Scope and arrangement
The Jo Mielziner papers span the years 1903-1976, reflecting his long and varied career as set and lighting designer, theater architect and consultant, writer, and speaker. The largest parts of the collection are the production files and architectural and design projects which consist of fifty-six boxes. The oversized designs have been cataloged as *T-VIM 1993-002, Jo Mielziner Designs and Technical Drawings, and have a separate finding aid. Both production and architectural project files include extensive amounts of technical drawings, painter's elevations, rough sketches, renderings, materials samples, notes, and correspondence. Almost every play, musical, ballet, opera or project Mielziner worked on is represented and, for the most part, can be followed from inception to finished technical drawings.
Mielziner corresponded with notable theater people of his time, many of them not only colleagues but friends, as well. Twenty-one boxes of correspondence include letters from Brooks Atkinson, Lucinda Ballard, Harold Clurman, Henry Fonda, Leland Hayward, Elia Kazan, Joshua Logan, Mary Martin, Laurence Olivier, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, Rosalind Russell, Irene Selznick, and Tennessee Williams among many others. Letters and memos noting his active participation in American National Theatre and Academy (ANTA), United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), United Scenic Artists Local 807, and other organizations are also part of the collection.
Family correspondence is included with personal papers, which also house a book of sketches by Mielziner when he was twelve, notes about his childhood by his mother, and papers related to his residences and studios.
The remainder of the collection consists of office and financial files, drafts and notes for his books Designing for the Theatreand The Shapes of Our Theatre, notes for many of his personal appearances and lists of exhibitions of his designs. The photograph series is largely production related but does include some portraits and snapshots of Mielziner and photos from his time in the military. Clippings in an oversized scrapbook give insight into the early days of the young designer.
The Jo Mielziner papers are arranged in thirteen series:
Included in this series are biographical materials; Mielziner family correspondence; medical papers; Christmas card lists; papers concerning Mielziner's residences and offices; correspondence documenting his bequest to the New York Public Library; correspondence re awards and honorary degrees; book, script and art inventories; a book of early sketches by Mielziner; notes about his childhood by his mother; and his Army papers.
This series consists of both personal and professional correspondence. Well-known correspondents include actors, directors, writers and designers. Some correspondents include: George Abbott, Walter Abel, Brian Aherne, Edward Albee, Theoni V. Aldredge, Maxwell Anderson, Robert Anderson, Sherwood Anderson, Joseph Anthony, Robert Ardrey, Brooks Atkinson, Lemuel Ayers, Word Baker, Lucinda Ballard, Anne Baxter, Cecil Beaton, Hugh Beaumont, S.N. Behrman, Uta Hagen and Herbert Berghof, Irving Berlin, Claire Bloom, Kermit Bloomgarden, Shirley Booth, Charles Boyer, Romney Brent, Leslie Bricusse, Freddie Brisson, Peter Brook, John Mason Brown, Abe Burrows, Zoe Caldwell, Morris and Phoebe Carnovsky, Gower Champion, Schuyler Chapin, Paddy Chayevsky, Harold Clurman, Alvin Colt, Patricia Collinge, Comden and Green, Katharine Cornell, Edward Gordon Craig, Cheryl Crawford, Hume Cronyn, Russel Crouse, Morton DaCosta, Millia Davenport, Joe Davis, Alfred DeLiagre, Agnes DeMille, Colleen Dewhurst, Howard Dietz, Ian Dow, Eddie Dowling, Mildred Dunnock, Florence Eldridge, Lehman Engel, Edith Evans, Nanette Fabray, Edna Ferber, Jose Ferrer, Feuer and Martin, Zelda Fichandler, Betty Field, Dorothy and Herbert Fields, Henry Fonda, Ketti Frings, John Gassner, John Gielgud, Lillian Gish, Ruth Gordon, Mordecai Gorelik, Peter Glenville, Tyrone Guthrie, Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Oscar Hammerstein, E.Y. Harburg, Hugh Hardy, Julie Harris, Rex Harrison, Moss Hart, Helen Hayes, David Hays, Leland Hayward, Teresa Helburn, Lillian Hellman, Audrey Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn, George Roy Hill, Al Hirschfeld, Hal Holbrook, John Houseman, Sidney Howard, Peter Hunt, William Inge, Dorothy Jeakins, Margo Jones, Robert Edmond Jones, Edward Kook, Garson Kanin, George S. Kaufman, Elia Kazan, Kennedy Family, Deborah Kerr, John Kerr, Walter Kerr, Michael Kidd, Richard Kiley, Burton Lane, Michael Langham, Arthur Laurents, Lawrence and Lee, Gertrude Lawrence, Ming Cho Lee, Carolyn Leigh, Alan Jay Lerner, Robert Lewis, Howard Lindsay, Frank Loesser, Joshua Logan, Anita Loos, Clare Booth Luce, Alfred Lunt, Roddy MacDowell, Guthrie McClintic, Mainbocher, Karl Malden, Marya Mannes, Fredric March, Ernest Martin, Mary Martin, Raymond Massey, Johnny Mercer, Ethel Merman, David Merrick, Oliver Messel, James Michener, Arthur Miller, Worthington Miner, Tanya Moiseiwitsch, Grandma Moses, Elliott Nugent, Donald Oenslager, Laurence Olivier, Eugene O'Neill and his wife, Carlotta, George Oppenheimer, Paul Osborn, Stuart Ostrow, Geraldine Page, Estelle Parsons, John Patrick, Antoinette Perry, Cole Porter, Tyrone Power, Hal Prince, Jose Quintero, Ellis Rabb, Claude Rains, Tony Randall, Elmer Rice, Ralph Richardson, Cyril Ritchard, Carrie F. Robbins, Jerome Robbins, Richard Rodgers, Harold Rome, Billy Rose, Rosalind Russell, Arthur Schwartz, Marian Seldes, David O. Selznick, Irene Sharaff, Robert Sherwood, Herman Shumlin, Phil Silvers, Cornelia Otis Skinner, Walter Slezak, Oliver Smith, Steven Sondheim, Roger L. Stevens, Peter Stone, Jule Styne, Margaret Sullavan, Dore Schary, Alan Schneider, Irene Selznick, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, Lee Simonson, John Steinbeck, GeorgeTabori and Viveca Lindfors, Jessica Tandy, Howard Teichman, John Van Druten, Gwen Verdon, Gore Vidal, Eli Wallach, Robert Whitehead, the White House, Emlyn Williams, Tennessee Williams, Dwight Deere Wiman, Audrey Wood, Alexander Woollcott, Teresa Wright, Franco Zeffirelli and Patricia Zipprodt.
Correspondence, memos and newsletters concerning Jo Mielziner's involvement in ANTA, The Century Association, The Coffee House Club, United Scenic Artists Local 829, United States Institute for Theatre Technology, and the U.S. State Department Office of Cultural Presentation.
This series includes produced and unproduced works and proposed projects. Most of the files contain production related correspondence, contracts, technical notes, rough sketches and renderings, research materials, cast and crew information, color samples and small technical drawings for plays, musicals, ballets, and operas. [Oversized materials are filed in *T-VIM 1993-002: Designs and Technical Drawings]
This series documents Mielziner as designer, co-designer, or consultant for various architectural and industrial projects such as the Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center Beaumont and Forum theaters, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the Ford Foundation Ideal Theater, and the NY World's Fair AT & T and Vatican Pavilions, among many others. The files, consisting of memos, correspondence, notes, and some rough sketches, represent completed projects as well as those that were either canceled or refused.
Office correspondence covers design and domestic personnel, student interns, set design copyrights, and reproductions of Mielziner's designs for publication use. Included are lists of productions and architectural and industrial design projects, technical files (i.e., automatic stage systems to lists of paints and color charts), blueprint records, lists of owners of Mielziner renderings and drawings, and notebooks containing studio storage locations of designs and drawings.
Financial files include production costs, expenses, design fees, Broadway show investments, income tax records, and monthly records of disbursements and income. One folder of personal finance information includes lists of the contents of Mielziner's safe deposit box and stocks and bonds.
The series consists of drafts, correspondence, and notes regarding Mielziner's books Designing for the Theatre and The Shapes of Our Theatre. Box 95 contains articles written by and about Mielziner.
The files consist of correspondence, lectures, notes, and brochures and document Mielziner's participation in seminars, conferences, and symposia both in the United States and abroad.
This series, arranged by gallery or institution, consists of brochures, correspondence, and loan agreements for the use of Mielziner's works.
This series includes photographs from producions, exhibits and the personal life of Jo Mielziner and is arranged in five sub-series.
The subject files consist of general research files covering such areas as theater architecture, lighting, and nightclubs. Theater articles by George Oppenheimer are included in this series.
An oversized scrapbook is filled with clippings about Mielziner and his career from 1920-1939. The second scrapbook is made up of photographs taken on the occasion of Robert Edmond Jones' 60th birthday at the Coffee House Club.