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American Dramatists

The Yale Collection of American Literature includes strong holdings in American drama — notably the work of four-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and Nobel Laureate Eugene O’Neill. Theatre also plays a central role in the life of the much-lauded novelist/playwright and Hamden, Connecticut, local Thornton Wilder (y1920), while the world of the theatre at large is documented through company-based archives such as those of The Theatre Guild, The Living Theatre, The Phoenix Theatre, The Civic Repertory Theatre, and New Dramatists, Inc. Such collections include working scripts with lighting plots and blocking notes, readers’ reports, financial papers, casting books, cast and production photographs, playbills, and reviews. The papers of John Guare, Larry Kramer, and Lloyd Richards, director and former Dean of the Yale School of Drama, are some recent additions to the Collection. Although the collected papers of a key figure such as Tennessee Williams can be found in libraries elsewhere, the actress Ruth Ford’s working copy of her understudy script for the role of Blanche DuBois in the 1947 Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Elia Kazan and starring Marlon Brando and Jessica Tandy, makes for a rare representative sample, association copy, and print variant.

Image: [Photograph of Thornton Wilder singing with cast members of Our Town, 1939],

Collection Highlights Exhibited in Multitudes: A Celebration of the Yale Collection of American Literature:  Manuscript materials, correspondence, and related ephemera from the Eugene O’Neill Papers and the Thornton Wilder Papers; papers pertaining to the life and work of Tennessee Williams. First editions from the Yale Collection of American Literature.

American Dramatists: Eugene O'Neill -- Checklist & Object Descriptions

American Dramatists: Thornton Wilder -- Checklist & Object Descriptions

American Drama, from Print to Stage -- Checklist & Object Descriptions

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