musical revues, musical comedy, and the early film industry, maintained design studios in London and in Paris. Her career encompassed fashion design and editorial cartooning as well as work for performance. The Conway collection includes original art; photographs of family, friends, and productions; and diaries, datebooks and numerous scrapbooks. More than sixty shows are represented.


Gordon Conway (1894-1956) Costumes and Personal Effects
Collection Dates: ca. 1980 (based on designs from the 1920s and 1930s)
Size: 28 items
Access: Item-level descriptions are available in a searchable database. Please note that an appointment is required to view this material.
Contact: Costumes and Personal Effects staff
Related Materials: Gordon Conway Papers

While principally known for her work in fashion design and editorial cartooning, native Texan Gordon Conway (1894-1956) was a costume designer for musical revues, musical comedy, and the film industry in the 1920s and 1930s. Conway began her career in the 1910s as an illustrator for publications such as Vanity Fair and Vogue, and for upscale department stores such as Neiman Marcus. Throughout the 1920s and during the first half of the 1930s, she continued to illustrate for both domestic and foreign publications. During this time she also designed for theater and musical revues on both sides of the Atlantic, including silent and early sound films in Britain. Conway's designs and illustrations were sleek, graphic, and often highly animated representations of the active, style-conscious woman of the 1920s.

The highlight of the Gordon Conway Costumes and Personal Effects is a set of five costumes reproduced by Barbara Matera, Ltd. from production photographs and Conway's sketches and illustrations. Of particular note is a stunning silver lamé dress with attached short pants — a vision of the future of women's apparel — from the British science fiction film High Treason (1929). The reproduction costumes were displayed in the exhibition "That Red Head Gal: Fashions and Designs of Gordon Conway, 1916-1936" which opened at the American Institute of Architects Foundation in Washington, D.C. in 1980. Over her long career in costuming, Barbara Matera (1929-2001) executed designs for over 100 Broadway plays and musicals, as well as for the New York City Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera, the American Ballet Theater, and several Hollywood films such as The Great Gatsby (1974) and Moonstruck (1987).

The Conway reproduction costumes arrived at the Ransom Center in 1997 from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Conway's personal papers, which are located in the Ransom Center's performing arts collection, were acquired in 1991 from her estate. Included are sketches, scrapbooks, original art, personal photographs, and personal and business correspondence.


Costume and Scenic Design Collection
Collection Dates: 1854-1993
Size: ca. 30 linear feet
Access: working inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff
Related Materials: Approximately 250 costume designs from the London costumier L. & H. Nathans were transferred from the Costume and Scenic Design Collection to a separate collection in 2011. See also the W. H. Crain Costume and Scenic Design Collection, the B. J. Simmons & Co. Records, and the papers of designers Norman Bel Geddes, Boris Aronson, and Gordon Conway.

The Costume and Scenic Design Collection contains original renderings supplemented by design resources such as research books, prints, and bound volumes of images of period and national costumes. Highlights include, in chronological order, Percy Anderson's costume designs for Toast of the Town (1905); original woodblocks by Edward Gordon Craig dated 1907-1910; costume designs by Robert Edmond Jones for Lucrece (1932); a set of costume designs by Robert LaVigne for Endicott and the Red Cross (1968), for which LaVigne received an Obie Award for Best Design; and Ming Cho Lee's designs and model for the fire curtain at Bass Concert Hall at the University of Texas at Austin (1980).


Edward Gordon Craig (1872-1966) Collection
Collection Dates: 1901-1943
Size: ca. 13 linear feet
Access: Nearly all of the collection is accessible via the Center's card catalog.
Contact: Head of Reference Services
Related Materials: Edward Carrick Papers

The archives of Edward Gordon Craig, the English actor, stage designer, and producer, were purchased from his son Edward Anthony Craig in October 1969. Except for that portion of his collection sold by Craig in 1957 to the Bibliotheque de l'Arsenal in Paris and materials given or sold during his lifetime, the archives contain all of Craig's remaining papers, from his earliest work in the theater until his death.

The collection consists of daybooks and notebooks (1901-1943) recording Craig's daily activities, opinions, and ideas about theater productions and a myriad of other projects; manuscript notebooks for a projected book on Isadora Duncan; research notes, the original manuscript, and proofs of Craig's book, Ellen Terry and Her Secret Self; and manuscript notes and typescript for an unpublished work entitled Tritons and Minnows.

Separate folders of manuscripts and printed materials document Craig's visit to the 1933 Volta Congress on theater and drama in Rome; his visit to Moscow in 1935; the establishment of his School for the Art of the Theater in London in 1904 and at the Arena Goldoni in Florence (1908-1914); correspondence and business papers relating to the publication of The Mask (1906-1928); and an unpublished manuscript by Maurice Magnus entitled Gordon Craig and His Art (1907).

The correspondence files include letters from Craig to his son Edward, to his sister Edith, and to Martin Fallas Shaw. Other letters include those to Sir Ashley Clarke, William H. Downing, Isadora Duncan, Glenn Hughes, Maurice Magnus, Frans Mijnssen, Rolfe A. Scott-James, Konstantin S. Stanislavski, and Ellen Terry.


W. H. Crain (1917-1998) Barnum & Bailey Circus Collection
Collection Dates: ca. 1805-1937 (bulk 1886-1902)
Size: 1.26 linear feet
Access: preliminary inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff
Related Materials: Circus Collection, Joe E. Ward Circus Collection

The W. H. Crain Barnum & Bailey Circus Collection consists largely of correspondence and legal documents concerning P. T. Barnum, James A. Bailey, and Joseph T. McCaddon and their business dealings. Notably present are business letters from Barnum, legal documents, manuscript calculations, and endorsed bank checks written during Barnum and Bailey's partnership agreement, 1887-1888.

Much of the information in this collection relates to Bailey and includes biographical notes and clippings, correspondence, various legal and financial documents concerning his property and estate, and other ventures, such as his purchase of Cooper's share of Forepaugh's Show, 1890-1892.

Joseph T. McCaddon, Bailey's brother-in-law and business partner, is also represented in the collection by correspondence, typed and manuscript notes for a proposed Wild West Show, and a marriage certificate among other items.

Also present in the collection are photographs of Bailey and his wife Ruth, Barnum and his wife Nancy, various members of the McCaddon family, as well as images of circus people, parades, equipment, and tent shows. A few route cards, playbills, and programs complete the collection. The collection has not yet been cataloged, and the current arrangement of the papers follows, to some extent, the original auction lot numbers.


Dance Collection
Collection Dates: 1827-1991 (bulk 1910-1960)
Size: 49.56 linear feet
Access: preliminary inventory
Contact: Preliminary inventory available. An appointment is required to view the costumes in this collection, some of which are stored offsite and may require up to three business days notice for access in the Ransom Center's Reading and Viewing Room. Please contact the Center before requesting costumes. For all other materials, contact Performing Arts staff.

The bulk of the Dance Collection comprises publicity and production photographs, prints, programs, clippings, and costumes pertaining to 2,000 dancers and choregraphers (1800s-1900s) and 4,000 U.S. and European dance companies (1790s-1970s). Coverage varies, but holdings are extensive for Ruth St. Denis, Kay Lenz, Mary Wigman, Katherine Litz, the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo (1911-1962), Sadler's Wells Ballet Co. (1942-1945), and the Marquis de Cuevas dance company (1940s-1970s). The collection also includes instruction manuals and assorted publicity material related to square dance and folk dance, and 11 costume items.


Costumes in the Dance Collection
Collection Dates: ca. 1860s-ca. 1960s
Size: 12 items
Access: Item-level descriptions are available in a searchable database. Some of these items are stored offsite and may require up to three business days notice for access in the Ransom Center's Reading and Viewing Room. Please contact the Center before requesting this material.
Contact: Costumes and Personal Effects staff

Costume items from the Dance Collection were assembled from various collections; some material was acquired during a program of solicitation conducted by collection staff during the 1970s.

Of the 12 items, the majority are related to dancers who performed with Colonel W. de Basil's Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo (1932-1947; 1951-1952), one of the many dance companies that laid claim to the Ballets Russes legacy after founder Serge Diaghilev's death and the disbandment of the company in 1929. One colorful and beautifully appliquéd tunic appears to be from Diaghilev's production of The Sleeping Princess (1921), designed by Lé́on Bakst. The tunic, though without identifying marks, greatly resembles a costume created for the role of one of the "Ivans"; comparison with contemporary sketches, subsequent descriptions, and images of existing costumes in other international collections strongly supports the similarity.

A doublet from an Imperial Ballet performance of Raymonda was purportedly worn by Anatole Vizlak, principal dancer at the Maryinski Theater, between 1915 and 1920. (By 1921 Vizlak was also a dancer in the Ballets Russes.) The Russian Imperial Ballet performances of the nineteenth century (the 1890 premiere of Sleeping Beauty and its historicizing costumes in particular) had a profound effect on Diaghilev and Ballets Russes designers Alexandre Benois and Bakst (Bell, 2010: 53). One can imagine that the elegant design and rich fabrics of this doublet would have appealed to their aesthetic inclinations.

Several doublets worn by Igor Youskevitch, who danced with the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo from 1938 to 1942, demonstrate the shorter style worn by male dancers in the 1940s and beyond, often for non-period or non-narrative ballets. These abbreviated styles, worn with ballet tights, emphasized even greater movement and feats of athleticism and technique for the dancer. Youskevitch later danced with the American Ballet Theater from 1946 to 1955, and taught at the University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Theater and Dance from 1971 to 1982.

The one non-performance related item is a shawl formerly owned by Queen Victoria, given to dancer Nathalie Krassovska during her tenure in the 1950s at the London Festival Ballet. Of the four full or partial pairs of ballet shoes in the collection, two are idenitified with a particular performer: a well-worn and darned pair of pointe shoes worn by Krassovska, who also danced with Colonel de Basil's Ballets Russes from 1938-1950 and was a frequent partner of Youskevitch, and a pair worn by another Colonel de Basil's Ballets Russes performer, Leon Danielian.

Source: Bell, Robert. Ballets Russes: The Art of Costume. Port Melbourne: Thames & Hudson, 2010


Robert De Niro (1943- ) Personal Effects
Collection Dates: 1967-2005
Size: Approximately 220 items
Access: Item-level descriptions are available in a searchable database. Part of this collection is stored offsite and may require up to three business days notice for access in the Ransom Center's Reading and Viewing Room. Please contact the Center before requesting this material.
Contact: Costumes and Personal Effects staff

The American actor, producer, and director Robert De Niro (born 1943) is one of the most respected actors of his generation. The Robert De Niro Personal Effects, 1967-2005, consist of approximately 220 items that were personally used by or given to De Niro, but were not utilized in a film and do not represent character development onscreen. Forty-four motion pictures and two theater productions are represented; also included are several items from unidentified productions, as well as a handful of purely personal objects with no apparent connection to a film or theater production.

The bulk of the collection consists of custom-made T-shirts, crew jackets, and baseball caps on which the name of the film, or the studio that produced the film, is embroidered or printed. Also present are numerous "wrap gifts" presented after the completion of a film, such as the engraved key chain given to De Niro after the filming of Casino (1995). The model of De Niro's character Don Lino in Shark Tale (2004), used by Jeffrey Katzenberg to pitch the film to De Niro, is located in this collection.

The Robert De Niro Personal Effects were acquired between 2006 and 2008, along with De Niro's personal papers, moving image materials, and costumes and props, which are housed and described separately.


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) Personal Effects
Collection Dates: ca. 1880-ca. 1930
Size: 37 items
Access: Item-level descriptions are available in a searchable database. Please note that an appointment is required to view this material.
Contact: Costumes and Personal Effects staff
Related Materials: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Collection, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Literary File

Scottish writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is best remembered for creating the fictional character Sherlock Holmes. Doyle initially began his career as a physician, and it was during his medical school training that he began to compose short stories. Doyle first introduced the public to Sherlock Holmes in A Study in Scarlet (1887). He continued to write numerous short stories and four novels featuring Sherlock Holmes, ending the series with a final compilation of stories, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, in 1927. After the death of his first wife and many members of his immediate family during the first two decades of the twentieth century, Doyle became deeply involved in spiritualism, which developed into an important part of his personal and professional life.

Many aspects of the author's life, including his professional, spiritual, and recreational activities are revealed through personal items within the collection. Highlights include a wooden Ouija board and file boxes with handwritten labels that provide unique insight into how Doyle conceptualized and organized his spiritualist research. The collection also contains bespoke items of clothing, a pair of eyeglasses, and the author's set of billiard cues and golf clubs.


Film Costumes
Collection Dates: 1940s-1960s
Size: 23 items
Access: Item-level descriptions are available in a searchable database. Part of this collection is stored offsite and may require up to three business days notice for access in the Ransom Center's Reading and Viewing Room. Please contact the Center before requesting this material.
Contact: Costumes and Personal Effects staff

The Film Costumes collection is a small collection of Hollywood costumes ranging from the 1940s to the 1960s. One of the highlights is a costume worn by Susan Hayward in her Academy Award-nominated role as Lillian Roth in I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955), for which costume designer Helen Rose (1904-1985) won Best Costume Design for a black and white film. The fine cut and construction of this wool coatdress are offset by a pair of dramatic fox fur cuffs. Academy Award nominated designer and wardrobe director Charles Le Maire (1897-1985) is represented in the collection with three costumes, including a silk dressing gown memorably worn by Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember (1957), and a wool and fur trimmed coat worn by Gene Tierney in That Wonderful Urge (1948) which was likely designed by her husband, Oleg Cassini (1913-2006). Also of note are a chiffon nightgown designed by Edith Head (1897-1981) and worn by Lauren Bacall in Sex and the Single Girl (1964), and a coat dress and skirt worn by a young Elizabeth Taylor in a film that transitioned her to mature roles, Conspirator (1949).

A handful of costumes in the collection cannot be definitively traced to a particular film production. For example, it is difficult to confirm through production stills or by viewing the film that a gown designed for Forever Amber (1947) was designed by René Hubert (1895-1976), who is credited onscreen, and worn by Peggy Cummins who was replaced by Linda Darnell for the title role. Similarly, a handwritten label sewn inside a gingham short-sleeved dress shows that the costume was worn by Joan Crawford, but the related production or designer has not been identified.


German Plays Collection
Collection Dates: ca. 1870-ca. 1910 (bulk 1875-1900)
Size: 47 document boxes (19.74 linear feet)
Access: preliminary inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff
Related Materials: Conrad Seidemann Collection of German Plays

The German Plays Collection documents the achievements of the German stage from the pre-unification period to the golden age of middlebrow amusement and diversion during the first decade of the twentieth century. For the most part, the plays in this collection have no literary pretensions, for they served as vehicles for a theater that was still a medium of mass entertainment. The collection consists of printed plays, actors' sides, theatrical catalogs, and song books. Most material is in German.

The Harry Ransom Center's collection of German plays rivals in its extensiveness similar archives in both the United States and Germany, for it contains the texts of plays which were intended for creating a production. For many plays, scholars will find not only complete scripts, but also "sides" provided to individual actors.

A number of well known German authors are well represented in the collection, including Charlotte Birch-Pfeiffer, Roderich Benedix, Ludwig Angely, David Kalisch, Adolph L'Arronge, Julius Rosen, Gustav von Moser, Franz von Schönthan and his collaborators, Oskar Blumenthal, Gustav Kadelburg, Carl Laufs, Oskar Walther, and Leo Stein.


Robert Greskovic Papers
Collection Dates: 1958-2012 (bulk 1985-2005)
Size: 52 document boxes, 2 oversize boxes, 4 oversize folders (22.7 linear feet)
Access: preliminary inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff
Related Materials: Twentieth century dance materials may also be found in the Dance Collection, Fred Fehl Dance Collection, Joffrey Ballet Collection, Rhoda Winter Russell Papers, and May O'Donnell Collection.

Dance critic and lecturer Robert Greskovic covers dance for the The Wall Street Journal and is the author of Ballet 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving the Ballet (New York: Hyperion, 1998). The Robert Greskovic Papers consist primarily of press kits, souvenir programs, and other publicity materials for numerous American and European dance companies, supplemented by a small amount of personal papers. The collection is divided into two series: I. Dance Files, 1958-2012, and II. Personal Papers, 1965-1999, undated.

Series I is further subdivided into three subseries. Subseries A. Dance Companies, Dancers, and Choreographers, 1958-2012 (bulk 1985-2005), comprises the bulk of the collection and consists of press kits, clippings, theater programs, souvenir programs, posters, and other publicity materials for dozens of dance companies and choreographers, and a few individual dancers. Much of the material pertains to American companies such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Joffrey Ballet, and the New York City Ballet; also included are companies from outside the United States such as the Royal Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet. Subseries B. Figure Skating, 1984-circa 1991, consists of publicity materials for touring shows. The material in Subseries C. Assorted Promotional Materials, 1978-2011, undated, pertains to dance publications, venues that hosted dance performances, dance festivals, etc.

Series II contains personal papers such as family papers, personal photographs, and publicity materials for theater and film productions.


Harry Houdini (1874-1926) Collection
Collection Dates: 1837-1972 (bulk 1895-1926)
Size: 25 linear feet
Access: Selected digital images are available on the Ransom Center's Digital Collections website, under Magic Posters and Playbills Collection and Harry Houdini Scrapbook Collection. A working inventory providing an overview of the collection is also available.
Contact: Performing Arts staff
Published Information: Meikle, Jeffrey L. "'Over There': Arthur Conan Doyle and Spiritualism." The Library Chronicle of the University of Texas at Austin, New Series no.8 (1974): 22-37.

Parts of the Harry Houdini Collection pertain to the numerous magicians with whom Houdini cultivated personal relationships, but the focus of this collection is the life and career of Houdini himself. Manuscript material in the collection includes Houdini's correspondence with magicians and writers; his letters to his wife Bess, 1890s-1926; manuscript notes and revisions for A Magician among the Spirits (1924), along with Houdini's annotated printed copy; the correspondence of A. M. Wilson, editor of The Sphinx, 1905-1923; and James Northcote correspondence. Houdini's films are represented by the script for The Master Mystery (1918), news clippings and a press kit for The Man from Beyond (1922), and other publicity photographs. His interest in spiritualism is documented by a newspaper clipping file on spiritualism, manuscript notebooks on spiritualism and theater by R.[alph] E.[vans], 1900-1920, and history of magic scrapbooks, 1837-1910.


Burl Ives (1909-1995) Papers
Collection Dates: 1944-1963
Size: 17.5 linear feet
Access: preliminary inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff

Burl Ives is principally known for his research and recordings of American folk music. He has acted in film, television, and stage, and written several books of folklore. The Burl Ives Papers document Ives' published and recorded works as well as his concerts and personal appearances, ca. 1944-1963. The collection is arranged into the following series: I. Works Files, II. Concert Files, III. Miscellaneous Files, and IV. Scrapbooks of Press Clippings.

The Works Files include manuscript and typescript drafts, proofs, and correspondence, legal and financial documents, publicity, and other related documents for book and recording projects. Works include The Wayfaring Stranger (1948), Historical America in Songs (1950), Burl Ives Song Book (1953), Tales of America (1954), Song in America: Our Musical Heritage (1962), A Wayfaring Stranger's Notebook (1962), and The Burl Ives Sing-Along Book (1963).

Correspondence, itineraries, programs, publicity, schedules, financial and legal documents make up the Concert Files. United States venues are primarily represented, although tours to Australia, England, Ireland, New Zealand, and Scotland are detailed.

The Miscellaneous Files include materials that were separated into format categories (financial, legal, programs, radio scripts, etc.) for then-standard Theater Arts Department processing and cataloging. Also included in the Miscellaneous Files is an undated portrait of Ives by John Falter.

The Scrapbooks series contains press clippings related to concerts, radio, and several publications.


Magicians Collection
Collection Dates: 1750-1920
Size: 30 linear feet
Access: Access: Selected digital images are available on the Ransom Center's Digital Collections website, under Magic Posters and Playbills Collection and Harry Houdini Scrapbook Collection. A preliminary inventory providing an overview of the collection is also available.
Contact: Performing Arts staff

The Magicians Collection contains correspondence, clippings, photographs, and other publicity materials (including 2,000 posters) pertaining to magicians and the history of magic. Approximately 3,000 individuals are represented, among them Professor Anderson, T. Nelson Downs, Robert Evans, Robert Houdin, Harry Kellar, Augustus Rapp, Edwin Fay Rice, William Robinson, and Chung Ling Soo.


Stanley Marcus (1905-2002) Collection of Sicilian Marionettes
Collection Dates: ca. 1850, ca. 1960
Size: 60 marionettes, 1 rolled item
Access: preliminary inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff
Published Information: Wells, Maria Xenia Zevelechi. "The Stanley Marcus Sicilian Marionettes and Related Books." The Library Chronicle of the University of Texas at Austin 23, nos. 2/3 (1993): 35-42. Wells, Maria Xenia Zevelechi. "Paladins of Sicily: The Pupi of Stanley Marcus' Collection." FMR 15, no. 77 (1995): 61-80.

The Stanley Marcus Collection of Sicilian Marionettes, ca. 1850, ca. 1960, consists of sixty marionettes and a backdrop curtain. The marionettes, which were originally purchased by the entrepreneur Stanley Marcus in 1960, form a troupe of characters from the Orlando Furioso story cycle. They are arranged into three groups (Christians, pagans, animals). Among the characters represented are Charlemagne, Orlando, various Frankish knights, Moors, princesses and other female characters, horses, demons, dogs, and mythical creatures. Completing the collection is a mid-nineteenth century backdrop curtain (purchased separately) for a Sicilian marionette theater.

The marionette tradition in Sicily began in the 1850s when Sicilian wood carvers were inspired by Italian versions of Ludovico Ariosto's epic poem Orlando Furioso, a legend that emerged (with vast embellishment) from the eighth century life of Roland, one of Charlemagne's knights. These plays emphasized chivalry and swashbuckling adventure, and dramatized the conflict between Christianity and Islam. In the marionette theaters of Sicily, the stories became standardized and were a highly popular entertainment until displaced by television, film, and other mass media. In the latter part of the twentieth century, the tradition of these marionettes was revived with performances in Sicily, and even television was used as a means of continuing this popular tradition.

The marionettes are operated with a wooden-handled metal rod extending from the crown of the head on human figures, and from the center of the back on animal figures, a technique that dates to the Roman empire. A second rod moves the primary arm (the sword hand for warriors), and a string moves the secondary arm. The jointed legs move freely, and are controlled by manipulating the body through the main rod. The size of the marionette denotes rank: primary characters stand four to five feet in height, secondary characters, about three feet. The armor on warriors can weigh up to forty pounds. Each marionette is stored hanging vertically from its rod.

The Museo internazionale delle marionette Antonio Pasqualino in Palermo has a large collection of marionettes that have been recovered from various puppeteers and private owners.


Steve Martin (1945- ) Papers
Collection Dates: 1980-1990
Size: ca. 2.5 linear feet
Access: A printed list is available for two thirds of the collection.
Contact: Head of Reference Services

The Steve Martin papers encompass manuscripts, drafts, and script versions of Depression, L.A. Story, My Blue Heaven, Roxanne, and Three Caballeros; a scrapbook from the U.S.S. Wisconsin Operation Desert Shield Tour; drafts of presentations and tributes; a cassette tape of Pennies From Heaven radio broadcast; and award certificates, publicity photographs, stationery, and clippings.


Carson McCullers (1917-1967) Personal Effects
Collection Dates: ca. 1940s-ca. 1960s
Size: 179 items in 5 boxes
Access: Item-level descriptions are available in a searchable database. Please note that an appointment is required to view this material.
Contact: Costumes and Personal Effects staff
Related Materials: Photographs of Carson McCullers wearing items from this collection of personal effects are located in the Photography Collection.

Carson McCullers (born Lula Carson Smith) was raised in Columbus, Georgia, where she trained from an early age to become a concert pianist.  She moved to New York City at age seventeen to attend the Juilliard School of Music. Due in part to illness she began to study writing at Columbia University, and subsequently published her first novel at the age of twenty-three, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940). The book was a critically-acclaimed bestseller and established McCullers's talent as a writer, along with the setting and themes of much of her work: small town life, the American South, the perspectives of young women, social outsiders, loneliness, violence, race relations, and artistic passion. McCullers wrote several more novels and short stories, among them The Member of the Wedding (1946) and The Ballad of the Sad Café (1951). Much of her work would be adapted for stage and film, including her second novel, Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941), which was made into a film in 1967 directed by John Huston and starring Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor.

The Carson McCullers Personal Effects include financial documents, stationery, two cigarette lighters, several home décor items, and clothing. Not all of the items belonged to McCullers, e.g., her mother's passport. Clothing items range from a set of cotton nightgowns to a teal tweed skirt suit to a magenta-lined gold lamé jacket with the retail tags still attached to the interior. Included in the collection are two pieces of clothing that McCullers wore in iconic portrait photographs: a long burgundy jacket with gold metallic braid embellishment, worn for a sitting with Richard Avedon for Harper's Bazaar in 1956, and a colorful sleeveless knit vest from a famous photo taken by Cecil Beaton during the same year.

The items of clothing in the collection were donated by McCullers's sister, Rita Smith, in 1975.


L. & H. Nathan (1790-1972) Costume Designs
Collection Dates: ca. 1895-ca. 1937 (bulk 1898-1909)
Size: 530 items on 264 sheets (92 oversize folders)
Access: Item-level descriptions are available in a searchable database. A finding aid is also available. Please note that an appointment is required to view this material.
Contact: Performing Arts staff
Related Materials: A red wool tabbard made by L. & H. Nathan is located in the papers of Donald Wolfit. The records of the costumier B. J. Simmons & Co. include numerous costume designs for British productions, 1878-1969.

Like its rival the London costumier B. J. Simmons & Co., Nathan's was a leading supplier of historical costumes for the British theater, providing apparel for amateur dramatic theatricals, fancy dress balls and masquerades, and the professional stage for close to 200 years. Founded in 1790, L. & H. Nathan ceased to be a separate company in 1972 when it merged with Bermans to form Bermans and Nathans.

The collection consists of 530 costume designs, property designs, studies, and photographs from 18 theater productions in London and two unidentified productions. Most items are costume designs, supplemented by a small number of property designs, studies, and photographs. Coverage ranges from a few items per production to more than 60 items. Very few of the drawings are signed, indicating that most are costumiers's copies of original designs.

Seven artists are represented in the collection, albeit with copies of their original drawings in nearly all cases: Charles Karl, the head designer at Nathan's from 1885 to 1934, 228 items from seven productions; Tom Heslewood, 108 items from three productions; Herbert Norris, 49 items from two productions, Percy Anderson, 24 items from one production; A. B. Gough, 23 items from one production; Byam Shaw, 20 items from one production; and Margaret Harris, three items from one production.

Notable items include costume designs for a young Edward Gordon Craig in Julius Caesar, ca. 1895, and for Julia Neilson and F. H. Macklin in a Henry Irving production of Cymbeline from about 1895. Several stagings were produced by and/or starred other prominent actor-managers of the turn of the century: Lewis Waller (A Queen's Romance, 1904; His Majesty's Servant, 1904), Cyril Maude (Marjory Strode, 1908; The O'Grindles, 1908; The Black Tulip, 1899), and Fred Terry (Dorothy o' the Hall, 1906).


New Faces Records
Collection Dates: 1950s-1980s
Size: 0.42 linear feet
Access: At present, the description below serves as the inventory.
Contact: Head of Reference Services
Related Materials: The papers of the producers Carroll and Harris Masterson (located in Performing Arts) include a budget, contracts, scripts, and other materials for New Faces of 1962.

The archive of the musical revue New Faces consists of scripts for sketches, along with related materials. These scripts from the early 1950s present comedic writing by Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, Peter DeVries, and Paul Lynde. Also present are scenes and songs by Arthur Siegel, Sheldon Harnick, Ronny Graham, June Carrol, Francis Lemarque, Alan Melville, Herbert Farjeon, and Michael Brown. Though the series' original producer, Leonard Sillman, made arrangements to extend his production rights into the 1970s and early 1980s, two letters requesting such extensions, addressed to and signed by Mel Brooks and Peter DeVries, are included in this archive. In addition to scripts, the archive includes stage manager's holograph cue notes and copies of charcoal sketches, "Highlights of New Faces Play of the Week," for Nov. 20 and 21, 1960.


Opera Collection
Collection Dates: ca. 1800s-1990 (bulk 1880-1950)
Size: 51.56 linear feet
Access: working inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff

The bulk of the Opera Collection consists of biographical holdings on operatic performers from the 1880s through the 1950s. The careers of approximately 1,000 performers from this period are documented with photographs, clippings, prints, programs, and playbills. The collection also includes production photographs relating to operatic works produced for the American stage, and materials documenting the history of prominent opera companies in the United States, as well as a selection of European companies.


Pantomime Collection
Collection Dates: 1793-1977 (bulk 1860-1910)
Size: 8.76 linear feet
Access: preliminary inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff

The Pantomime Collection comprises ca. 400 items relating to pantomime on the English stage, with a strong concentration on nineteenth century productions. Most of the collection was purchased from Motley Books Limited, and these materials are arranged by catalog numbers as assigned by the dealer. The Motley materials are supplemented by twenty-five manuscript scores for pantomimes produced in the provinces of Britain.

The Motley Books portion of the collection consists predominantly of printed scripts, programs, and souvenir programs for numerous pantomimes, 1793-1952. There are also eight holograph manuscript pantomime scenes and play scripts (1811-1881), three typescripts (1910-1946), and one promptbook with holograph notes (1874). The remaining Motley items include seven pantomime annuals (1886-1949), seven books on the history of pantomime (1863-1977), three original water colors of characters in Little Red Riding Hood (1882), as well as four sheet music covers (ca. 1890), one book of music, and one book of songs (1890s).

The twenty-five pantomime scores consist of manuscript music which, in most instances, is bound with sheet music. The pantomimes were produced at theaters in Bradford, Bristol, Leeds, or Manchester between 1907 and 1931.


Performing Arts Glass Plate Negatives
Collection Dates: ca. 1890-ca. 1920 (bulk 1900-1910)
Size: 7 document boxes, 1 oversize box (3.4 linear feet)
Access: Digital images are available on the Ransom Center's Digital Collections website. A finding aid providing an overview of the collection is also available. Please note that an appointment is required to view the original glass plate negatives. Contact Performing Arts staff for more information.
Related Materials: Similar materials may be found in the Card Photograph, Production Photographs, and Theater Biography Collections.

The Performing Arts Glass Plate Negatives consist of 95 photographic glass plate negatives: 46 images from 20 theater productions in New York, 34 images from unidentified productions, 8 images showing theater exteriors, and 7 images showing other subjects. The collection is divided into two series, I. Production Photographs, ca. 1890-1920, and II. Theaters and Miscellaneous, ca. 1890-1920. The bulk of the photographs appear to date from between 1900 and 1910.

Series I, Production Photographs, contains photographs of actors in costume, often on a stage set, which depict the stage action for a particular play. Among the identified productions are images from plays such as Ben-Hur, The Count of Monte Cristo, Human Hearts, The Pit, The Rose of the Rancho, Salome (1909), The Sign of the Cross, Uncle Tom's Cabin and Zaza. The items are alphabetized by title of production, with unidentified productions filed after identified productions. Images of actors include Mrs. Leslie Carter, Rose Melville, Olga Nethersole, E. H. Sothern, and David Warfield.

Series II, Theaters and Miscellaneous, contains photographs of theater buildings, as well as images of theater equipment and portraits of people who may be in costume, but do not appear to be in a specific scene from a play.


Performing Arts Periodicals
Collection Dates: 1721-2013
Size: 20 document boxes, 10 oversize boxes, 35 bound volumes, circa 200 serials boxes (circa 65 linear feet)
Access: preliminary inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff

Performing Arts Periodicals consists of magazines, newsletters, academic and trade journals, sales and auction catalogs, and other serial publications related to the history and practice of theater, dance, music, film, and other forms of entertainment such as magic and the circus. This is an open collection (new items are continually added). Highlights include dance periodicals from the collection of theatrical photographer Fred Fehl, whose dance and theater photographs are held at the Ransom Center, and magazines and journals pertaining to magic and spiritualism owned by Harry Houdini.


Poster Collection
Collection Dates: 1890-1997
Size: ca. 6 linear feet
Access: preliminary inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff

The bulk of the Poster Collection consists of late nineteenth and early twentieth century lithographs for American theater productions. Lobby cards and posters, ca. 1950-1980, form the balance of the collection.


Production Photographs Collection
Collection Dates: ca. 1800-1998 (bulk 1900-1965)
Size: 26.1 linear feet
Access: preliminary inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff

This collection contains publicity photographs for 1,600 productions, chiefly in New York. The bulk of the collection consists of 11 x 14" photographs (1895-1930), many by White Studio, and 8 x 10" production photographs (ca. 1950-1970).

The Billy Rose Theater Collection at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts staff holds collections of White Studio and Vandamm Studio photographs.


Puppetry Collection
Collection Dates: 1800s-1980s (bulk 1880s-1950s)
Size: 110 oversize boxes, 8 document boxes, 1 flat file drawer, 2 rolled items, 1 unhoused object (ca. 80 linear feet)
Access: working inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff
Related Materials: Stanley Marcus Sicilian Marionettes, Joel Sherzer Collection, Nancy Renfro Puppets, W. H. Crain Costume and Scenic Design Collection (includes toy theater prints, ca. 1830-1850), Performing Arts Periodicals (includes issues of Puppet Teaching News Bulletin published by the Works Progress Administration).

The Puppetry Collection consists of approximately 100 puppets and marionettes representing puppetry traditions from around the world, supplemented by research material on puppetry such as photographs, posters, clippings, theater programs, and manuscripts. Included are Yale Puppeteers marionettes and other materials, ca. 1930s?, for performances at the Turnabout Theatre in Los Angeles; Punch and Judy puppets, ca. 1880-ca. 1885, created for the Swift Brothers touring show; marionettes and other materials owned by vaudeville actor and puppeteer Paul Clemens (American?, active 1930s-1960s); Kathputli Rajasthani marionettes from India; Karagoz shadow puppets, 1959-1992, built by Metin Özlen, a well-known Karagoz puppeteer of Istanbul; Javanese wayang golek puppets and wayang kulit shadow puppets; and puppet scripts from the late 1930s that were created for and possibly produced under the auspices of the Federal Theatre Project, an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Works Progress Administration.

See also: Roark, Carolyn. "The Harry Ransom Center: An Archive for Scholars and Artists." Puppetry International 19 (2006), 36-38.


Ada Rehan (1857-1916) and Augustin Daly (1838-1899) Collection
Collection Dates: 1884-1898
Size: 1.68 linear feet
Access: preliminary inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff

The Ada Rehan and Augustin Daly Collection is made up of published works, promptbooks, sides, and scrapbook materials about or related to Rehan and Daly, 1884-1898.

The collection is composed chiefly of eighteen official Augustin Daly company promptbooks and actor's sides, ca. 1884-1898. Eleven of these were used by the actress Ada Rehan, six seem to have been used by the chief prompter, and one bound copy bears director Augustin Daly's name, indicating that it may have been his own copy. These exist as holograph, typescript, and printed works, most of which are annotated and often with bound in additional notations, directions, and stage settings. One contains four miniature watercolors, including two of Ada Rehan.

Also present are two custom bound volumes containing Mr. Daly's arrangements of privately printed plays issued between 1887 and 1893, two copies of a biography of Miss Rehan by William Winter, as well as A Portfolio of Players, all of which contain photogravures of performers and scenes. A scrapbook documents Mr. Daly's and Miss Rehan's London engagement in 1896. A separate loose newspaper clipping and photograph may have come from the scrapbook.


Nancy Renfro (1937-1993) Puppets
Collection Dates: 1984, undated
Size: 10 oversize boxes (circa 7.5 linear feet)
Access: Preliminary inventory. Please note that an appointment is required to view puppets, which require special handling.
Contact: Performing Arts staff

Nancy Renfro was an artist, puppeteer, and educator who established her own puppetry business, Nancy Renfro Studios, in the 1970s. During her puppetry career she wrote books about puppetry, taught puppetry workshops from the 1970s through the early 1990s, and sold mail-order puppets and puppetry books through her company. A selection of her puppets was donated to the Ransom Center in 2012. Included are 26 hand and finger puppets plus associated materials such as patterns, original design drawings, and notes. Additional material pertaining to her career in puppetry may be found in the Nancy Renfro Papers and Art Works, located in the Art Collection.


Sarah Rollitts Papers
Collection Dates: 1939-1982 (bulk 1942-1975)
Size: 0.84 linear feet
Access: preliminary inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff

Sarah Rollitts was literary and playwright agent for Columbia Artists, Inc. from 1939 to 1946, when she went independent as the New York office of Salkow Agency (Los Angeles).

The Sarah Rollitts Papers contain the literary agent's letters received from her clients, prospects, publishers, and film and television studios. Among the correspondents represented in the papers are Tallulah Bankhead, Vicki Baum, Ingmar Bergman, Marlon Brando, Abe Burrows, Lenore Coffee, Joan Crawford, Lester Cohen, Bette Davis, William and Charlotte Dieterle, Norman Felton, Janet Flanner, Errol Flynn, Ruth Gordon, Tyrone Guthrie, Lillian Hellman, Katherine Hepburn, Walter Huston, Garson Kanin, George S. Kaufman, Elia Kazan, Gene Kelly, Ernest Lehman, Sinclair Lewis, Anita Loos, Christopher Morley, Clifford Odets, Laurence Olivier, Mary Pickford, Otto Preminger, Halsey Raines, Nancy Wilson Ross, Bertrand Russell, Dore Schary, Peter Sellers, Beatrice Straight, Booth Tarkington, Kurt Weill, Orson Welles, Cornel Wilde, and Thornton Wilder. Also present are contracts and agreements, memoranda, notes, newspaper and magazine clippings, press releases, programs, and book jackets; and copies of ink, wash, and crayon sketches by Angna Entero.

W. H. Crain purchased the collection and placed it on loan at U.T., where it became a gift upon Crain's death in 1998. Rollitts kept the material in her files of "autograph" interest and shredded many of her own personal letters before selling the collection.


Rhoda Winter Russell (born 1930) Papers
Collection Dates: Circa 1932-2010 (bulk 1942-1959)
Size: 6 document boxes, 2 oversize boxes, 1 oversize folder (3.4 linear feet)
Access: Finding aid. The negatives in box 7 will not be paged; digital images are available.
Contact: Performing Arts staff
Related Materials: Additional holdings for Mary Wigman may also be found in the Dance Collection.

The bulk of the Rhoda Winter Russell papers consists of fliers, brochures, clippings, theater programs, and photographs collected by Russell and pertaining to dancers, choreographers, and dance companies that were active in the 1940s and 1950s. The papers are arranged into four series: I. Dance Files, circa 1932-2009; II. Photographs, 1952-circa 1956, undated; III. Correspondence, 1936-1959, undated; IV. Movement Therapy and Personal Papers, 1951-2010. Mary Wigman, Alwin Nikolais, and the Henry Street Playhouse Dance Company are well represented throughout the collection.

Series I. Dance Files is divided into three subseries: A. Dancers, Choreographers, and Dance Companies; B. Venues and Producing Organizations; C. Printed Material and Album. Material within each subseries is arranged alphabetically by subject. Many of the programs and fliers are for performances in New York between 1955 and 1957, and in Philadelphia in the 1940s.

Series II. Photographs includes black and white prints and negatives depicting classes taught by Mary Wigman, Harald Kreutzberg, and others at the International Holiday Courses in Montreux in 1952. This series also contains a photograph of Adolf Hitler with a dog, accompanied by a set of negatives of ships in a harbor.

Series III. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically and most notably contains letters from Mary Wigman to Russell.

Most of Series IV. Personal Papers pertains to Russell's career in movement therapy.


Ann Savage (1921-2008) Costumes for My Winnipeg
Collection Dates: ca. 1940s-ca. 1980s
Size: 16 items
Access: Item-level descriptions are available in a searchable database. Please note that an appointment is required to view this material.
Contact: Costumes and Personal Effects staff

The American film and television actress Ann Savage was best known for her work in the film noir classic Detour (1945) and in Hollywood B-movies in the 1940s. The Ann Savage Costumes for My Winnipeg, ca. 1940s-ca. 1980s, consist of sixteen items worn in My Winnipeg (2007), her last onscreen appearance. All sixteen items were part of Savage's personal wardrobe, and Savage rented them to the production. Of particular note is a beige shirtwaist style silk dress by Adele Simpson, one of Savage's preferred designers. The simplicity of the design is complemented with pleated details, a lively Art Deco-like repeated pattern, and a front button closure consisting of faceted, gold tone glass bead buttons. It is a good example of the practical, yet beautiful and polished clothing Simpson designed for women with active, and often public, lives.

The Ann Savage costumes were acquired in 2008 and 2009. Her personal and professional papers are located in the Ransom Center's Film Collection.


Ronald Searle (1920-2011) Collection
Collection Dates: 1949-1961
Size: over 500 items
Access: item-level list
Contact: Art Collection

The Ronald Searle Collection consists of over 500 items by Searle. The works include 438 pen and ink drawings and 80 sketchbooks. The collection provides a complete picture of English theatrical entertainment in the 1950s. The drawings are caricatures of theatre productions, and some of individuals, and the drawings not contained in the sketchbooks are for the theatre columns of Punch. Most of the works are signed or initialed by the artist.


Conrad Seidemann Collection of German Plays
Collection Dates: ca. 1890-ca. 1920
Size: 102 boxes, 10 bound volumes (47.50 linear feet)
Access: A box list is available for 72 boxes (30.24 linear feet); a small portion of the remaining 17.26 linear feet is listed in a draft preliminary inventory.
Contact: Performing Arts staff
Related Materials: German Plays Collection

Conrad Seidemann was director of the Bush Temple Theater in Chicago on North Clark and Chicago Avenue from 1917 to 1923. At the time he began his directorship, the German language theater was in decline due to assimilation, competition from the cinema, and anti-German sentiment as a result of World War I. Seidemann, who may have come to Chicago from the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, acquired his collection of German language plays from the holdings of earlier theaters in New York, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Chicago, and even Germany, presumably after those theaters had gone out of business.

The collection includes the classic dramas of Goethe and Schiller; the serious drama of Grillparzer, Kleist, and others; and the new naturalistic dramas, such as those by Sudermann, Hauptmann, and Ibsen. However, the majority of the collection consists of lighter fare, such as Lustspiel (comedy), Posse (farcical comedy), Schwank (farce), and Volksstucke. Many of the comic dramas, such as Posse, included songs. In addition, about fifteen percent of the collection consists of scores and sides for operettas such as Offenbach's Jeanne qui pleure et Jean qui rit (translated as Die Hanni weint, der Hansi lacht).


Sheet Music Collection
Collection Dates: 1728-1964 (bulk 1900-1950)
Size: ca. 38 linear feet
Access: preliminary inventory; item-level descriptions are available in a searchable database
Contact: Performing Arts staff
Related Materials: Minstrel Show Collection, Florenz Ziegfeld Collection, Musicians Collection

The Sheet Music Collection consists of ca. 6,000 pieces of printed sheet music, primarily for British and American popular songs and show tunes of the eighteenth through twentieth centuries. Songs from more than 900 musicals and films are present, as are songs indicating nostalgia for life back home, wartime songs, and songs depicting life in the American south, including many with themes now considered demeaning to African Americans.


Sam Shepard (1943- ) Personal Effects
Collection Dates: 1982-2000
Size: 10 items
Access: Item-level descriptions are available in a searchable database. Please note that an appointment is required to view this material.
Contact: Costumes and Personal Effects staff
Related Materials: Sam Shepard Papers

Sam Shepard, born in Fort Sheridan, Illinois in 1943, first began writing plays in the early 1960s after his move to New York, where he pursued a career in acting and was encouraged to write by Ralph Cook, founder of the Theatre Genesis. From Off-Off-Broadway one-act plays throughout the 1960s to a Pulitzer Prize for Buried Child (1979) to collections of short stories, Shepard continues to steadily produce critically acclaimed work.

The Sam Shepard Personal Effects contain items that demonstrate accolades from both the theatrical and academic world, and represent Shepard's film work as an actor and director. Notable objects include an engraved silver card case and card from actor Sean Penn that humorously commemorate their collaboration on The Late Henry Moss (2000). Also in the collection are two clapboards used on the sets of Far North (1988) and Silent Tongue (1993).


Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) Personal Effects
Collection Dates: ca. 1900s-ca. 1960s
Size: 150 items
Access: Item-level descriptions are available in a searchable database. Please note that an appointment is required to view this material.
Contact: Costumes and Personal Effects staff
Related Materials: Other Gertrude Stein materials may be found in the Carlton Lake collection, which was the source of most of Stein's personal effects, in a separate Gertrude Stein collection, in the Art Collection, and in the Photography Collection Literary Files.

American writer Gertrude Stein is remembered as one of the significant central figures of the American expatriate community in Paris in the 1920s. Her home at number 27, rue de Fleurus, where she resided first with her brother, Leo Stein, and from 1910 on with her partner, Alice Babette Toklas, was the venue for weekly salons that brought together artists and writers. Stein collected modern art to display in her home and was an early supporter of the work of Pablo Picasso. One of the results of this friendship and patronage is his canonical Portrait of Gertrude Stein (1906); Stein bequeathed the portrait to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1946. Her literary works include Three Lives (1909), The Making of Americans (1925), and The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933).

The Gertrude Stein Personal Effects include a wide array of Stein's quotidian and personal ephemera, including stationery and household décor featuring a rose motif, and articles of clothing. The most memorable items in the collection were worn by Stein: a quilted vest, made by Toklas, and a beaded evening cloche; the hat's shimmering gold thread and intricate beadwork evoke the elaborately decorated fashions of the early twentieth century. Wallpaper samples and cocktail napkins are among the many everyday items in the collection that quote Stein's poem "Sacred Emily" in their designs, employing a rose motif and the repeated phrase, "a rose is a rose" (a design chosen by Toklas). A hand towel embroidered with the image of a poodle recalls Stein and Toklas's love of Basket, their canine companion from 1929-1938 (their second poodle was named "Basket II"). The collection also contains a monogrammed leather jewelry case that belonged to Toklas. A vividly painted paper folding fan belonged to Pablo Picasso.


Jule Styne (1904-1994) Papers in the Theater Arts Manuscripts Collection
Size: 73 boxes (30.6 linear feet)
Access: Card catalog.
Contact: Head of Reference Services

The archives of Jule Styne (1905-1994), the English-born composer and producer who took American citizenship in 1916, were presented to the Ransom Center in December 1962. They now form part of the Theater Arts Manuscripts Collection. Between 1947 and 1961 Styne composed the music for the musical comedies and revues High Button Shoes, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Peter Pan, Bells Are Ringing, Gypsy, Do-Re-Mi, and Subways Are for Sleeping, among others. Between 1952 and 1959 Jule Styne Productions were responsible for producing Pal Joey, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter, Mr. Wonderful, and First Impressions.

The archives contain original music scores, scripts of stage, television, and screen productions, original art work, books, playbills, photographs, recordings, plans and ink-and-wash drawings of stage settings, financial records, and professional and personal correspondence with writers, producers, directors, and actors. Among those included in the correspondence files are Paddy Chayefsky, Maurice Evans, Alan Jay Lerner, Joshua Logan, Ethel Merman, Sir Lawrence Olivier, Richard Rodgers, and Rosalind Russell.


Theater Arts Manuscripts Collection
Size: 355 boxes (149.1 linear feet)
Access: Card catalog. A list of names represented in the collection is also available.
Contact: Head of Reference Services

The Theater Arts Manuscripts Collection is a collection of correspondence, playscripts, proofs, and other textual materials pertaining to individuals in the performing arts. Materials were gathered from a variety of sources including transfers from Performing Arts collections. The collection is organized alphabetically by name. The following individuals are well represented: Wilson Barrett, Hilary Bell, Edwin Booth, Alfred Bunn, A. M. Colegrove, E. P. Conkle, Robert Downing, Frances Starr, and Jule Styne.


Theatre Guild Records
Collection Dates: 1919-1980 (bulk 1940s-1960s)
Size: 92 linear feet
Access: working inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff
Related Materials: Researchers may also wish to consult the John Gassner Papers (split between Manuscripts and Performing Arts). Gassner worked for the Theatre Guild, 1929-1944, as play editor, translator, adaptor, and head of play department. The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University holds another archive of the Theatre Guild.

The Theatre Guild was an outgrowth of the Washington Square Players, a New York theatrical production company founded in 1914. Lawrence Langner, one of the founders of the Washington Square Players, brought the Theatre Guild into existence by calling its first meeting on December 18, 1918. The Guild became known worldwide as a notable pioneer in the production of distinguished plays by the most important American authors, including Eugene O'Neill, Robert B. Sherwood, Maxwell Anderson, Sidney Howard, S. N. Behrman, and Philip Barry, as well as musicals by the Gershwins and Rodgers and Hammerstein.

The records of the Theatre Guild include the producer's files from their earliest days of theatrical production, through their radio broadcasts in the 1940s and 1950s. Also included are files from several motion pictures produced by the Guild, as well as business files relating to the daily operations and several major reorganizations of the Guild. The records are arranged in seven series: I. Business Files, II. Motion Picture Files, III. Personal Files, IV. Radio Files, V. Theater Files, VI. Television Files, and VII. Miscellaneous. Within each series, the files are organized by file numbers assigned during processing.

The files include numerous scripts as well as correspondence, in-house memos, and contracts and other legal documents dealing mainly with the business rather than the artistic aspects of their productions. Most files cover the pre-production time period, usually three years at the most, although files on rights requests may span as much as a 50-year period. The principal persons creating and/or represented in the files include Ben Aslan, Warren Caro, Henry Coleman, Peter Davis, H. W. Fitelson, Anna May Franklin, Sara Greenspan, Theresa Helburn, Lawrence Langner, Philip Langner, Armina Marshall, and S. Mark Smith.


J. C. Trewin (1908-1990) Papers
Size: ca. 20 linear feet
Access: preliminary inventory
Contact: Head of Reference Services

The Trewin papers hold correspondence, manuscripts and other material relating to works by Trewin, and numerous manuscripts of his drama reviews. Correspondents include Enid Bagnold, Denys Blakelock, Ivor Brown, Henry Caine, Charles Causley, Alan Dent, Patrick Dickinson, Baliol Holloway, Martin Holmes, Sir Barry Jackson, Ralph Lawrence, John Masefield, Ronald Searle, Ben Travers, and many others.


Uncle Tom's Cabin Collection
Collection Dates: ca. 1852-1945
Size: 2.52 linear feet
Access: preliminary inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff
Related Materials: See also the George C. Howard and Family Collection.

The Uncle Tom's Cabin Collection comprises photographs (1852-ca. 1900), programs and playbills (1852-ca. 1880), prints (1852-55), clippings (ca. 1900-1945), posters, sheet music (ca. 1850s?), correspondence, published acting editions, a songster, and a framed collage relating to the performance history of Uncle Tom's Cabin. The bulk of the collection consists of playbills and programs documenting the earliest productions of Uncle Tom's Cabin, notably the premiere of George C. Howard's 1852 acting version of Uncle Tom's Cabin; and photographs of stage personalities associated with the play, in particular George L. Fox, Charles K. Fox, Cordelia Howard, and Lotta Crabtree.


Joe E. Ward (b. 1894 or 1895, d. 1971) Circus Collection
Collection Dates: ca. 1811-1970 (bulk 1850-1950)
Size: 47.5 linear feet
Access: preliminary inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff
Related Materials: Circus Collection, W. H. Crain Barnum & Bailey Circus Collection

Joe E. Ward, a University of Texas graduate, began a career as a civil engineer in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1912. During the summers of the 1930s and 1940s, he also performed as a clown with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey's Combined Circus. Ward collected circus publications, memorabilia, and photographs of fellow performers.

The Joe E. Ward Circus Collection contains a wide variety of materials, including photographs, posters, newspaper clippings, and various circus business and publicity materials. The collection also contains Christmas cards from various circus performers (including Emmett Kelly), performance costume pieces and props, small toys and figurines, and Ward's collection of circus-themed salt and pepper shakers. Other Ringling Brothers clowns, such as Felix Adler, Paul Jerome, and Paul Jung, whose personal touring trunk is included in the collection, are particularly well documented through photographs, correspondence, and memorabilia. Ward's collection also contains many copies of circus-themed magazines and newsletters, such as White Tops, Bandwagon, and Circus Review.


Richard Heron Ward (1910-1969) Collection
Collection Dates: 1930s-1960s
Size: ca. 10 linear feet
Access: preliminary inventory
Contact: Head of Reference Services

In this collection, Ward's life in the theater as an actor and producer, as well as founder and director of the Adelphi Theatre, is chronicled in his correspondence and works written for and about the theater. The bulk of the collection consists of Heron's writings which include novels, plays, essays, lectures, BBC broadcasts, articles, poems, verse, and reviews. These materials date from the early 1930s through late 1960s, with the earliest pieces being class assignments for Stowe School, Buckinghamshire. Of particular interest is the combined presence of holograph, typescript, and published versions of many compositions. In addition to Ward's writings, ample correspondence exists related to his activity in the Peace Pledge Union, BBC Home Service, and Religious Drama Society.


William Winter (1836-1917) Papers
Collection Dates: 1857-1920 (bulk 1876-1916)
Size: 1.68 linear feet
Access: preliminary inventory
Contact: Performing Arts staff
Related Materials: The Manuscripts Collection holds two folders of Winter correspondence which are accessible via the Center's card catalog.

William Winter was theater critic for the New York Tribune from 1865 to 1909, wrote biographies of the Jeffersons, Belasco, Booth, Irving and Ada Rehan, and published volumes of poems and reminiscences.

The papers include both Winter's incoming and outgoing correspondence, manuscripts of works, clippings, photographs and prints, and other printed materials concerning Winter. A few manuscripts by and concerning others are present, most notably those of Winter's son, Jefferson Winter. The papers are arranged in three series: I. Correspondence; II. Works and Other Papers; and III. Works and Papers of Others.

William Winter's correspondence consists largely of letters received from a number of theater and literary people concerning reviews, performances, and business and social engagements. Correspondents include Viola Allen, Mary Anderson, Wilson Barrett, Edwin Booth, Charles Coghlan, Augustin Daly, Minnie Maddern Fiske, John Forbes-Robertson, Daniel Frohman, Sir John Hare, Henry Irving, Lillie Langtry, Julia Marlowe, Tyrone Power, Ada Rehan, Ellen Terry, and Lester Wallack. Some outgoing correspondence by Winter is also present, most of it addressed to J. B. Clapp. The Winter manuscripts are poems and theatrical writings, most of which are holograph drafts and fragmentary in nature. Some clippings, a photograph, some prints, obituaries, and a program for a testimonial to Winter in 1916 complete the William Winter materials in the first two series.

Series III contains works by others, some of which Winter either edited or had plans to work on. Winter's son Jefferson published a testimonial to actor Frank Worthing in 1911, and manuscripts and correspondence document his efforts. Present are letters to Jefferson Winter from several figures who included their reminiscences of Worthing: Viola Allen, Blanche Bates, Acton Davies, Louis V. DeFoe, Julia Marlowe, Hale McAllister, Henry Miller, S. Morris Pentland, Tyrone Power, Augustus Thomas, and Frank Worthing.

A major collection of William Winter's papers is housed at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.


Costumes in the Donald Wolfit (1902-1968) Papers
Collection Dates: ca. 1940s-ca. 1960s
Size: 10 items
Access: Item-level descriptions are available in a searchable database. Some of these items are stored offsite and may require up to three business days notice for access in the Ransom Center's Reading and Viewing Room. Please contact the Center before requesting this material.
Contact: Costumes and Personal Effects staff

The British actor-manager Sir Donald Wolfit was known primarily for his performances of Shakespeare. The 10 costumes described here are located in the Donald Wolfit Papers, Series I, Theater Papers, Subseries C, Costumes. Two gowns can be attributed to performances by his leading lady and wife, Rosalind Iden, and one vest is identified as being used for the role of Orlando in As You Like It. The remaining items cannot be identified with a specific role or production, but it is likely that the costumes were used for Shakespearean plays, as these comprised the majority of Wolfit's repertoire.

All of the items in the collection exhibit marks of extensive wear, reuse, and repair, reflecting the constant use and hectic schedule of Wolfit's touring theater company. The company's costumes were not renowned for their opulence, innovation, or craft, but were largely created or chosen for ease in traveling and interchangeability with various productions; critic Caryl Brahms described a visit to the wardrobe at Wolfit's offices as "a stock of dip-in-and-grab-one costumes 'suitable for Shakespeare' [that] are in a constant state of being repaired" (Brahms, 1948). However, it is notable that two costumes in the collection were created by leading houses of stage costume in London during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries: B. J. Simmons & Co. and L. & H. Nathan.

Source: Brahms, Caryl. Donald Wolfit: A Profile. Loughborough: Echo Press, 1948.

 

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