Scope and arrangement
The Donald Oenslager Papers and Designs span the years 1922 - 1982, reflecting his long and varied career as set and lighting designer, professor, consultant, writer, and lecturer. The largest parts of the collection are the production and technical designs. Both production and technical designs include extensive amounts of painter's elevations, rough sketches, renderings, materials samples, notes, and correspondence. Almost every play, musical, ballet, opera or project Oenslager worked on is represented. Oenslager corresponded with notable theater people of his time; many of them not only were colleagues but friends, as well. Five boxes of correspondence include letters from Edmond Appia, Boris Aronson, Robert Edmond Jones, and Joseph Mielziner among many others. The remainder of the collection consists of research material, financial papers, family papers, notes for many of his personal appearances and lists of exhibitions of his designs, drafts, notes from his books and published articles. The photograph series is largely production related but does include some portraits and snapshots of Oenslager and photos from his time in the military. Clippings in the scrapbook series were organized by Oenslager himself and continued by Mrs. Oenslager after his death.
The Donald Oenslager papers and designs are arranged in nine series:
- 1921-1983, undated
This series includes general correspondence with friends, colleagues and theater organizations. Correspondence regarding productions Oenslager worked on along with notes and memos of committees he served in. Lecture notes, exhibition arrangements and index cards of design locations on loan by Oenslager.
- 1853 - 1981, undated
- 1923-1976, undated
- 1937-1982, undated
Financial papers include production costs, expenses, design fees, income tax records, acquisitions, bank notes, receipts, statement of accounts, appraisals, bank check records, and cancelled checks.
The series encompasses a three-bound album of letters and pictures documenting a trip taken through Spain in 1930 and a trip through East Africa in 1968. One tribute album from colleagues and friends made up of letters. Itineraries, brochures and ticket stubs of vacations taken between 1965 and 1969.
This series contains newspaper articles, correspondence, photographs, and theatre programs paste together and arranged by Oenslager. The scrapbooks span the years 1925 through 1982. Donald Oenslager’s wife arranged the latter years after his death.
- 1927-1974, undated