Scope and arrangement
The Edward Mabley papers (1920s-1985) document Mabley's work as a playwright, a writer for radio and television, and an author. The collection holds scripts (produced and unproduced), scores, book manuscripts, correspondence, clippings, promotional materials, background and research materials, notes, and photographs. Material related to the Tatterman Marionettes is present.
Theatrical production files contain scripts, scores (some published), programs, clippings, correspondence, background materials, production notes, and a small number of photographs. Correspondence contains feedback about scripts and information regarding publication and rights. Mabley frequently revised and repurposed his scripts, and the files document multiple productions and hold multiple versions of scripts. Titles include Bon Voyage, Dick Whittington, The Feathered Serpent, Glad Tidings, The Mermaid in Lock No. 7, Piggy Bank Rag, The Plough and the Stars, Red Sky at Morning, Temper the Wind (earlier title: Drums of Peace), and The Twin Musicals (The Ascent of George W. Twitchell and No More Lovin'). Short scripts for the Tatterman Marionettes, dating to the 1920s and 1930s, are also here. The file for Mabley's opera, The Lady of the Lake, holds clippings and a program from after Mabley's death. Some story scenarios and proposals - including one for a film - are held here. The files include one folder of reports on plays under consideration for production at the Woodstock Playhouse in 1946, when Mabley was the theater's business manager.
The collection holds audio recordings of music, songs, and dialogue for some of the productions. Inquiries regarding audio materials in the collection may be directed to the Billy Rose Theatre Division (firstname.lastname@example.org). Audio materials will be subject to preservation evaluation and migration prior to access.
Writing and lecture files contain books, stories, and articles written by Mabley. They also contain records related to rights, royalties, and new editions, as well as research and background material for his writing and lectures. Lecture notes from Mabley's classes on playwriting are here, as are transcripts of New Dramatists Craft Discussions with playwrights (1955-1957). The majority of the files relate to Mabley's nonfiction books, Dramatic Construction and The Motor Balloon "America". The files hold multiple versions of a book Mabley adapted from Glad Tidings. Typescript travel journals from the 1970s and 1980s are also present.
Radio and television files contain scripts and a small number of clippings and letters. Mabley's scripts for The American School of the Air, and the television show The O'Neills (1949-1950), are well-represented. In some cases, the files hold multiple versions of scripts, adapted for different media; the scripts are not annotated.
The collection holds commercial scripts that Mabley wrote for television, short films, and live performances; many of the scripts were intended for the Tatterman Marionettes. Other marionette materials consist of a scrapbook of the Tatterman production of Peer Gynt, including photographs, programs, clippings, and promotional materials; a 1936 article that Mabley wrote about the use of marionettes in advertising; and photographs and pamphlets of window displays and other advertisements. Scripts for Tatterman productions can be found in the theatrical production files.
Materials are arranged in six categories: commercial scripts, radio files, Tatterman Marionettes materials, television files, theatrical productions files, and writing and lecture files. Theatrical productions are arranged alphabetically.