The Lilla Heston papers fill fourteen boxes and span the dates from 1948 to 1984. The bulk of the papers date from the late 1970s. The Papers are arranged into the following subseries: biographical materials and correspondence, professional organizations records, Interpretation departmental records, teaching materials, scripts, and writings and speeches.
The biographical materials include vitae, clippings, press releases, activity reports, diplomas, certificates, and production programs documenting Heston's career. The correspondence includes letters between Heston and poet Kathryn Aal and director Alvina Krause. Also found here is a folder of correspondence pertaining to Heston's chairmanship of the Interpretation Department, a folder of general correspondence, and a folder of tributes and sympathy notes written upon Heston's death.
A small amount of professional organizations records date from the late 1970s and document Heston's work on behalf of the Speech Communication Association, the SCA Interpretation Division, and the Illinois Speech & Theatre Association.
A few folders of Interpretation Department records pertain largely to the activities of the Theatre and Interpretation Administrative Committee and departmental staffing, production scheduling, and related administrative matters dating from Heston's tenure as department chair.
Teaching materials fill about four boxes and include mainly course and teacher evaluations and course materials from both undergraduate and graduate courses taught by Heston. The course materials, arranged sequentially by course number, are comprised of syllabi, bibliographies, lecture notes, examination questions, and a few completed examinations. Also included are Heston's research and lecture notes on authors, specific works of literature, and literary topics. These notes are arranged alphabetically by folder title, i.e., author, title, or topic.
Scripts used by Heston for both personal performances and in directing students and other performers are arranged in folders alphabetically by subject or performance title. Related to these scripts are Heston's annotated copies of published novels, poetry, and plays. These annotated works are boxed at the end of the series.
Heston's writings and speeches form the largest component of the papers, filling nearly eight boxes. Included are her doctoral dissertation, a study of author Henry James; draft and published articles; reviews; notes from and drafts of speeches; and several series of textbooks edited by Heston and published by McDougal, Littell & Company.
The addition to the Lilla A. Heston Papers fills three boxes. It consists of correspondence, letters of recommendation, course and teacher evaluations, 1974-1984, and a photocopy of the guest registry for Lilla A. Heston's funeral, May 30, 1984.
The correspondence comprises eleven folders of general correspondence and four folders of correspondence with Northwestern University administrators and colleagues, Virginia Hastings Floyd, (Ph.D., 1967); Tom W. Tillman, Associate Dean of the School of Speech; Clarence L. Ver Steeg, Dean of the Graduate School; and Roy V. Wood, Dean of the School of Speech. Heston's letters to Virginia Floyd concern the establishment of a conference in honor of Professor Wallace Bacon, upon his retirement in 1980. The correspondence with the Deans is largely in the form of memoranda sent to department chairs and members of the graduate faculty, of which Lilla Heston was both. The Letters within the folders are arranged chronologically by date. The eleven folders of general correspondence are arranged chronologically by date.
The letters of recommendation are for Heston's students who were applying for temporary jobs, teaching and other career-oriented positions, to graduate schools, and for fellowships.