Scope and arrangement
The fairly sizable forty-four box collection of papers documents the artistic, intellectual, pedagogical, and administrative history of the New Theatre League. The material provides a very focused shapshot of a particular group of theatre professionals working in New York City during the late 1930's and early 1940's. Some of the highlights of the collection include seventy-seven scripts (including works by Bertolt Brecht and Irwin Shaw);outlines of courses taught at the New Theatre School;publications of the New Theatre League;and photographs from the Moscow Art Theatre,the W.P.A. Federal Theatre Project, and the Bolshoi Ballet. The materials in the collection also include several boxes of correspondence, mostly administrative in nature. See the series descriptions for more detail.
The New Theatre League records are arranged in twelve series:
- 1935-1942.8 linear feet (boxes 1-14)
- 1935-1942.2 linear feet (boxes 15-18)
Series I and Series II contain both incoming and outgoing correspondence. Both executive secretary Ben Irwin and Alice Evans (of the play department) correspond with theater groups, school officials, colleges, labor unions, and playwrights. Some of the letters relate to routine matters such as the sale of scripts owned by the New Theatre League and permission to perform and publish its plays. Other letters address the development of a progressive or labor theater in America. Correspondents include Barbara Corcoran, Archibald MacLeish, Clifford Odets, and Upton Sinclair.
- 1938-1941.2 linear feet (boxes 19-22)
This series includes correspondence, minutes of faculty meetings, course outlines, applications, registrations, and student evaluations.
- 1938-1941.2 linear feet (boxes 23 24 24A 24B)
This series includes correspondence primarily on financial and legal affairs of The Theatre Workshop and a disorganized administrative card file.
- n.d.,2 linear feet (boxes 25 26 26A)
This series includes seventy-seven scripts arranged alphabetically by author. Included is Irwin Shaw's Bury the Dead and Bertolt Brecht's Justice.
- 1935-1940.3.5 linear feet (boxes 27 27A 27B 27C 28 29 30)
This series includes registrations, minutes, play evaluations, publicity materials, and a card file of authors and their scripts.
- n.d..5 linear feet (box 31)
This series includes financial statements, and material concerning fundraising, contracts, and taxes.
- n.d..5 linear feet (box 31)
This series includes printed matter such as bulletins, periodicals, flyers, tickets, and catalogs of plays.
- 1934-1941..5 linear feet (box 32)
Series contains runs of New Theatre (incomplete), Theatre and Film, and New Theatre News (incomplete).
- 1938-1941..5 linear feet (box 33)
Copies of press releases of the New Theatre League.
- n.d..5 linear feet (box 34)
Series includes photographs of the Moscow Art Theatre, WPA Federal Theatre Project, and the Boshoi Ballet. Some photographs unidentified.
- n.d..5 linear feet (boxes 35-38)
Series consists of index cards.The cards are poorly organized and appear to contain administrative information related to the New Theatre League.