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.
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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.
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.
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Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donor: Little Theater Club
Date: ca. 1970
Donor: Julie Hall
Donor: Jane Mullins (posters)
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
Loose photographs removed to SPA 201, Swarthmore College Student Activities, Drama
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.
Finding aid for Little Theater Club (Swarthmore College), Records, 1924-1980 (1946-1969 bulk)
Finding Aid Prepared by FHL staff
Language of description
2016: This electronic finding aid was updated in Summer 2016 by Abdulrezak Kemal in preparation for importing into ArchivesSpace, to conform to current markup standards and the ArchivesSpace data model.
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[Indicate the cited item or series here], Swarthmore College Archives, Little Theater Club Records, RG6/Q004, Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College http://archives.tricolib.brynmawr.edu/repositories/7/resources/2676 Accessed July 22, 2019.