The Stella Adler and Harold Clurman papers consist of typescript and handwritten
manuscripts, notes, lecture transcripts, annotated texts of plays, class schedules,
clippings, proofs, photographs, slides, negatives, correspondence, legal and
financial papers, datebooks, certificates, brochures, and theater programs, all
ranging in date from 1898 to 2003. The material is organized in five series: I.
Stella Adler, 1906-2003; II. Stella Adler Conservatory, 1958-2003; III. Russian
Theater, 1898-1968; IV. Yiddish Theater, 1900-2000; and V. Harold Clurman,
1919-1989. The Stella Adler series is further arranged into four subseries: A.
Teaching Material, 1950-1990; B. Works by Adler, 1960-2001; C. Career-Related
Personal Material, 1906-2001; and D. Works by Others, 1933-2003. The Harold Clurman
series is divided into two subseries: A. Works, 1919-1980; and B. Career-Related
Personal Material, 1926-1989.
Adler’s teaching material makes up a large portion of the archive. Teaching notes
lecture transcripts, along with class outlines, schedules, and similar items from
courses in Characterization, Script Interpretation, Staging, Technique, and other
areas, date from 1950 to 1990. Because Adler continuously reworked her lectures,
many of the notes and transcripts date from one period but have handwritten
revisions made for later classes. Of particular note are materials relating to
numerous Script Interpretation courses analyzing plays by Anton Chekhov, Noel
Coward, Henrik Ibsen, William Inge, Arthur Miller, Clifford Odets, William Saroyan,
George Bernard Shaw, August Strindberg, Thornton Wilder, Tennessee Williams, and
other playwrights. Transcripts of scene critiques, in which Adler commented upon
student acting, and her annotated playscripts and excerpts from scripts, are also
present, as are notes on breakdowns and blocking for various plays. Class notes
compiled by Adler, colleagues Elizabeth "Betsy"
Parrish and Jeffrey Horowitz, and others. Character and Technique class materials
also include lists of assignments, and Character classes are also represented
photographs taken during classes held in the 1980s. Slides used in teaching,
particularly in Character classes, include European art and sights.
Works by Adler in subseries B. include proofs of her books The
Art of Acting and Stella Adler on Ibsen,
Strindberg and Chekhov, in addition to typescripts and tearsheets of
various essays. Of particular note is a typescript titled "How I Met Stanislavski."
Within the career-related and personal material in subseries C., correspondence
includes personal letters as well as letters from students and fans dating from
to 1992. While most of the correspondence is incoming, some copies and drafts
Adler’s outgoing letters are present, as are letters received by her daughter,
Adler, after Adler’s death. Legal and financial materials include publishing
agreements, royalty statements, and Adler’s will, among other items. Production
photographs and film stills from Adler’s acting career, studio photographs, and
photographs of Adler teaching and traveling are present, as are photographs of
Adler, Sara Adler, Harold Clurman, and other family members, friends, and
colleagues. Adler’s address books, Christmas list, datebooks, honorary degrees,
lists of books are some of the other personal materials found in the archive.
Works by Others, subseries D., includes works about Adler as well as typescripts by
Lionel Abel, Saul Bellow, E. L. Doctorow, Christopher Fry, Tennessee Williams,
others. Notes of lectures by Sanford Meisner, taken by Mark Bailey, date from
to 1960. Also of interest is Pavel Antokolskii’s handwritten manuscript of entries
from E. B. Vakhtangov’s diaries.
Series II., The Stella Adler Conservatory, is represented by business papers,
including legal documents, an operations manual, student rules, correspondence,
brochures, class rosters, and other material.
The Russian theater series includes transcripts of lectures by Richard Boleslavksy,
photographs of Stanislavsky, material relating to Adler’s visit to Russia, and
notes, correspondence, and broadcasts of transcripts from the 1964 "Seminars in Drama" featuring members of the Moscow
Art Theatre in discussion with their American colleagues, including Adler.
Yiddish theater material in series IV. consists of articles and other material
relating to the Adler family, Sara Adler’s Yiddish memoir and autobiographical
playscript, and Yiddish works by other authors, many unidentified.
Series V., the Harold Clurman series, includes original and photocopy material
gathered by Marjorie Loggia, who edited The Collected Works
of Harold Clurman with Glenn Young. Many of these items are accompanied
by notes made by Loggia. Of particular interest are a handwritten draft of The Fervent Years, a photocopy typescript of "Plans for a First Studio," handwritten and
typescript drafts of Lies Like Truth, and an edited
typescript of Reminiscences: An Oral History.
Tearsheets and clippings of numerous reviews and essays by Clurman are also present.
Among other noteworthy Clurman material are his correspondence with Stella Adler
others, contracts and royalties, a diary, and theater programs he collected from
1926 to 1930.
A subject index listing manuscripts relating to particular plays and playwrights is
located at the end of the finding aid.