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Performing Arts

Over 650 linear feet of materials from the 19th and 20th centuries

From 19th century American vaudeville to 20th century British experimental theatre, materials in the performing arts category form research collection emphasizing stage productions. The personal papers of theatrical personalities and the archives of theatre groups and agencies are collected, as well as ephemeral and promotional materials.

Playscripts form the bulk of 19th century British and American manuscript collections, including acting editions, sides, working copies, and prompt copies for a variety of genres. Theatre programs, set designs, photographs, playbills, posters, and realia complement manuscripts, papers and archival records. In addition, there are extensive materials relating to dance and music, with an emphasis on ballet and opera.

There are no geographical or language limits to the Performing Arts collection, although the bulk of the materials are in the English language and originate from either America or Great Britain. Materials are collected in all formats and active solicitation continues for a variety of open collections. Related materials can be found under the headings of Language and Literature and Political Science.


  • Albee Directs Albee Collection

    Scripts, promotional materials, photographs, and reel-to-reel recordings relating to the production. The Albee Directs Albee project was a forty week international tour of universities and arts centers throughout the United States, South Korea, and Japan, during which Edward Albee, Pulitzer Prize winning American dramatist, directed the troupe in presenting eight of his one-act plays.
  • Arnold, Hubert A. ( -1994). Papers.

    Extensive collection of sheet music for piano, with an emphasis on sentimental music from the turn of the century; some research and classroom materials in mathematics theory and philosophy. Professor of Mathematics, University of California, Davis.
  • Axe, Ruth. Papers.

    Clippings, programs, and scripts (sides and monologues) pertaining to California and Salt Lake City, Utah theatres in the early 1920's. Theatre collector from the Los Angeles, California area.
  • Ballantine, Edward J. (1888-1968). Collection.

    Clippings, playbills, programs, and photographs relating Ballantine's involvement with the Provincetown Players and other instances of his acting and directing career. Character actor and director and an original member of the Provincetown Players, an experimental group of actors and playwrights founded in 1916 by Susan Glaspell, George Cram Cook, Ida Rank, and Eugene O'Neill.
  • Bay Area Playwrights Festival Collection.

    Playwright files, promotional materials, audio tapes, and video recordings. Founded by Robert Woodruff in 1976, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival is an annual event focusing on writing and workshops led by eminent playwrights.
  • Belasco, David (1859-1931). Collection.

    Thirty-three photographs depicting Belasco's production of The Darling of the Gods, which opened December 3, 1902, at the Belasco Theatre in New York City. American stage manager, producer, and playwright known for his realistic stage sets.
  • Belmore, George (1828-1875). Collection.

    Correspondence, ephemera, photographs, playbills, programs, realia, and scripts. The bulk of this collection pertains to Henry Irving and his Lyceum Theatre company and includes original scripts and lighting plots used at the Lyceum Theatre. English character actor who played a variety of minor roles in Henry Irving's Lyceum Theatre.
  • Bernhardt, Sarah (1844-1923). Collection.

    Clippings, engravings, caricatures, drawings, playbills, posters, programs, and more than three hundred pictures and photographs showing Bernhardt in her various roles. French actress generally considered one of the most famous actresses of the early 20th century.
  • Bertram, Arthur (1860-1955). Papers.

    Correspondence, legal documents, photographs, programs, scripts, and Bertram's working papers and ephemera as theatrical agent and business manager for theatres, touring companies, and individual actors. Business and acting manager to Mrs. Patrick Campbell, Marie Tempest, John Hare, Comyns Carr, and Henry Irving, among others.
  • Bissinger, Karl. Papers.

    Correspondence, ephemera, photographs, posters, and programs pertaining to Living Theatre productions. Karl Bissinger (1914- ), photojournalist and activist, was a friend of Julian Beck and Judith Malina, co-founders of The Living Theatre. Bissinger served as an occassional photographer of the Theatre and its performances.