MS Thr 589
Papers for Three designers for the contemporary theatre exhibition, 1915-1954: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Location: Harvard Depository
Call No.: MS Thr 589
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Title: Papers for Three designers for the contemporary theatre exhibition,
Date(s): 1915-1954, (bulk) 1950.
Quantity: 1 collection (.25 linear feet (2 boxes)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Primarily papers and photographs concerning an exhibition for theater designers, Robert
Edmond Jones, Donald Oenslager, and Lee Simonson.
No accession number. Source and date unknown.
Some of this material appears to have been added after the exhibition date of 1950.
Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt
There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.
This collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the
Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton
Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies
Papers for Three Designers for the Contemporary Theatre Exhibition, 1915-1954 (MS Thr 589). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library,
See HOLLIS for additional material on these designers held by the Houghton Library.
In 1950, the Harvard Theatre Collection and the Fogg Art Museum cooperated on a join
exhibition of original materials of Harvard graduates who were theater designers.
The exhibition was entitled: Three designers for the contemporary theatre: Robert
Edmond Jones, Class of 1910, Donald Oenslager, Class of 1923, and Lee Simonson, Class
of 1909. The exhibition physically was located in the Fogg Art Museum, Lamont Library,
and in the foyer of Widener Library from October 16 through November 25, 1950. The
exhibition, curated by William Van Lennep, Curator of the Theatre Collection, included
200+ drawings, models, and photographs, all lent from individual artists and the Museum
of the City of New York, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Stanford University Libraries,
none came from Harvard collections. [see foreward to exhibition catalog, item (2)].
Arranged into the following series:
- I. General papers on the exhibition and designers
- II. Papers on Robert Edmond Jones
- III. Papers on Donald Oenslager
- IV. Papers on Lee Simonson
Includes exhibition catalogs, posters, fliers, lecture notes by William Van Lennep,
and photographs of original costume and set designs. Many, but not all of the photographs
of set and costume designs in this collection depict the original materials that were
displayed in the exhibit. Includes some unidentified materials including a copper
printing plate and proofs. Many of the photographs were taken by Will Rapport.
Some of the images in this collection have been annotated with notes by former curators
of the Harvard Theatre Collection. They have noted the date and source of when original
designs depicted in the photographs were given to the HTC.
This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions
below for additional information.
- Series: I. General papers on the exhibition and designers
- (1). Block stamp used for cover of exhibition catalog, 1950. 1 folders
- (2). Fogg Art Museum. Three designers for the contemporary theatre : exhibition catalogs, 1950. 3 folders
5 copies: 1 is annotated and marked: "Guide to Oenslager slides."
- Photocopied pages from the catalog, with pencilled annotations
- Mailing flier about preview, concert, and lecture program for exhibition (2 copies)
- Posters advertising the exhibition (3 copies)
- Concert and lecture series flier for "correlating music and art" at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1950-1951
- (3). Fogg Art Museum. Three designers for the contemporary theatre : photographs, 1950. 1 folders
Includes photographs of the actual exhibit at the Fogg:
- The Hamlet corner : photograph, 1950.
- Model corner with Egmont above one by Jones, the rest by Oenslager : photograph, 1950.
- Gallery XVI with Simonson photographs on wires : photograph, 1950.
- Buckingham School : photograph, 1950.
- [Men looking at exhibit, 1] : photograph, 1950.
- [Men looking at exhibit, 2] : photograph, 1950.
- (4). Van Lennep, William. Lecture notes on Robert Edmond Jones, Donald Oenslager, and Lee Simonson : autograph
manuscript, 1950? 1 folders
- Series: III. Papers on Donald Oenslager
Biographical / Historical
: Donald Oenslager (1902-1975) was an American theater set designer and historian. He
received an AB from Harvard College in 1923. He taught at the Yale School of Drama
and he designed for many musicals and operas, as well as published a number of books
on stage design.
See pfMS Thr 332 for original set designs by Oenslager held by Houghton. See HOLLIS
for additional materials on Oenslager.
- (11). Oenslager, Donald, 1902-1975. Set design : photographs, various dates. 5 folders
Each image is numbered on verso, 87 - 148. Some numbers are missing.
All photographs taken (and many stamped on verso) by Will Rapport. [Rapport (active 1940-1960) is known foremost as a photographer of dance productions
and theatrical plays]
Includes the following productions: Sooner and later, Pinwheel, Brand, Emperor Jones, Hamlet, Salome, Prometheus, Red hot and blue, Le bourgeois gentihomme, Le pauvre matelot, Of mice and men, Fabulous invalid, Prometheus, Doctor's dilemma, Born yesterday, Tristam & Isolde, Washington Square, Fidelio, Life with mother, Job, I'd rather be right, Pygmalion, and Leading lady.
- (12). Oenslager, Donald, 1902-1975. Set design : photographs, various dates. 1 folders
Most images are numbered and identified on verso.
- Oenslager, Donald, 1902-1975. Hamlet : set design drawing photograph, undated.
Numbered: T.L. 9944.9.
- Oenslager, Donald, 1902-1975. The abduction from the Seraglio : set design model photograph, undated.
Numbered: T.L. 9930.54
- Oenslager, Donald, 1902-1975. The fabulous invalid : set design drawing photograph, 1938.
Numbered: T.L. 9930.36.
- Oenslager, Donald, 1902-1975. Life with mother : set design drawing photograph, undated.
Numbered: T.L. 9930.28.
- Oenslager, Donald, 1902-1975. The execution of Egmont, final scene : set design drawing photograph, undated.
- Oenslager, Donald, 1902-1975. Born yesterday (set in Boston) : set design photograph, 1946 October.
Photographed by Will Rapport.
- Oenslager, Donald, 1902-1975. The lady from the sea, act III : set design watercolor photograph, undated.
- (13). Oenslager, Donald, 1902-1975. Set design photostats, positive and negative, undated. 2 folders
Unidentified images of set designs.