Theatre History

We hold a variety of published materials and archival collections relevant to theatre history, particularly but not exclusively in the United States. Topics and materials include:

  • An in-depth view of the Little Theatre Movement and the history of American puppet theatre (Ellen Van Volkenburg and Maurice Browne papers)
  • 20th century costume design, including several Shakespearean productions (Zelma Weisfeld Archive)
  • Sound design during a period of technological change (Dan Moses Schreier Collection)
  • Playscripts in the Arthur Miller Collection and Kenneth Thorpe Rowe Student Play Collection 
  • Marketing and graphic design elements of theatre productions in several unprocessed collections of playbills
  • A variety of 18th-20th century texts related to British, American, and French theatre within the General and Rare Book Collection

Current acquisitions of archival and published materials in this area are selective and targeted towards American theatre history of the 19th and 20th centuries. Areas of focus include sound design, stage design, costume design, and the Little Theatre Movement.

All collections are held in the Special Collections Research Center

Important related collections

In addition to the collections described above, the Shakespeare Collection is a rich resource for Shakespearean studies, and some of the Screen Arts Mavericks and Makers collections include materials related to theatrical productions. 

The Music Library also holds extensive Music, Theatre, and Dance Collections.  

Finding Aids

Materials in the collection

Blog posts

Puppets from Midsummers Night's Dream posed in a scene on stage

Photograph of marionettes of Titania and Bottom the Weaver, ca. 1924 (Ellen Van Volkenburg and Maurice Browne Papers, 1772-1983)