Scope and arrangement
The Eunice Stoddard Papers document her brief career in dance from 1926 to 1928 and her longer career in the theater from 1926 to 1938. The papers consist of correspondence, opening night messages, programs, clippings, a small number of photographs, and playscripts and sides marked in her own hand with acting and staging notes. There are also examples of various research sources and several styles of choreographic notation that Stoddard studied and used to stage dance pageants.
The papers are divided into series representing the years before and during her membership in the Group Theatre, and into sub-series documenting individual productions. Productions from 1928 to 1934, comprising the three years before and the three years after she joined the Group Theatre, form the bulk of the collection. Each production sub-series typically includes a script or side, opening night telegrams and messages from fellow cast members, family members, and acting teachers, a program, and a generous selection of reviews from New York and out-of town newspapers. Among the clippings are newspaper photographs of Stoddard in productions in which she had major roles: Revolt (Box 2, Folders 9-10), Meet the Prince (Box 2, Folder 14), Re-Born (Box 2, Folder 20), A Month in the Country (Box 2, Folders 36-37), The Life Line (Box 3, Folders 11-12) and The House of Connelly (Box 3, Folder 20).
Although there is but one letter from each, notable correspondents include Richard Boleslavsky (Box 1, Folder 32), and Group Theatre members Cheryl Crawford, Bobby Lewis, and Harold Clurman (Box 1, Folders 2-4). Founding members of the Group Theatre can be identified in a photograph depicting the company seated on the grounds of Brookfield Center in Connecticut during the summer of 1931, with each person identified on the back of the photograph (Box 1, Folder 8).
Several playscripts of productions not seen on Broadway, mostly with the playwright unidentified, form the last series of papers.
The Eunice Stoddard papers are arranged in six series:
- 1913-193816 folders
Arranged by format, this series contains a small amount of personal correspondence, personal and production photographs arranged by date, a childhood drawing, and programs and clippings reflecting Stoddard's interests in dance and theater. Correspondence includes notes from Cheryl Crawford and Harold Clurman of the Group Theatre, and an exchange with Bobby Lewis about ideas for teaching acting in the Group Theatre Studio school. Photos from several dance and theatrical productions, as well as a group portrait of the Group Theatre, are included. Notable among the clippings are articles documenting the philosophy and projects of the Theatre Guild and the Group Theatre. Among the dance clippings are photographic reproductions of the dancers Anna and Lisa Duncan and of Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, and a series of costume and set renderings by the dance designer Pavel Tchelitchew.
- 1926-192814 folders
This series is a chronological arrangement of Stoddard's early career in dance. It contains instruction booklets and examples of "Script Dancing," a system of choreographic notation that Stoddard learned in Germany, a written description of a dance piece set to Beethoven's Sonata in D Minor, and a draft proposal for a summer dance pageant in Richmond, Massachusetts. Also included are production materials for three dance pageants in which Stoddard served as choreographer: The Golden Cage, arranged from the poems of William Blake; The Image of Artemis from Iphigenia in Tauris by Euripides; and The Birth of Christ by Ludwig Weber. Among the production materials are choreographic descriptions and notations, typescripts, programs, and several clippings with sources unidentified. Of particular interest is a draft of a letter expressing Stoddard's dissatisfaction with rehearsals of The Image of Artemis and asking that her name be removed from the program.
- ca. 1926-19285 folders
This series consists of correspondence and ephemera relating to Stoddard's training with the American Laboratory Theatre. The correspondence consists of two letters: the first from Richard Boleslavsky outlining the financial difficulties of the Company and releasing Stoddard to look for other work, and the second from Elizabeth Bigelow inviting Stoddard to continue to rehearse with the company and inquiring about the dance pageant in Richmond. Included in the ephemera are programs and clippings of American Laboratory Theatre productions in which Stoddard does not appear to have been involved; The Pit, a periodical published by the American Laboratory Theatre on each of their opening nights; and a brochure about the Dramatic School, which lists the faculty, among them John Mason Brown, a critic, Richard Boleslavsky, the director and acting teacher, and Maria Ouspenskaya. Stella Adler was a member of the company.
- 1933 [bulk 1928-1931]58 folders
Arranged chronologically, this series consists of materials relating to productions in which Stoddard had roles before she began her association with the Group Theatre in 1931. The exception is Three-Cornered Moon, in which she was engaged in 1933, between productions with the Group Theatre. The series contains correspondence, programs, opening night messages and other ephemera, scripts, clippings and reviews. Among the clippings are several large newspaper photographs of Stoddard in various parts. Particularly notable are the Theatre Guild production of Turgenev's A Month in the Country, and the Theatre Guild Studio production of Red Rust by V. Kirchon and A. Ouspensky, produced by Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford, whose cast members included Lee Strasberg, Luther Adler, Franchot Tone and Ruth Nelson, all of whom joined the Group Theatre.
- bulk 1931-193634 folders
This series consists of a limited amount of correspondence and opening night messages from fellow cast members, acting teachers, family and friends, as well as scripts, sides, programs and clippings from Group Theatre productions in which Stoddard had a part. As Stoddard had better roles in the early years of the Group Theatre, the material from productions in the first three years is correspondingly richer. Representative material from the Boston runs as well as the Broadway runs of some productions is included. Although Stoddard also appeared in the Group Theatre production of Casey Jones in 1938, the papers do not include any material from that production.
- 19265 folders
This series consists of playscripts and sides from five unknown and/or unproduced shows, arranged alphabetically. The only script that appears complete and fully identifiable is of Sump'n Like Wings, written by Lynn Riggs in 1926 but never produced in New York. It is possible that some of the scripts could be early drafts of shows produced later under a different title.