Scope and arrangement
The collection (1936-1975, 1992) holds correspondence, writings, scripts, contract agreements, and promotional material relating to Leonard's representation of playwrights and to her writing of editorial columns and books. The collection also contains a small amount of personal correspondence between Leonard and friends and family.
The bulk of the collection is comprised of Leonard's literary agent files. The files are arranged alphabetically by playwright or subject and hold correspondence, reviews by play-readers, box office statements, royalty agreements, and newspaper clippings. One file containing miscellaneous materials precedes the alphabetical run. Correspondence reflects Leonard's deep involvement with her clients' play-writing through her close inspection of scripts, proposed edits, and discussions of ideas for new plays. Contract agreements for the production of plays, publishing information, and the sending and receiving of scripts are also discussed in detail. Correspondents include playwrights, publishing companies, and theater producers and directors. Examples of subjects in the agent files include actors, contracts, the Playwrights' Arena, press releases, producers, and television. This collection contains several boilerplates created by Leonard. Each plate consists of portions of type or handwritten letters adhered together. These plates are heavily annotated with notes and dates. In general, the correspondence on the plates are from playwrights inquiring about Leonard reviewing their plays, responses to her feedback, or her rejection letters. While some individual agent files may contain boilerplates, folders containing only the boilerplates are also present. "M.P." files, labeled by the creator, are arranged in a separate alphabetical run (by playwright) following the agent files. M.P. files contain correspondence, promotional material, and boilerplates relating to playwrights Leonard represented. Among the several playwrights represented in this collection are Phillip Yordan, A.B. Shiffrin, Robert Thom, Robert E. McEnroe, Sydney Michaels, Philip Van Dyke, and Norman Vane. Productions discussed in the agent files include Anna Lucasta, Angel in the Pawnshop, I Like It Here, and The Silver Whistle, among others.
Files that relate to Philip Yordan's work, Anna Lucasta, are extensive and document Yordan and Leonard's relationship from the book's initial publication in 1936 through its several materializations on the stage and in film. Regional and international productions are documented through contract agreements between Yordan, Leonard, and various theater and film producers; correspondence; script excerpts; and programs. Correspondence ranges from purely professional logistics regarding agreements and productions, to more lighthearted notes between Yordan and Leonard. Royalties, advertising, and a Yiddish adaptation of the play are documented in detail. Another of Yordan's works, Any Day Now, is also represented in this collection.
Files relating to playwright A.B. Shiffrin cover his works Angel in a Pawnshop and I Like It Here. Correspondence reflects Leonard's involvement with almost every aspect of Shiffrin's writing career. Book publication reprints, changes in scripts for various adaptations, and communicative efforts between other agents, producers, directors, and the media are documented. Royalty earnings, box office returns, and regional productions are among other topics of correspondence. Royalty statements from Samuel French and Dramatists Play Service document the sale of Shiffrin's works.
This collection holds scripts written by playwrights that Leonard represented. Works by Roscoe Brink, Robert McEnroe, Jack Perry, A.B. Shiffrin, Robert Thom, Charles Anghoff, Phillip Yordan, Helen Hanff, R.C. Lesser, and Meyer Levin are included, among others. Scripts are both dated and undated, annotated and unannotated.
Professional files in this collection hold correspondence, column and novel drafts, notes on plays Leonard reviewed, articles, and programs. Her column, "Launching New Playwrights," is represented through correspondence with editors, fan mail, and drafts and clippings of the columns. Early drafts of her published guide, Launching Your Play: The First Guide for Playwrights from the Practical Approach and Services of a Play Agent, are present. Professional files also hold drafts, notes, synopses, and correspondence relating to Two of her unpublished works, Page to Stage: Play Agent's Dossier and Playwrights I Have Loved and Lost (or Comes Success). The collection also holds two stamps with Leonard's contact information and a hand-held embosser for her representation of Philip Yordan's Anna Lucasta.
Leonard's work with the Group Theatre is documented through correspondence and written accounts of the time she spent with some of the members of the group, including Alexander Kirkland, Melvin Levy, Margaret Barker, and Robert Hethmon. Meetings with the group and one summer tour are documented in detail. Summaries of the Group's mission, meeting minutes, correspondence, and notes dating from 1936 to 1938 are here.
This collection holds a limited amount of personal and family-related documents. Primarily composed of correspondence, the files reveal Leonard's close relationship with her niece, Ethel Booth, widow of British aristocrat and television producer Sir Philip Booth.
The collection is predominately in English with some material in Hebrew, German, and Chinese.
The collection is arranged into four categories: Agent Files; Scripts; Professional Associations, Activities, and Writing; and Personal Material. Personal Material is arranged chronologically; all other categories are arranged alphabetically by playwright or subject.