The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
CredoResearch digital collections in Credo

Collecting area: Performing arts

Stagebridge

Stagebridge Records

1979-2017
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1024
Depiction of Dorothy Doty in Changes/Ages/Images, 1980 (College Avenue Players)
Dorothy Doty in Changes/Ages/Images, 1980 (College Avenue Players)

A theater company of older adults based in Oakland, Calif., Stagebridge is recognized as a pioneer in the field of creative aging. Founded by Stuart Kandell in 1978, the organization sponsors workshops, performances, and other opportunities for lifelong learning that provide a creative means to transform the lives of older adults and their communities through the performing arts. Organized “for and of” older adults, Stagebridge is testimony to the ways in which elders enrich our culture and communities.

The Stagebridge collection contains scrapbooks, photograph albums, news clippings, and some scripts beginning in the earliest years of the organization. Digital materials in the collection are even richer, ranging from videos of performances to promotional materials and organizational records.

Gift of Stuart Kandell, May 2018

Subjects

AgingCreative agingOlder peopleTheater--California

Types of material

PhotographsVideotapes
Steele, Ronald

Ronald Steele Papers

1956-2000
9 boxes 10 linear feet
Call no.: FS 164
Depiction of Ronald Steele
Ronald Steele

A native of New Jersey, Ronald Steele was devoted to both music and photography from an early age. After a tour of duty with the US Air Force Symphony Orchestra and graduate study in violin performance at the University of Michigan, Steele joined the faculty at the University of Massachusetts in 1963. Active as a conductor as well as a performer throughout his career, he was widely known on campus for his popular course, an introduction to music, which was transformed into an award-winning, nationally-syndicated radio show in the mid-1970s. A founder of the UMass Symphony Orchestra (1963) and the Five College Chamber Soloists, Steele resumed his passion for photography in the late 1970s, opening the Ron Steele Photography Studio, which became an increasing creative outlet after his retirement from the university in 1997.

The Steele collection consists of roughly three linear feet of records documenting his career, including corresponce, programs, notes, teaching materials, and photographs. Reflecting his dual creative interests in music and photography, Steele took dozens of photographs of performers and colleagues.

Subjects

University of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance

Types of material

Photographs
Stern, Robert, 1934-

Robert Stern Collection

1975-1981
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 024
Depiction of Robert Stern
Robert Stern

The composer Robert Stern was Professor of Theory and Composition in the Department of Music at UMass Amherst from 1964 until his retirement in 2006. A native of Paterson, N.J., Stern studied at the University of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music before arriving in Amherst. Noted for his use of Jewish themes and subjects, he has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Millay Colony for the Arts.

The Stern collection includes six reel to reel audiotapes of performances of Stern’s work at UMass Amherst. These include music of Blood and Milk Songs (1975), music of Burrill Phillips (1975), the New Music Ensemble (1976), and the Pro Musica Moderna concerts (1979, 1980, and 1981).

Subjects

University of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance

Types of material

Audiotapes
Tillis, Frederick, 1930-

Frederick Tillis Papers

1970-2010
10 boxes 8 linear feet
Call no.: FS 156
Depiction of Fred Tillis, Nov. 23, 1977
Fred Tillis, Nov. 23, 1977

A composer, performer, poet, educator, and arts administrator, Fred Tillis was one of the major influences on the cultural life at UMass Amherst for forty years. Born in Galveston, Texas, in 1930, Tillis began playing jazz trumpet and saxophone even before his teens. A product of segregated schools, he graduated from Wiley College at the age of 19, and received his MA and PhD in music at the University of Iowa. As a performer and composer of unusual breadth, his work spans both the jazz and European traditions, and he has written for piano and voice, orchestra, choral pieces, chamber music, and in the African American spiritual tradition, drawing upon a wide range of cultural references. After teaching at Wiley, Grambling, and Kentucky State in the 1960s, Tillis was recruited to UMass in 1970 by his former adviser at Iowa, Philip Bezanson, to teach music composition and theory. Earning promotion to Professor in 1973, Tillis was appointed Director of the Fine Arts Center in 1978, helping to jump start some of the most successful arts initiatives the university has seen, including the the Afro American Music and Jazz program, the New World Theater, Augusta Savage Gallery, Asian Arts and Culture Program, and Jazz in July. Upon retirement from UMass in 1997, he was appointed Emeritus Director of the Fine Arts and remains active as a musician and poet.

The Tillis papers document an extraordinary career in the arts, focused on Fred Tillis’s work as a composer. Consisting primarily of musical scores along with an assortment of professional correspondence relating to his publishing and miscellaneous notes, the collection offers insight into the evolution of Tillis’s musical vision from the 1970s into the new millennium.

Subjects

African American composersAfrican American musiciansFine Arts Center (University of Massachusetts Amherst)JazzUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance

Contributors

Tillis, Frederick, 1930-

Types of material

Scores
University of Massachusetts Amherst. College of Arts and Sciences

University of Massachusetts Amherst. College of Arts and Sciences

1944-2007
18 linear feet
Call no.: RG 011

The records of the College of Arts and Sciences document the history of its various offices and programs. Notable series within the record group are those from the office of the Dean, the Curriculum Advisory Council, the University Internship Program, English as a Second Language, and the Fine Arts Council.

Subjects

English language--Study and teaching--Foreign speakers

Contributors

University of Massachusetts Amherst. College of Arts and SciencesUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Fine Arts Council
University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Theater

University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Theater Records

1962-2010
41 boxes 60.5 linear feet
Call no.: RG 025 T3

Although theater has been part of community life at UMass Amherst since the early days of the school, the move to formalize study came only during the boom years of the 1960s. Initially connected to the Department of Speech, Theater was set off as a separate department in 1972. Its goal is to expose students to different perspectives and varied aspects of the field though classes in acting, directing, play analysis, dramaturgy, design, theater technology and stage management. The Bachelor of Arts degree offers concentrations in Dramaturgy, Performance, or Design and Production, while the M.F.A. program includes Directing, Dramaturgy, Costume Design, Lighting Design, or Scenic Design. The Department stages productions throughout the year on their two stages, The Rand and The Curtain, enabling students to share their work widely.

The records of the UMass Amherst Theater Department include play files, administrative communications, publications, and other documentation from the beginning of the department to recent years. Along with files for many individual performances, the collection contains information on academic service by faculty members, honors and achievements, correspondence with alumni, departmental operations, news clippings, and publications. There is also a wealth of audio and visual materials (still photographs and video) documenting individual performances.

Subjects

Theater--Massachusetts--AmherstUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
University of Massachusetts Literary Society

University of Massachusetts Literary Society Collection

1953-1959
6 boxes 2.75 linear feet
Call no.: RG 40/3 L4

In 1955, the Literary Society of the University of Massachusetts and Professor H. Leland Varley received a grant of $5,800 from the Educational Television and Radio Center to produce a series of one-hour radio programs centered on a discussion of the impact of eight major American novelists from a European perspective. The subjects included Henry James, Sinclair Lewis, Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, William Faulkner, and John Steinbeck (who replaced the original choice, John Marquand).

The collection is comprised of administrative documents, transcripts, and sound recordings relating to the Literary Society radio program, ‘As others see us.’ Moderated by a member of the UMass Department of English, each broadcast featured discussions by distinguished literary critics such as W.H. Auden, R.P. Blackmur, Perry Miller, Maxwell Geismar, and Renato Poggioli. Dos Passos, Faulkner, and Steinbeck participated in person. Also included is a related item from an earlier program sponsored by the Literary Society: E.E. Cummings reading Twelve Poems.

Subjects

Authors, AmericanNovelists, AmericanPoets--United States

Contributors

Auden, W. H. (Wystan Hugh), 1907-1973Bailey, Robeson, 1906-Barron, LeoneBlackmur, R. P. (Richard P.), 1904-1965Coindreau, Maurice EdgarCollins, Carvel Emerson, 1912-Cowie, Alexander, 1896-1978Cummings, E. E. (Edward Estlin), 1894-1962Dos Passos, John, 1896-1970Faulkner, William, 1897-1962Fenton, CharlesGeismar, Maxwell David, 1909-Girard, Rene, 1923-Goldberg, Maxwell Henry, 1907-Hemingway, Ernest, 1899-1961James, Henry, 1843-1916Klarmann, Adolf D. (Adolf Donald), 1904-1975Koehler, StanleyLevin, Harry, 1912-1994Lewis, Sinclair, 1885-1951Lohner, EdgarMagny, Claude-Edmonde, 1913-1966Miller, Perry, 1905-1963Niedeck, Arthur E.Peyre, Henri, 1901-Poggioli, Renato, 1907-1963Rudin, Seymour, 1922-Savage, Richard C.Steinbeck, John, 1902-1968Varley, H. LelandWolfe, Thomas, 1900-1938

Types of material

Sound recordings
Uno, Roberta

Roberta Uno Collection of Asian American Women Playwrights' Scripts

1924-2005
25 boxes 9 linear feet
Call no.: MS 345
Depiction of Coconut masquerade postcard
Coconut masquerade postcard

Roberta Uno was the founder and long time artistic director of the New WORLD Theater at UMass Amherst, a theater in residence dedicated to the production of works by playwrights of color.

Established by Uno in 1993, the Asian American Women Playwrights Scripts Collection contains manuscripts of plays, but also production histories, reviews, and articles, along with biographies and audio and videotaped interviews with playwrights. Among the individuals represented are Brenda Wong Aoki, Jeannie Barroga, Marina Feleo Gonzales, Jessica Hagedorn, Velina Hasu Houston, Genny Lim, le thi diem thuy, Ling-Ai Li, Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl, Nobuko Miyamoto, Bina Sharif, and Diana Son.

Subjects

Asian American women authorsNew WORLD TheaterPlaywrights

Contributors

Uno, Roberta, 1956-

Types of material

Scripts (Documents)
Valley Light Opera

Valley Light Opera Records

1977-2005
12 boxes 18.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 476

Founded in 1975 by a group of Gilbert and Sullivan devotees, the Valley Light Opera is based in Amherst, Massachusetts. VLO presents one fully staged opera and one less formal production every year, and over the years the company has presented all fourteen of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas at least once.

This collection contains a wonderful visual record of VLO productions with hundreds of photographs capturing dozens of performances. The collection contains, too, records that document the company’s activities from the moment an opera is selected to be performed to last curtain call.

Gift of Valley Light Opera, 2005-2010

Subjects

Theatrical companies--Massachusetts

Contributors

Valley Light Opera
Volbach, Walther R. (Walther Richard), 1897-

Walther R. Volbach Papers

1897-1996
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: FS 087
Depiction of Walther R. Volbach
Walther R. Volbach

Born in Mainz, Germany on December 24, 1897, the theater historian and stage director Walther R. Volbach began directing operas and plays at the age of 17. After his immigration to the United States in 1936, he worked for several colleges, coming to the University of Massachusetts Amherst for five years as a visiting professor following his retirement in 1965. Noted as a director of operas and plays and for his set design, Volbach was author of three books: The Problems of Opera Production (1953), Adolphe Appia : The Prophet of The Modern Theatre (1968), and Memoirs of Max Reinhardt’s Theaters (1972).

The Volbach collection includes personal and professional correspondence in English and German, mostly from Volbach’s later years, regarding family, publishing, lectures, and employment. The collection also includes photographs of set designs, an image of Volbach teaching a class, publications, and lecture and research notes on theater history.

Gift of Fritz B. Volbach, Aug. 1996

Subjects

Appia, Adolphe, 1862-1928Drama--Study and teachingSet designersUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Theater

Contributors

Volbach, Walther R. (Walther Richard), 1897-