Scope and arrangement
The papers of Clifford Odets consist of scripts, notes, correspondence, journals, photographs, research materials, scrapbooks, and clippings that document his career as a playwright. The papers are divided into different aspects of his work in order for the researcher to appreciate the development of his plays and other writings. The papers provide an overview of Odets' artistic and technical writing process.
The strength of this collection is in the abundant amount of his writings and notes, which exhibit Odets' creative writing techniques. These notes and written annotations in the scripts illuminate Odets' work habits and show his artistic progression. The papers illustrate Odets' change in writing style during the course of his career. Overall, the collection provides ample material for the researcher to gain an insight into Odets as a playwright and a person.
The Clifford Odets papers are arranged in fourteen series:
- 1926-19632 boxes
This series contains diaries and journals written by Clifford Odets in the years 1926, 1932, 1940, 1953, 1955, 1958, 1961, and 1963. The 1940 journal has been published under the title The Journal of Clifford Odets in 1940.
- 1951-19634 folders
This series contains Clifford Odets appointment years for the years, 1951, 1953, 1955, and 1963.
- 1935-19613 folders
This series contains correspondence written to and by Odets. It includes correspondence from Harold Clurman, Dave Chasen, and Group Theatre. Most of the correspondence written by Odets is to Milly Maden.
This includes plays and screenplays that were written by Clifford Odets and were produced during his career. It consists of scripts, research materials, and notes.
This series includes plays and screenplays written by Clifford Odets, but never produced. This series also includes notes and research materials. The unproduced plays are Law of Flight, Mother's Day, 910 Eden Street, Three Sisters, and Victory. The unproduced screenplays are April Showers, Gettysburg, Rhapsody in Blue, Sister Carrie, and The Three Sisters.
- 1943-19621 box
This includes synopses written by Clifford Odets for potential plays or screenplays. However, the papers reveal no evidence that Odets continued the development of these stories. The titles that are included are: The Actor, The Children's Title, The Piano Store, and Private Treaty.
- 1 box
This series includes typescripts of short stories and poems written by Clifford Odets. Many are untitled and without publication information. The titles that are included are: By the Sea, A Faint Smile, My Friend the Greek, Olive Wetson, One Hot Night, School Incident, Small Birds, Small Birds Fly Against the Wind, The Story of Pat Lawrence, and The Violinist.
This series contains extensive notes written by Odets. This series reveals Clifford Odets' artistic development in the writing of his plays and other works. Also included are some of Odets' personal and domestic notes.
- 1936-19611 box
This series includes articles written by Clifford Odets that were published in magazines and other serials. Also included are typed speeches made at special events. Of note is a copy of a eulogy he wrote in honor of Jerry Wald.
This includes biographical notes on Clifford Odets and his family collected by Margaret Brenman-Gibson for a book on Clifford Odets entitled Clifford Odets, the American Playwright.
- 1 box
This series contains personal photographs of Clifford Odets. Also included in the series are research photographs used by Odets to obtain a perspective on the characters and setting that he would use in his plays.
- 1 box
This series contains Clifford Odets paintings done in watercolor. The titles of the paintings are written on the back of the painting. The titles are in the sequence found in the box.
- 1934-19553 boxes
This series contains Clifford Odets' scrapbooks dating from 1934-1939 and 1941- 1962. The scrapbooks consist of clippings, programs, photographs, letters, cards, and newsletters.
- 1 box
This series consists of items removed from other parts of the collection due to their size. Included are notes for Law of Flight, Clash By Night and The Big Knife.