Scope and arrangement
The Rose McClendon Scrapbooks consists of two volumes, dating from 1916 to 1935, that were donated by her husband, Dr. Henry Pruden McClendon's estate in 1950. They contain articles, reviews of plays, playbills, programs, telegrams, photographs, poems, and correspondence, arranged chronologically by her most ardent supporter and fan, Dr. McClendon. Opening night telegrams were sent to her from Leigh Whipper, Harry Burleigh, Countee Cullen, and Jules Bledsoe as well as her husband; Carl Van Vechten and Walter White, among others, sent letters.
The Rose McClendon scrapbooks are arranged in two series:
The scrapbooks are arranged by play; volume 1 is dated 1919 to 1931, and volume 2 covers 1932 to 1935. Volume 1, the larger of the two scrapbooks due to its date coverage, contains more reviews of McClendon's work than volume 2. In volume 1, the identification of the newspaper and magazines in which reviews appear is not always available. Most reviews of McClendon's early work, including: Roseanne (1924), Deep River and In Abraham's Bosom (1926); The Cat and the Canary and Porgy (1927) are from New York newspapers. Reviews in the Public Ledger and The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia), Providence Journal, Variety, The Evening Telegram (Toronto) Inter-State Tattler, The Christian Science Monitor, McCalls, Theatre World, and the Tatler are also represented. Reviews of Porgy are more numerous due to its more extensive run. Articles about McClendon, letters, telegrams and poems to her, programs of the plays she appeared in, and photographs are dispersed throughout this volume.
Volume 2, 1932 to 1935, consists of newspaper and magazine reviews covering the latter part of her career in the following productions: House of Connelly, Never No More, Black Souls, Brain Sweat, Roll Sweet Chariot, Panic, and the radio presentation of John Henry: Black River Giant. Coverage was provided by New York City newspapers, the Pittsburgh Courier, Variety, Chicago Daily News, Chicago Defender, Philadelphia Independent, the Toronto Daily Star, and the Tatler for these plays. With the exception of John Henry, McClendon usually received over half dozen telegrams for each of the aforementioned productions. Although some plays (Black Souls and Panic) received negative reviews, McClendon's performances were always highly acclaimed by theatre critics.