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Mitchell, Lee, 1906-1988



  • Existence: 1906 - 1988


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.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Lee Mitchell (1906-1988) Papers

Identifier: 20/14
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...
Dates: 1929-1983