Scope and arrangement
The Vincent J. Donehue Papers document the director's professional career bringing plays to the stage and the television screen in the 1950s and early 1960s. The collection consists of correspondence, scripts, notes, contracts, financial reports, manuscripts and clippings. The bulk of the collection is annotated scripts for television shows and Broadway plays directed by Donehue and the strength of the collection is here and in the production files which include detailed written discussions with playwrights and producers on script development. There is almost no personal material and nothing from his early career.
The Vincent J. Donehue papers are arranged in six series:
- 1946-19667 folders
This series includes letters to Donehue on professional and personal matters from various individuals. Included here are cards from Horton Foote and Mary Martin, congratulatory telegrams, miscellaneous letters on a variety of topics, and letters from unidentified individuals. Of interest are the broadcast letters from Richard Halliday on his trip to Brazil with his wife, Mary Martin, and the warm letters of friendship and thanks to Donehue from Dore Schary. There are also a couple of letters by Donehue here, but most of his letters are filed under production title in Series II: Production Files.
- 1957-19661 box
This series contains correspondence, notes, partial scripts, cast lists, contracts and financial reports arranged alphabetically by production title. It includes correspondence discussing scripts with authors Morris West on Daughter of Silence, Gore Vidal on Honor which was shown on television's Playwrights 56, and Robert Penn Warren on Listen to the Mocking Bird which was not produced. Particularly rich are the detailed discussions in notes and letters by Donehue, Richard Halliday, Leland Hayward and Howard Lindsay illuminating the research that went into the development and script changes of The Sound of Music, including notes and transcripts from phone conversations with the Baroness Maria Von Trapp, whose life was fictionalized in the story, and with Sister Gregory, a nun at Rosary College, who gave guidance on the convent scene. Other productions included are Annie Get Your Gun, Catch Me If You Can, Jennie, Lord Pengo, Lonelyhearts, and Sunrise at Campobello.
- ca. 19591 folder
This file consists of two versions of Leading Ladies in My Life and a copy of A Man in Three Mediums published in Theatre Arts, June 1959.
- 1949-196621 folders
Clippings consist of reviews of Donehue's productions, general interviews with him, articles on his family, and clippings on the opening of the Washington Theater Festival at Meridian Hill Park Theatre in 1949 under the auspices of Donehue's Productions, Inc. The National Theater, the capitol's only live theater, had closed down the year before rather than face an integrated audience.
- 12 boxes
Consists of scripts annotated by Donehue for many of the theatrical and television productions he directed. Includes a complete run of the weekly Gabby Hayes series [1950-1951].
- ca. 19571 folder
Consists of one award Donehue received for the television production of Annie Get Your Gun  and an unidentified photograph .