Scope and arrangement
The John Van Druten Papers consist of diaries, correspondence, personal papers, ephemera, scrapbooks and writings documenting his life and career. The papers span the years 1901-1957. Photographs were separated and included in B photo files and autographed photograph collection. (See separation sheet). The papers give an excellent insight into Van Druten's creative processes and include much information on his intellectual interests. Missing from the collection are scripts of his most well-known works, rather the collection includes many other literary forms including essays, parodies and poetry.
The John Van Druten papers are arranged in six series:
- 1940-19571 box
This series includes handwritten and typed diaries describing Van Druten's creative processes, personal life and experiences. Some of the most interesting material in these diaries is the detailed notation concerning the thought process and evolution of his writing. The diaries also include recollections, observations and experiences during his travels as well as introspective commentary on his feelings and beliefs. Some of the typed pages are carbon copies of personal letters to his friend and colleague, Dodie Smith.
- 1926-19571 box
Letters includes personal and business correspondence concerning Van Druten's life and career. Much of the correspondence is from famous literary and theatrical personages of his day. Included are: Jocelyn Brooke, Maurice Evans, Christopher Hassall, Aldous Huxley, Margaret Irwin, Gertrude Lawrence, Cathleen Nesbitt, J. B. Priestley, Dame Flora Robson, Alfred Savoir, Margaret Sullavan and Dame Sybil Thorndike.
- 1901-195411 folders
Van Druten's personal papers consist of primary source documents such as birth certificates, naturalization certificates, passports, degrees and certifications. Included is both the naturalization papers for him and his father and his law degree and certificates.
- 1923-19538 folders
Ephemera in this collection includes awards, programs, sketches and photographs. Of special note are photographs of Van Druten's California ranch and a pen and ink sketch from the play The Distaff Side.
- 2 boxes
Writings include essays / articles, parodies, plays, poetry and synopses written by John Van Druten. It is undermined whether much of this materials was ever published.
- 1924-19303 volumes
Scrapbooks contains clippings documenting his early works which were produced both in the United States and England. Productions included are The Return of the Soldier; Diversion; Young Woodley and Chance Acquaintance.