Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse Papers, 1909-1980

Scope and Content Note

The collection emphasizes the collaborative efforts of Lindsay and Crouse, particularly their work in theatre. Smaller portions of the papers document their work in other media and their works as individuals or with other collaborators. Included are writings such as books, articles, essays, verses, synopses, and scripts; playbills; clippings; reviews; correspondence; legal records such as contracts and statements; notes; and miscellaneous financial records. Particularly useful are a series of explanatory notes which Lindsay and Crouse authored prior to the donation of their papers (ca. November 1961-1962). These notes are attached to the accompanying manuscripts and often provide background information not otherwise available in the collection. The papers have been arranged in three series: RUSSEL CROUSE'S WORKS, HOWARD LINDSAY'S WORKS, and LINDSAY-CROUSE COLLABORATIVE WORKS.

RUSSEL CROUSE'S WORKS consist of his writings and include published books, magazine and newspaper articles, and theatre and motion picture scripts. Among these works are two children's books (Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr and Peter Stuyvesant of Old New York) which he co-authored with his wife Anna. Accompanying notes describe their method of writing. Notes also provide fragmentary information on The New Yorker and its editor, Herbert Ross, as several of Crouse's writings were either originally submitted to or published in this magazine. A scrapbook of his early newspaper columns contains a letter from aviatrix Ruth Law (27 June 1919) on whom Crouse had written a piece.

In addition to his writings HOWARD LINDSAY'S WORKS include correspondence, notes, and speeches. Script materials document his theatrical efforts. There is also an autobiographical sketch recounting his childhood, critiques of several plays, and some early poetry. Several notebooks contain his thoughts and jottings on theatre in general and on the basic principles of acting, directing, and playwriting. (The notes were to be used in the preparation of a textbook on theatre.) A small file of correspondence describes Lindsay's activities in France and his involvement with several Brest productions during World War I.

The series of LINDSAY-CROUSE COLLABORATIVE WORKS contains scripts, correspondence, and related materials on productions such as Arsenic and Old Lace, Call Me Madam, Life with Father, The Sound of Music, and State of the Union. Among the notable writers in the correspondence files are:

Name Date Production
S. N. Behrman 5 January 1940 Life with Father
Irving Berlin 15 March 1950 Call Me Madam
Theodore Bikel 14 September 1961 Sound of Music
William O. Douglas 5 December 1953 The Prescott Proposal
Edna Ferber 15 November 1945 State of the Union
Edna Ferber 9 May 1946 State of the Union
Helen Hayes 4 May 1945 State of the Union
Helen Hayes 7 June 1945 State of the Union
Irving Paul Lazar 29 April 1955 The Prescott Proposal
Alfred Lunt 12 April 1955 The Great Sebastian
Alfred Lunt 20 July 1955 The Great Sebastian
Alfred Lunt 29 July 1955 The Great Sebastian
Alfred Lunt 11 September 1955 The Great Sebastian
Alfred Lunt 1 November 1956 The Great Sebastian
Alfred Lunt 6 November 1956 The Great Sebastian
Alfred Lunt 14 January 1957 The Great Sebastian

The Arsenic and Old Lace file contains a series of humorous letter by Lindsay and Crouse which were sent to investors with each dividend payment. The Life with Father correspondence discusses not only the play but also the motion picture rights for the property, while The Sound of Music correspondence details the story's development. A small segment of the papers focuses on their motion pictures (Life with Father, State of the Union, and A Woman's World) and television works (Arsenic and Old Lace and The Great Sebastians.) A folder of correspondence, clippings, and miscellany which pertains to both men completes the collection.