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Marshall Mason (1940- ) Papers

Identifier: 31/6/194

Scope and Contents

The Marshall W. Mason Papers fill 190 boxes and 13 flat files and contains biographical materials, correspondence, scripts, books, serials, playbills, VHS tapes, audio cassettes, CDs, LP records, digital files, photographs, posters, stage set models and artifacts. For the most part the original order has been kept as it reflects Mason’s life and career.

Biographical: Boxes 1-5. This series contains biographical materials such a family photographs, diplomas, memorabilia from school, clippings, family Bibles, correspondence with Mason’s parents, career biographies and other memorabilia.

Correspondence: The first part of this series, boxes 6-7, contains letters from people who corresponded frequently with Mason, or were notable personages. These are listed in alphabetical order by last name. Boxes 7-18 contain personal correspondence, most of which is thank you cards and opening night congratulations and professional correspondence. Of special note is letters from Alvina Krause.

Business Records: Boxes 19-20 contain various bank statements, investment prospectuses, accounting papers and tax papers.

Northwestern Productions: Box 21 contains papers related to the formation of the theater company, bank statements, brochures, business meetings and production plans.

Eagles Mere Playhouse: Box 21 contains information on the 1931 theater company and Alvina Krause.

Circle Repertory Company: Boxes 22-24 contains papers related to the business side of Circle Repertory Company, board meetings, correspondence, notes, history of the company and planning for productions.

Arizona State University: Boxes 25-27 contains papers related to Mason’s teaching career, commencement programs, class evaluations, annual review portfolios, brochures for plays and syllabuses.

Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Inc.: Box 28 contains papers on board meetings, by-laws, correspondence, and newsletters.

Writings: This series is divided into three sub-series Scripts, Screenplays and Prose and Poetry. Scripts, contains working scripts of the plays that Mason directed, as well as others. This sub-series is also divided into three sub-series; Northwestern University and Northwestern Productions, box 29, Eagles Mere Playhouse, box 30, and Professional, boxes 31-57. These working scripts include notes, schedules, stage and costume design and photographs related to each production. Screenplays, box 58, includes television and film scripts, some of which were plays Mason had directed on stage. Prose and Poetry, boxes 59-61, contains prose and poetry by Mason and others with whom he a professional or personal relationship with.

Publications: This series is divided into a few sub-series. Playbills, with the sub-series Northwestern University, box 62, Eagles Mere Playhouse, box 62, Circle Repertory Company, boxes 63-64, Professional boxes 65-89, and Award Playbills, box 90. Northwestern University, Eagles Mere Playhouse and Circle Repertory all contain playbills of plays Mason was associated with either as an actor (in the earlier years) or director. The Professional series contains many of the plays Mason directed along with others he saw or were sent to him. Together they comprise an overview of Mason’s long career as well as a panorama of the stage productions during those years. Stage and Performance publications, boxes 91-94, are professional publications that promoted a play and may be a script, reviews or interviews pertaining to a play or general information on a production. These were sent to Mason for his consideration. Books, boxes 95-123, contain books mostly theater related, but also books from Mason’s own collection. Of particular importance are the books Mason wrote, The Transcendent Years, Circle Repertory Company & the 1960s and Creating Life on Stage, A Director's Approach to Working with Actors. Travel and Special Interest, box 124, are books and brochures regarding travel and subjects that Mason was particularly interested in. Serials, boxes 125-128, are journals and magazines related to the theater as well as special editions commemorating prominent people.

Reviews: Boxes 129-134 contains reviews of plays Mason directed.

Audio-visual Materials: Is split into three sub-series. VHS, boxes 135-142, Audio Cassette Tapes, boxes 143-145, CDs, box 147, and LP Records, box 148. These are recordings of plays and interviews.

Digital: Boxes 145-146 contain files of scripts.

Subject files: Boxes 149-152, contain papers on a variety of topics both professional and personal. Of special interest is information on Café Cino and the Antoinette Perry Award, memorabilia.

Awards: Boxes 153-155, contain awards and nominations received by Mason during his career. Most notable are the Antoinette Perry Award and nominations and the Obie awards.

Photographs: This series contains professional and personal photographs and is divided into six sub-series; Amarillo High School, Northwestern University and Northwestern Productions, Eagles Mere Playhouse, Circle Repertory, all in box 156. Professional productions, box 157 and Miscellaneous in box 158. The majority of the photographs are if productions Mason acted in or directed. The others are personal photographs of family, friends and business associates and of trips and special events.

Artifacts: Boxes 159-160, contain date books, drawings, sketchbooks and wallets.

Oversize: Boxes 161-190, plus 13 flat files. Included are artifacts, awards, books, clippings, newspapers, playbills, photographs, posters and original artwork. Of special interest are two stage set models; J.B., designed by Eric Coco and Long Day's Journey into Night, designed by Ming Cho Lee.


  • 1907-2019
  • Majority of material found within 1940-2019


Conditions Governing Access

Some student information is restricted. This collection is stored off-site and requires 48 hours advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored at a remote campus location and requires 48 hours advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


192 boxes, 13 folios Boxes

Language of Materials



Marshall W. Mason (born February 24, 1940; B.A., Northwestern University School of Communication, 1961) is an American theater director, educator, and writer. He founded the Circle Repertory Company in New York City and was artistic director of the company for 18 years (1969-1987). He has received many awards over a long career in the theater, among them an Obie Award for Sustained Achievement in 1983 and, in 2016, the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater. His papers fill 190 boxes and 13 flat files; they contain biographical materials, correspondence, scripts, books, serials, playbills, VHS tapes, audio cassettes, CDs, LP records, digital files, photographs, posters, stage set models and artifacts.


The Marshall W. Mason papers are organized into: biographical materials (in alphabetical order); correspondence (some correspondence arranged by surname or topic, followed by personal correspondence in several chronological groups, cards, professional correspondence in several chronological groups, plus several other folders); business records (chiefly in alphabetical order); Northwestern University productions (in alphabetical order); Eagles Mere Playhouse (in chronological order); Circle Repertory Company (in alphabetical order); Arizona State University (in alphabetical order); Society of Stage Directors and Coreographers, Inc. (in alphabetical order); writings (arranged by genre, each arranged alphabetically); publications (by genre and sometimes institution, each arranged alphabetically); reviews (in alphabetical order); audio-visual (by format, each group in alphabetical order); digital; subject files (in alphabetical order); awards (in alphabetical order); photographs (by institution in chronological order, each group arranged alphabetically); artifacts (in alphabetical order); oversize materials.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession #17-142.

Separated Materials

Duplicates of playbills, clippings, flyers and advertisements have been separated from the papers.
Guide to the Marshall Mason (1940- ) Papers
Emily Head
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Repository Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US