Scope and arrangement
The Uta Hagen/Herbert Berghof papers contain correspondence, personal and family papers, datebooks, diaries, production and publicity materials, scripts, prompt scripts, manuscripts, programs, photographs, slides, scrapbooks, posters, clippings, and oversized materials documenting their professional and personal lives, spanning the years 1889 to 2004.
Also contained in the papers are materials relating to their teaching activities; there are papers documenting the HB Studio and HB Playwrights Foundation. A significant number of the papers are in German, including some of Hagen’s family correspondence, papers from Berghof’s early career, as well as some later professional correspondence, and scripts.
The bulk of the papers relate to productions and professional projects for the two. Joint projects are filed with Hagen’s papers, with the exception of the road tour of The Deep Blue Sea, which Hagen performed with Berghof on the road, following Margaret Sullavan who originated the role. Correspondence addressed to both is also filed with Hagen’s papers.
The papers are especially rich in numerous versions of scripts on which Hagen and Berghof worked, particularly those adapted and translated by one or both of them, The Affairs of Anatol (1957), Cyprienne (1955), The Queen and the Rebels(1959), Prometheus Bound (1973), and most notably Charlotte, presented on Broadway in 1980. Many of the productions in the collection were presented at HB Playwrights Foundation.
There are numerous handwritten notes and pages of dialogue, sometimes in German, by Berghof, relating to plays on which he was working, or hoped to develop.
Uta Hagen’s papers include correspondence to and from her family, as well as Hagen family papers. Many of these papers are in German. Hagen’s letters to her father provide many details of her professional and personal life. Particularly interesting are letters mentioning segregation during the Othello tour (1943 - 1945) with Paul Robeson and her then-husband, José Ferrer. Correspondence consists largely of business-related letters, but also from friends, fans, and students. Of particular note are the numerous condolence letters Hagen received on Berghof’s death in 1990.
Hagen’s personal papers provide an in-depth insight into her life and work. The personal papers range from vital records to sketches of flowers and contain several diaries, two of which were kept around the time of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?(1962 and 1964).
Productions are documented with scripts, correspondence, contracts, programs, production materials, notes, and ephemera. Of particular interest are Hagen’s notebooks for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962), Collected Stories (1998), and Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks(ca. 2001).
Hagen’s writings include correspondence, manuscripts, notes, and clippings for her four published books, as well as several pieces she contributed to other publications, such as Broadway: Day and Night (1992), and several personal pieces. Of special note is Young Heroines of War Times: Five Short War Stories Illustrated for Girls form 10 to 15, a handwritten and illustrated work by an eleven-year-old Hagen (1930).
The papers also document the numerous productions in which Berghof performed, directed, adapted, translated, or developed. The productions and projects span Berghof’s entire career from the late 1920s to his final project in 1990. Material from Berghof’s early years as a refugee actor and director in New York provide insight into the dilemma faced by creative émigré artists in that period of history. Of note is a letter from Albert Einstein wishing the Refugee Artists Group well (1938) and correspondence with Samuel Beckett re: Waiting for Godot which Berghof directed in its premiere on Broadway in 1956.
Most of the photographs in the collection relate to professional activities; however there are also a number of candid snapshots and portraits of Hagen and Berghof in their early lives and careers, as well as a number with friends.
Extensive research material attests to Berghof’s meticulousness and professionalism. Charlotteand a proposed Theater in der Josefstadt production of The Merchant of Venice are but two examples. Hagen’s notebook for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? also offers insight into her working process.
Papers relating to HB Studio and HB Playwrights Foundation papers provide a glimpse into the history and workings of these organizations. Three of the four scrapbooks in the collection document Hagen’s career from 1948 to1961; the fourth contains programs and posters for many HB Playwrights Foundation productions spanning the 1971/1972 to 1975/1976 seasons.
Oversized materials relate to both Hagen and Berghof and include awards, scripts, photographs, research material, and clippings. Of special interest is an autographed portrait of Berghof taken by Paul Draper (ca. 1965), as well as blueprints of Ming Cho Lee set designs for Jean Cocteau’s The Infernal Machine (1958).
The Uta Hagen and Herbert Berghof papers are arranged in six series:
- 200448 boxes
Included in this series are correspondence, personal and family papers, diaries, scripts, contracts, programs, artwork, production and publicity materials, manuscripts and writings, materials relating to teaching and conferences, awards, and clippings relating to the life and career of Hagen.
- Sub-series 1 - Correspondence
- Sub-series 2 – Personal and Family Papers
- Sub-series 3 – Productions and Professional Projects
- Sub-series 4 – Scripts
- Sub-series 5 – Writings
- Sub-series 6 – Teaching, Lectures, Conferences, and Clippings
- Sub-series 7 – Awards
- Sub-series 8 – Clippings and Works About
- 1909 - 200133.5 boxes
The Herbert Berghof papers include correspondence, personal papers, production materials, scripts, contracts, teaching materials, and clippings documenting Berghof’s life and career as an actor, teacher, and director. There is also a small number of writings, and theatrical memorabilia. Many of the papers are in German, particularly those relating to Berghof’s early life and career, as well as correspondence. Materials relating to productions on which Berghof worked with Uta Hagen are filed with Hagen’s papers.
- Sub-series 1 – Correspondence
- Sub-series 2 – Personal Papers
- Sub-series 3 – Productions and Professional Projects
- Sub-series 4 – Scripts
- Sub-series 5 – Teaching, Lectures, and Conferences
- 1950s - 20022 boxes
This series contains a small cross-section of office files for both HB Playwrights Foundation and HB Studio and includes materials such as correspondence, administrative records, publicity material, historical information, some financial papers, and clippings.
There are also materials relating to events held on Bank Street, such as the opening celebration on April 18, 1959, memorial services for faculty members, and two productions done after Berghof’s death: The Flip Side by Donna de Matteo (1994), and Uncle Philip’s Coat by Matty Selman (ca. 1997). Of special interest are a project log (ca. 1954 to 1963) and student lists, mostly from the late 1950s and early 1960s.
- 1900s - 20037.5 boxes
- 1948 - 19763 boxes
This series consists of four scrapbooks, three of which contain mostly clippings, a few programs, and photos relating to Hagen’s career from 1948 to 1961; there are also a few clippings relating to her political activities. The fourth scrapbook contains programs, posters, and photos for many of the HB Playwrights Foundation productions for the seasons 1971/1972 through 1975/1976.
- 1923 - 19985 boxes
This series comprises both Hagen’s and Berghof’s papers and contains artwork, awards, scripts, photographs, research material, one set sketch, blueprints, posters, and clippings relating to professional activities. The artwork consists of a pencil caricature of Hagen and an unidentified man, probably during the tour of A Streetcar Named Desire (1949) and ink sketches by Hagen of flowers. Two of Hagen’s many awards are found in this series: the Compostela Award (1987) and the Theater Hall of Fame Scroll of Honor (1981). Clippings include the 50th anniversary issue of Life magazine, with a 1942 photo of Othello (1986), as well as a mounted Blatz Beer ad (1950). There also two calendars (1996 and 1998) belonging to Hagen.
Berghof’s papers include scripts (in German) for The Lost Melody (ca. 1939), a pencil sketch of the Waiting for Godotset (ca. 1956), Ming Cho Lee blueprints for The Infernal Machine (1958), Lester Polakov blueprints for The Sponsor(1975), and an unidentified production.
Photographs are mostly of Hagen or related to productions on which she worked, such as The Cherry Orchard(1968), The Country Girl(1950), In Any Language(1952), Saint Joan (1951), and A Streetcar Named Desire, (ca. 1949). There are publicity photos of Hagen with her father (probably during the A Streetcar Named Desire tour, 1949), as well as photos taken in Montauk and while teaching, around the time of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?There is also an autographed portrait of Berghof taken by Paul Draper (ca. 1965), as well as a negative of an unknown workman, probably taken in one of the Bank Street buildings (undated). Two posters (The Magic and the Loss, 1954 and This Side of Paradise, 1962) are also included.