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.”