Loyola · Notre Dame Library
Sources for the Study of Theatre
in Archives/Special Collections Loyola·Notre Dame Library
An Annotated Bibliography
This is the first in a planned series on the Archives and Special Collections web pages which will focus on a subject covered substantially in its holdings. We hope that the series will be the inspiration for numerous research papers, publications and projects.
Note #1: In keeping with the designation of Loyola as Loyola University Maryland (August 2009) all references to Loyola College in Maryland have been changed accordingly with the following exceptions:
- When the word "college" appears in the title of a work, or in pre-August 2009 publication information.
- When the word "college" (singular or plural is used generically).
Note #2: In keeping with the designation of Notre Dame as Notre Dame of Maryland University (September 2011) all references to Notre Dame of Maryland University have been changed accordingly. There are no exceptions in that section of the bibliography.
LOYOLA UNIVERSITY MARYLAND ARCHIVES (LUMA)
The Loyola University Maryland Archives materials described here relate to the history of theatre at the Loyola, as a co-curricular activity as well as an integral part of the curriculum. From theatre programs and play scripts to faculty publications about the history of the Loyola, the Archives contain a wealth of information on the subject.
The Society of Jesus – from its early beginnings – used the theatre to extend its educational mission to students as well as adults. The Jesuits operated a number of theatres throughout Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. After these declined, drama remained an important element in the education of their students. The study and performance of drama has always held an honorable place in Jesuit schools in America. Holy Cross seems to have been the second college in the country (after Harvard with its Hasty Pudding Club) to organize a dramatic club. This occurred during the presidency of Father John Early, S.J, later first president of Loyola University Maryland. Similar organizations were established at Georgetown in 1852 and Fordham in 1855.
Ryan, Rev. John J., Historical Sketch of Loyola College, Baltimore, 1852-1902 (Baltimore: Loyola College, 1902)
This account of the first fifty years of Loyola University Maryland was written on the occasion of its golden Jubilee celebration. The text is organized into chapters in chronological order following the order of succession of Loyola's presidents. Memoirs of alumni and a list of graduates together with their post graduation achievements are part of every chapter. The Loyola Dramatic Club is given a great deal of attention in these pages – there are lists of plays performed and accounts of performances and reviews. All the reviews compare the club favorably to a professional theatre group and describe sold out performance halls.
The memoirs of two students, Walter McCann (a co-founder of the club) and Charles Bouchet recall memorable moments with the club. McCann’s memoir recounts the Jesuits’ encouragement of the club and the succession of managers and advisors to the members. Bouchet’s memoir provides insight into the hard work members put into producing each play they performed. The book concludes with a record of the Jubilee festivities, with the closing event a presentation of Macbeth with an all male cast.
Note: Circulating copies of this publication are in the main Loyola·Notre Dame Library.
Varga, Nicholas, Baltimore’s Loyola, Loyola’s Baltimore: 1851- 1986, (Baltimore: The Maryland Historical Society, 1990).
The author was the founder and first archivist of the LUMA and a long time member of the history faculty. The book, a comprehensive history of Loyola (1851-1986), includes details of the foundingand early years of the Loyola Dramatic Club, the second student club (preceded by the Sodality). After gaining the approval of the then president, Father Anthony Ciampi, S.J., the club held its first meeting in April 1865. The idea for establishing the club came from two students, Fredrick H. Hack, its first president and Walter McCann. The club’s first production, Hidden Gem, was performed during the commencement exercises that year. Drama continued as an integral part of the history of Loyola and its Jesuit faculty. In 1940, for example, the Jesuit Society chose as the centerpiece of its 400th anniversary celebration a revival production of Cenodoxus, a 17th century morality play staged and performed by Loyola students. An account of the club as the Mask and Rapier Society and after 1974 as the Evergreen Players is in the book as well.
Note: Circulating copies of this publication are in the main Loyola.Notre Dame Library.
McGrain, John, “Gaslight Days of Loyola Theatricals,” Evergreen Quarterly, 11 (Spring 1956), pp.16-18
John McGrain ’52, editor of The Greyhound and The Alumni Greyhound, successively, wrote this account of the Loyola Dramatic Club’s record book described below in Box #1 of our Student Societies subseries, Dramatics (LCA Record Group #9). This is a “must read” before tackling the document itself.
Hamilton, Wayne E., “Jesuit Contributions to Baltimore Theatre: Drama at Loyola College, 1865-1899” (unpublished manuscript, Independent Study, THET 669, Loyola College in Maryland, 1981)
The author examines the origins of drama in colleges, with an emphasis on Loyola and its contributions to Baltimore theatre. The Loyola Dramatic Club was started during Baltimore’s emergence as a center for theatre in Maryland. The paper traces the development of the club from its formation as well as its impact on Baltimore at large. From 1865-1899 the plays were performed in public theatres since Loyola had no space of its own for that purpose at the time. A professional orchestra provided the music when required. The choice of plays was in keeping with the Jesuit tradition of selecting works which held a deeper meaning or conveyed a lesson of some sort, however in four years the productions of classics, tragedies, and historical dramas were finally relieved by a comedy. The performances were well attended and enthusiastically received by the Baltimore public. The paper includes two appendices: the first a chronology of the plays staged during the period covered; the second the text of the club’s first constitution.
Record Group # 9 (Students)
Series S (Societies)
Subseries #3 (Dramatics)
Date Range: 1865-1990s
Bulk Dates: 1865-1962
The boxes in this subseries house the club’s historical records from its beginnings. Contained in this box is the combination record book and scrapbook documenting the early years of the club (1865-1914), including minutes, membership rosters, programs, tickets to performances and clippings of published reviews. Note: This item is the original and is too fragile for general handling; an electronic version on a DVD is available for research.
The remaining contents of the box include notes, an article about the history of the club, and loose programs (1865-1990s). Among these are programs for a lecture series and concerts sponsored by the club, Loyola Night (first produced in 1936 to promote interest in theatre at Loyola which had been flagging in previous years for lack of rehearsal space), a lecture on Hamlet and a Jesuit One-Act Play Competition. The programs reflect the name changes of the club – to Loyola Dramatic Society and then to Mask and Rapier Society in 1937, although both names appear concurrently on various documents for a time.
Box # 2
This box contains three scripts for plays performed in the 1940s; the first for the revival of Cenodoxus in 1940. Included with the script are drawings of the actors’ costumes and a program, as well. The other scripts are for the plays, Your Town and Marelyn. Your Town, a lampoon on Baltimore (ca. 1940/early 1941) was written and produced by a student group known as the Loyola Playshop. It was the first musical revue staged by Loyola and the first of its kind to be undertaken by a local college group in Baltimore in years according to one of many favorable reviews of the play in the city’s newspapers at the time.
Marelyn a musical satire of Maryland history performed in 1948 was the work of students, George Herman and Donald Swarz. The title, Marelyn itself pokes fun at that common pronunciation of the name of the state by so many of its natives and long time inhabitants. (See also: Papers of William Driscoll, S.J. described below.)
In 1949, The Mask and Rapier Society performed a passion play, Thy Kingdom Come, by George Herman. A copy of the program is in this box.
Various play scripts, programs, notices and reviews are included here. Included as well is the original script for the play, Robert of Sicily performed in 1901. The script includes the stage directions, prop placement, and lighting used during the production. The box also contains a copy of Longfellow’s poem of the same name on which the play was based.
Box #3a Contains photocopies of Robert of Sicily for researchers’ use.
Record Group #9 (Students)
Series S (Societies)
Subseries #3a (Dramatics: Evergreen Players)
1974-present (open: ongoing additions)
Before the construction of the McManus Theatre, Loyola did not have a theatre on the Evergreen campus. Instead most productions were held either in the basement of the chapel or a rented public space. Included here is documentation of the planning for and construction of this first theatre for Loyola and its anticipated users, the co-curricular Evergreen Players (direct descendants of the original Loyola Dramatic Club) - under the auspices of the Fine Arts Department. Other more recently organized independent student dramatic groups use the facility as well. Included is information about the gala opening of the Theatre on March 1, 1985, as well as production and cast lists, programs and posters (1974-present) and newspaper articles about productions and other events there.
The Evergreen Players since its inception in 1974 as the Evergreen Players Association (the last word was subsequently dropped from the title), has been Loyola's official co-curricular dramatic club and is responsible for the majority of the productions in the theatre. There is substantial documentation regarding the club in this configuration, including its prospectus and original constitution; and a formal statement regarding the tradition of Jesuit drama provides a context for the study of the history of theatre at Loyola.
Documentation of the two independent student-run theatre groups affiliated with Loyola, the Poisoned Cup Players and the Spotlight Players, is included as well. The Poisoned Cup Players was started in March 1992 to produce classical and Shakespearean drama; there is a list of their productions (March 1992-November 2007). The Spotlight Players started in the fall of 2004 produces more contemporary plays; a list of these (2004-present) is included.
Note: The comprehensive collection of performance programs and posters is an outstanding addition to the record group as a whole. The archives receives updates to this collection as new productions are staged.
Record Group #8 (Faculty)
Series I (Individuals)
Subseries: DRISCOLL (Papers of William Driscoll, S.J.)
Box #1/BT 181
Rev. Driscoll’s papers include materials relating to his years as faculty director of the Loyola Dramatic Society/Mask and Rapier Society during the 1940s. Among these are photographs, programs, published reviews - and all of the original musical scores for the club’s production of Marelyn (1948). (folders #1-2). The collection includes Mask and Rapier Society productions programs, the club’s schedule for 1947-1948, and information, photographs and publicity materials for the club’s revival production of Everyman (March 1948). (folders #2-3).
Note: The collection has been sorted, but not fully processed. However, it is open to researchers.
Yearbooks (variously titled)
1908 to present (series not complete)
The yearbooks are rich sources for Loyola theatre history. After a hiatus in the publication (post 1913- 1932), the club emerges in the pages of the 1933 yearbook. After another hiatus during World War II coverage of the club broadens with an increasing number of pages devoted to a recap or review of an increasing number of productions. Each year there is a major focus on at least one accompanied by several photographs, first in black and white and now in color. The McManus Theatre in its inaugural year is covered similarly.
The Greyhound (Loyola University Maryland student newspaper)
The newspaper follows the dramatic productions of the club through the years with reviews and photographs. There is coverage of the McManus Theatre in all phases of its creation and its completion.
Note: In particular, the article, “Loyola’s Dramatic Society Has a Distinguished History,” (The Greyhound, March, 19, 1968, page 2) pays tribute to the club with some little known anecdotal information regarding its early years – greatly facilitating beginning research on the history of drama at Loyola.
LOYOLA·NOTRE DAME LIBRARY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
Performing Arts Programs of Maryland (1924-1997)
This extensive collection of programs primarily from productions staged in theatres in Baltimore - with several others from theatres throughout the state - was annotated by the donor, apparently an avid theatre patron during and beyond the heyday of theatre in this area. On most of the programs the donor recorded the date attended and with whom, his or her rating of the play and the actors for the performance. By the sheer number of programs in this collection it would seem that the donor must have attended a play a month during the span of years covered by the collection.
The programs provide a window on theatre in this locale from its boom years as a favorite tryout venue for Broadway productions. Such luminaries as Henry Fonda, Katherine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, Ethel Barrymore, Tallulah Bankhead, Charlie Chaplin, and the Marx Brothers were performing regularly for Baltimore audiences - through the growth of more regional or local theatre companies as reflected in programs from the later years. Many of these theatres no longer exist today, but the content of the programs usually include some information about the venues for the performances as well as descriptions of the plays and players. With items of local color and advertisements as well, the programs are a rich source for research on Baltimore theatre and culture over time.
The majority of programs are from performances at Ford’s Theatre (in Baltimore), The Maryland, and The Auditorium Theatres. Among others are those from the Morris A. Mechanic, Olney and Vagabond Theatres, Center Stage and Theatre Hopkins.
NOTRE DAME OF MARYLAND UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES (NDMUA)
Notre Dame of Maryland University Archives holdings relate to the history of drama there. They consist primarily of the records of its dramatic club, Ye Merrie Masquers (YMM) from its beginning in 1916 to the present. Included as well are substantial materials relating to Pumpkin Theatre, organized in 1967 by long time chairperson of the Notre Dame’s then Drama Department, Sister Kathleen Marie Engers, SSND. This was a children’s theatre independent of the YMM. At its height it was incorporated into the Drama Department’s curriculum and senior drama majors were required to produce a play under its auspices. Pumpkin Theatre was housed on campus for many years. Since its departure from the campus it has functioned in several venues in Baltimore until recently when it acquired a permanent home in the area at St. Timothy’s School.
Loeschke, Maravene, Lives in Art Sixteen Women Who Changed Theatre in Baltimore (no publishing information given)
This book celebrates the achievements of sixteen women whose work in area theatre through the years has enriched the Baltimore community. Chapters are biographical sketches based on interviews with the subjects or close family and friends. The women honored in the book are: Isabel Burger, Verna Day, Sister Kathleen Marie Engers, Helen Grigal, Audrey Herman, Irene Lewis, Mary West Miller, Toby Orenstein, Helen Penniman, Laurlene Pratt, Suzanne Pratt, Binnie Ritchie Holum, Juanita Rockwell, Wendy Salkinel, Vivienne Shub, and Bev Sokal. All sixteen of these women hold or have held leadership positions in many of the Baltimore area theatres. Based on her research, into the lives of these women, the author has uncovered one constant theme: without their efforts Baltimore theatre would not be the vibrant and creative experience it is today.
Note: The book is not currently in the main LNDL or Special Collections. It is however, readily available through ILL. It was included because it is a little known though important source for the study of Baltimore theatre and will be in our collections in the near future.
Record Group #20.2.10 Co-curricular Affairs – Ye Merrie Masquers
Date Range: 1912-1980s
Bulk Dates: 1916-1953
Some of the documents pre-date the beginning of the club including programs for plays produced in 1912 and 1914 by Kappa Rho Sigma sorority. The program from the first play by YMM in 1916 is also contained herein. The box also houses the YMM record book which includes the original constitution and membership rosters (1916-1969) and induction ceremony procedures. Other items include a cap and tunic worn by YMM initiates during the induction ceremonies; cash account books and a member address book from the 1940s; and Columns articles reviewing plays or citing YMM events such as an annual awards dinner. There is documentation of YMM’s more recent history: the club’s revival in the 1980s under the name, Vanity Players with the production of Godspell; the name of the club reverted to YMM with its next production, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.
Documentation of the new era of YMM beginning in the 1980s continues. Most materials relate to the Copeland or Black Box Theatre built in the mid 1990s to house smaller productions and student written plays. Included in the box are 1997 YMM induction materials including the program, invitation, and the initiate’s summons to the event. In this era of YMM, at times the production of plays extended beyond the confines of the club. The box contains programs of these productions, among them, Another Woman’s Fancy produced by the Notre Dame’s graduate division. Others are for productions of the Charles Street. Players, a cooperative venture of the drama clubs of Loyola University of Maryland and the Notre Dame of Maryland University.
Included is paper work for the funding and planning of the Copeland or Black Box Theatre and the play script for the 2005 YMM production of Women/Women, directed by NDMU English Department professor, Gene Farrington.
Pumpkin Theatre Scrapbook, Item Number: 1995-3291
The scrapbook contains a detailed record of Pumpkin Theatre’s progress from a small on campus endeavor producing five shows a year, to a theatre permanently located on the campus of St. Timothy’s School in Baltimore—reaching out to the area community with nine plays a year geared to an audience of children numbering 25,000. Included are programs and photographs from the Theatre’s numerous performances, newspaper articles and letters of thanks from the children who attended the productions over the years. Because of the dedication of its founder/producer, Sister Kathleen Marie Engers, SSND, Pumpkin Theatre has provided a rare theatre going experience for among others, countless children who would otherwise never have had that opportunity.
Pumpkin Theatre Mounted Production Photographs, 1968 (Cinderella, first production)-1922
Gift of Sister Kathleen Marie Engers, S.S.N.D.
Mounted on three attached standing display boards this item documents the productions of the company in labeled chronologically arranged color photographs. Located in the Notre Dame of Maryland University Archives this is a wonderful display piece and research source.
Record Group #50.3.1335 Faculty Series, Sister Kathleen Marie Engers, SSND
Date Range: 1950's-2000's
Bulk Dates: 1980-2005
Box 1992-699 (1 folder):
The folder contains photos, correspondence and clippings most relating to the history of Pumpkin Theatre. Included are articles on the controversy over one off-campus location of the Theatre, in Roland Park. There are papers regarding Sister Kathleen Marie’s position on the Theatre’s board. A more recent article celebrates the theatre’s 40th anniversary.
There is some documentation in personal papers and the media as well, of Sr. Kathleen Marie’s affiliation with the College. She is an alumna, Class of 1947, and has been a member of the faculty for more than fifty years. Today she is chair of the Communications Arts Department and continues her involvement with Pumpkin Theatre, although recently retired from direct involvement; she still sits on its board.
Columns (Notre Dame of Maryland University student newspaper)
1933 to present
The newspaper follows YMM as a club and producer of plays, its presence in the newspaper corresponds with club activity. Articles generally cover the production of plays, reviews of shows, formal club activities, and elections to club offices. Some mention is also made of Pumpkin Theatre during its time on the Notre Dame campus.