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Archives & Manuscripts

Little Theater Club (Swarthmore College) Records

 Collection
Identifier: SFHL-RG6-Q004

Scope and Contents

Contains the records of the Little Theater Club of Swarthmore College, 1924-1969, including programs, scripts, clippings, and related materials. Also scrapbooks and production photo albums of Barbara Pearson Lange Godfrey, director of the Little Theater Club from 1946 to 1962 and active in faculty/staff productions.

Organized into three series:
  1. Productions and workshops
  2. Scrapbooks of Barbara Pearson Lange Godfrey
  3. Posters and financial records

Dates

  • 1924-1970; 1946-1969 (bulk)

Creator

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in to the Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf Friends Historical Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.

Biographical / Historical

The Little Theater Club was established at Swarthmore College about 1922 to build a firm foundation for theatrical projects and coordinate productions on campus. No course credit was given for participation. By the mid 1930s, it planned and supervised long plays at least twice a year as well as one-act plays. No course credit was given for participation. Membership was elected, based on try-outs for crews and parts. In 1937, a Workshop was added, open to all students without try-outs.

The mid 1940s, the workshop had evolved into a Laboratory Theater, offering workshops in all aspects of the theater. Little Theater Club continued to be responsible for a full length production each semester, with an elected membership. Faculty and staff, with spouses, also participated in theater on campus with a mid year production.

Barbara Pearson Lange (1910-2003) became director of the Little Theater Club in 1946. She was the daughter of Paul M. Pearson, professor of public speaking and director of Swarthmore Chautauqua. After attending Swarthmore College for two years, she completed her education at the Yale Drama School. In 1932 she married Gordon Lange, a writer and actor who died in 1979. Gordon Lange directed the faculty/staff production of Alice in Wonderland in 1963. Her second husband, Warren Godfrey, died in 1981. She left the directorship of the Little Theater Club in 1962 to serve in other administrative capacities on campus, but continued to directly a yearly faculty production.

After Swarthmore created a Drama Department in 1968-69, there was increasing tension over what role the Little Theater Club could play on campus because all funds designated for theater required approval by the Drama Department. Creating the Drama Department was intended to end the membership-only requirements, but the result was less extracurricular theater productions on campus, and the Little Theater Club became inactive.

Extent

3.5 Linear Feet (7 boxes and 1 volume)

Language

English

Overview

The Little Theater Club was established at Swarthmore College about 1922 to create a stable foundation for theatrical projects and coordinate productions on campus. No course credit was given for participation. After Swarthmore created a Drama Department in 1968/69, the Little Theater Club became inactive. The collection contains the records of the Little Theater Club of Swarthmore College, 1924-1969, including programs, scripts, clippings, financial records, and related materials. Also scrapbooks and production photo albums, 1946-1980, of Barbara Pearson Lange Godfrey, director of the Little Theater Club from 1946 to 1962.

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donor: Little Theater Club

Date: ca. 1970

Donor: Julie Hall

Date: 2004

Donor: Jane Mullins (posters)

Date: 2006

Related Materials

Related Material: For extensive Little Theater Club photographs, see SPA 201, Swarthmore College Student Activities, Drama.

See also scrapbooks compiled on Little Theater productions, 1934-1959, RG 6/U-001

Separated Materials

Loose photographs removed to SPA 201, Swarthmore College Student Activities, Drama

Processing Information

The Little Theater Club Records were deposited in Swarthmore College Archives after the group ceased to exist in the late 1960s. In 2004, a new finding aid was produced and the photographs of productions removed to College Photographs for better storage and access. Late in 2004, scrapbooks and mounted albums relating to the Little Theater Club and other theatrical productions directed by Barbara Pearson Lange Godfrey and her husband, Gordon Lange, were donated by Julie Hall, their daughter. These were added to the collection as a separate series. The scrapbooks are fragile, but the decision was made to keep the volumes intact because they were compiled as personal scrapbooks rather than official records of the group. In late 2015, financial records of the Little Theater Club which were formerly stored with RG6/G Swarthmore College Financial Records were added to this collection.
Title
Finding aid for Little Theater Club (Swarthmore College), Records, 1924-1980 (1946-1969 bulk)
Author
Finding Aid Prepared by FHL staff
Date
2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library

Contact:
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA