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Department of Speech (University of Michigan) records, 1928-1978

31 linear feet — 6 oversize volumes

Scrapbooks, 1928-1972, of programs, publicity, and newspaper clippings compiled by the directors and staff of various University theatrical productions; history of University play production, 1909-1956; and departmental correspondence and miscellanea.

Records of the Department of Speech include 31 linear feet of material and 6 oversize scrapbooks, dating from 1928 to 1982. Virtually all of the records relate directly to the department's work in theater education. Included are extensive records of university theatrical productions (1938-1972); records of the University Players, a student organization dedicated to presenting live theater on campus; and general information regarding theater in Ann Arbor. Actual department records make up a small minority of the documentation found within the collection, although some information regarding a 1972 unit review and the decisions leading to the 1979 reorganization of the department are included. Photographs include images of plays and actors in various University theatrical productions.


Drama Season (University of Michigan) records, 1929-1966

3 linear feet

The Drama Season of the University of Michigan is a theater group on campus. Prior to 1952 known as the Ann Arbor Drama Season; the organization did not function from 1943 to 1948. The records collect scrapbooks, 1938-1942 and 1949-1961, containing clippings, programs, and production photographs; also correspondence files, legal and financial papers relating to operation of this Ann Arbor, Michigan, professional theater program, during the directorships of Robert Henderson, John O'Shaughnessy, and Valentine Windt.

The Drama Season records span the years 1929-1966. The material consists of scrapbooks from 1938 to 1942 and 1949 to 1961 (2 linear ft.) which contain mainly clippings from local and national newspapers, along with some programs and photographs.

Also included are alphabetically arranged administrative files relating to the operation of the theater and the performances. Materials include correspondence, legal and financial files and press releases. The bulk of this material is from the 1950s and 1960s.

The photographs series includes a photo album and production photographs, mostly from the 1950s and autographed photos of Lillian Gish and Billie Burke.


Dramatic Arts Center Records, 1954-1966 (majority within 1955-1960)

2 linear feet

Corporation established in 1954 to operate a center for dramatic and theater arts in Ann Arbor, Michigan. DAC also sought unsuccessfully to establish repertory theater in Ann Arbor. The Center dissolved in 1967. records accumulated by DAC secretary and president Wilfred Kaplan. Included are background information consisting of bylaws and chronology of DAC; administrative records; activities materials concerning work of the Steering Committee for a Repertory Theater; publicity, programs, and other materials relating to DAC productions; and scrapbooks containing clippings, programs, and one photograph.

The records of the Ann Arbor Dramatic Arts Center were accumulated and maintained by DAC secretary and president Professor Wilfred Kaplan. The records cover the period 1954 to 1966, are arranged in five series: Background, Administrative, Activities, Production, and Scrapbooks. The records, consisting of correspondence, memoranda, and other files, detail the formation of the Dramatic Arts Centers, its activities, its planning for a theater in Ann Arbor, and its eventual demise.


James F. Coakley papers, 1966-1971

1 linear foot

James F. Coakley was an assistant professor in the Department of Speech at the University of Michigan from 1966 to1971. Focusing mainly in theatre and literary interpretation, he was responsible for directing and managing many of the plays that were put on by the University Players during his time at the University of Michigan. Notable productions include The Homecoming, Lysistrata, Much Ado About Nothing, and Arthur Miller's After the Fall. Includes photographs from a 1967 production of After the Fall where Arthur Miller was present. Also scrapbooks, photos, and slides from other productions by the University of Michigan's University Players during 1966-1971.

The collection provides some documentation of plays Coakley staged with the University Players, notably Arthur Millers After the Fall, and lecture notes for courses he taught. The collection is organized into three series: "After the Fall", Photographic Slides, Speech 230 "The Arts of the Theatre" and Scrapbooks.


J. Raleigh Nelson papers, 1893-1957

4.5 linear feet — 1 oversize folder

Professor of engineering English, counselor to foreign students, and founder of the International Center of the University of Michigan; correspondence, subject files, writings, photographs, and family letters.

The J. Raleigh Nelson collection is comprised of the following series: Family papers; Correspondence, Subject files, Miscellaneous, and Photographs. The correspondence and subject files concern the University of Michigan School of Engineering, his work with foreign students, particularly those from Latin America, student dramatic productions for which Nelson was director, the proposed University College, the activities and affairs of class of 1894, and his work as chairman of Tappan Reunion Committee which attempted to bring alumni from the years of the Tappan Presidency to University for a reunion in June 1930. The collection also includes manuscripts of his writings, photographs, and letters received from his mother.


Philip Kerr papers, 1984-2012

1.4 linear feet

Philip Kerr, a professional actor, taught theatre at the University of Michigan from 1984 to 2012. In addition to teaching courses in the Department of Theatre and Drama, he directed many productions put on by the department. This collection includes material documenting these productions and his role as a faculty member.

The Philip Kerr Papers document Kerr's time at the University of Michigan as a professor in the Department of Theatre and Drama. They primarily contain records and publications from productions in which Kerr was director or an actor, as well as administrative records reflecting Kerr's role and experiences as a faculty member within the Department of Theatre and Drama, especially his efforts to improve the quality of the department, such as the establishment of the Bachelor in Fine Arts degree program. The collection is arranged into five series: Biographical, Correspondence, Photographs, Productions, and Topical.


Professional Theatre Program (University of Michigan) records, 1962-1985

28 linear feet

Papers, 1962-1985 of the Professional Theatre Program at the University of Michigan. Contain executive director's file, including correspondence, newspaper clippings and related theatrical material of Robert C. Schnitzer, and publicity files of clippings and press releases concerning play productions and other programs.

The Professional Theatre Program records include executive director's files (1962-1972), Professional Theatre Program Fellows Tour files (1966-1972), publicity files (1962-1985, films and photographs. Planning for the Power Center and the early years of its operation are also covered.

Visual materials includes films of classical drama programs for schools, and photos of PTP directors. Recordings consist of uncompiled sound clips, background music, and sound effects for a film entitled "Conjuror."


Richard A. Forsyth papers, circa 1907-1970

1 linear foot

Student at the University of Michigan, later professional stage actor. Playbills from Detroit and University of Michigan productions, theatrical publications, miscellaneous correspondence, clippings, and writings; and photographs.

The Forsyth collection includes some correspondence, journals (1914-1917), playbills from productions in the Detroit and Ann Arbor area, clippings about his theatrical career, and miscellaneous photographs.


School of Music, Theatre & Dance (University of Michigan) records, 1880-2021 (majority within 1940-2010)

43.5 linear feet — 7 oversize volumes — 688.97 GB (online) — 2 oversize boxes — 1 archived website

Music, theatre, and dance education unit of the University of Michigan. Also represented in this collection are its predecessor organizations, the Ann Arbor School of Music and the University School of Music, and its departments. Includes records of students and instructors, correspondence, topical files, and materials related to student and faculty performance groups. Archived versions of the School's websites provide additional documentation of academic programs, research, events, people, and policies.

The School of Music, Theatre, & Dance (University of Michigan) records document music education in Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan and student and faculty musical production beginning in 1885. The records include student ledgers listing names, tuition, and instructors; correspondence and clippings, 1924-1953, concerning the University Band, including correspondence of William D. Revelli; files relating to musical programs, particularly the Michigan Singers' Spring Tour, the Union Opera, and Musket productions; minutes of the executive committee and faculty; and digitized audio and video recordings of performances, including performances at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, by the Michigan Youth Ensembles, and other groups associated with the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Also included are files associated the Department of Dance and Department of Theatre and Drama.

  1. Topical Files -- Boxes 1-5, 25-30, 35-41, online
  2. Student Ledgers -- Volumes 1-7
  3. Dean's Files -- Boxes 6-8, 30-31
  4. Faculty Records -- Boxes 9-24
  5. Donor Files -- Box 31
  6. Executive Committee -- Boxes 32, 34
  7. Department of Dance -- Boxes 44-46, online
  8. Department of Theatre and Dance -- Box 33
  9. Archived Website -- online
  10. Audio recordings (original audiotapes and digital recordings) -- Boxes 42-43, online
  11. Video recordings -- online

William Perdue Halstead papers, 1935-1975

5 linear feet

Professor of speech communication and theatre at the University of Michigan. Correspondence and other materials relating in part to his interest in university theatre productions.

The William P. Halstead papers consist of correspondence, clippings, theater programs and other materials relating to his work in the Speech Department and to his interest in university theater productions. (Halstead bound most of his papers in chronological order. The bound volumes and additional unbound materials are separated into five series: Personal, Production Materials, University of Michigan, Department of Speech, Miscellaneous, and Photographs.