Scope and arrangement
The Willis Richardson papers consists of correspondence, ephemera and scrapbooks and document his career in theater. Though sketchy with many gaps there is some correspondence from noted black playwrights and actors including Eulalie Spence, Ridgely Torrence, Paul Robeson and Frank H. Wilson. There are some interesting programs from early black theater companies, high schools and universities. Of special note is a program for an awards dinner given by Opportunity magazine.
The Willis Richardson papers are arranged in three series:
- 1910-197549 folders
The correspondence series contains letters written to Willis Richardson from friends and professional acquaintances. Included are letters from Heywood Broun, Walt Disney, W.E.B. DuBois, Randolph Edmonds, John LaFarge, Alain LeRoy Locke, Richard Nixon, Raymond O'Neil, Paul Robeson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Eulalie Spence, Ridgely Torrence, Carl Van Vechten and Frank H. Wilson, among others.
- 1910-197123 folders
This series consists of personal papers, ephemera and programs from the life and career of Willis Richardson. Missing from the collection are photographs and clippings.
- 1925-19652 volumes
Scrapbooks document both the life and career of Willis Richardson as well as early black plays and playwrights. Included in the scrapbooks are newclippings, correspondence and programs all pertaining to black theater history of the early to mid 20th century.