Scope and arrangement
The collection contains correspondence, professional papers, and designs related to Franne Lee's work as an award-winning costume and production designer between 1969 and 1997. Production notes and other materials relating to projects on which Lee worked during this period make up about half of the collection, with the rest consisting of designs. The strengths of this collection are the complete costume bibles for Sweet Nothing (1993), the final colorized costume designs with swatches illustrating fabrics and textures for shows such as Candide (1974) and Eating Raoul (1992), large-scale costume plots and set designs, inspiration boards and elevations for various shows, and Lee's correspondence with long-time friends director Harold Prince and producer Bobby Geisler. Of special interest might be the extensive paperwork for Bowling for Horror, a proposed cable television series starring Brian Doyle-Murray, for which only the pilot episode was produced, and which provides insight into the many details involved in developing a show, of which costume design is one component. Also included are many initial pencil sketches, rough costume sketches, set renderings, clippings, programs, a sketchbook, a miniature model of a set, and an autographed vinyl album of Emo Philips' comedy show. This collection provides insights into Lee's working relationships, as well as her method of developing designs and her system of organizing material.
The Franne Lee papers and designs are arranged in six series:
- 1969 - 1994 and undated
This series contains letters, cards, notes and telegrams from friends and colleagues reflecting Franne Leeâ€™s active involvement in the theater world as an award-winning costume and production designer in New York, Rhode Island, Chicago and London. Included are personal notes from many of the people with whom Lee worked, such as David Lynch, Paul Newman, Amanda Plummer, Stephen Sondheim, and Diane Venora, congratulatory telegrams for various awards won, letters regarding participation in conferences on design, and invoices for union dues. Of particular note are the letters from director Harold Prince and producer Bobby Geisler, both long-time friends and colleagues of Leeâ€™s.
- 1970 - 1995
In this series are materials such as resumes, biographical sketches of varying lengths, magazine and newspaper articles about Franne and Eugene Lee, materials from conferences in which Franne participated, papers related to lawsuits, investments, and exhibits, photographs, and several project proposals, including two bound scripts sent to Franne by Bobby Geisler.
- 1969 - 1997 and undated
This series contains small-scale costume sketches, preliminary sketches for costumes and sets, clippings for costume inspirations, costume plots, scripts, memos, production notes, contracts, and some correspondence relating to many productions in which Franne Lee was involved. Of particular note are the costume bible for Sweet Nothing, materials documenting the development of an original cable television series, Bowling for Horror (only the pilot was produced), correspondence regarding Saturday Night Live, correspondence, sketches, and financial material on Sweeney Todd, and photographs of early designs from the Trinity Square Repertory Company.
- 1970 - 1992 and undated
In this series are newspaper and magazine clippings with reviews of productions on which Franne Lee worked, particularly those for which she received honorable mention, such as Candide (1974) and Sweeney Todd (1979), and an issue of The Transylvanian, the National Rocky Horror Fan Club publication.
- 1970 - 1994 and undated
The series contains pencil sketches and painted designs for costumes, some with fabric swatches or notes attached, as well as elevations of set designs, large-scale costume plots, and inspiration boards Franne Lee produced for various film and television projects. Of particular interest are the items for Alice in Wonderland (1970), Candide (1974), Eating Raoul (1992), and Sweeney Todd (1979). Also of interest are the original designs for the Killer Bee outfit for Saturday Night Live (1976) worn by John Belushi.
- 1970 - 1987 and undated
In this series are mainly oversized clippings relating to various projects on which Franne Lee worked, such as Love for Love (1974) and Sweeney Todd (1979), as well as the logo design for Bowling for Horror, and a sketchbook.