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Guide to the Norris Houghton Papers 1915-1998

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Collection Summary

Repository: Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries
Creator: Houghton, Norris
Title: Norris Houghton Papers
Dates: 1915-1998
Quantity: 15.75 cubic ft. (28 boxes, 18 reels)
Abstract: Correspondence, manuscripts, typescripts, playbills, contracts, clippings, photographs, and memorabilia documenting the life and theatrical career of Norris Houghton.
Forms of Materials: Correspondence, manuscripts, typescripts, playbills, contracts, clippings, photographs, memorabilia.

Biographical Note

Norris Houghton was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on December 26, 1909. After graduation from Princeton University in 1931, Houghton began a long career as a theatrical designer, producer, and director. That career encompassed both the New York stage and regional theaters throughout the United States, as well as extended professional visits to Western Europe, the Soviet Union, and East Asia. In 1953 he founded, with T. Edward Hambleton, the Phoenix Theatre, one of the first and most successful of New York City's Off- Broadway theaters. Also a noted teacher and scholar of theater, Norris Houghton held academic positions at several colleges and universities. In 1962 Houghton joined the Drama Department of Vassar College, serving until 1967 as department chair and director of the Vassar Experimental Theatre. Norris Houghton died in October 2001.

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Scope and Content Note

Correspondence, manuscripts, typescripts, playbills, contracts, clippings, photographs, and memorabilia documenting the life and theatrical career of Norris Houghton.

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Access and Use

Access

This collection is open for research according to the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Some materials in Series VI and IX are very fraglie, so use of these may be restricted. Materials in Series VIII will need to be duplicated at the researcher's expense before use. Please consult archivist for further information. The remainder of the collection is open for use. Permission to quote (publish) from unpublished or previously published material must be obtained as described in the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library.

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Related Material

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Subject Headings

Names:

  • Bundy, McGeorge
  • Hambleton, T. Edward, 1911-2005
  • Mucha, Jiří, 1915-1991
  • Redgrave, Michael, Sir

Organizations:

  • Phoenix Theatre (Organization : New York, N.Y.)
  • Vassar College. Experimental Theatre

Subjects:

  • Theater--Soviet Union
  • Theater--United States--History--20th century--Sources

Document Types:

  • photographic prints

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Encoding Information

Encoded by Mark Seidl, February-March 2012.

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Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The audio tapes and films in Series VIII will need to be duplicated at the researcher's expense before use.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Norris Houghton Papers, Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries.

Processing Information

Processed by Mark Seidl, February 2012.

Acquisition Information

The bulk of this collection was aquired in March 2003 (M2003-008), with additions in March 2006 (M2006-003), June 2009 (M2009-012), and March 2011 (M2011-014). All of the material was the gift of Frank L. Dent.

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Series List

Series I. Correspondence, 1915-1998

Divided into two subseries, this series includes Norris Houghton's extensive correspondence with his mother, Grace Houghton, as well as his personal and professional correspondence. Correspondents include U. S. National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy, theatrical producor T. Edward Hambleton, Czech writer Jiří Mucha, and several noted actors. This series has been left largely in original order. Material is foldered in original groupings, but the folders have been arranged chronologically.

Series II. Writings, 1930-1993

This series is divided into four subseries. The first includes Norris Hougton's college essays and is arranged chronologically. The second subseries includes manuscripts and typescripts of and reviews and publicity materials for the following books and is arranged chronologically by the publication date of each book: Moscow Rehersals (1936), Advance From Broadway (1941), But Not Forgotten (1951), Return Engagement (1962), The Exploding Stage (1971), and Entrances and Exits (1991). The third subseries consists of Norris Hougton's articles published in a variety of magazines and is arranged alphabetically. The forth subseries, arranged alphabetically, includes miscellaneous writings.

Series III. Addresses and Lectures, 1960-1993

This series includes drafts and typescritps of and research materials for Norris Houghtons public addresses and lectures. The series is arranged chronologically.

Series IV. Contracts, 1930-1981

This series consists of Norris Houghton's contracts for a variety of theatrical work, including direction and set design. The series is arranged chronologically.

Series V. Subject Files, 1946-1994

Divided into eight subseries, this series includes materials pertaining to the academic institutions with which Norris Hougton was affiliated, the arts and theater education foundations of which he was a memeber, the awards committees on which he sat, the conferences in which he participated, and the honor societies to which he belonged. Also included are files of family and personal documents and materials concerning miscellaneous subjects. Of particular interest are the files of materials pertaining to the theaters and theatrical productions with which Norris Houghton was involved. Each subseries is arranged alphbetically.

Series VI. Clippings and Printed Materials, 1927-circa 1981 (Some materials in this series are very fragile. See container list below.)

This series consists of newspaper clippings, theater posters, programs and playbills, copies of Life Magazine, working scripts, and other printed matter. The series is arranged alphabetically.

Series VII. Photographic Materials, circa 1915-1986

This series is divided into four subseries. The first consists of formal and informal photographs of Norris Houghton, the second of stage productions he designed or directed, and the third of Russian performers and productions from the 1960s to the early 1970s. The final subseries consists of miscellaneous photographs.

Series VIII. Audio-Visual Materials

The first of two subseries in this series includes audio tapes devoted to several actors and to "Aspects of the Contemporary American Theater," a lecture Norris Houghton delivered in Italy. The second subseries consists of motion-picture films of productions by the Phoenix Theatre and of "Playwrights in the Contemporary Theater," a television program to which Norris Houghton contributed. Both subseries are arranged alphabetically. The film and tape in this series require duplication at the researcher's expense before use.

Series IX. Memorabilia, 1934-1991

This series includes date and address books, awards certificates, honorary diplomas, scrap- and souvenier books, and other memorabilia.

Container List

Series I: Correspondence

Letters to Grace Houghton
Box 1 1915-1931
Box 2 1931-1964
Personal and Professional Correspondence
Folder 3.1 1926-1930
Folder 3.2 1949
Folder 3.3 1949-1950
Folder 3.4 1949-1951
Folder 3.5 1949-1951
Folder 3.6 circa 1950-1951
Folder 3.7 1953-1958
Folder 3.8 1953-1959
Folder 3.9 1956
Folder 3.10 1958-1959
Folder 3.11 1958-1961
Folder 3.12 1960-1961
Folder 3.13 1960-1962
Folder 3.14 1961-1962
Folder 3.15 1961-1963
Folder 3.16 1962-1963
Folder 3.17 1964-1966
Folder 3.18 1967-1969
Folder 3.19 1970-1972
Folder 3.20 1973-1975
Folder 3.21 1976-1979
Folder 3.22 1980-1998
Folder 3.23 1990-1992

Series II: Writings

College Essays
Folder 4.1 "The Women of Thomas Hardy's Novels," 1930
Folder 4.2 "The Intime . . . Ten Years After," 1931
Books
Folder 4.3 Moscow Rehersals - reviews (England)
Folder 4.4 Moscow Rehersals - reviews (USA)
Folder 4.5 Advance From Broadway - reviews
Folder 4.6 But Not Forgotten - reviews and promotional material
Folder 4.7 Return Engagement - incomplete draft
Folder 4.8 Return Engagement [Their Life In Art] - typescript
Box 17 Return Engagement - typescript
Folder 4.9 Return Engagement - proofs
Folder 4.10 Return Engagement - press releases and reviews
Folder 4.11 The Exploding Stage - correspondence and reviews
Folder 4.12 Entrances and Exits - manuscript drafts
Folder 4.13 Entrances and Exits - manuscript drafts
Folder 4.14 Entrances and Exits - manuscript drafts
Folder 4.15 Entrances and Exits - "Advance From Broadway"
Folder 4.16 Entrances and Exits - "Back To Broadway 1935-1940"
Folder 4.17 Entrances and Exits - "Beginnings"
Folder 4.18 Entrances and Exits - "Entr' Acte - To The Continent"
Folder 4.19 Entrances and Exits - "A Fresh Start (1962-67)"
Folder 5.1 Entrances and Exits - "From One Art To Many"
Folder 5.2 Entrances and Exits - Index
Folder 5.3 Entrances and Exits - "Once Again [Farewell] To Broadway]"
Folder 5.4 Entrances and Exits - "Other Worlds (1962-67)"
Folder 5.5 Entrances and Exits - "Other Worlds (1962-67)"
Folder 5.6 Entrances and Exits - "Overture"
Folder 5.7 Entrances and Exits - "The Phoenix Years"
Folder 5.8 Entrances and Exits - "The Purchase Challenge (1967-80)"
Folder 5.9 Entrances and Exits - "The Purchase Challenge (1967-80)"
Folder 5.10 Entrances and Exits - "The Purchase Challenge (1967-80)"
Folder 5.11 Entrances and Exits - "To Broadway"
Folder 5.12 Entrances and Exits - "To Moscow"
Folder 5.13 Entrances and Exits - "To Western Europe"
Folder 5.14 Entrances and Exits - "Transfer To Academe"
Folder 5.15 Entrances and Exits - "Unexpected Interlude: To Britain"
Folder 5.16 Entrances and Exits - "University Players: Baltimore"
Folder 5.17 Entrances and Exits - "University Players: Falmouth (1931)"
Folder 5.18 Entrances and Exits - Chapters 1-2
Folder 5.19 Entrances and Exits - Chapter 4
Folder 5.20 Entrances and Exits - unidentified drafts
Box 27 Entrances and Exits - uncorrected proofs 1990
Folder 5.21 Entrances and Exits - mailing lists
Folder 5.22 Entrances and Exits - promotional materials
Folder 6.1 Entrances and Exits - promotional materials and reviews
Articles
Folder 6.2 "The American Theatre - Today and Tomorrow," 1964
Folder 6.3 articles, 1936-1982
Folder 6.4 articles, 1983-1989
Folder 6.5 book review, [n.d.]
Folder 6.6 "Characteristics And Development Of The Off-Broadway Theatre Movement," 1963
Folder 6.7 "It's A Woman's World," [n.d.]
Folder 6.8 "Laurette Taylor," [n.d.]
Folder 6.9 "Rosamond Gilder," 1994
Folder 6.10 "Shanghai 1984," [n.d.]
Folder 6.11 "That Was Yalta," 1953-1984
Miscellaneous Writings
Folder 6.12 autobiography materials
Folder 6.13 "Introduction"
Folder 6.14 "Memorandum On The Function And Operation Of Theatre For Drama In Lincoln Center," 1964
Folder 6.15 obituaries and tributes
Folder 6.16 unidentified manuscript material
Folder 6.17 "Van Druten, John (William)," 1991-1993

Series III: Addresses And Lectures

Folder 6.18 Moscow lectures, 1960
Folder 6.19 Oxford lecture, 1962
Folder 6.20 Fellows Lecture, 1981
Folder 6.21 Fellows Lecture, 1981
Folder 6.22 Fellows Lecture research, 1961-1993
Folder 6.23 addresses, 1984-1992

Series IV: Contracts

Folder 6.24 1930-1950
Folder 6.25 1951-1981

Series V: Subject Files

Academic Institutions
Folder 6.26 California Institute of the Arts Accreditation, 1981
Folder 6.27 Columbia University Program in Arts Administration, 1980-1981
Folder 6.28 Miami University Doctor of Fine Arts, 1991
Folder 6.29 Pennsylvania State University Visiting Committee, 1963
Folder 7.1 Princeton University, 1929-1956
Folder 7.2 State University of New York College at Purchase, 1966-circa 1975
Folder 7.3 State University of New York College at Purchase, 1976-1988
Folder 7.4 State University of New York College at Purchase - personal, 1966-1975
Folder 7.5 State University of New York College at Purchase - planning papers, 1968-circa 1975
Folder 7.6 University of Louisville, 1977-1983
Folder 7.7 University of Louisville - visiting committee, 1980-1981
Folder 7.8 University of Louisville - visiting committee, 1982-1984
Folder 7.9 Vassar College, 1963-1966
Folder 7.10 Vassar College, 1982-1985
Folder 7.11 Yale Residential College Seminars, 1970-1972
Arts and Theatre Education Organizations
Folder 7.12 "The 1980 Meeting On The Arts," 1980
Folder 7.13 American Council for the Arts, 1985
Folder 7.14 American Council on the Arts in Education, 1969-1977
Folder 7.15 Arts, Education, and Americans, 1975-1977
Folder 7.16 Arts, Education, and Americans, circa 1979
Folder 7.17 Arts, Education, and Americans, 1980
Folder 7.18 Arts, Education, and Americans, 1980
Folder 7.19 Arts, Education, and Americans, 1980
Folder 8.1 Arts, Education, and Americans, 1981
Folder 8.2 Arts, Education, and Americans, 1981
Folder 8.3 Arts, Education, and Americans, 1981
Folder 8.4 Arts, Education, and Americans, 1982
Folder 8.5 Arts, Education, and Americans, 1985
Folder 8.6 Arts, Education, and Americans, [n.d.]
Folder 8.7 JDR3rd Fund / Rockefeller Foundation, 1966
Folder 8.8 National Council of the Arts in Education, 6th National Conference Proceedings, 1967
Folder 8.9 Performing Arts Education Advisory Commission , 1970-1975
Folder 8.10 theater education materials, 1946-1962
Folder 8.11 Young Audiences, 1987
Awards Committees
Folder 8.12 OBIE Committee, 1986-1987
Folder 8.13 Tony Awards Committee, 1981-1985
Folder 8.14 Tony Award Nominations, 1981-1986
Conferences and Symposia
Folder 8.15 Andover Conference, 1962-1963
Folder 8.16 Conference on International Exchanges in the Arts, 1970
Folder 8.17 Conference on Relationships Between Educational and Professional Theatre, 1966
Folder 8.18 National Theatre Conference, 1983-1984
Folder 9.1 Stanislavski Symposium, 1988
Folder 9.2 Symposium on the Arts in Asia, 1978
Folder 9.3 Wingspread Conference on Theatre and Society , 1975
Family and Personal Materials
Folder 9.4 Houghton, Grace, 1964
Folder 9.5 family and personal documents, [n.d.]
Honor Societies
Folder 9.6 Century Association, 1972-1995
Folder 9.7 Century Association, 1973-1997
Folder 9.8 College of Fellows of the American Theatre, 1980-1996
Theatres and Theatrical Productions
Folder 9.9 American Kaleidoscope Theatre Company, 1983
Folder 9.10 "Billy Budd," 1949-1979
Folder 9.11 "Candida," 1952-1972
Folder 9.12 Carnegie Hall - floor plans, [n.d.]
Folder 9.13 CBS Television Workshop, 1951-1952
Folder 9.14 Circle Repertory Company, 1975-1981
Folder 9.15 Circle Repertory Company, 1975-1981
Folder 9.16 "Classics in Context" / Actors Theatre of Louisville , 1989
Folder 9.17 Glimmerglass Opera, 1987-1996
Folder 9.18 Glimmerglass Opera, 1988-1994
Folder 9.19 Hazel Players, 1988-1990
Folder 9.20 Heritage Repertory Theatre, 1983
Folder 9.21 Irving Place Theatre Project, 1952-1954
Folder 9.22 "Julius Caesar" / Actors Theatre of Louisville , 1982-1983
Folder 9.23 "Macbeth," 1947-1948
Folder 10.1 "Macbeth" / Missouri Repertory Theatre, 1981-1982
Folder 10.2 "Macbeth" / Missouri Repertory Theatre, 1981-1982
Folder 10.3 "Misalliance" / Asolo Theatre, 1982-1983
Folder 10.4 "Misalliance" - text, [n.d.]
Folder 10.5 "The Misanthrope" / Lynchburg College, 1986
Folder 10.6 National Repertory Theatre, 1982-1986
Folder 10.7 Open Eye Theatre, 1983-1994
Folder 10.8 Phoenix Theatre Project - planning papers, 1952-1953
Folder 10.9 Phoenix Theatre, 1957-1982
Folder 10.10 Phoenix Theatre, 1964-1966
Folder 10.11 "Romeo and Juliet" / Lynchburg College, 1984
Folder 10.12 "R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)," 1994
Folder 10.13 Russian theatre materials, 1969-1972
Folder 10.14 St. Louis Municipal Opera, 1939-1940
Folder 10.15 "The Tall Kentuckian," 1953
Folder 10.16 Theatre Development Fund, 1995
Folder 10.17 Theatre Incorporated, 1947-1959
Folder 10.18 Theatre Institute at Storm King, 1986-1990
Miscellaneous Subject Files
Folder 11.1 Bellagio Center / Rockefeller Foundation, 1970-1984
Folder 11.2 Bingham, Barry, 1986-1988
Folder 11.3 "Body Work" - Gaby Ford, circa 1993
Folder 11.4 China, 1980-1989
Folder 11.5 China, 1983-1985
Folder 11.6 Encyclopedia Britannica Films, 1964-1966, 1986
Folder 11.7 Hellenic Heritage Foundation, circa 1980-1989
Folder 11.8 German Visitors Program, 1964-1966
Folder 11.9 miscellaneous materials, [n.d.]

Series VI: Clippings and Printed Materials

Folder 11.10 brochure and newsletter, 1966, 1981
Folder 11.11 clipping from Russia (very fragile)
Folder 11.12 clippings - interviews and lectures
Folder 11.13 clippings - interviews and lectures
Folder 11.14 clippings - miscellaneous, 1934-1935 (very fragile)
Folder 11.15 clippings - miscellaneous
Folder 11.16 clippings - miscellaneous
Folder 11.17 clippings - Phoenix Threatre
Folder 11.18 clippings - Phoenix Threatre
Folder 11.19 clippings - Phoenix Threatre
Folder 12.1 clippings - Princeton University, 1927-1931
Folder 11.20 "Cultural Affairs," 1970
Box 28 "Duty Bound," 1943
Box 12 Life Magazine, 26 March 1951 (very fragile)
Box 12 Life Magazine, 12 April 1954 (2 copies)
Box 12 Life Magazine, 24 May 1954 (fragile)
Folder 12.2 programs, 1975-1988
Box 18 programs and playbills
Box 20 theatre posters (6 items)
Box 28 working scripts

Series VII: Photographic Materials

Photographs of or Including Norris Houghton
Box 23 framed photo with Grace Houghton, circa 1915
Folder 13.1 Norris Houghton, circa 1920-1925 (5 photos)
Folder 13.2 Norris Houghton, circa 1926-1955 (5 photos)
Folder 15.1 Norris Houghton, circa 1927-1960 (3 photos)
Folder 16.2 Triangle Club of Princeton, 1929-1930
Folder 13.7 Norris Houghton, Barbara O'Niel, and unidentified performers, 1936-1937 (5 photos)
Folder 15.2 Elitch's Garden Theatre, 1948 (2 photos)
Box 25 framed photo of Norris Houghton, circa 1960
Folder 13.18 Norris Houghton and A. L. Rouse, 1984 (2 photos)
Folder 16.1 Norris Houghton with unidentified man, n.d.
Stage Productions Directed or Designed by Norris Houghton
Folder 13.3 "The Pijean," 1930 (7 photos)
Folder 13.4 "Othello," "Mr. Prin Passes By," "The Play's The Thing," "The Sea Gull," "Stopover," 1930-1954, (6 photos)
Folders 15.12-15.13 "Othello," 1930
Folders 15.14-15.15 "Time Is A Dream," 1930-1931
Folder 13.5 "Man And The Masses," 1931 (8 photos)
Folder 13.6 "The Dark Hours," 1932 (2 photos)
Folder 13.8 "Macbeth," "She Passed Through Lorraine," "Spring In Autumn," unidentified production, 1947-1948 / [n.d.] (8 photos)
Folders 15.3-15.11 "Macbeth," 1947-1948
Folder 13.9 "Candida," "Haste To The Wedding," "Wife Insurance," circa 1950-1960 (7 photos)
Folder 13.10 "Billy Budd," 1957 (9 photos)
Folder 13.14 "Julius Caesar" - Actors Theatre of Louisville, 1982 (4 photos)
Folder 13.15 "Julius Caesar" - Actors Theatre of Louisville, 1982 (4 slides)
Folder 13.16 "Misalliance," 1982-1983 (1 photo)
Folder 13.17 "Holiday" - Heritage Repertory Theatre, 1983 (4 photos)
Russian Performers and Productions, circa 1960-1972
Folder 14.1 identified performers and productions (6 photos - identifications written on reverse]
Folder 14.2 unidentified performers and productions (6 photos)
Folder 14.3 unidentified performers and productions (5 photos)
Folder 14.4 unidentified performers and productions (4 photos)
Folder 14.5 unidentified performers and productions (5 photos)
Folder 14.6 unidentified performers and productions (5 photos)
Folder 14.7 unidentified performers and productions (5 photos)
Folder 14.8 unidentified performers and productions (5 photos)
Folder 14.9 unidentified performers and productions (6 photos)
Folder 15.3 unidentified performers and productions (3 photos)
Miscellaneous Photographs
Folder 14.10 Gloucester School of the Little Theatre, 1930 (5 photos)
Folder 14.11 Moscow, 1934-1935 (6 photos)
Folder 14.12 "Hedda Gabler" unidentified stage set, 1940, [n.d.] (4 photos)
Folder 14.13 "Billy Bud" - cast members, circa 1957 (5 photos)
Folder 14.14 "Billy Bud" - cast members, circa 1957 (5 photos)
Folder 14.15 "Billy Bud" - cast members, circa 1957 (5 photos)
Folder 14.16 "Richard III" - Warsaw, circa 1961 (6 photos)
Folder 14.17 house photographs, 1962-1970 (2 photos)
Folder 14.18 Korea, 1966 (3 photos)
Folder 13.11 Missouri Repertory Theatre performers, 1981-1982 (5 photos)
Folder 13.12 actors - Missouri Repertory Theatre performers, 1981-1982 (3 photos)
Folder 13.13 actors - Missouri Repertory Theatre performers, 1981-1982 (6 photos)
Folder 14.19 "Tall Ships of South Street," 1982 (1 photo)
Folder 14.20 actors - Heritage Repertory Theatre, 1983 (5 photos)
Folder 14.21 actors - Heritage Repertory Theatre, 1983 (5 photos)
Folder 14.22 China, 1986 (5 photos)
Folder 14.23 China, 1986 (5 photos)
Folder 14.24 Rebecca Dobson - American Kaleidoscope Theatre, [n.d.] (1 photo)
Folder 14.25 unidentified performers and prouctions, [n.d.] (4 photos)

Series VIII: Audio-Visual Materials

Audio Tapes
Reel 1 "Aspects Of The Contemporary American Theater" - reel 1, 1961
Reel 2 "Aspects Of The Contemporary American Theater" - reel 2, 1961
Reel 3 "Brecht"
Reel 4 "Bretaigne, Windust"
Reel 5 "Frances and Robert Crane"
Reel 6 "Dalrymple, Whitehead, Henry Fonda"
Reel 7 "Betty Fenner"
Reel 8 "Higgins, Sullivan"
Reel 9 "Huberth, Natwick, Altman, Fonda, and Smith"
Reel 10 "McCormick, Dyer"
Reel 11 "Quigley, Birnie, Cook"
Reel 12 "Kent Smith and Henry Fonda" (tape broken)
Reel 13 "Sullivan, Dorr, Pace"
Reel 14 "Swope, Stewart"
Reel 15 [unidentified]
Motion Picture Films
Reel 1 "Playwrights In The Contemporary Theatre: Brecht and Piscator," 1959
Reel 2 "Playwrights In The Contemporary Theatre, Introductory Lecture," 1959 (very fragile)
Reel 3 "Playwrights In The Contemporary Theatre: Miller, Odets," 1959

Series IX: Memorabilia

Box 19 address and date books, 1934-1998
Folder 26.1 autographed illustration, [n.d.]
Box 20 award certificates, 1953-1991 (5 items)
Box 24 "Billy Budd" souvenir book, 1951
Box 20 honorary diplomas, 1983-1991 (4 items)
Box 26 honorary diploma, 1987
Folder 26.2 Life Magazine cover, 1954
Box 16 portrait of Norris Houghton, [n.d.]
Box 21 scrapbook, [n.d.]
Box 22 scrapbook - Phoenix Theatre

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