Scope and arrangement
The Claudia McNeil Scrapbooks, donated by The Actors' Fund of America after McNeil's death, were created by the late performer during the course of her career and consist of twelve volumes spanning the years 1938 to 1981. The contents include newspaper and magazine feature articles, reviews, advertisements, programs, poems, telegrams, letters, photographs, greeting cards, and handwritten notes arranged chronologically by her engagements or performances, with the predominate amount of material documenting her arrival at the pinnacle of her career in A Raisin in the Sun.
Most of the nine original scrapbooks exist except one. Four scrapbooks covering the years 1945 to 1958 were photocopied and are withdrawn from public use due to their brittle and fragile condition. Scrapbooks 1 to 3 cover her early career as a singer, dancer, her forays with summer stock productions, and her travel with the Katherine Dunham Revue in Latin America and the Caribbean. Her Broadway debut in The Crucible can also be found here.
Scrapbooks 4 to 8 capture those aspects of McNeil's career that became her theatrical legacy - her role as Mama Lena Younger in A Raisin in the Sun. These volumes highlight McNeil's and others' role in that Broadway production, the tour, and movie as well as other early theatre and film ventures. Photocopies from the Wedding Album comprise scrapbook 9.
Some loose items were found in the scrapbooks and were placed in folders 10 to 13 that primarily document her role in A Raisin in the Sun revivals, Amen Corner, Horowitz and Mrs. Washington, films, plus sundry personal achievements.