Scope and arrangement
The William Elliott Papers consist primarily of his work on Off-Broadway and Broadway productions. The bulk of scores in the collection are from Pirates of Penzance (14 boxes), as well as a significant amount of production materials. In some cases, the materials (scores or production materials) do not contain evidence of Elliott's connection. There are no papers from his childhood or the early years of his career (i.e. the 1960s), and very little material with insight into his personal life.
The William Elliott papers are arranged in four series:
- 1965-1984, undated0.75 linear feet (2 boxes)
Consists primarily of school homework and notes, as well as some professionally related items such as instruction manuals for synthesizers. One folder contains a genealogy of his mother's family, and Elliott is mentioned. The second box contains sheet music owned by Elliott, although the context of where or how it was used is not always obvious. This series does not contain any personal documents other than his resume.
- 1971-1985, undated11.67 linear feet (35 boxes)
This series best represents Elliott’s career with the New York Shakespeare Festival. The only major work from his time at La Mama E.T.C. is C.O.R.F.A.X. (Don’t Ask), for which he won an OBIE award for best music in 1974 (the Off-Broadway awards given by the Village Voice). There are scores for two other known productions from La Mama: Jack’s Mother is Missing Her Melons and Juba. His work on Ain't Misbehavin' is also well documented. Some of the scores are from short-lived or unknown productions, or were collaborations that he did not receive credit for.
- 1.668 linear feet (4 boxes)
These boxes contain papers related to the productions Elliott worked on in the 1970s and 1980s, and include scripts, lyrics, articles, programs, audition comments, schedules, and other notes. There are no photographs in this series. Of note are scripts such as Shakespeare's Henry V, which has Elliott's notes on the show's music written in the margins. Another important folder holds affidavits and other legal information pertaining to a lawsuit Elliott filed against an Irish production company that was using his music for Pirates of Penzance. In one of the affidavits, Elliott detailed the exact work he performed when he adapted the original Gilbert and Sullivan score.
- 1980-1982, undated0.917 linear feet (2 boxes)
This series contains oversized scores for Non Pasquale and Pirates of Penzance. It also has one advertising poster for Pirates, which features the cast and musicians, including Elliott.