Guide to the Lee Mitchell (1906-1988) Papers

Collection Title: Lee Mitchell (1906-1988) Papers
Dates: 1929-1983
Identification: 20/14
Creator: Mitchell, Lee, 1906-1988
Extent: 7 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: The Lee Mitchell Papers consist of a variety of materials which reflect his activities as an educator, stage designer, author, and director of theater productions. The collection materials related to the plays directed by Mitchell as well as biographical materials. The most comprehensive and significant component of the collection consists of a variety of materials relating to 28 plays which Mitchell directed between 1946 and 1971. The quantity and quality of the notes for each production varies. A typical folder might include a program with program notes; rehearsal schedules; design, staging, and property notes; costume and make-up specifications and descriptions of characters and evaluation of actors. There are a few annotated scripts and occasionally stage sketches, most notably for “Othello.” The only correspondence in the papers pertains to the production of “Julius Caesar.” In addition to directing, Mitchell was also very active in the technical aspects of theater production. The photographs of his stage designs in the collection graphically illustrate his accomplishments and concepts in this area.
Acquisition Information: The Papers were donated to the University Archives by Professor Lee Mitchell on February 6, 1984 as accession #84-26.
Processing Information: Melissa Mitchell, February 1984
Separated Materials: Photographs of set designs by Mitchell for the Evanston Children's Theater have been removed from this collection and may now be located in the University Archives Photograph Files; also removed to the Photograph File was a folder of set designs for the University Theatre. All photos from this collection are filed in Photo Individuals File under Mitchell, Lee.Set designs by Lee Mitchell for University Theatre productions have been separated from the Lee Mitchell Papers. The designs are contained within two oversized portfolios. (Kevin Leonard June 8, 1981)
Conditions Governing Access: None.
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

Lee Mitchell was born on October 24, 1906 in Washington, D.C. He began his distinguished career as a theater educator, author, and director as dramatic director at Schroon Lake Camp for Boys in New York. Following that he was a scenic director for Pennsylvania's College for Women. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1929. That same year Mitchell joined the Northwestern University Theatre as technical director while serving concurrently as an instructor in dramatic production at the university.

He received a Master of Arts degree from Northwestern University in 1936. His master's thesis entitled “The Use of Elizabethan Weapons in the Staging of Shakespeare's Plays” reflected an interest in Elizabethan drama which was also evidenced in the subject of his doctoral dissertation “Elizabethan Scenes of Violence and the Problem of Their Staging.” Mitchell obtained his PhD from Northwestern in 1941. He became chairman of the Department of Theater in the university's School of Speech in 1951 and a year later he was promoted to full professor.

Mitchell was involved in a broad range of other theater related activities. In 1937 he served as technical director for the Greenbriar Drama School at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The same year he assumed responsibility for production design at Mundelein College in Chicago. He has exhibited many of his scenic designs in the United States and in Spain at Seville International.

Mitchell co-authored Principles of Theatre Art, a popular textbook; a revised edition of which appeared under his sole authorship in 1968. His many scholarly articles have appeared in such journals as Speech Monographs, Philological Quarterly, Quarterly Journal of Speech, Drama Critique, and Educational Theatre Journal.

His professional activities included serving as associate editor of both the Educational Theatre Journal and theTheatre Arts Monthly. In 1951, he was elected President of the American Educational Theatre Association. Early in his career he received the Otto H. Kahn Prize for distinction in dramatic production and in 1969 he was named the Margery Bailey Lecturer by the Institute of Renaissance Studies.

In 1968 Mitchell resigned his administrative posts at the School of Speech in order to devote more time to teaching. In 1971, after having been a member of the Northwestern faculty for 42 years, Mitchell left the university to become Distinguished Professor of Theatre at Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Lee Mitchell died on August 7, 1988.

Scope and Content

The Lee Mitchell Papers consist of a variety of materials which reflect his activities as an educator, stage designer, author, and director of theater productions. The papers are with the exception of the first four folders arranged in the chronological order of plays directed by Mitchell. The collection also includes biographical materials.

Biographical material in the collection relating to Mitchell is scanty, consisting mainly of newspaper clippings pertaining to Mitchell's career and two journal articles written by Mitchell. Mitchell's range of expertise is reflected by his many program notes for Northwestern University Theatre productions as well as in a substantial number of program designs included in the collection. In addition to directing, Mitchell was also very active in the technical aspects of theater production. The photographs of his stage designs in the collection graphically illustrate his accomplishments and concepts in this area.

The most comprehensive and significant component of the collection consists of a variety of materials relating to 28 plays which Mitchell directed between 1946 and 1971. These materials are arranged in chronological order of the production of plays directed by Mitchell. The quantity and quality of the notes for each production varies. A typical folder might include a program with program notes; rehearsal schedules; design, staging, and property notes; costume and make-up specifications and descriptions of characters and evaluation of actors. There are a few annotated scripts and occasionally stage sketches, most notably for “Othello.” The only correspondence in the papers pertains to the production of “Julius Caesar.”

Arrangement of Materials

The papers are with the exception of the first four folders arranged in the chronological order of plays directed by Mitchell.

Subjects

Personal Name

Mitchell, Lee, 1906-1988

Subjects

College teachers--Illinois--Evanston

Theater--Study and teaching (Higher)--Illinois--Evanston


Container List / Contents

  • Addition
      Description of the addition:  This addition to the Lee Mitchell Papers fills 5 boxes and consists of drafts and publication materials relating to his book Staging of Premodern Drama. The book concerns itself with the problems of producing premodern drama today and draws on Mitchell's own experience in directing. The book contains an overview of drama from Greek tragedy to English plays of the eighteenth century, with problems of specific plays examined. The materials included are correspondence concerning publishing of the book and several drafts reflecting various stages in the evolution of the book. Also included are editor's typescripts, author's page proofs, editor's page proofs, and the printer's computer text.
    • Correspondence - Not Greenwood Press, 11/10/79-7/30/81Box 3, Folder 1
    • Correspondence-Greenwood Press, 8/7/80-7/22/83Box 3, Folder 2
    • Introduction HolographBox 3, Folder 3
    • Continuity, Cutting and Casting HolographBox 3, Folder 4
    • The Nature of Greek Tragedy HolographBox 3, Folder 5
    • "Antigone" HolographBox 3, Folder 6
    • "Electra" HolographBox 3, Folder 7
    • "The Trojan Women" HolographBox 3, Folder 8
    • "Doctor Faustus" HolographBox 3, Folder 9
    • "Julius Caesar" HolographBox 3, Folder 10
    • "Macbeth" HolographBox 3, Folder 11
    • "The Tempest" HolographBox 3, Folder 12
    • Spanish Theatre and "Funteovejuna" HolographBox 3, Folder 13
    • "Volpone" HolographBox 3, Folder 14
    • "The Alchemist" HolographBox 3, Folder 15
    • Moliere: General and "Scapin" HolographBox 3, Folder 16
    • "Tartuffe" HolographBox 4, Folder 1
    • "She Stoops to Conquer" HolographBox 4, Folder 2
    • "The Rivals" HolographBox 4, Folder 3
    • Appendix–Production HolographBox 4, Folder 4
    • Premodern Drama Early Drafts- Table of ContentsBox 4, Folder 5
    • Premodern Drama Early Drafts–PrefaceBox 4, Folder 6
    • Premodern Drama Early Drafts–IntroductionBox 4, Folder 7
    • Premodern Drama Early DraftsBox 4, Folder 8
    • Premodern Drama Early Drafts–Bibliography and AppendicesBox 4, Folder 9
    • Original Uncut Typescript pp 1-99Box 4, Folder 10
    • Original Uncut Typescript pp 100-200Box 4, Folder 11
    • Original Uncut Typescript pp 201-300Box 4, Folder 12
    • Original Uncut Typescript pp 301-400Box 4, Folder 13
    • Original Uncut Typescript pp 401-500Box 5, Folder 1
    • Original Uncut Typescript pp 501-600Box 5, Folder 2
    • Original Uncut Typescript pp 601-700Box 5, Folder 3
    • Original Uncut Typescript pp 701-810Box 5, Folder 4
    • Corrected and Abridged First CopyBox 5, Folder 5
    • Corrected and Abridged First CopyBox 5, Folder 6
    • Corrected and Abridged First CopyBox 5, Folder 7
    • Corrected and Abridged First CopyBox 5, Folder 8
    • Corrected and Abridged First CopyBox 6, Folder 1
    • Corrected and Abridged First CopyBox 6, Folder 2
    • Editor's Typescript pp 1-100Box 6, Folder 3
    • Editor's Typescript pp 101-200Box 6, Folder 4
    • Editor's Typescript pp 201-300Box 6, Folder 5
    • Editor's Typescript pp 301-400Box 6, Folder 6
    • Editor's Typescript pp 401-439, IndexBox 6, Folder 7
    • Author's Page Proofs parts 1-3Box 6, Folder 8
    • Author's Page Proofs part 4Box 7, Folder 1
    • Editor's Page Proofs parts 1-3Box 7, Folder 2
    • Editor's Page Proofs part 4Box 7, Folder 3
    • Printer's Computer TextBox 7, Folder 4
    • Printer's Computer TextBox 7, Folder 5
    • Printer's Computer TextBox 7, Folder 6
    • Printer's Computer TextBox 7, Folder 7
    • Printer's Computer TextBox 7, Folder 8
    • Printer's Computer TextBox 7, Folder 9
    • Printer's Computer TextBox 7, Folder 10
  • Biographical MaterialBox 1, Folder 1.10
  • Correspondence and Student SurveyBox 1, Folder 1.20
  • ReprintsBox 1, Folder 2
  • Program NotesBox 1, Folder 3
  • Program Cover DesignsBox 1, Folder 4.10
  • Theater Budgets, 1961-1965Box 1, Folder 4.20
  • Photo Supply Vouchers, 1962-1963Box 1, Folder 4.30
  • Julius Caesar (1946/1947)Box 1, Folder 5
  • Julius Caesar (1946/1947)Box 1, Folder 6
  • Volpone (1947)Box 1, Folder 7
  • Antigone (1949)Box 1, Folder 8
  • Macbeth (1949)Box 1, Folder 9
  • The Alchemist (1950)Box 1, Folder 10
  • Tartuffe (1951)Box 1, Folder 11
  • Dr. Faustus (1952)Box 1, Folder 12
  • Othello (1952)Box 1, Folder 13
  • The Glass Menagerie (1953)Box 1, Folder 14
  • Phaedra (1954)Box 2, Folder 1
  • Romeo and Juliet (1954)Box 2, Folder 2
  • Elektra (1956)Box 2, Folder 3
  • Oedipus at Colonus (1956)Box 2, Folder 4
  • A New Way to Pay Old Debts (1958)Box 2, Folder 5
  • King Henry IV, Part I (1959)Box 2, Folder 6
  • Antigone (1960)Box 2, Folder 7
  • The Comedy of Errors (1960)Box 2, Folder 8
  • The Ascent of F 6 (1963)Box 2, Folder 9
  • The Mischief-Maker (1964)Box 2, Folder 10
  • The Sheep Well (1965)Box 2, Folder 11
  • The Trojan Women (1965)Box 2, Folder 12
  • Ion (1967)Box 2, Folder 13
  • The Dream Weaver (1968)Box 2, Folder 14
  • The Comedy of Errors (1969)Box 2, Folder 15
  • The Duchess of Malfi (1969)Box 2, Folder 16
  • The Rivals (1970)Box 2, Folder 17
  • The Shoemaker's Holiday (1970)Box 2, Folder 18
  • Hedda Gabler (1971)Box 2, Folder 19