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Northwestern University Library
Northwestern University Library

Guide to the Lee Mitchell (1906-1988) Papers 1929/1983

Overview of the Collection

Title:

Lee Mitchell (1906-1988) Papers

Dates:

1929-1983

Collector:

Mitchell, Lee

Size:

7.00

Repository:

Northwestern University Archives

Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/archives
Email: archives@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3354

Abstract:

The Lee Mitchell Papers consist of a variety of materials which reflect his activities as an educator, stage designer, author, and director of theater productions. The collection materials related to the plays directed by Mitchell as well as biographical materials. The most comprehensive and significant component of the collection consists of a variety of materials relating to 28 plays which Mitchell directed between 1946 and 1971. The quantity and quality of the notes for each production varies. A typical folder might include a program with program notes; rehearsal schedules; design, staging, and property notes; costume and make-up specifications and descriptions of characters and evaluation of actors. There are a few annotated scripts and occasionally stage sketches, most notably for “Othello.” The only correspondence in the papers pertains to the production of “Julius Caesar.” In addition to directing, Mitchell was also very active in the technical aspects of theater production. The photographs of his stage designs in the collection graphically illustrate his accomplishments and concepts in this area.

Biographical Information

Lee Mitchell was born on October 24, 1906 in Washington, D.C. He began his distinguished career as a theater educator, author, and director as dramatic director at Schroon Lake Camp for Boys in New York. Following that he was a scenic director for Pennsylvania's College for Women. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1929. That same year Mitchell joined the Northwestern University Theatre as technical director while serving concurrently as an instructor in dramatic production at the university.

He received a Master of Arts degree from Northwestern University in 1936. His master's thesis entitled “The Use of Elizabethan Weapons in the Staging of Shakespeare's Plays” reflected an interest in Elizabethan drama which was also evidenced in the subject of his doctoral dissertation “Elizabethan Scenes of Violence and the Problem of Their Staging.” Mitchell obtained his PhD from Northwestern in 1941. He became chairman of the Department of Theater in the university's School of Speech in 1951 and a year later he was promoted to full professor.

Mitchell was involved in a broad range of other theater related activities. In 1937 he served as technical director for the Greenbriar Drama School at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The same year he assumed responsibility for production design at Mundelein College in Chicago. He has exhibited many of his scenic designs in the United States and in Spain at Seville International.

Mitchell co-authored "Principles of Theatre Art," a popular textbook; a revised edition of which appeared under his sole authorship in 1968. His many scholarly articles have appeared in such journals as Speech Monographs, Philological Quarterly, Quarterly Journal of Speech, Drama Critique, and Educational Theatre Journal.

His professional activities included serving as associate editor of both the Educational Theatre Journal and theTheatre Arts Monthly. In 1951, he was elected President of the American Educational Theatre Association. Early in his career he received the Otto H. Kahn Prize for distinction in dramatic production and in 1969 he was named the Margery Bailey Lecturer by the Institute of Renaissance Studies.

In 1968 Mitchell resigned his administrative posts at the School of Speech in order to devote more time to teaching. In 1971, after having been a member of the Northwestern faculty for 42 years, Mitchell left the university to become Distinguished Professor of Theatre at western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Lee Mitchell died on August 7, 1988.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

The Papers were donated to the University Archives by Professor Lee Mitchell on February 6, 1984 as accession #84-26.

Processing Information

Melissa Mitchell, February 1984

Separated Materials

Photographs of set designs by Mitchell for the Evanston Children's Theater have been removed from this collection and may now be located in the University Archives Photograph Files; also removed to the Photograph File was a folder of set designs for the University Theatre. All photos from this collection are filed in Photo Individuals File under Mitchell, Lee.

Set designs by Lee Mitchell for University Theatre productions have been separated from the Lee Mitchell Papers. The designs are contained within two oversized portfolios. (Kevin Leonard June 8, 1981)

Conditions Governing Access

None.

Arrangement of Materials

The papers are with the exception of the first four folders arranged in the chronological order of plays directed by Mitchell.

Scope and Contents

The Lee Mitchell Papers consist of a variety of materials which reflect his activities as an educator, stage designer, author, and director of theater productions. The papers are with the exception of the first four folders arranged in the chronological order of plays directed by Mitchell. The collection also includes biographical materials.

Biographical material in the collection relating to Mitchell is scanty, consisting mainly of newspaper clippings pertaining to Mitchell's career and two journal articles written by Mitchell. Mitchell's range of expertise is reflected by his many program notes for Northwestern University Theatre productions as well as in a substantial number of program designs included in the collection. In addition to directing, Mitchell was also very active in the technical aspects of theater production. The photographs of his stage designs in the collection graphically illustrate his accomplishments and concepts in this area.

The most comprehensive and significant component of the collection consists of a variety of materials relating to 28 plays which Mitchell directed between 1946 and 1971. These materials are arranged in chronological order of the production of plays directed by Mitchell. The quantity and quality of the notes for each production varies. A typical folder might include a program with program notes; rehearsal schedules; design, staging, and property notes; costume and make-up specifications and descriptions of characters and evaluation of actors. There are a few annotated scripts and occasionally stage sketches, most notably for “Othello.” The only correspondence in the papers pertains to the production of “Julius Caesar.”

INVENTORY

Box 1

Folder 1.1

Biographical Material

Box 1

Folder 1.2

Correspondence and Student Survey

Box 1

Folder 2

Reprints

Box 1

Folder 3

Program Notes

Box 1

Folder 4.1

Program Cover Designs

Box 1

Folder 4.2

Theater Budgets, 1961-1965

Box 1

Folder 4.3

Photo Supply Vouchers, 1962-1963

Box 1

Folder 5

Julius Caesar (1946/1947)

Box 1

Folder 6

Julius Caesar (1946/1947)

Box 1

Folder 7

Volpone (1947)

Box 1

Folder 8

Antigone (1949)

Box 1

Folder 9

Macbeth (1949)

Box 1

Folder 10

The Alchemist (1950)

Box 1

Folder 11

Tartuffe (1951)

Box 1

Folder 12

Dr. Faustus (1952)

Box 1

Folder 13

Othello (1952)

Box 1

Folder 14

The Glass Menagerie (1953)

Box 2

Folder 1

Phaedra (1954)

Box 2

Folder 2

Romeo and Juliet (1954)

Box 2

Folder 3

Elektra (1956)

Box 2

Folder 4

Oedipus at Colonus (1956)

Box 2

Folder 5

A New Way to Pay Old Debts (1958)

Box 2

Folder 6

King Henry IV, Part I (1959)

Box 2

Folder 7

Antigone (1960)

Box 2

Folder 8

The Comedy of Errors (1960)

Box 2

Folder 9

The Ascent of F 6 (1963)

Box 2

Folder 10

The Mischief-Maker (1964)

Box 2

Folder 11

The Sheep Well (1965)

Box 2

Folder 12

The Trojan Women (1965)

Box 2

Folder 13

Ion (1967)

Box 2

Folder 14

The Dream Weaver (1968)

Box 2

Folder 15

The Comedy of Errors (1969)

Box 2

Folder 16

The Duchess of Malfi (1969)

Box 2

Folder 17

The Rivals (1970)

Box 2

Folder 18

The Shoemaker's Holiday (1970)

Box 2

Folder 19

Hedda Gabler (1971)

Addition

This addition to the Lee Mitchell Papers fills 5 boxes and consists of drafts and publication materials relating to his book Staging of Premodern Drama. The book concerns itself with the problems of producing premodern drama today and draws on Mitchell's own experience in directing. The book contains an overview of drama from Greek tragedy to English plays of the eighteenth century, with problems of specific plays examined.

The materials included are correspondence concerning publishing of the book and several drafts reflecting various stages in the evolution of the book. Also included are editor's typescripts, author's page proofs, editor's page proofs, and the printer's computer text.

Box 3

Folder 1

Correspondence - Not Greenwood Press, 11/10/79-7/30/81

Box 3

Folder 2

Correspondence-Greenwood Press, 8/7/80-7/22/83

Box 3

Folder 3

Introduction Holograph

Box 3

Folder 4

Continuity, Cutting and Casting Holograph

Box 3

Folder 5

The Nature of Greek Tragedy Holograph

Box 3

Folder 6

"Antigone" Holograph

Box 3

Folder 7

"Electra" Holograph

Box 3

Folder 8

"The Trojan Women" Holograph

Box 3

Folder 9

"Doctor Faustus" Holograph

Box 3

Folder 10

"Julius Caesar" Holograph

Box 3

Folder 11

"Macbeth" Holograph

Box 3

Folder 12

"The Tempest" Holograph

Box 3

Folder 13

Spanish Theatre and "Funteovejuna" Holograph

Box 3

Folder 14

"Volpone" Holograph

Box 3

Folder 15

"The Alchemist" Holograph

Box 3

Folder 16

Moliere: General and "Scapin" Holograph

Box 4

Folder 1

"Tartuffe" Holograph

Box 4

Folder 2

"She Stoops to Conquer" Holograph

Box 4

Folder 3

"The Rivals" Holograph

Box 4

Folder 4

Appendix–Production Holograph

Box 4

Folder 5

Premodern Drama Early Drafts- Table of Contents

Box 4

Folder 6

Premodern Drama Early Drafts–Preface

Box 4

Folder 7

Premodern Drama Early Drafts–Introduction

Box 4

Folder 8

Premodern Drama Early Drafts

Box 4

Folder 9

Premodern Drama Early Drafts–Bibliography and Appendices

Box 4

Folder 10

Original Uncut Typescript pp 1-99

Box 4

Folder 11

Original Uncut Typescript pp 100-200

Box 4

Folder 12

Original Uncut Typescript pp 201-300

Box 4

Folder 13

Original Uncut Typescript pp 301-400

Box 5

Folder 1

Original Uncut Typescript pp 401-500

Box 5

Folder 2

Original Uncut Typescript pp 501-600

Box 5

Folder 3

Original Uncut Typescript pp 601-700

Box 5

Folder 4

Original Uncut Typescript pp 701-810

Box 5

Folder 5

Corrected and Abridged First Copy

Box 5

Folder 6

Corrected and Abridged First Copy

Box 5

Folder 7

Corrected and Abridged First Copy

Box 5

Folder 8

Corrected and Abridged First Copy

Box 6

Folder 1

Corrected and Abridged First Copy

Box 6

Folder 2

Corrected and Abridged First Copy

Box 6

Folder 3

Editor's Typescript pp 1-100

Box 6

Folder 4

Editor's Typescript pp 101-200

Box 6

Folder 5

Editor's Typescript pp 201-300

Box 6

Folder 6

Editor's Typescript pp 301-400

Box 6

Folder 7

Editor's Typescript pp 401-439, Index

Box 6

Folder 8

Author's Page Proofs parts 1-3

Box 7

Folder 1

Author's Page Proofs part 4

Box 7

Folder 2

Editor's Page Proofs parts 1-3

Box 7

Folder 3

Editor's Page Proofs part 4

Box 7

Folder 4

Printer's Computer Text

Box 7

Folder 5

Printer's Computer Text

Box 7

Folder 6

Printer's Computer Text

Box 7

Folder 7

Printer's Computer Text

Box 7

Folder 8

Printer's Computer Text

Box 7

Folder 9

Printer's Computer Text

Box 7

Folder 10

Printer's Computer Text