- Davis, Ossie
- Physical description
- 5 linear feet
- Preferred Citation
- Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee drama collection, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library
- Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
- Access to materials
- Advance notice required. Request access to this collection.
The Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee play scripts partially document the stage, screen and television careers of actor/director/writer Ossie Davis and his wife, actress Ruby Dee. The papers consist principally of scripts for plays, films and television which were written, directed or starred Davis as well as those featuring Dee. Some of the writers and movie and play titles represented are: Langston Hughes' "Emperor of Haiti;" Loften Mitchell's "The Cellar" and "The Phonograph;" Paule Marshall's "Brown Girl, Brownstones;" and Wole Soyinka's "Kongi's Harvest." Also included are short stories written by Davis, some personal and professional correspondence, several programs and playbills, reviews and other printed material. Additionally, there is a transcript of an interview with Sidney Poitier conducted by Ruby Dee in 1969 and four unpublished articles written by Eslanda Robeson between 1964 and 1965.
Ossie Davis is an actor, playwright and director who has performed for stage, film and television, and specializes in film production relating to black culture and history. Born in 1919 in Cogdell, Georgia, Davis attended Howard University from 1938 to 1941. His theater career began in the early 1940's with such plays to his credit as "Anna Lucasta," "No Time for Sergeants," "A Raisin in the Sun," and "Purlie Victorious." Three of the many films he acted in are "The Joe Louis Story," "The Slaves," and most recently, Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing." Davis co-scripted and co-directed "Cotton Comes to Harlem." He has been acting in television programs and been doing specials since 1951, often with his wife, the actress Ruby Dee.
Ruby Dee was born in 1923 in Cleveland, Ohio and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1945 from Hunter College. She served as an apprentice with the American Negro Theatre from 1941-1944. Her interests include writing and black history and culture. She debuted in 1943 in "South Pacific," and acted in Shakespearean plays, among others. Her films include "The Jackie Robinson Story," "St. Louis Blues," and "A Raisin in the Sun." Dee's long list of television credits include "Peyton Place," "To Be Young, Gifted and Black," and "The Fight Against Slavery.".
Source of acquisitionGift, Davis, Ossie, 1989
- Davis, Ossie
- Dee, Ruby
- Marshall, Paule, 1929-
- Mitchell, Loften
- Poitier, Sidney
- Robeson, Eslanda Goode, 1896-1965
- Soyinka, Wole
- African American actors
- African American dramatists
- African American motion picture producers and directors
- African American theater
- African Americans in the performing arts
- Screenwriters -- United States
- Short stories, American
- Theater -- United States
Using the collection
LocationSchomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10037-1801