Scope and arrangement
The contents of this small collection document the most active period of Rosa Vermonté's life from 1926 through the mid 1960s. The bulk of her papers concerns her work with the Children's Aid society, her writings and her correspondence (most notably with Theodore Dreiser).
Vermonté's personal correspondence, (although lacking in any substantive content) tells the story of an artists struggle with her own sense of the truth and her persistent attempts for personal recognition and fame. Rosa Vermonte's search for this truth takes the form of several treatises written by her. Among these are; "Our Common Gift!", "Not ancient — nor modern - but art" and "A Plea for a Meaningful Education. ".
The bulk of her general correspondence is contained in three folders. The first of these concerns almost without exception, letters to those who had written on philosophies of art or education. Each letter is a personal request to quote passages from their articles or books which are to be used as material to support her own writings on the same subjects. Replies of gratitude come from not only writers and editors but also from heads of major institutions such as Princeton, Harvard and the University of Chicago.
Interspersed among these letters are requests to well known individuals asking them to write an introduction to her unpublished manuscripts. Every request is met with refusals from the secretaries or aides of such notables as Albert Einstein, Edward G. Robinson and Eleanor Roosevelt. Also contained in this folder and on into folders 2 and 3 are requests for publication of her manuscripts along with the corresponding letter of rejection.
The last dated folder of general correspondence contains more requests for publication of her articles and manuscripts, all denied. In addition are requests to famous ladies of the arts asking for their time so that they may discuss in person, Vermonté's philosophies on art and education. Polite denials come from the offices of Mrs. Nelson Rockefeller, Ladybird Johnson and Jacqueline Onassis. In the separate correspondence file with Harry Elmer Barnes (1935-1948), and Hawthorne Daniel (1932-1971), there are more attempts at seeking artistic advice on the publication of her writings. The correspondence file with Max Ernst (1965-1970) is mostly an exchange of ideas, the file of letters from Thomas F. Healy (1930-) are more of a romantic nature.
The file of correspondence between Vermonté and Theodore Dreiser is of special interest. Although the Dreiser letters have been deposited by Ms. Vermonté in the University of Pennsylvania Archives Dreiser Collection, they have been re-typed by her and the tissue paper copies are contained here. There is however one actual letter from Dreiser. Oddly enough it is probably the one most significant letter from which their relationship seems to have taken a turn for the worse as there is no further correspondence from him in this collection after that date. The Neda Westlake correspondence file is also of some interest as Ms. Westlake was the secretary for the Theodore Dreiser Collection at the University of Pennsylvania.
The four folders of Rosa vermonté's own writings contain manuscripts and typescripts of her personal philosophies on art and education. She refers to a published article of hers in the New York Times but according to "Times" morgue files this article turns out to be a letter to the editor published. in. 1948.
There is a folder of writings by other authors arranged by Vermonté into a form suitable for staged plays. Following this is a folder titled "Literary Source Material" which contains manuscripts and clippings that relate to her areas of interest and are annotated by her for use in specific personal writings.
Two folders devoted to the Children's Aid Society contain monthly reports, programs of the Department of Educational Dramatics, as well as show notes, cast lists and assorted brochures. Two folders of pagents, plays and dramas from the Children's Aid Society contain a chronological, assortment of programs, flyers and other ephemera pertaining to the plays and programs directed by Ms. Vermonte.
The last folder contains personal ephemera such as pamphlets relating to the Vermonté, School of Dramatic Expression or the Vermonté Repertory players. It is perceived to be a condensation of her work as teacher of dramatic education and artistic philosopher and idealist.