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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Howard Richardson Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1923-1987
Creator: Richardson, Howard (1917-1985)
Extent: 13.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0301
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Dramatist. Subject files relating to his career and personal life, including dra s, photographs, set designs, etc. Much of the collection relates to his best known play, Dark of the Moon..

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs: Boxes 8, 11, 13 and Oversized boxes 18, 22, 29; Videotapes: Boxes 25-28; Audio tapes: Box 14.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: This collection was donated to the University of Iowa by Howard Richardson and his mother, Mrs. Frank Howard Richardson, 1973-1975; part was left to the University in Richardson's estate in 1987.

Preferred Citation: Howard Richardson Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman
Email: lib-spec@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/sc

Howard Richardson was born on December 2, 1917. He received his B.A. from the University of North Carolina in 1938 and his M.A. in 1940. He attended the University of Iowa from 1940-1942, until entering the army in 1943. During his time as a graduate student at Iowa, Richardson wrote his most famous play, Dark of the Moon. It opened on Broadway in 1945 and ran for two seasons. Richardson did not return to the University of Iowa until 1960, when he finally completed his doctorate. Howard Richardson authored or co-authored nearly fifty plays in the course of his career. He taught playwrighting briefly at the University of Oregon, the College of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas, the University of California at Northridge, and other schools, usually for periods of one to two years. Dark of the Moon remained Richardson's greatest success and was widely produced by regional and community theaters and school groups. Howard Richardson died in New York City in 1985.

The papers of Howard Richardson document the playwright's life and career. It consists of thirteen linear feet of manuscripts dating from 1923 to 1987. Given to the University of Iowa over a period of years, the collection is arranged in two sections. The first grouping was given the Libraries by Howard Richardson and his mother, Mrs. Frank Howard Richardson in the years 1973-1975. This section includes correspondence and personal materials relating to his youth and early career, such as schoolwork, family letters, photographs, and college papers. Manuscripts of plays, playbills, and clippings document his early literary efforts. The second grouping titled "1988 Addendum" was given to the University of Iowa Libraries as part of Richardson's estate, in 1987. It is made up of subject files arranged chronologically within an alphabetical sequence. These files contain more correspondence, dating from 1939 to 1987, and includes legal papers dealing with Richardson's estate. This section contains lectures, reading lists, income tax returns, and videotapes as well as manuscripts of plays, playbills, photographs, and set designs. His play, "Dark of the Moon" is well documented in both parts of the collection with photographs of productions, music, clippings, manuscripts. The date appended to each file is the date of first performace of the play.
College papers. Including drafts and assignments. (2 folders)

Make-up and royalty booklets.

Roles.

Commencement program and graduate recital--Mars Hill (1936).

University of North Carolina. Bills and grades, 1936 -- 1938.

Commencement invitation and commencement program, University of North Carolina, 1938.

'song Hits." Magazine, 1938.

Calendar, 1939--University of North Carolina.

Commencement program, University of North Carolina, 1940.

Aid application, University of Iowa, 1940.

Miscellaneous (adolescent and college years).

Browse by Series:
Series 1: PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE
Series 2: CHILDHOOD
Series 3: DIARIES
Series 4: COLLEGE WORK
Series 5: ADULT YEARS
Series 6: PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHS
Series 7: DEGREES AND DIPLOMAS
Series 8: MANUSCRIPTS
Series 9: CLIPPINGS
Series 10: OVERSIZED MATERIALS
Series 11: ADDENDUM 1988
Series 12: ADDENDUM 2011: OVERSIZED SCRAPBOOK

  • Series 1: PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE
  • Box 1:
  • Correspondence - 1923-1943
    12 folders
  • Box 2:
  • Correspondence, some n.d. - 1943-1975
    35 folders; Frances Goforth-Mrs. Clara Richardson in folder 4
  • Box 3:
  • Letters concerning Howard Richardson written to or by his mother
  • Family letters unrelated or peripherally related to Howard Richardson, unsorted
    2 folders
  • Series 2: CHILDHOOD
  • Box 4:
  • Parents
    Information supplied by Mrs. Clara Richardson
  • Birth certificate and post card of birthplace
  • Letters concerning Howard’s birth and childhood
  • Childhood drawings and art work
  • Drawings, poem, and written description of steamship voyage - 1926
  • Childhood poems
  • Paintings
    2 small paintings on boards
  • Childhood performances
  • Schoolwork, Childhood
  • Miscellaneous childhood items
  • Drawings, Adolescence
  • Drawing in chalk of Howard as a young man
  • Magic act
  • Magic act, catalogues
    2 folders
  • Poems and stories, Adolescence
    Identification uncertain
  • Plans for a house
    Drawings by Richardson; clippings of 1920s furnishings
  • Schoolwork, Adolescence
  • Series 3: DIARIES
  • Box 4:
  • Diaries written during adolescent years - 1929, 1933
    Includes a childhood budget
  • Box 5:
  • Diaries written as a young adult - 1935-1936
  • Diaries written as a young adult - 1937-1938
  • Declamation speeches
  • Series 4: COLLEGE WORK
  • Box 5:
  • Notes and notebooks
  • Course-related material
  • College papers
    2 folders include drafts and assignments
  • Make-up and royalty booklets
  • Roles
  • Commencement program and graduate recital, Mars Hill - 1936
  • University of North Carolina, bills and grades - 1936-1938
  • Commencement invitation and commencement program, University of North Carolina - 1938
  • Song Hits - 1938
    Magazine
  • Calendar, University of North Carolina - 1939
  • Commencement program, University of North Carolina - 1940
  • Aid application, University of Iowa - 1940
  • Miscellaneous
    Adolescent and college years
  • Box 6:
  • European trip. Paraphernalia - 1938-1939
  • European trip. Memorabilia - 1938-1939
    2 folders
  • Perspective problems
  • Set designs
    See also Oversized Material
  • Series 5: ADULT YEARS
  • Box 7:
  • Army memorabilia
  • The Carolina Playmakers - 1958
  • Resume - 1961
  • Abbe Theatre School brochure
  • Travel tours
  • Symposium in support of a dramatic art building, University of North Carolina - 1969
  • Mont Chateau Writers’ Conference - 1969
  • Miscellaneous items from adulthood
  • Unused stationery
  • Series 6: PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHS
  • Box 8:
  • Childhood and youth - 1917-1933
  • Adolescence and college - 1934-1946
  • Photographs of unknown people and places - 1947
    2 folders
  • Series 7: DEGREES AND DIPLOMAS
  • Box 9:
  • National Rifle Association junior diploma as Marksman, First Class - 1933
  • Mars Hill College diploma - 1936
  • Mars Hill diploma, Associate in Arts - 1936
  • University of North Carolina Bachelor of Arts - 1938
  • Ecole Pratique de Langue Francaise, Certificat D’Inscription - 1939
  • University of North Carolina Master of Arts - 1940
  • Series 8: MANUSCRIPTS
  • Box 10:
  • “Near a Spring.” An early work.
  • “Barbara Allen.” Later titles: “Night Song” and “Dark of the Moon.”
  • French play
    Relation to Howard Richardson uncertain
  • Box 11:
  • “The Late Mrs. J.B. Pottsenbottle” - 1935
  • “Top Hats and Tenements” - 1936
  • “Hidden Heart” - 1938
  • “Where There’s a Will” - 1940
  • “The Smiling Unicorn” - 1941
    Includes photographs
  • “Barbara Allen" - 1942
    Later entitled “Dark of the Moon”
  • "Dark of the Moon" - 1944
    2 folders
  • "Dark of the Moon" memorabilia - 1945
  • "Dark of the Moon" photographs - 1945
  • "Dark of the Moon" poster - 1967
  • “Catch on the Wing" - 1947
    With photographs of Millicent Coleman
  • “Widow’s Walk” - 1948
  • “Design for a Stained Glass Window” - 1950
  • “Sodom, Tennesse” - 1950
  • “The Cat in the Cage” photographs - 1954
  • “Protective Custody” - 1956
  • “Madame Thirteen” - 1959
  • “God’s Little Acre” - 1961
  • “Desire in Disarray” - 1962
  • “The Laundry” - 1963
  • “The Maze” - 1964
    Revised version of “The Laundry”
  • Chekhov’s “The Three Sisters” - 1964
    Adapted by Howard Richardson
  • “Doris Delay” - 1969
  • Playbills, Howard Richardson’s Dramatic Performances - 1935-1940
  • Miscellaneous Playbills and Programs
    Unrelated to Howard Richardson
  • “Brink of Brimstone” - 1973
  • “Ark of Safety” - 1975
  • Series 9: CLIPPINGS
  • Box 12:
  • Clippings - 1935-1944
    Except 1941
  • Clippings - 1945
    6 folders
  • Box 13:
  • Clippings - 1945
    6 folders
  • Clippings - 1945
  • Clippings - 1946-1975
    29 folders
  • Clippings, n.d.
  • Series 10: OVERSIZED MATERIALS
  • Box 13:
  • Life Magazine, September 11 - 1944
    Contains an article about “Dark of the Moon” production in Boston. This article brought the play to the attention of Broadway producers, after Mr. Richardson had previously and unsuccessfully attempted to have the play produced on Broadway.
  • Photograph of an unknown actress
  • Set Designs executed as an undergraduate and graduate student
    See also Box 6
  • Series 11: ADDENDUM 1988
  • Sub-Series: A
  • Box 14-1:
  • American College Theatre Festival - 1976-1981
  • American Theatre Association - 1977-1980
  • "The Ark of Safety" by Howard Richardson and Frances Goforth - 1955, 1974-1981
    Correspondence, clippings, music, playbills
  • Howard Richardson interviews - 1973
    3 audio tapes
  • Howard Richardson biographical materials - 1936, 1959-1980
    Resumés, transcripts, interviews, clippings
  • Sub-Series: B
  • Box 14-1:
  • Blair, Elliot S, correspondence - 1982-1985
  • "Brimstone" by Howard Richardson and William Berney - 1953-1954; 1961-1962; 1972-1980
    Correspondence, lyrics, clippings, including a letter from Rod McKuen. Also titled: "Sodom, Tennessee"
  • "Bulletins from a Temporary Plant" by Armand Gatti and translated by Howard Richardson - 1965-1972
    Correspondence, interview with Gatti, and play translation
  • Sub-Series: C
  • Box 14-1:
  • The Carolina Playmakers, playbills - 1934-1940
  • "Catch on the Wing" by Howard Richardson and Frances Goforth - 1947
    Playbill and clippings
  • Christopher Mann, Ltd. - 1973-1982
    Business correspondence
  • Box 14-2:
  • Childhood art work
  • Box 15:
  • Christian Writers' Conference - 1966, 1971-1982
  • Contests, playwriting - 1978-1984
  • Contracts for play productions - 1978-1982
  • Correspondence - 1939-1956
  • Correspondence - 1960-1966
    Including a letter from Charlton Heston
  • Correspondence - 1967-1969
  • Correspondence - 1970-1975
    Including a letter from Alden Nash
  • Correspondence - 1976
  • Correspondence - 1977
    Including a letter from Charlton Heston
  • Correspondence - 1978
  • Box 16:
  • Correspondence
  • Correspondence - 1979
    Including a letter from John M. Thomason
  • Correspondence, January-June - 1980
  • Correspondence, July-December - 1980
  • Correspondence, January-April - 1981
  • Correspondence, May-December - 1981
    Including a letter from Ronald Reagan
  • Correspondence - 1982
  • Correspondence - 1983
  • Box 17:
  • Correspondence - 1984-1987
  • Correspondence, n.d.
  • Correspondence and legal agreements - 1947-1957
  • Correspondence, some n.d. - 1958-1961
  • Sub-Series: "Dark of the Moon" by Howard Richardson and William Berney:
  • Box 17:
  • "Dark of the Moon" Asolo Theater Festival production. Correspondence and clippings - 1983
  • "Dark of the Moon" Broadway revivals, correspondence - 1968-1981
  • "Dark of the Moon" Film and film rights, correspondence - 1977-1983
    Frances Goforth co-authored the screenplay
  • "Dark of the Moon" Manuscript. Miscellaneous pages with script changes and notes - 1971
  • Box 18:
  • "Dark of the Moon" Music and lyrics
  • "Dark of the Moon" Music, opera, and ballet. Correspondence - 1975-1984
  • "Dark of the Moon" Nashville, Tennessee production. Correspondence, playbill - 1981
  • "Dark of the Moon" Newspaper clippings - 1940-1983
  • "Dark of the Moon" Opera version given in Brazil. Correspondence - 1981-1982
  • "Dark of the Moon" Paste-ups
  • "Dark of the Moon" Photographs
    2 folders
  • "Dark of the Moon" Playbills, programs, advertising - 1944-1977
  • Box 19:
  • "Dark of the Moon" Playbills, programs, advertising - 1978-1981
  • "Dark of the Moon" some n.d. - 1982, 1983
  • "Dark of the Moon"
  • "Dark of the Moon" Scenery. Postcards of N. Carolina setting
  • "Dark of the Moon" Various productions. Correspondence - 1962; 1971-1980
  • Sub-Series: D
  • Box 19:
  • Deaf Theatre - 1968-1983
  • Dearborn, Elwyn, correspondence - 1977-1984
  • "Design for a Stained Glass Window" by Howard Richardson and William Berney - 1950-1978
    Correspondence, clippings and playbills
  • Diary of Howard Richardson, August - 1933
  • Dills, Robert, correspondence regarding a swindle - 1980-1983
  • "Doris de Lay" by Howard Richardson and Elwyn Dearborn - 1969-1980
    Correspondence, music, miscellaneous pages of script
  • Box 20:
  • "Drama vs. English Departments in the Teaching of Playwriting" by Howard Richardson
    Article in The Dramatists Guild Quarterly, Vol. 12: No. 1, pp. 20-26
  • Dramatic Theory and Eighteenth Century Criticism. Reading lists, course outlines, notes n.d.
  • Sub-Series: E
  • Box 20:
  • Eighteenth Century British Drama - 1960
    Richardson's class notes, essays, exams from the State University of Iowa
  • English Drama and Drama of Greece and Rome - 1962-1964
    Course outlines, quizzes, notes. May have been taught by Richardson.
  • Essays by Howard Richardson - 1960
    Most were for State University of Iowa course work
  • Sub-Series: "Evening Star" by Howard Richardson and Frances Goforth:
  • Box 20:
  • Correspondence - 1974-1977
  • Correspondence - 1978
    Including letters from Garson Kanin
  • Correspondence - 1979-1980
  • Correspondence, some n.d. - 1981-1984
  • Box 21:
  • Playbills, clippings, miscellaneous pages of script - 1977-1980
  • Sub-Series: G
  • Box 21:
  • Gerber, Ella. Correspondence - 1976-1982
  • "Glory for Me" by Howard Richardson and E.G. Kasakoff. Playbills, clippings - 1959, 1977
  • "God's Little Acre" by Erskine Caldwell as adapted by Howard Richardson and Frances Goforth. Correspondence - 1954-1981
  • Goforth, Frances. Correspondence - 1978-1982
  • Sub-Series: H
  • Box 21:
  • Harris, Jay. Correspondence - 1978-1982
  • History of Theatre I. Course outlines, exams, reading lists - 1963-1964
    Course taught by Richardson
  • Sub-Series: I
  • Box 21:
  • Income tax returns - 1980
  • Sub-Series: L
  • Box 21:
  • Latin American Playwriting Project - 1964-1967
  • Sub-Series: "The Laundry" by David Guerdon as translated by Howard Richardson:
  • Box 21:
  • Correspondence, some n.d. - 1962-1979
  • Playbills, clippings, publicity - 1963-1975
  • Lectures on Greek drama, n.d.
  • Sub-Series: M
  • Box 22:
  • The MacDowell Colony - 1975-1979
  • Mountview Theatre School - 1979-1983
  • Sub-Series: N
  • Box 22:
  • Newspaper clippings. Regarding various Richardson productions - 1951-1965
  • Sub-Series: O
  • Box 22:
  • Orton Dyslexia Society - 1975-1982
  • Sub-Series: P
  • Box 22:
  • Photographs, Howard Richardson
  • Photographs, Richardson family
  • Photographs, miscellaneous identified people
  • Photographs, unidentified people
  • "Play with a Dead Body" by Howard Richardson and William Berney. Correspondence - 1954-1973
    Earlier title: "Birds of Prey"
  • "Play with a Dead Body" by Howard Richardson and William Berney. Correspondence, some n.d. - 1974-1983
  • Playbills. Miscellaneous plays involving Richardson - 1935-1941, 1962
  • Playwriting newsletters and related correspondence - 1976-1978
  • Poetry and lyrics n.d.
  • Box 23:
  • Problems in Producing the New Play - 1963-1964
    Seminar taught by Richardson at the University of Oregon
  • "Protective Custody" by Howard Richardson and William Berney. Correspondence - 1955-1962, 1971-1983
  • Sub-Series: R
  • Box 23:
  • Religious drama - 1977-1980
  • Robbins, Jerome. Correspondence - 1981-1982
  • Royalty payments. Samuel French, Inc. - 1969-1984
  • Sub-Series: S
  • Box 23:
  • "Set for Life" by Howard Richardson and Frances Goforth. Correspondence, clippings - 1972-1984
  • Suggested plot lines and miscellaneous pages of manuscript by Howard Richardson and Ella Gerber, n.d.
  • Sub-Series: T
  • Box 23:
  • Teaching applications - 1965-1974
  • Sub-Series:
  • Box 23: "A Thread of Scarlet" by Howard Richardson and E.G. Kasakoff
  • Correspondence - 1976-1982
  • Encompass Theatre's production - 1978
  • Juneau, Alaska production - 1975-1977
  • Revisions and music, n.d.
  • Theatre Tulsa production - 1976-1978
  • Sub-Series:
  • Box 24: "The Three Sisters" by Anton Chekhov as adapted by Howard Richardson
  • Miscellaneous pages of manuscript - 1964
  • Script, with blocking assignments - 1964
  • "We Open in London" by Howard Richardson. Article in Dramatists Bulletin, Vol. 2: No. 6 (March 1962) p. 4.
  • Sub-Series: V
  • Box 25:
  • Videotape guide, n.d.
    Guides to tapes concerning Howard Richardson
  • Videotape guide, n.d.
    Note cards
  • Videotapes, A-F
    6 tapes
  • Box 26:
  • Videotapes, G-J
    Including duplicate; 4 tapes
  • Reel tapes
    2 tapes
  • Box 27:
  • Videotapes, "Howard Richardson, a personal look"
    4 tapes
  • Box 28:
  • Videotapes, "A Husband for Tama," May 7 - 1973
  • Videotapes, two unidentified tapes
  • Series 12: ADDENDUM 2011: OVERSIZED SCRAPBOOK
  • Box 29:
  • Scrapbook material from Richardson’s European visit - 1938-1939
    2 folders, including correspondence, photographs, postcards, brochures, maps, theater programs, tickets, invitations
  • "When Nightingales Were Singing." Script written with Frances Goforth. Submitted to the MGM play reading department; along with a report of Linda Blair of this department giving an opinion on the feasibility of using this script as the basis for a movie, dated June 1975. Gift of Sheryl Tillson