Scope and arrangement
This collection contains scripts, production files, office files, financial records, awards, photographs and programs from as early as 1933 and as late as 2003. The strengths of this collection are several scripts for unproduced or incomplete works by Comden and Green as well as other writers, and the multiple drafts of certain shows, reflecting the process of revising a script and extensive business correspondence and office records. Of special interest are various drafts and handwritten sheet music for songs from collaboration with Leonard Bernstein on a musical adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth, which was never finished, scripts for episodes of a proposed television adaptation of Bells Are Ringing, the transcript of an oral history interview with Fanny Brice, conducted in preparation for an autobiography which was never written, called Don’t Pick Up Your Money Till You’ve Finished Singing, and various parody lyrics written for political campaigns and tributes. This is a collection of professional materials and its scope does not extend to personal materials, which are only minimally represented here.
The Comden and Green papers are arranged in seven series:
- 1933 - 197911 boxes
This series consists of complete scripts written for theatre, film, television and radio, produced and unproduced. Betty Comden and Adolph Green wrote the majority of these scripts. Some of these scripts are for projects written by various associates and friends of Comden and Green’s.
- 1944 - 200310 boxes
This series consists of various materials pertaining to the productions of projects written by Comden and Green, as well as projects they considered, such as musical adaptations of the films The Apartment and Sunset Boulevard and projects by other authors, to which they contributed advice, such as Neil Simon’s Come Blow Your Horn (1961). Types of materials represented are business correspondence, notes, congratulatory messages, schedules, incomplete script materials, sheet music, technical plots and official financial and legal documents (box office statements, contracts, etc.) that pertain to specific productions.
- 1933 - 19864 boxes
This series consists of materials pertaining to Comden and Green’s career in general, and not to specific production, to the running of their office and outside activities, such as fund-raising, political campaigns, newspaper and magazine articles. Materials included are correspondence, fan mail, personal items, steno books, publicity materials and notebooks.
- 1947 - 19812 boxes
This series consists of financial records that do not pertain to individual shows, but to various companies Comden and Green were involved with, as well as their general finances. Materials included are royalty statements, correspondence contracts, agreements and financial statements.
- 1949 - 19852 boxes
Arrangement: Alphabetical. This series consists of materials pertaining to awards and honors for which Comden and Green were nominated. Materials include certificates, nomination plaques, correspondence and photographs pertaining to those awards.
- 1943 - 19811 box
This series consists of photographs and contact sheets of Comden and Green and their collaborators and friends, many relating to their theatrical productions, others to television appearances and films. Their years with The Revuers are particularly well represented. The photographs of shows do not contain production shots, but include backstage, rehearsals, opening night parties and cast album recording sessions.
- 1942 - 19891 box
This series consists of programs, most of which do not pertain to Comden and Green’s career, with the exception of a program for the 1975 New York Shakespeare Festival production of A Doll’s House, on which Comden and Green’s subsequent A Doll’s Life was based. Most of these programs are for international theater from various nations, and some are for retrospective exhibitions. Also included are a commemorative calendar, a magazine and an annual report.