Scope and arrangement
The Ray Henderson papers consist of correspondence, personal papers and ephemera, clippings and professional materials from his career as a publicist and advance man, that document both his personal life and his work for many of the theater personalities of the early 20th century. The papers are rich in information on early 20th century theater through the voluminous and news-filled correspondence of many actors who were both friends and clients of Henderson. Notables include George Arliss, Katharine Cornell, E. H. Sothern and Julia Marlowe.
The personal papers illuminate other facets of his life including his early years and his family. A diary, written by a young Ray Henderson, describes both the theater and the opera tours which came to Colorado and shows how his early love for performance developed into his career. There is a significant amount of personal photographs, though many are unidentifed, showing family members in Colorado in the early 20th century.
Other professional materials include tour diaries and itineraries for publicity tours of such notables as Ethel Barrymore, Sothern and Marlowe and Katharine Cornell. One tragic addition to the collection is the binder and papers which were found with his body after the plane crash off the Athens coast. Press releases and writings in typescript form complete this material. A series of scrapbooks contain clippings, as well as an occasional program or press release, on various productions.
The Ray Henderson papers are arranged in five series:
- 1904-19371 box
This series contains a diary of his early years, clippings, passports and personal documents as well as photographs of his family and friends. Of special interest is a set of photographs with clippings about the destruction of the set for the Forbes-Robertson Company production of Caesar and Cleopatra. Other significant photographs include images of hospitals and battlefields of World War I, with one extremely graphic photograph of a mutilated body. Other items of interest are the family photographs and obituary for his brother, Alva, who died in the influenza epidemic of 1918.
- 1905-19374 boxes
This series contains letters from friends and clients of Ray Henderson during his career as publicity agent and advance man. Many are informative letters on the theater and personal news. Correspondents include George Arliss, Mary Daly (employee of Sothern and Marlowe), Maxine Elliott, Burns Mantle, H. T. Parker, Julia Marlowe, E. H. Sothern and Blanche Yurka. Of special note are a few missives from Henderson family members.
- 2 boxes
This series consists of professional papers documenting Henderson's career and is comprised of two sub-series.
- ca. 1915-19361 box
This series consists of clippings about Henderson clients as well as things in which he was interested. Topics include George Arliss, Ethel Barrymore, Walter Hampden's production of Hamlet, James K. Hackett's production of Macbeth, and Sothern and Marlowe. General interest topics include opera and theater.
- 1934-193810 boxes
This series contains scrapbooks of clippings, with the occasional press release and program, on the listed play titles. The scrapbooks were more than likely kept by Katharine Cornell and donated by her. Most ot these scrapbooks are very fragile, some are unbound, please handle with extreme care.