Guide to the Photographs of the Waa-Mu Show

Collection Title: Photographs of the Waa-Mu Show
Dates: 1929-2001
Identification: 75/52/1
Creator: Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Waa-Mu Show
Extent: 31 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: Waa-Mu is a musical review created and performed by Northwestern students since 1929. The series consists of photographic prints and other images documenting most Waa-Mu Shows from the period 1929-1991. Images appear in a variety of physical formats and sizes; nearly all are black-and-white. The vast bulk of the prints is the work of skilled professional photographers; some photographs are by talented Northwestern students while a small percentage appears to be the product of less proficient amateurs. A few images found within the series are in the form of half-tone prints clipped from published sources.
The acts, skits, numbers and individuals depicted in the images often are unidentified.
Acquisition Information: Photographs separated from University Archives Series 52/1 (Accession #05-103) have been combined with pertinent holdings from the Archives' collection of photographs to form this series.
Processing Information: Kevin B. Leonard; November 30, 2005.
Separated Materials: Twenty-eight negatives (24 from 1930 [nitrate], three from 1981 and one undated) have been removed to the University Archives' collection of materials in these formats.The following have been separated and placed in the University Archives' audio-visual collections: one audiotape of the 1961 Waa-Mu show, two film reels of the 1967 News Parade, one audiotape of the 1980 Waa-Mu show, one audiotape of “Tricks”, numerous glass slides from the 1962 and 1954 Waa-Mu shows, one film reel of “Warhol”, one film reel of the 1957 News Parade, one film reel of the 1945 News Parade, one 16mm reel of “See How They Run”, two 16mm reels of an unidentified Waa-Mu show, one film of video feedback, one film reel of “Morning Song”, one audiotape of the 1968 Waa-Mu show, 1963 film clips, one 16mm film of 1974 campus scenes, one audiodisc of the December 1, 1948 Fred Waring broadcast from Northwestern, six audio recordings of the 1976 Waa-Mu show, one audiotape of a Gilbert and Sullivan performance at Northwestern, one audiotape of “That's the Spirit”, one audiotape of the 1978 Waa-Mu show, one audiotape of the February 25, 1977 “Mahogony” show, one audiotape of “Golden Apple”, one audiotape of “Merry-Go-Round”, one audiotape of the February 13, 1982 performance of “Little Me”, one audiotape of “110 in the Shade”, two film reels of “The Painter”, slides from “Funny Things Happened on Way to Forum”, and two magnetic tapes form the 1980 Waa-Mu show.
Conditions Governing Access: None.
Related Materials: See also the descriptive inventory to University Archives Series 52/1, Records of the Waa-Mu Show; see also Kirk W. Morledge’s To the Memories: A History of the Northwestern University Waa-Mu Show, 1929-1980 (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University, 1980) and A Toast to the Past: 75 Years of the Waa-Mu Show (University Relations, Northwestern University, 2006).
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

Biographical/Historical Information

Northwestern's Waa-Mu Show, the musical revue that helped to launch the careers of dozens of Broadway and Hollywood performers, has been a campus tradition since 1929. The goal of the annual show is to celebrate all the aspects of musical theater and highlight the talents of undergraduate student performers.

In 1929, as a senior, Northwestern student Joseph W. Miller and his classmate Darrell Ware wrote the script and staged the college musical comedy that became “The Waa-Mu Show,” the first coeducational college musical show. Waa-Mu was a combined production of the Women's Athletic Association (WAA) and the Men's Union (MU.) The WAA” had been staging popular all-female musical comedies since 1912; the “MU” had presented less successful all-male comic operas for a number of years. Both men's and women's shows had been losing money and Miller and Ware raised $1,200 by borrowing $5 a piece from interested students to finance the first show.

The premiere show that Miller and Ware collaborated on, “Good Morning Glory,” was such a smash that the Daily    Northwestern wrote, “Campus interest is the highest yet for any single dramatic activity in University history.” The glowing review prompted the producers to begin formulating and writing the following year's show.

When the annual Waa-Mu show became a “hit,” it attracted the most talented students on campus. Walter Kerr was the principal writer for the 1936 revue entitled “It Goes to Show.” Kerr eventually became a theatre critic for the New York Times. Famous personalities who have participated in past Waa-Mu shows have included Claude Atkins, Warren Beatty, Karen Black, Nancy Dussault, Sheldon Harnick, Heather Headley, Carol Lawrence, Cloris Leachman, Paul Lynde, Ann-Margaret, Charlotte Rae, Tony Randall, and former Miss America Kate Shindle.

After graduating in 1929, Joe Miller stayed at Northwestern to do graduate work in personnel administration, and Darrell Ware headed to Hollywood to write screenplays. In 1931 Northwestern president Walter Dill Scott offered Miller a position on the university's staff as Freshman Advisor and Waa-Mu Director. Waa-Mu went on hiatus during the World War II years, but was re-launched in 1946. Miller directed the Waa-Mu Show until 1975; his last show was “Quick Change.” He retired on August 31, 1975 and died in 1979. Tom Roland succeeded Miller as the second director of the Waa-Mu productions in 1976.

The Waa-Mu Show continues to serve as an important launching pad for many of the University's most talented performers, and is still billed as “the greatest college show in America,” drawing large and loyal audiences.

–Text adapted from “Waa-Mu: Northwestern's long-running version of Star Search,” by Judy Moore, Northwestern Observer (“Historic Moments” series) v. 16, no. 21, March 29, 2001

Scope and Content

The series consists of photographic prints and other images documenting most Waa-Mu Shows from the period 1929-1991.Images appear in a variety of physical formats and sizes; nearly all are black-and-white.The vast bulk of the prints is the work of skilled professional photographers; some photographs are by talented Northwestern students while a small percentage appears to be the product of less proficient amateurs.A few images found within the series are in the form of half-tone prints clipped from published sources.

The prints and images are organized first by size. Items measuring approximately 8x10 inches and smaller are arranged into standard size archival boxes.Larger items are arranged into three types of dropfront boxes:12x18 inch (containing 11x14 inch prints), 17x21 inch (containing 11x14 inch prints affixed to 16x20 inch mounts), and 19x25 inch (containing large prints of various dimensions).Within this scheme the items are arranged chronologically by year of show production.Many individual productions may be represented by prints and images housed in several folders.Within a given year there may be one or two folders of small format prints, additional folders of 8x10 inch prints and, occasionally, a folder of proof sheets, color prints, or captions and other identifying information.

The acts, skits, numbers and individuals depicted in the images often are unidentified.The documentation found in University Archives Series 52/1, Records of the Waa-Mu Show; the Moreledge book; Waa-Mu programs; and Waa-Mu souvenir books can be useful in making identifications.

Arrangement of Materials

Materials are arranged first by size and then chronologically.

Subjects

Corporate Name

Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Waa-Mu Show--History

Subjects

College musicals--Illinois--Evanston

College students--Illinois--Evanston--Societies and clubs


Container List / Contents

  • Standard Format Photographs
    • 1929Box 1, Folder 1
    • 1930Box 1, Folder 2
    • 1931Box 1, Folder 3
    • 1932Box 1, Folder 4
    • 1934Box 1, Folder 5
    • 1935Box 1, Folder 6
    • 1936Box 1, Folder 7
    • 1937Box 1, Folder 8
    • 1937Box 1, Folder 9
    • 1938Box 1, Folder 10
    • 1938Box 1, Folder 11
    • 1938Box 1, Folder 12
    • 1940Box 1, Folder 13
    • 1940Box 1, Folder 14
    • 1941Box 1, Folder 15
    • 1942Box 1, Folder 16
    • 1942Box 1, Folder 17
    • 1942Box 1, Folder 18
    • 1946Box 1, Folder 19
    • 1946Box 1, Folder 20
    • 1946Box 1, Folder 21
    • 1947Box 1, Folder 22
    • 1947Box 1, Folder 23
    • 1947Box 1, Folder 24
    • 1947Box 2, Folder 1
    • 1947:ColorBox 2, Folder 2
    • 1948Box 2, Folder 3
    • 1948Box 2, Folder 4
    • 1948Box 2, Folder 5
    • 1948:IdentificationsBox 2, Folder 6
    • 1949Box 2, Folder 8
    • 1949Box 2, Folder 9
    • 1949Box 2, Folder 10
    • 1949:ColorBox 2, Folder 11
    • 1949:IdentificationsBox 2, Folder 12
    • 1950Box 2, Folder 13
    • 1950Box 2, Folder 14
    • 1950Box 2, Folder 15
    • 1950Box 2, Folder 16
    • 1950:IdentificationsBox 2, Folder 17
    • 1951Box 2, Folder 18
    • 1951Box 2, Folder 19
    • 1951Box 2, Folder 20
    • 1951Box 2, Folder 21
    • 1951Box 2, Folder 22
    • 1951Box 3, Folder 1
    • 1952Box 3, Folder 2
    • 1952Box 3, Folder 3
    • 1952Box 3, Folder 4
    • 1952Box 3, Folder 5
    • 1953Box 3, Folder 6
    • 1953Box 3, Folder 7
    • 1953Box 3, Folder 8
    • 1953:IdentificationsBox 3, Folder 9
    • 1954Box 3, Folder 10
    • 1954Box 3, Folder 11
    • 1954Box 3, Folder 12
    • 1954Box 3, Folder 13
    • 1954Box 3, Folder 14
    • 1955Box 3, Folder 15
    • 1955Box 4, Folder 1
    • 1955Box 4, Folder 2
    • 1955Box 4, Folder 3
    • 1956Box 4, Folder 4
    • 1956Box 4, Folder 5
    • 1956Box 4, Folder 6
    • 1956Box 4, Folder 7
    • 1956Box 4, Folder 8
    • 1956Box 4, Folder 9
    • 1957Box 4, Folder 10
    • 1957Box 4, Folder 11
    • 1957Box 4, Folder 12
    • 1957Box 4, Folder 13
    • 1957Box 4, Folder 14
    • 1958Box 5, Folder 1
    • 1958Box 5, Folder 2
    • 1958Box 5, Folder 3
    • 1958Box 5, Folder 4
    • 1958Box 5, Folder 5
    • 1958Box 5, Folder 6
    • 1958Box 5, Folder 7
    • 1958:CaptionsBox 5, Folder 8
    • 1958:ColorBox 5, Folder 9
    • 1959Box 5, Folder 10
    • 1959Box 5, Folder 11
    • 1959Box 5, Folder 12
    • 1959Box 5, Folder 13
    • 1959Box 5, Folder 14
    • 1959Box 5, Folder 15
    • 1959Box 5, Folder 16
    • 1959Box 5, Folder 17
    • 1959Box 5, Folder 18
    • 1960Box 5, Folder 19
    • 1960Box 5, Folder 20
    • 1960Box 5, Folder 21
    • 1960Box 5, Folder 22
    • 1960Box 5, Folder 23
    • 1960Box 5, Folder 24
    • 1960:CaptionsBox 5, Folder 25
    • 1961Box 6, Folder 1
    • 1961Box 6, Folder 2
    • 1961Box 6, Folder 3
    • 1961Box 6, Folder 4
    • 1961Box 6, Folder 5
    • 1962Box 6, Folder 6
    • 1962Box 6, Folder 7
    • 1962Box 6, Folder 8
    • 1962Box 6, Folder 9
    • 1962Box 6, Folder 10
    • 1962Box 6, Folder 11
    • 1963Box 6, Folder 12
    • 1963Box 6, Folder 13
    • 1963Box 6, Folder 14
    • 1963Box 6, Folder 15
    • 1963Box 6, Folder 16
    • 1963Box 6, Folder 17
    • 1964Box 6, Folder 18
    • 1964Box 6, Folder 19
    • 1964Box 7, Folder 1
    • 1964Box 7, Folder 2
    • 1965Box 7, Folder 3
    • 1965Box 7, Folder 4
    • 1965Box 7, Folder 5
    • 1965Box 7, Folder 6
    • 1965Box 7, Folder 7
    • 1965Box 7, Folder 8
    • 1966Box 7, Folder 9
    • 1966Box 7, Folder 10
    • 1966Box 7, Folder 11
    • 1966Box 7, Folder 12
    • 1966Box 7, Folder 13
    • 1966Box 7, Folder 14
    • 1966:CaptionsBox 7, Folder 15
    • 1967Box 7, Folder 16
    • 1967Box 7, Folder 17
    • 1967Box 7, Folder 18
    • 1967Box 7, Folder 19
    • 1967Box 7, Folder 20
    • 1968Box 8, Folder 1
    • 1968Box 8, Folder 2
    • 1968Box 8, Folder 3
    • 1968Box 8, Folder 4
    • 1968Box 8, Folder 5
    • 1969Box 8, Folder 6
    • 1969Box 8, Folder 7
    • 1969Box 8, Folder 8
    • 1969Box 8, Folder 9
    • 1969Box 8, Folder 10
    • 1969:CaptionsBox 8, Folder 11
    • 1970Box 8, Folder 12
    • 1970Box 8, Folder 13
    • 1970Box 8, Folder 14
    • 1970Box 8, Folder 15
    • 1970Box 8, Folder 16
    • 1970Box 8, Folder 17
    • 1970:CaptionsBox 8, Folder 18
    • 1971Box 8, Folder 19
    • 1971Box 8, Folder 20
    • 1971Box 8, Folder 21
    • 1971Box 8, Folder 22
    • 1971Box 9, Folder 1
    • 1971Box 9, Folder 2
    • 1971Box 9, Folder 3
    • 1971Box 9, Folder 4
    • 1971:CaptionsBox 9, Folder 5
    • 1972Box 9, Folder 6
    • 1972Box 9, Folder 7
    • 1972Box 9, Folder 8
    • 1972Box 9, Folder 9
    • 1972Box 9, Folder 10
    • 1972Box 9, Folder 11
    • 1972Box 9, Folder 12
    • 1972:CaptionsBox 9, Folder 13
    • 1973Box 9, Folder 14
    • 1973Box 9, Folder 15
    • 1973Box 9, Folder 16
    • 1973Box 9, Folder 17
    • 1973Box 9, Folder 18
    • 1973Box 9, Folder 19
    • 1973Box 9, Folder 20
    • 1973Box 9, Folder 21
    • 1973:CaptionsBox 9, Folder 22
    • 1974Box 9, Folder 23
    • 1974Box 9, Folder 24
    • 1974Box 9, Folder 25
    • 1974Box 10, Folder 1
    • 1975Box 10, Folder 2
    • 1975Box 10, Folder 3
    • 1975Box 10, Folder 4
    • 1976Box 10, Folder 5
    • 1976Box 10, Folder 6
    • 1976Box 10, Folder 7
    • 1976Box 10, Folder 8
    • 1976:CaptionsBox 10, Folder 9
    • 1976:Proof SheetsBox 10, Folder 10
    • 1977Box 10, Folder 11
    • 1977Box 10, Folder 12
    • 1977Box 10, Folder 13
    • 1977Box 10, Folder 14
    • 1977Box 10, Folder 15
    • 1977:Proof SheetsBox 10, Folder 16
    • 1978Box 10, Folder 17
    • 1978Box 10, Folder 18
    • 1978:Proof SheetsBox 10, Folder 19
    • 1979Box 10, Folder 20
    • 1979:Color TransparenciesBox 10, Folder 21
    • 1980Box 10, Folder 22
    • 1980Box 10, Folder 23
    • 1980Box 10, Folder 24
    • 1980Box 10, Folder 25
    • 1980Box 10, Folder 26
    • 1980Box 10, Folder 27
    • 1981Box 11, Folder 1
    • 1981Box 11, Folder 2
    • 1982Box 11, Folder 3
    • 1982Box 11, Folder 4
    • Proof Sheets, 1982Box 11, Folder 5
    • 1983Box 11, Folder 6
    • 1985Box 11, Folder 7
    • Proof Sheets, 1985Box 11, Folder 8
    • 1986Box 11, Folder 9
    • Proof Sheets, 1986Box 11, Folder 10
    • 1987Box 11, Folder 11
    • 1988Box 11, Folder 12
    • 1980Box 11, Folder 13
    • Rehersal CHANGES TO DATE 1980s!!!!!!!!, 1980Box 11, Folder 14
    • 1991Box 11, Folder 15
    • n.d.Box 11, Folder 16
    • Color, n.d.Box 11, Folder 17
    • Alumni Portraits, 1980Box 11, Folder 18
    • Portraits:Female, ca.1930s-1940sBox 11, Folder 19
    • Portraits:Female, ca. 1930s-1940sBox 11, Folder 20
    • Portraits:Female, ca. 1930s-1940sBox 11, Folder 21
    • Portraits:Male, ca. 1930s-1940sBox 11, Folder 22
    • Portraits:Male, n.d.Box 11, Folder 23
    • Cross References:GeneralBox 11, Folder 24
    • Cross References:References to Oversize PhotographsBox 11, Folder 25
  • Oversize Photographs: 11x14 Inch Prints
    • 1931Box 12, Folder 1
    • 1932Box 12, Folder 2
    • 1933Box 12, Folder 3
    • 1934Box 12, Folder 4
    • 1935Box 12, Folder 5
    • 1936Box 12, Folder 6
    • 1938Box 12, Folder 7
    • 1939Box 12, Folder 8
    • 1930sBox 12, Folder 9
    • 1941Box 12, Folder 10
    • Portraits Female, ca. 1930s-1940sBox 13, Folder 1
    • Portraits Female, ca. 1930s-1940sBox 13, Folder 2
    • Portraits Male, ca. 1930s-1940sBox 13, Folder 3
    • 1946Box 14, Folder 1
    • 1948Box 14, Folder 2
    • 1949Box 14, Folder 3
    • 1950Box 14, Folder 4
    • 1951Box 14, Folder 5
    • 1953Box 14, Folder 6
    • 1957Box 14, Folder 7
    • 1961Box 14, Folder 8
    • 1962Box 14, Folder 9
    • 1963Box 14, Folder 10
    • 1964Box 14, Folder 11
    • 1965Box 14, Folder 12
    • 1966Box 14, Folder 13
    • 1967Box 14, Folder 14
    • 1968Box 14, Folder 15
    • 1969Box 14, Folder 16
    • 1970Box 15, Folder 1
    • 1971Box 15, Folder 2
    • 1972Box 15, Folder 3
    • 1973Box 15, Folder 4
    • 1974Box 15, Folder 5
    • 1975Box 15, Folder 6
    • 1976Box 15, Folder 7
    • 1987Box 15, Folder 8
    • nd.Box 15, Folder 9
  • Oversize Photographs: 11X14 Inch Prints (Mounted)
    • 1947Box 16, Folder 1
    • 1948Box 16, Folder 2
    • 1950Box 16, Folder 3
    • 1952Box 17, Folder 1
    • 1953Box 17, Folder 2
    • 1954Box 18, Folder 1
    • 1955Box 18, Folder 2
    • 1955Box 19, Folder 1
    • 1956Box 19, Folder 2
    • 1957Box 20, Folder 1
    • 1958Box 20, Folder 2
    • 1958Box 21, Folder 1
    • 1959Box 21, Folder 2
    • 1960Box 22, Folder 1
    • 1962Box 22, Folder 2
    • 1963Box 23, Folder 1
    • 1964Box 24, Folder 1
    • 1966Box 25, Folder 1
    • 1967Box 25, Folder 2
    • 1969Box 26, Folder 1
    • 1970Box 27, Folder 1
    • 1971Box 28, Folder 1
    • nd.Box 28, Folder 2
  • Oversize Prints: Various Dimensions
    • 1930s-1940sBox 29, Folder 1
  • Additions
      Description of the addition:  Included in this addition are black-and-white and color photographs and proof sheets from Waa-Mu productions dating between 1983 and 2001. Acquisition information:  Transferred to the University Archives by Dominic Missimi on May 10, 2006 (Accession #06-60). Processor:  Kevin B. Leonard; May 28, 2006.
    • Standard Format Photographs
      • 1989Box 30, Folder 1
      • 1990Box 30, Folder 2
      • 1992Box 30, Folder 3
      • 1993Box 30, Folder 4
      • 1994Box 30, Folder 5
      • 1995Box 30, Folder 6
      • 1995Box 30, Folder 7
      • 1996Box 30, Folder 8
      • 1996Box 30, Folder 9
      • 1997Box 30, Folder 10
      • 1997:ColorBox 30, Folder 11
      • 1999Box 30, Folder 12
      • 1999:ColorBox 30, Folder 13
      • 1999:SlidesBox 30, Folder 14
      • 2001:ColorBox 30, Folder 15
    • Oversize Photographs
      • 1983Box 31, Folder 1