Guide to the David A. Downs (1946- ) Papers

Collection Title: David A. Downs (1946- ) Papers
Dates: 1946-2006
Identification: 20/69
Creator: Downs, David, 1946-
Extent: 39 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: Downs most significant contributions to the field of theatre were in his role as an acting teacher and director, both roles he played at Northwestern University from 1973 – 2007. The David Downs papers are arranged in thirty-nine boxes and span the years from1946 to 2003. They are organized into five main subseries: biographical materials, correspondence, Northwestern University, publications and professional work, and oversize materials.
Acquisition Information: David Downs donated his papers to the Northwestern University Archives over several months in 2004 (Accessions 04-31, 04-47, 04-57, 04-62, 04-74, 04-79, and 04-81). Addition: David Downs donated these materials to the Northwestern University Archives on September 20, 2006 (Accession #06-129).
Processing Information: Meghan Courtney; June-August, 2006.
Separated Materials: During processing approximately five linear inches of photographs were separated to the University Archives' photograph collection and filed under the general heading: Downs, David A. Several video and audiocassette tapes were separated to the Archives' collections of materials in those formats. See videocassette 926 through 965 and audiocassettes 1703 and 1704.
Conditions Governing Access: No restrictions.
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

David Allen Downs was born on February 25, 1946, in Whitney, Pennsylvania, to John (Jack) Downs, a steelworker, and Wilda Downs. He went on to have a successful career in theatre. Downs most significant contributions to the field were in his role as an acting teacher and director, both roles he played at Northwestern University from 1973 – 2007.

Downs had two siblings, an older brother, John, and a younger sister, Jane. Enrolled in Saint Cecilia's school, Downs formed long-lasting friendships with some of his teachers (letters from Sister Roberta and others can be found in the correspondence section of the collection). Later, the family moved to the Lawson Heights neighborhood of nearby Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where Downs attended Saint Vincent's school for sixth through eighth grade. He was active in the Boy Scouts of America and earned the Serra Club Altar Boy Award in 1960.

Downs graduated from Latrobe High School where he was a popular and involved student. Theatre was a favored activity. While in secondary school Downs participated in productions of Love is in the Air (1960), The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1961), Spring Fever (1962) January Thaw (1963), Peck's Bad Boy (1963) and The Marriage Machine (1964). He was a key member of the Latrobe track team (establishing a long standing school record in the high hurdles and high scorer for the 1964 county meet), the national Latin honor society, French honor society, the school paper, and the Science Club of America. He won a number of awards including the school honor for Dramatics and figured prominently in competitions such as the Harvard Book Award for high scholarship and character, the Safe Driving Essay Contest, the Rotary Speech Contest, and the Kiwanis Extemporaneous Speaking Contest of 1964. Downs earned a National Merit letter of commendation. He was elected Senior Class President and was voted his home room's Noisiest Boy, Best Boy Scholar, and Most Likely to Succeed. His participation in school activities won him the Eidemiller Award for outstanding citizenship and, subsequently, a college scholarship from the Latrobe Steel Company.

Downs attended Allegheny College from 1964 to 1968. There, again, he was heavily involved in theatre. He was a member of the props crew in the 1964 production of The Rivalry, and his accomplishments in this task prompted the offer to stage manage 1964's The Fantastiks. He then went on act in Cyrano de Bergerac and to play Rob McKellaway in Mary, Mary (1966). In 1967 he played Max in Affairs of Anatol, Baron Belcredi in Henry IV, and Dorrance Medford in And People All Around. In 1968 he participated in The Ladies of Shakespeare and Telemachus Clay, and played George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Downs held interests outside of theatre as well. He participated in track, won letters for his involvement, and set the school record for the high hurdles. Downs won the Sarah Horner Essay Award and Allegheny named him an Alden Scholar for academic achievement. Active socially, he joined Alpha Chi Rho fraternity where he made many life-long friends. Downs was president of his sophomore class. He graduated from Allegheny with a degree in English in the spring of 1968.

Downs next attended Loyola University of Chicago for coursework in English Literature. He was active in Theatre Department productions and took an M.A. degree from Loyola in 1970.

For a short while after his time at Loyola, Downs lived with friends in Chicago. Then, in 1972, he and some of his Chicago theatre colleagues relocated to Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, to study under the celebrated Alvina Krause, a former teacher of acting at Northwestern University. Combining his long enthusiasm for the theatre, his demonstrated talents, and the lessons he learned from Krause, Downs applied for a faculty position at Northwestern University in 1973.

Northwestern hired Downs as an instructor in 1973, and he began teaching the high-energy style of acting for which he became well-known: a mixture of the Krause's teachings and his own personal insights into the craft. As described in a student's senior thesis, Downs wanted his actors to evoke a real and honest physical response to their stimuli, not a pre-planned and ultimately hollow expression meant only to satisfy written stage directions. Downs taught Acting B43, C41 and C49, part of the three-year acting curriculum with emphases on sensory perception, imagination, and characterization. He occasionally taught C07, studies in gender and performance. Later, Downs also taught graduate acting courses. Northwestern promoted Downs to assistant (1976) and associate professor (1984).

In 1989 Downs's sister Jane died of cancer. This left him devastated and, for a time, disrupted his work. In 1995 his book, The Actor's Eye: Seeing and Being Seen, was published by Applause. Though Downs had begun the book during a leave from teaching prior to Jane's illness, her death slowed completion of the work.

Downs was one of the most popular and sought-after acting teachers on the Northwestern faculty. As students selected their instructors for the three-year acting course, they often wrote heartfelt letters asking Downs to admit them to his class. He maintained close relationships with many of his students, and displayed an interest in their well-being both inside and outside of the classroom. These students often became personal friends and correspondents. Many went on to distinguished careers in theatre, television, and the cinema including David Schwimmer, Zach Braff, John Logan, Greg Berlanti, Stephen Colbert, and Kim Williams. In 1976 a group of his students formed the celebrated Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble.

While on the Northwestern faculty, Downs worked on a number of productions outside the University. He acted in productions mounted by Evanston's Northlight Theatre, playing the roles of Brian in Joe Egg (1976), Nathan in Uncommon Ground (1991) and the Men in Three Women Talking (1992). He directed Arms and the Man for the Fort Lauderdale Ensemble in 1977 and worked with the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble as their director for Misalliance (1979).

Downs's signal contributions to the field were in his role as an acting teacher and director. At Northwestern, he directed numerous plays. From Greek dramas to the works of Chekhov to novel or controversial newer works, Downs challenged the actors under his direction. In recognition of this work he won the Northwestern Alumni Association's Excellence in Teaching Award in 1996. In 2003 Northwestern named him a Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence.

Downs made his mark in the local community as well. He gave well-received talks on theatre and acting in elementary schools and other venues and presented workshops at local theaters such as Chicago's Goodman.

In the late 1990s Downs began to act in Hollywood during breaks from his responsibilities at Northwestern. In 1998 he appeared in the film Since You've Been Gone, directed by former student David Schwimmer and featuring Schwimmer's Lookingglass Theatre cohorts, most of them other Downs students. He acted in the film The Broken Hearts Club in 2000 and, during the years 2000 and 2001, Downs appeared in television's Dawson's Creek as Mr. Kasdan, the English teacher at Capeside High School. In 2001 he made an appearance on The Guardian, and in 2003 he appeared in four episodes of Everwood as Mr. Ackerman. Downs was in the cast of Twenty Gay Stereotypes Confirmed (2004). In 2006 he played Mr. Bolger on Scrubs. During this period Downs also turned to writing. By 2006 he had completed four plays and was at work on another.

Downs retired from the Northwestern faculty in August, 2007.

Scope and Content

The David Downs papers are arranged in thirty-nine boxes and span the years from1946 to 2003. They are organized into five main subseries: biographical materials, correspondence, Northwestern University, publications and professional work, and oversize materials.

Biographical materials fill more than one box and are arranged alphabetically by topical headings. These materials feature some of the earliest mementos of Downs's life, including his baby book and primary school report cards. Memorabilia from his high school and college years dominates this section, but evidence of later life, such as vita, clippings, and genealogical records are also present.

Correspondence fills approximately twenty boxes and is arranged chronologically. Some files of correspondence, largely family related, are topically arranged and may be found at the end of this subseries. Letters Downs received from his acting mentor Alvina Krause are available in Northwestern University Archives Series 20/67, the papers of Alvina Krause.

Downs's correspondence files are substantial and give many insights into the personality of their recipient. Letters dating from the early 1970s between Downs and his friends from the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble contain much discussion of Krause and her teaching methods.

Downs's close relationships with his own students resulted in many genuine friendships. These are reflected here. Notable correspondents include David Schwimmer (of the sitcom Friends) (September 2, 1994; Box 15, Folder 4); Kim Williams (of the film Father of the Bride) throughout the 1990's; Zach Braff (of the sitcom Scrubs and the film Garden State) (Christmas of 1998 and 1999; Box 18); Greg Berlanti (writer of Dawson's Creek and Everwood) throughout the 1990's; Stephen Colbert (of the Daily Show and The Colbert Report) (September 10, 1988; Box 10, Folder 6); and John Logan (writer of films Any Given Sunday, Gladiator, and The Aviator) throughout the 1990's. Downs also maintained correspondence with entertainment notables who did not study under him at Northwestern, for example, David Zucker of Warner Brothers Studios.

Also found in the correspondence are many letters of praise and thanks for Downs's teaching. One such letter came from a student's parent and expresses a deep gratitude July 12, 1991; Box 12, Folder 6). Similar items pepper the correspondence.

Letters from Downs to his mother reveal some of his thoughts about Alvina Krause and his hopefulness about appointment to the Northwestern faculty. Most importantly, they provide insight into his daily life during the period that he developed approaches to both acting and teaching.

Files concerning Downs's Northwestern University involvement fill approximately eleven boxes. Teaching and directing files occupy the bulk of this subseries: Downs maintained extensive notes on his endeavors in both areas. A smaller volume of files relate to his university and Theatre Department activities. Teaching files include syllabi and administrative materials on the undergraduate courses B43, C07, C41, C49 as well as on graduate courses in acting.

Following these files on specific courses are folders containing Downs's class notes for each year. These are arranged chronologically, and there is a folder for every year he taught at Northwestern. Class notes typically feature Downs's commentaries on acting exercises as well as critiques of student work. Completing the teaching files are several folders of general administrative materials. Of particular significance is a senior thesis written by Jon Schumacher (Box 27, Folder 10) on the methodology of Downs's teaching. Schumacher discussed Down's teaching style in relation to other Northwestern faculty. Files in the directing category are arranged alphabetically by title of production. These files often hold plans for sets, costume designs, or dramaturgical notes. They always contain Downs's handwritten notes on the production's goals and progress toward meeting those goals. Down's departmental and university activities are reflected in a number of files relating to service on the Committee for the Writing Arts in 1996 and membership in the Gay and Lesbian University Union (a group to gain benefits for partners of University employees) from 1993 to 1997. Other notable files found here concern Downs's teaching awards. These include recommendations from former students, such as David Schwimmer, Greg Berlanti, John Logan, and others.

Files relating to publications and professional work fill approximately two boxes. The first folders contain Downs's work or pertinent reviews and related items. Included here is a copy of The Actor's Eye with annotations by friends. Also included are drafts of David's articles, “Creating a Doll's House from Life,” “Alvina Krause: A Great Teacher of Acting” and “Directing Sophocles' Electra.” Following are folders containing programs and clippings concerning the work of former students. Finally, there are folders on Down's acting and the directing he did outside of Northwestern University. These folders contain notes, programs, and reviews of shows at local theaters as well as a folder of mementos from his work at the Warner Brothers Studios.

Oversize materials include posters from theatrical productions, a set design, and a costume design as well as five scrapbooks. The scrapbooks relate largely to Downs's early life, education, and athletic accomplishments.

Addition, Box 39

This addition to the papers of David A. Downs includes:

one folder of correspondence written by Downs to his mother has been added to the series. The correspondence dates between circa 1988 and 2006 and is arranged chronologically;

notes relating to three acting classes Downs taught at Northwestern in 2006;

a folder of notes and teaching materials relating to acting classes Downs taught in Los Angeles during his 2004-2005 leave of absence from Northwestern University; and

a program from a 1988 Northwestern Summer Drama Festival production of Much "Ado About Nothing" as well as notes and directions from the 2006 Summer production of Shakespeare's R & J. Downs directed the plays.

Arrangement of Materials

The David Downs papers are arranged in thirty-nine boxes and span the years from1946 to 2003. They are organized into five main subseries: biographical materials, correspondence, Northwestern University, publications and professional work, and oversize materials.

Subjects

Subjects

Acting teachers--Illinois--Evanston

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

College teachers--Illinois--Evanston


Container List / Contents

  • Biographical Materials
    • Address Book, n.d.Box 1, Folder 1
    • Allegheny College: Memorabilia, 1964-1968Box 1, Folder 2
    • Allegheny College: Reunion, 1993Box 1, Folder 3
    • Allegheny College: Track, 1964-1968Box 1, Folder 4
    • Allegheny College: Alpha Chi Rho Fraternity, 1965-1968Box 1, Folder 5
    • Autobiographical Notes: Fictional, n.d.Box 1, Folder 6
    • Bermuda Vacation, 1981Box 1, Folder 7
    • Clippings Relating to Family, n.d.Box 1, Folder 8
    • Early Childhood and Elementary Schools (St. Cecilia's, St. Vincent's), 1952-1960Box 1, Folder 9
    • John (Jack) Downs: Memorial Service, 1967Box 1, Folder 10
    • Jane Downs: Funeral, 1989Box 1, Folder 11
    • Genealogy, 1998Box 1, Folder 12
    • General Memorabilia, ca. 1980's - 2003Box 1, Folder 13
    • Latrobe High School, 1960-1964Box 1, Folder 14
    • Latrobe High School Track, 1960-1964Box 1, Folder 15
    • Loyola, Bloomsburg, 1968-1973Box 1, Folder 16
    • Maps, n.d.Box 1, Folder 17
    • Publications Mentioning David Downs, n.d.Box 1, Folder 18
    • Report Cards, 1952-1964Box 1, Folder 19
    • David Schwimmer, 1995Box 1, Folder 20
    • Playbills / Programs Loyola Period, 1968-1972Box 2, Folder 1
    • Transcript / Resume / Vita, n.d.Box 2, Folder 2
  • Correspondence
    • General Correspondence, 1955-1959Box 2, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence, 1960-1961Box 2, Folder 4
    • General Correspondence, 1962Box 2, Folder 5
    • General Correspondence, July 1964Box 2, Folder 6
    • General Correspondence, Aug. 1964Box 2, Folder 7
    • General Correspondence, Sept. 1964Box 2, Folder 8
    • General Correspondence, Oct. 1964Box 2, Folder 9
    • General Correspondence, Apr. 1965Box 2, Folder 10
    • General Correspondence, May – Dec. 1965Box 2, Folder 11
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – Aug. 1966Box 2, Folder 12
    • General Correspondence, Sept. – Dec. 1966Box 2, Folder 13
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – June 1967Box 2, Folder 14
    • General Correspondence, July – Dec. 1967Box 2, Folder 15
    • General Correspondence, July – Dec. 1967Box 3, Folder 1
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – Aug. 1968Box 3, Folder 2
    • General Correspondence, Sept. – Dec. 1968Box 3, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence, Jan. - June 1969Box 3, Folder 4
    • General Correspondence, July – Dec. 1969Box 3, Folder 5
    • General Correspondence, Jan. - June 1970Box 3, Folder 6
    • General Correspondence, July – Dec. 1970Box 3, Folder 7
    • General Correspondence, 1971Box 3, Folder 8
    • General Correspondence, Jan. - June 1972Box 3, Folder 9
    • General Correspondence, July – Dec. 1972Box 4, Folder 1
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – May 1973Box 4, Folder 2
    • General Correspondence, June – Dec. 1973Box 4, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – June 1974Box 4, Folder 4
    • General Correspondence, July – Dec. 1974Box 4, Folder 5
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – May 1975Box 4, Folder 6
    • General Correspondence, June – Dec. 1975Box 4, Folder 7
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – May 1976Box 4, Folder 8
    • General Correspondence, June – Aug. 1976Box 4, Folder 9
    • General Correspondence, Sept. – Dec. 1976Box 4, Folder 10
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – Apr. 1977Box 5, Folder 1
    • General Correspondence, May – Sept. 1977Box 5, Folder 2
    • General Correspondence, Oct. – Dec. 1977Box 5, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – May 1978Box 5, Folder 4
    • General Correspondence, June – Aug. 1978Box 5, Folder 5
    • General Correspondence, Sept. – Dec. 1978Box 5, Folder 6
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – May 1979Box 6, Folder 1
    • General Correspondence, June – Aug. 1979Box 6, Folder 2
    • General Correspondence, Sept. – Dec. 1979Box 6, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – May 1980Box 6, Folder 4
    • General Correspondence, June – Sept. 1980Box 6, Folder 5
    • General Correspondence, Oct. – Nov. 1980Box 6, Folder 6
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 1980Box 6, Folder 7
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – June 1981Box 7, Folder 1
    • General Correspondence, July – Sept. 1981Box 7, Folder 2
    • General Correspondence, Oct. – Dec. 1981Box 7, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – June 1982Box 7, Folder 4
    • General Correspondence, July – Nov. 1982Box 7, Folder 5
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 1982Box 7, Folder 6
    • General Correspondence, Jan. –May 1983Box 7, Folder 7
    • General Correspondence, June – Sept. 1983Box 8, Folder 1
    • General Correspondence, Sept. – Nov. 1983Box 8, Folder 2
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 1983Box 8, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – June 1984Box 8, Folder 4
    • General Correspondence, July – Sept. 1984Box 8, Folder 5
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 1984Box 8, Folder 6
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – June 1985Box 9, Folder 1
    • General Correspondence, July – Nov. 1985Box 9, Folder 2
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 1985Box 9, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – Feb. 1986Box 9, Folder 4
    • General Correspondence, Mar. – May 1986Box 9, Folder 5
    • General Correspondence, June – Aug. 1986Box 9, Folder 6
    • General Correspondence, Sept.– Nov. 1986Box 9, Folder 7
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 1986Box 10, Folder 1
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – Feb. 1987Box 10, Folder 2
    • General Correspondence, Mar. – May 1987Box 10, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence, June – Nov. 1987Box 10, Folder 4
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 1987Box 10, Folder 5
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – May 1988Box 10, Folder 6
    • General Correspondence, June – Aug. 1988Box 10, Folder 7
    • General Correspondence, Sept.- Nov. 1988Box 11, Folder 1
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 1988Box 11, Folder 2
    • General Correspondence, Jan. 1989Box 11, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence, Feb. – Mar. 1989Box 11, Folder 4
    • General Correspondence, Apr. – July 1989Box 11, Folder 5
    • General Correspondence, Aug. – Nov. 1989Box 11, Folder 6
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 1989Box 12, Folder 1
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – July 1990Box 12, Folder 2
    • General Correspondence, Aug. – Nov. 1990Box 12, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 1990Box 12, Folder 4
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – May 1991Box 12, Folder 5
    • General Correspondence, June – Aug. 1991Box 12, Folder 6
    • General Correspondence, Sept. – Nov. 1991Box 13, Folder 1
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 1991Box 13, Folder 2
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – March 1992Box 13, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence, Apr. – May 1992Box 13, Folder 4
    • General Correspondence, June – Aug. 1992Box 13, Folder 5
    • General Correspondence, Sept. – Nov. 1992Box 13, Folder 6
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 1992Box 14, Folder 1
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – Mar. 1993Box 14, Folder 2
    • General Correspondence, Apr. – May 1993Box 14, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence, June – Aug. 1993Box 14, Folder 4
    • General Correspondence, Sept. – Nov. 1993Box 14, Folder 5
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 1993Box 14, Folder 6
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – Feb. 1994Box 15, Folder 1
    • General Correspondence, Mar. – May 1994Box 15, Folder 2
    • General Correspondence, June – Aug. 1994Box 15, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence, Sept. – Nov. 1994Box 15, Folder 4
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 1994Box 15, Folder 5
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – Mar. 1995Box 15, Folder 6
    • General Correspondence, Apr. – July 1995Box 16, Folder 1
    • General Correspondence, Aug. – Nov. 1995Box 16, Folder 2
    • General Correspondence, December 1995Box 16, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – Feb. 1996Box 16, Folder 4
    • General Correspondence, Mar. – May 1996Box 16, Folder 5
    • General Correspondence, June – Sept. 1996Box 16, Folder 6
    • General Correspondence, Oct. – Nov. 1996Box 16, Folder 7
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 1996Box 17, Folder 1
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – Apr. 1997Box 17, Folder 2
    • General Correspondence, May – Nov. 1997Box 17, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 1997Box 17, Folder 4
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – Nov. 1998Box 17, Folder 5
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 1998Box 18, Folder 1
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 1998Box 18, Folder 2
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – Nov. 1999Box 18, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 1999Box 18, Folder 4
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – Nov. 2000Box 18, Folder 5
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 2000Box 19, Folder 1
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – Nov. 2001Box 19, Folder 2
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 2001Box 19, Folder 3
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – Nov. 2002Box 19, Folder 4
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 2002Box 19, Folder 5
    • General Correspondence, Jan. – Nov. 2003Box 19, Folder 6
    • General Correspondence, Dec. 2003Box 19, Folder 7
    • Undated Correspondence: Allegheny College Period, 1964-1968Box 20, Folder 1
    • Undated Correspondence: Loyola University Period, 1968-1970Box 20, Folder 2
    • Undated Correspondence, 1970-1980Box 20, Folder 3
    • Undated Correspondence, ca. 1980–1989Box 20, Folder 4
    • Undated Correspondence, ca. 1990-1999Box 20, Folder 5
    • Undated Correspondence, ca. 2000-2003Box 20, Folder 6
    • Outgoing: Wilda Downs, 1952 – 1957Box 20, Folder 7
    • Outgoing: Jack and Wilda Downs, 1964Box 20, Folder 8
    • Outgoing: Jack and Wilda Downs, 1965-1967Box 20, Folder 9
    • Outgoing: Wilda Downs, 1968-1969Box 20, Folder 10
    • Outgoing: Wilda Downs, 1970Box 20, Folder 11
    • Outgoing: Wilda Downs, 1971-1972Box 20, Folder 12
    • Outgoing: Wilda Downs, 1973-1974Box 21, Folder 1
    • Outgoing: Wilda Downs, 1975-1980Box 21, Folder 2
    • Outgoing: Wilda Downs, 1981-1992Box 21, Folder 3
    • Outgoing: Wilda Downs, 1992-2003Box 21, Folder 4
    • Outgoing: Wilda Downs, n.d.Box 21, Folder 5
    • Outgoing Correspondence (Not Sent), n.d.Box 21, Folder 6
    • Jane Downs, 1957-1989Box 21, Folder 7
    • Jane Downs – Wilda Downs Correspondence, 1967-1968Box 21, Folder 8
  • Northwestern University: Teaching Files
    • Committee for the Writing Arts, 1996Box 21, Folder 9
    • Three Year Acting Course: Syllabus, n.d.Box 21, Folder 10
    • B 43-1 Sensory Perception, 1981Box 21, Folder 11
    • B 43-1 Sensory Perception Notes, ca. 1973-2003Box 22, Folder 1
    • B 43-1 Sensory Perception, 1973-2003Box 22, Folder 2
    • B 43-2 Imagination, 1973-2003Box 22, Folder 3
    • C 07 Gender In Performance, n.d.Box 22, Folder 4
    • C 41-1 Greek Tragedy Syllabi, 1989-2003Box 23, Folder 1
    • C 41-1 Greek Tragedy : Notes, n.d.Box 23, Folder 2
    • C 41-2 Shakespeare, 1989 - 2003Box 23, Folder 3
    • C 41-2 Shakespeare : Notes, n.d.Box 23, Folder 4
    • C 41-3 Modern Drama, 1990 - 2003Box 23, Folder 5
    • C 49-1 Principles of Style, 1989 – 2002Box 23, Folder 6
    • C 49-1 Principles of Style : Notes, n.d.Box 23, Folder 7
    • C 49-3Box 23, Folder 8
    • Alumni Courses, n.d.Box 23, Folder 9
    • Graduate Acting, 1985-1986Box 24, Folder 1
    • Graduate Acting, 1986-1987Box 24, Folder 2
    • Graduate Acting, 1987-1988Box 24, Folder 3
    • Class Notes, 1973-1974Box 24, Folder 4
    • Class Notes, 1974-1975Box 24, Folder 5
    • Class Notes, 1975-1976Box 24, Folder 6
    • Class Notes, 1976-1977Box 24, Folder 7
    • Class Notes, 1977-1978Box 24, Folder 8
    • Class Notes, 1978-1979Box 24, Folder 9
    • Class Notes, 1979-1980Box 24, Folder 10
    • Class Notes, 1980-1981Box 25, Folder 1
    • Class Notes, 1981-1982Box 25, Folder 2
    • Class Notes, 1982-1983Box 25, Folder 3
    • Class Notes, 1983-1984Box 25, Folder 4
    • Class Notes, 1984-1985Box 25, Folder 5
    • Class Notes, 1985-1986Box 25, Folder 6
    • Class Notes, 1986-1987Box 25, Folder 7
    • Class Notes, 1987-1988Box 25, Folder 8
    • Class Notes, 1981-1989Box 25, Folder 9
    • Class Notes, 1989-1990Box 25, Folder 10
    • Class Notes, 1990-1991Box 25, Folder 11
    • Class Notes, 1991-1992Box 25, Folder 12
    • Class Notes, 1992-1993Box 25, Folder 13
    • Class Notes, 1993-1994Box 25, Folder 14
    • Class Notes, 1994-1995Box 25, Folder 15
    • Class Notes, 1995-1996Box 25, Folder 16
    • Class Notes, 1996-1997Box 26, Folder 1
    • Class Notes, 1997-1998Box 26, Folder 2
    • Class Notes, 1998-1999Box 26, Folder 3
    • Class Notes, 1999-2000Box 26, Folder 4
    • Class Notes, 2000-2001Box 26, Folder 5
    • Class Notes, 2001-2002Box 26, Folder 6
    • Class Notes, 2002-2003Box 26, Folder 7
    • Class Notes, 2003-2004Box 26, Folder 8
    • Notes on Chekhov, Ibsen, Shaw, n.d.Box 26, Folder 9
    • Notes on Development of the Modern Novel, n.d.Box 26, Folder 10
    • Teaching Notes (1), n.d.Box 26, Folder 11
    • Teaching Notes (2), n.d.Box 27, Folder 1
    • Class Notes, n.d.Box 27, Folder 2
    • End of Year Student Celebrations, n.d.Box 27, Folder 3
    • Final Examinations, n.d.Box 27, Folder 4
    • Library Reserve Lists, n.d.Box 27, Folder 5
    • Class Rosters, n.d.Box 27, Folder 6
    • Class Signup Sheets, n.d.Box 27, Folder 7
    • Syllabi, 1973-2003Box 27, Folder 8
    • Syllabi: Representative, n.d.Box 27, Folder 9
    • Jon Schumacher Thesis, n.d.Box 27, Folder 10
  • Northwestern University: Directing
    • "Arcadia", 1998Box 28, Folder 1
    • "Call Me Juliet", 1981Box 28, Folder 2
    • "Candida", 1980Box 28, Folder 3
    • "Cloud" 9, 1999Box 28, Folder 4
    • "Delicate Balance", 1982Box 28, Folder 5
    • "Delicate Child", 1981Box 28, Folder 6
    • "Electra", 1993Box 28, Folder 7
    • "Faith", 1997Box 28, Folder 8
    • "Getting Married", 2000Box 28, Folder 9
    • "Getting Married: Notes", 2000Box 29, Folder 1
    • "The Homecoming", 1987Box 29, Folder 2
    • "Knock Knock", 1996Box 29, Folder 3
    • "Lady from the Sea", 1989Box 29, Folder 4
    • "Loot", 1983Box 29, Folder 5
    • "Madwoman of Chaillot", 1999Box 29, Folder 6
    • "Measure for Measure", 1982Box 30, Folder 1
    • "Misalliance", n.d.Box 30, Folder 2
    • "A Month in the Country", 2002Box 30, Folder 3
    • "A Month in the Country: Notes", 2002Box 30, Folder 4
    • "Never the Sinner", 1983Box 30, Folder 5
    • "Night of the Iguana", 1987Box 30, Folder 6
    • "Old Times", n.d.Box 30, Folder 7
    • "Our Country's Good", 2002Box 31, Folder 1
    • "Our Country's Good: Costume, Sets", 2002Box 31, Folder 2
    • "The Sea Gull", 1985Box 31, Folder 3
    • "Three Sisters", 1991Box 31, Folder 4
    • "Three Sisters Notes", 1991Box 31, Folder 5
    • "WAS: Notes", n.d.Box 31, Folder 6
    • "WAS (1)", n.d.Box 31, Folder 7
    • "WAS (2)", n.d.Box 32, Folder 1
    • "WAS: Senior Practicum Papers", n.d.Box 32, Folder 2
    • "WAS: Script", n.d.Box 32, Folder 3
  • Northwestern University: Departmental and University Activities
    • Committee for the Writing Arts, 1996Box 32, Folder 4
    • Gay and Lesbian University Union, 1993-1997Box 32, Folder 5
    • Acting Curriculum, 1994Box 32, Folder 6
    • Contracts / Salary Increases, 1973-2004Box 32, Folder 7
    • General Theatre Department Memos, ca. 1973-2003Box 32, Folder 8
    • Professional Correspondence, n.d.Box 32, Folder 9
    • Recommendations, 1973-1984Box 32, Folder 10
    • Teaching Awards, 1996, 2003Box 32, Folder 11
    • Teaching Philosophy, n.d.Box 32, Folder 12
    • Theatre Department Self-Assessment, 1996-2003Box 32, Folder 13
  • Publications and Professional Work
    • "The Actor's Eye" with Annotations by Friends, 1995Box 33, Folder 1
    • "The Actor's Eye": Publication, n.d.Box 33, Folder 2
    • "The Actor's Eye": Response, n.d.Box 33, Folder 3
    • “Creating a Doll's House from Life” and “Alvina Krause: A Great Teacher of Acting”, n.d.Box 33, Folder 4
    • “Directing Sophocles' "Electra"”, n.d.Box 33, Folder 5
    • Former Students: Clippings, n.d.Box 33, Folder 6
    • Students' Productions: Programs, n.d.Box 33, Folder 7
    • Students' Productions: Flyers, etc., n.d.Box 33, Folder 8
    • Former Students' Reviews, n.d.Box 33, Folder 9
    • Commendations, etc., 1978-1997Box 33, Folder 10
    • Dedication of Alvina Krause Theater, August 5, 1984Box 33, Folder 11
    • Events, 1994-1996Box 33, Folder 12
    • Events, 1996-1998Box 33, Folder 13
    • Thank You Notes from Children, n.d.Box 33, Folder 14
    • "Arms and the Man": Ft. Lauderdale, 1977Box 33, Folder 15
    • "The Examen": Victory Gardens, n.d.Box 33, Folder 16
    • "Joe Egg": Northlight, 1976Box 33, Folder 17
    • "Misalliance": Bloomsburg, n.d.Box 33, Folder 18
    • "No Chance in Hell", n.d.Box 33, Folder 19
    • "Uncommon Ground, Three Women Talking", 1990-1992Box 33, Folder 20
    • Playwriting Workshop, n.d.Box 33, Folder 21
    • Reviews, n.d.Box 33, Folder 22
    • "Shadow Box": Clippings, 1979Box 33, Folder 23
    • Goodman Theater Summer Seminar, 1982Box 33, Folder 24
    • Warner Brothers Materials, 2001-2003Box 33, Folder 25
    • "The Women", n.d.Box 33, Folder 26
  • Oversize Materials
  • Additions
      Separated materials:  Two awards presented to Downs, a medallion from his installation as Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence (May 22, 2003) and the Northwestern Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award (1996), have been separated to the University Archives’ collection of artifacts. Eleven play programs (Candida, Call Me Juliet, Cloud 9, Delicate Child, The Homecoming, Lady from the Sea, Loot, Measure for Measure, Night of the Iguana, The Sea Gull, and WAS) have been incorporated into existing files in the main body of the Downs papers. Downs’s “class manifesto” from Winter, 2002, has been filed at Box 23, Folder 3 of the papers. Three pieces of correspondence (February 23, 1990; March, 1996; and undated) have been added to pre-existing general correspondence files in the papers. Two letters dated April 12 and July 9, 2004, have been added to the papers at Box 32, Folder 7. Scope and Contents: This addition to the papers of David A. Downs includes: one folder of correspondence written by Downs to his mother has been added to the series. The correspondence dates between circa 1988 and 2006 and is arranged chronologically; notes relating to three acting classes Downs taught at Northwestern in 2006; a folder of notes and teaching materials relating to acting classes Downs taught in Los Angeles during his 2004-2005 leave of absence from Northwestern University; and a program from a 1988 Northwestern Summer Drama Festival production of Much "Ado About Nothing" as well as notes and directions from the 2006 Summer production of Shakespeare's R & J. Downs directed the plays.
    • Correspondence
      • Outgoing: Wilda Downs, ca. 1988-2006Box 39, Folder 1
    • Northwestern University: Teaching Files
      • Theatre 341, Acting II: Analysis and Performance, 2006Box 39, Folder 2
      • Theatre 349-2, Acting III: Problems in Style, 2006Box 39, Folder 3
      • Theatre 349-3, Acting III: Problems in Style, 2006Box 39, Folder 4
    • Northwestern University: Directing
      • "Much Ado About Nothing", 1988Box 39, Folder 5
      • "Shakespeare's R & J", 2006Box 39, Folder 6
    • Publications and Professional Work
      • Acting Classes: Los Angeles, 2004-2005Box 39, Folder 7