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Clive Rickabaugh Theatre Designs, 1929-1972

Identifier: MS76

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

This collection of Clive Rickabaugh’s theatre designs holds many original plates and sketches for scene designs or costumes produced by him between 1929 and 1972. The materials focus on his early work in Chicago for the Jewish People’s Institute and especially the Negro Theatre Unit (N.T.U.) of the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) in the 1930s. Productions were written by such playwrights as Katherine Dunham, Shirley Graham Du Bois, and Ruth Page. Most of the materials in the 9 oversize boxes include designs or photographs from these productions as well as some playbills, including some from the most noted ones such as Swing Mikado, Shirley Graham Du Bois’s Gilbert and Sullivan adaptation. Designs from his work in the 1950s and 1960s are represented and some of his own manuscripts such as Kwaidan Quartet and The Mischievous Raccoon Tanuki are included.


  • 1929 - 1972
  • Majority of material found within 1930 - 1959


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on use of the materials in the department for research; all patrons must comply with federal copyright regulations.


9 Boxes

Language of Materials



Clive Rickabaugh (1906-1973) was a noted mural artist and sculptor, theatre designer of both sets and costumes, and an important figure in the Chicago theatrical scene, especially between 1930 and 1960. He was the scene or costume designer for some of the most successful plays of the Federal Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) Negro Theatre Unit (N.T.C.) in Chicago in the 1930s: L'Ag'Ya by Katherine Dunham; Little Black Sambo by C.B. Chorpenning and directed by Shirley Graham Du Bois; and Swing Mikado adapted from Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta by Shirley Graham Du Bois. This collection holds many of Rickabaugh’s designs for these and other plays between 1929 and 1972, most of which were performed in Chicago theatres.


Arrangement was completed prior to receiving this collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of a member of the Rickabaugh family in the early 1970s.

Guide to the Clive Rickabaugh Theatre Designs, 1929-1972
Sigrid P. Perry
2009; April 21, 2020
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Library Details

Part of the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections Repository

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