Scope and arrangement
The George Freedley Papers span the years 1861 to 1971 with the bulk of the material ranging from 1935 to 1966. The papers consist of correspondence, writings, clippings, biographical material, research materials, photographs, scrapbooks and miscellaneous items documenting Freedley's career as a librarian, lecturer and writer. The papers also include a collection of greeting cards from theatrical personalities.
George Freedley's involvement with the theatre began during his college days and continued as the focus of his work for the ensuing 40 years. This focus was evident in his endeavors including the Theatre Collection, his writings, reviews, speaking engagements and organizational affiliations, and is documented in this collection. Freedley was known and respected by a wide range of theatre professionals from Broadway to the academic community, both here and in England. The collection includes letters from actors, producers, designers, critics, and writers, including Carl Theodore Dreyer, Hallie Flanagan, Rosamond Gilder, Lillian Gish, Phyllis Hartnoll, Simon Lissim, Flora Robson and John Van Druten. It also contains material relating to Freedley's work in organizations such as ANTA, the International Theatre Institute and the National Theatre Conference to promote theatre scholarship and international cultural exchange. Freedley also worked on projects to identify and describe theatre collections throughout the world and to make that information available to researchers.
The George Freedley papers are arranged in eleven series:
- 1924-19678 boxes, 11 folders
The files are almost exclusively incoming letters documenting personal and professional matters, including letters relating to two of Freedley's books.
- ca. 1940-19678 boxes, 15 folders
The series includes typescript copies of many of Freedley's columns for the Morning Telegraph and for Playbill. Also included are chapters, correspondence and reviews for A History of Modern Drama and a History of the Theatre. The material relating to Mr. Cat and More Mr. Cat includes holograph and typescript versions of the manuscript and the foreword to Mr. Cat written by Lillian Gish.
- 1932-19592 boxes, 10 folders
This series contains papers and surveys relating to Freedley's work. Projects include the National Theatre Conference survey, the Saturday Review of Literature survey and the World Theatre Microfilm project through which Freedley hoped to begin a cooperative project to make microfilm of various theatre items from libraries throughout the world available on film.
The National Theatre Conference survey was conducted by Freedley and Rosamond Gilder to gather information on theatre books and collections in public, private and university libraries. The information was used in their book: Theatre Collections in Libraries and Museums: An International Handbook, published in 1936. In 1948 Freedley gathered information from college, university and civic theatres to write an article for the Saturday Review of Literature. The respondents often included programs and brochures.
- 1934-196617 folders
The files contain correspondence and printed matter. Although Freedley served as an officer in many of these organizations, the files do not contain a full record of his activities, but instead contain random and minimal documentation. Among the organizations are the American Educational Theatre Association, American National Theatre and Academy (ANTA), Columbia University, New York Drama Critics Circle and the Theatre Library Association.
- ca. 1861-196716 folders, 5 volumes
Papers include correspondence, ephemera, biographical information and date books. They are organized in two sub-series: Sub-series 1: Personal papers Sub-series 2: Date books.
- 1924-197114 folders
Clippings by and about George Freedley.
- ca. 1880-19567 folders
This series includes family photographs of Freedley as a child, of his parents and other family members. Also included are photos of Freedley as an adult, inscribed photos, a few production shots, and 2 folders of unidentified individuals and locations.
- ca. 1920-196316 boxes
Series includes mostly Christmas cards, many of them from theatrical personalities. Not all of the cards are addressed to Freedley and it is not clear how the collection was created. The collection includes cards from many of Freedley's colleagues and friends and also from artists such as Agna Enters, Bob Hope, Lillian Gish, Simon Lissim and others. Many of the cards also have theatrical themes.
- 1904-19573 boxes and 5 volumes
Scrapbooks compiled by Freedley containing clippings and ephemera.
- 1927-19582 boxes (7 volumes
Bound volumes of Playbill containing Freedley's column and one volume of bulletins from Yale University School of Fine Arts
- ca. 1886-19631 box and 1 folder
Oversize photographs and printed matter. Box 52 is in the Rose Building map cases. Please consult a librarian for access; advance notification will be required.