Scope and arrangement
This collection is primarily composed of material created by the Playwrights' Company's publicity department, such as company history files, play files, photographs, posters, and scrapbooks for many of the company's plays. Also present are some letters and contracts relating to the management of the company.
The Playwrights' Company records are arranged in five series:
This series contains publicity material related to the company, as well as a small number of contracts and communications with the company. Press material includes articles about the company, press announcements commemorating the company's 10th, 15th, and 20th anniversaries, photographs of the company's founding members, lists of affiliated cast members and contributors, and political speeches and statements given by members concerning the Nazi atrocities before and during World War II and racial segregation in theaters. Among the letters are items to and from Walter Alford and Charles L. Swift, among others.
These files consist of publicity materials created for most of the shows that the company produced. Included in the files are cast and contributor biographies; biographical questionnaires filled out by the actor; cast lists; drafts of press releases; rehearsal, opening, and closing announcements; printed fliers and notices; programs; and clippings. Occasionally these files also contain material documenting the management of the play, such as communications with actors' agents, receipts for printing and photography orders, and hotel lists for touring shows.
This series contains photograph files kept by the Playwrights' Company's publicity department and is organized by individuals and productions. The Individuals Files consist of publicity shots of actors, playwrights, and other theater contributors, as well as several half-tone metal printing plates used for creating promotional material. Some of the Individuals Files include images from Playwright Company plays. The Productions Files document plays produced by the company.
This series contains posters of many of the productions represented in the collection. The General section has various sizes of posters from small fliers to 14 by 22 inch posters on card stock, which were mostly printed by Artcraft Litho. and Printing Company, Inc. Also present are several 3 by 7 foot posters for The Ballet Theatre, Lost in the Stars, A Quiet Place, and The Ponder Heart.
This series is comprised of three types of scrapbooks: general scrapbooks documenting the company's activities, actor scrapbooks for prominent affiliated performers, and production scrapbooks for many of their most successful plays. The books contain various types of clippings from newspapers and magazines, including play reviews; actor, director, and producer interviews; and advertisements and announcements. The volumes also contain programs and flyers, and occasionally photographs, letters, and press statements.