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Winifred Ward (1884-1975) Papers

Identifier: 20/8

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Scope and Contents

The Winifred Ward Papers are divided into eleven main categories and also include additions:

Biographical and Genealogical Material, 1 folder, Box 1. This folder contains early newspaper clippings about the Ward family, some of Ward's high school and college programs, and biographical sketches written about Ward.

General Correspondence, 8 folders, Box 1. Winifred Ward's personal correspondence, arranged chronologically from 1920 to 1974. This includes letters from Dean Ralph Dennis, Agnes Haaga, Geraldine Brain Siks, William McCreary, Sara Spencer, Payson Wild, Jr., James McBurney, Robert E. Gard, and various local and national drama organizations; also, letters of appreciation and congratulations (especially 1949-1950 retirement, "fan letters" and mail from Norway, India and Great Britain.

Also included are two separate folders of correspondence with author Hughes Mearns and Sinead de Valera, wife of the former president of Ireland.

Box 1 also contains a folder of correspondence and printed materials dealing with Ward's personal charities, including the World Clothing Drive and the Near East Foundation.

Northwestern University Material, 4 folders, Box 2. This category includes correspondence from Agnes Law, Walter Dill Scott, Robert M. Cumnock, Ralph Dennis and J. Roscoe Miller. It also includes articles about the School of Speech, business papers relating to Ward's position at Northwestern, pamphlets for courses and newspaper clippings relating to them, as well as publicity material, correspondence and clippings about the Northwestern-sponsored film, "Creative Dramatics: The First Steps." There is also an early scrapbook of plays and productions in which Ward was involved at Northwestern, 1919-1923. Among the more prominent materials of this part of the collection are: a speech about R. M. Cumnock and a copy of a letter from Francis Willard to R. M. Cumnock.

Honorary Awards and Degrees, 2 folders, Box 2. See also Separation Record. These folders contain correspondence, speeches of acceptance, commencement and award-night brochures and clippings, all relating to Ward's honorary degrees and awards, as well as the actual degrees and awards themselves, alphabetically arranged, mostly hand-lettered, signed and sealed. Note: See also Package 2, Citation of Honor presented by Racine Children's Theater. Some of the plaques and larger degrees have been separated from this collection, as noted in the Separation Record.

Children's Theater, Box 3 and Box 4. These boxes contain two histories of the Children's Theater of Evanston, one by Winifred Ward and one as a master's thesis by Kenneth Hosie, 1972. Box 3 also contains Children's Theater of Evanston play programs, including Marco Polo, The Blue Bird and Uncle Tom's Cabin; hand-written production notes by Ward, promotional material, newspaper and magazine clippings and letters from children to Ward, 1932-1940. Box 4 contains, in alphabetical order, Winifred Ward's Children's Theater of Evanston play scripts, annotated and with stage directions written in by Ward. Set designs for the Marco Polo play are in Package 2;  also a 1925-1965 Children's Theater of Evanston scrapbook. Note: The set designs, posters and sketches for the Children's Theater of Evanston productions, mostly done by Wm. McCreary, have been removed from the collection and are in a labeled portfolio in the Archives mapcase, as noted in the Separation Record. Packages 2 and 3 also contain oversize set designs and posters, respectively.

Creative Dramatics Material, 3 folders, Box 5. This category includes creative dramatics material written by Winifred Ward, projects drawn up by Ward for teachers of creative dramatics, clippings about creative dramatics, as well as playscripts, exercises and projects by Ward's graduate students; also two plays submitted to  Ward for creative dramatics courses: “Escape to Freedom" and "The Quest of the Hammer."

Books and Pamphlets Material, 9 folders, Box 5. This group consists of reviews, articles, orders, letters of congratulations, testimonials and royalty reports regarding Ward's four books and three pamphlets; also included is the chapter she wrote for a book to be published in 1975.

Workshops and Lectures Correspondence, 1951-1966, 3 folders, Box 6. Included here are the letters and publicity material about the many workshops, tours and lectures which Winifred Ward participated in after her retirement in 1950.

Conferences and Conventions, 3 folders, Box 6. Although a relatively small grouping, this is distinct from the others in that it contains the correspondence, clippings, lists, brochures and some speeches relating to such conferences and conventions as the Children's Theater Conference, which Ward helped to found, the Zonta Club of Evanston's conventions and the Language Arts Conference.

Speeches and Articles, 7 folders, Box 7. Included in this category are Winifred Ward's handwritten speeches and speech notes, mostly undated, all annotated or rewritten, most on small notepaper or index cards; published magazine articles written by Ward; published magazine articles written about Ward and creative dramatics or children's theater throughout the country, and "working ideas"-- typescript copies of articles written by others, which Ward used as guides or inspiration in writing her articles. These last are unrelated in general to Winifred Ward or the children's theater; among them are a Samuel Clemens letter and typed copies of letters about Isabel Garghill Beecher, William McCreary and an article about John Dewey.

Trips and Tours Material, 5 folders, Box 8. This material consists of Winifred Ward's passports, trip diaries and scrapbooks from her four European tours and her trips to Hawaii and Mexico. Also included is a scrapbook of early activities, c. 1910-1920, including family photos,  Ward's teaching years at Michigan and play productions given there, high school and college years photos, photos of friends,  teachers and fellow-teachers, as well as photos of  Ward's brother Clinton and his college days; however, no dates are given. The second scrapbook contains photos, postcards, clippings, memos and play programs from Ward's Russia-London trip in 1936. See also the scrapbooks in Package 1.

Addenda, 12 folders, Box 9. The Addenda are contributions to the Winifred Ward Papers by individuals, by the committee set up to receive and solicit those papers and by the Northwestern University Archives. These papers were put together after the Archives received Ward's papers from her.  The collection includes correspondence from Ward to these individuals, scrapbooks, photographs, clippings, children's letters to Ward, and slides of the posters done by William McCreary for the Children's Theater of Evanston productions. Also included is a folder of the material from the 1974 Northwestern University Archives' Winifred Ward Exhibit, including photographs, an outline, and layout and diagrams for the exhibit, and a folder of Archives acquisitions, 1975-.

Photographs, except for those in albums, scrapbooks, or the addenda box, Box 9, from the Winifred Ward Papers have been separated from the collection and may be found in the Archives' Photograph File under "Ward, Winifred." These include photographs of the creative dramatics exercises for children, photographs of Ward at various functions, and photographs of the Children's Theater of Evanston productions.

In addition, five pieces of correspondence from Winifred Ward to Anne Thurman, Professor of Drama at the Northwestern University School of Speech have been added to the Papers. This correspondence (Accession #81-164) has been inter-filed with the General Correspondence, Box 1, Folder 6.  The added correspondence is dated: May 11, 1967; September 23, 1971; October, 1971; November, 1971; and January 23, 1973. (Kevin Leonard, July 31, 1981.)

Another addenda box, Box 10, includes correspondence and other material, some relating to the Winifred Ward Scholarship.


  • 1917-1978



10.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



Winifred Louise Ward began her studies as an undergraduate student at Northwestern University's Cumnock School of Oratory. After two years of directing plays and declamation contests, and teaching grade school she attended the University of Chicago. She received her Ph.D. in education in 1918. Soon after, Ward was asked to teach at Northwestern University's School of Oratory and that year began as an instructor and assistant professor, a career which was to last until her retirement in 1950. She opened a new field of education: the teaching of drama with and for children (creative drama and children's theater) to prospective teachers. In 1924, the elementary schools of Evanston, Illinois made the creative dramatics course a curricular subject, and Ward became the first supervisor, a position she held until her retirement in 1950. Ward wrote four books: Creative Dramatics, Theater for Children, Playmaking With Children, and Stories to Dramatize. The Winifred Ward Papers are divided into eleven main categories and also include additions: Biographical and Genealogical Material, General Correspondence, Northwestern University Material, Honorary Awards and Degrees, Children's Theater, Creative Dramatics Material, Books and Pamphlets Material, Conferences and Conventions, Speeches and Articles, Trips and Tours Material, Addenda, and Photographs.

Arrangement Note

The Winifred Louise Ward papers are primarily arranged alphabetically. Correspondence files are organized chronologically.

Separated Materials

10 Books -

1)Theater for Children, Winifred Ward, first edition, 1939.

2)Theater for Children, Winifred Ward, second printing, 1944.

3)Stories to Dramatize, Winifred Ward, 1952.

4)Playmaking With Children, Winifred Ward, second edition, 1957.

5)Creative Power: The Education of Youth in the Creative Arts, Hughes Mearns, paperback edition, second revised edition, 1958.

6)Creative Power, Hughes Mearns, 1929.

7)Creative Youth, Hughes Mearns, 1928.

8)Creative Dramatics in Home, School and Community, Ruth Lease and Geraldine Brain Siks, 1952.

9)Creative Dramatics - An Art for Children, Geraldine Brain Siks, 1958.

10)Children's Literature for Dramatization - An Anthology, Geraldine Brain Siks, 1964.

All in University Archives, Room 110.

1 Hardbound Thesis - “The Contribution of Winifred Ward to the Children's Theater Movement in the United States,” Mimye Wilson Bradley, M.A. Thesis, Speech and Drama, January 8, 1969. Room 110.

3 Disc Recordings - “A Dream Come True,” six sides, 78 rpm, clay cut by Northwestern School of Speech. In Artifacts Cabinet.

2 Plaques - Two wooden triangular plaques with brass plates: 1. Theta Alpha Phi Award, presented to Winifred Ward, 1964, possibly the Medallion of Honor, for “unheralded teaching in the theater.” 2. Zeta Phi Eta (Drama) Society, “Zeta of the Year Award to Winifred Louise Ward, Beta, August 30, 1961, For a Career of Outstanding Service in the Field of Speech.” in the Artifacts Cabinet.

1 Award The Winifred Ward Papers include an honorary doctor of humane letters degree presented to Ward in 1953 by Adelphi College. The degree is contained in an oversized folder and shelved in Archives' Roam 111B, Range U, Shelf 0. (Kevin Leonard, April 28, 1981.)

- In Room 110. “Citation - Winifred Ward - Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters - Adelphi College, August 26, 1953 …” c. 26“x18”.

Photographs - All photographs, except those in albums, scrapbooks or the addenda box, Box 91, have been removed from the collection and filed in the Archives' Photograph File under “Ward, Winifred Photographs - General,” “Ward, Winifred Photographs - Children's Theater” and “Ward, Winifred Photographs - Creative Dramatics.”

Set Designs and Sketches - The set designs and sketches for the Children's Theater of Evanston productions, mostly done by Wm. McCreary, have been removed from the collection and may be found in the Archives ma case, in a labelled portfolio. Included in the portfolio is the Zeta Phi Eta Acknowledgement to W. Ward for Children's Theater of Evanston, with her signature, n. d.

Other Descriptive Information

NOTE:  All oversized materials separated from the Winifred Ward Papers, including Packages 1, 2, and 3; a folder containing set designs and sketches for the Children's Theater of Evanston and an acknowledgment of Ward's work from Zeta Phi Eta fraternity; and three folders containing posters from the Children's Theater of Evanston, have been shelved in Archives' Room 111B, Range U, Shelf 9.  (Kevin Leonard, April 27, 1981.)

NOTE: The Winifred Ward Papers include an honorary doctor of humane letters degree presented to Ward in 1953 by Adelphi College. The degree is contained in an oversized folder and shelved in Archives' Roam 111B, Range U, Shelf 0. (Kevin Leonard, April 28, 1981.)

Note: Nine posters for productions of the Children's Theatre of Evanston were added to the Ward Papers as accession #82-24. The Posters were donated by Anne Thurman, Professor of Theatre.  The posters are shelved in Room 111B, Range U, Shelf 0. (Debby Wright, March 11, 1982.)

Processing Information

M. S. Moss, 1974

Guide to the Winifred Ward (1884-1975) Papers
M. S. Moss
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

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