SCUA

Heath, Gordon, 1918-1991

Gordon Heath Papers, 1913-1992.

44 boxes (22.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 372 and 372 bd
Gordon Heath, Paris
Gordon Heath, Paris

A multi-talented performer, the African American expatriate Gordon Heath was variously a stage and film actor, musician, director, producer, founder of the Studio Theater of Paris, and co-owner of the Parisian nightclub L’Abbaye. Born in New York City, Heath became involved in acting as a teenager and enjoyed a career that spanned post-World War II Broadway to the Black Arts Movement of the 1970s. In addition to his many roles on film and stage, he and his partner Lee Payant enjoyed success as recording artists in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Heath collection includes personal and professional correspondence, scrapbooks containing photos and clippings from assorted television and film productions in addition to songs, poetry, and reviews of plays or playbills from productions he attended. The Papers also contain art work, sheet music, personal and production photographs, and drafts of his memoirs.

Background on Gordon Heath

A multi-talented performer, Seifield Gordon Heath was born in the San Juan Hill district of Manhattan on September 20, 1918.1 Heath and his half-sister Bernice were raised in a family of relatively recent immigrants: his mother, Harriette (Hattie), was a second generation American of African and Indian descent while his father Cyril Gordon Heath came originally from Barbados. As a steward for the Hudson River Night Line, Cyril had steady employment and in his later years, he was a devoted public servant, active in the local YMCA, neighborhood associations, and church-sponsored groups.

While studying at the Ethical Culture Society School in Manhattan and later at the Hampton Institute, Heath was drawn to the theater. As a child, he sang in St. Cyprian’s Church choir and learned to play the violin and the viola with some skill, but the acclaim for his music was soon overshadowed by the attention he received on the stage. Winning a state-wide drama competition while still in high school, Heath began to get serious about acting, perhaps in reaction to his father’s aspirations for music. In 1938, Gordon began to write and perform sketches for radio station WNYC and about the same time, he began training with a group of African American actors under the guidance of Marian Wallace. While in college at Hampton, he acted in several plays under the direction of his childhood friend Owen Dodson.

Heath landed his first Broadway role in 1943, playing the second lead in Lee Strasberg’s South Pacific. Two years later, while working as a radio announcer, he was chosen for the lead in Elia Kazan’s Deep Are the Roots, a provocative Broadway “race play.” Playing the role of Brett Charles, an African American war hero who returns home to find that the “fight for democracy” in Europe had done little to change race relations in the Jim Crow South, Heath enjoyed a fourteen-month run in New York followed by five-months in London in 1947. In between, Heath made his directorial debut in the off-Broadway Family Portrait, in which he also played the lead. Widely acclaimed for his performances, Heath was soon lauded as “the next Paul Robeson.”

Despite the success of Deep Are the Roots, Heath found that he and Brett Charles mirrored one another when it came to American race relations. After returning to the States from his time in London, Heath discovered the cold reality that racism limited his access to the types of roles he desired, and his nascent affection for Europe began to grow accordingly. Having met the man who would become his partner, an actor from Seattle named Leroy Payant, Heath left the U.S. in 1948 to try his luck in Britain. There, too, he was regularly passed over for coveted roles in favor of British actors, later remarking that in London, “each time, for each part… was a hustle.”2

In search of “continuity in the theater,” Heath relocated to the more congenial confines of Paris, where he and Payant established a nightclub called L’Abbaye. There, the two performed folksongs, spirituals, and the blues in an intimate setting, and soon discovered that their original aim of providing a living between acting gigs was selling themselves short. L’Abbaye quickly caught on in Paris, appealing especially to the community of expatriates and artists, and it remained a popular for 27 years.

From his base in Paris, Heath and Payant translated the popularity they enjoyed at L’Abbaye into at least three record albums and several tours through Europe and the Middle East. His efforts to build his career as an actor, however, proved somewhat less successful. He appeared fairly often on radio and television in Europe and took roles — mostly supporting roles — in films including Sapphire (1959), the Nun’s Story (1959), and The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969) while doing narration for the animated Animal Farm (1954) and other productions. On stage, whether in England, France, or the United States, Heath continued to find it difficult to achieve the artistic freedom and types of roles that he desired. As Helen Gary Bishop explained:

The French were only casting him black roles and, in their nationalistic zeal, would not give an American, however talented, a directing job – certainly not in any subsidized theater. There were even quotas on the number of American and English plays, which could be done in the commercial theater. And in England it appeared that he was being typecast as a West Indian.3

In the 1960s, Heath attempted to circumvent the racism he faced by founding the Studio Theater of Paris (STP), an English-speaking theatrical workshop and troupe comprised largely of expatriates from England and the U.S. During its ten years of operation, Heath’s led the STP performers in such plays as the Glass Menagerie, After the Fall, The Skin of Our Teeth, In White America, The Slave and the Toilet, and Kennedy’s Children. Heath served not only as director, but as an all-purpose impresario, creating the playbills and posters, working publicity, and booking venues for the performances through the American Church of Paris and other locations. STP also served as a forum for lectures from visiting professors and critics, and for round table discussions, and they sponsored Martin Luther King, who preached at the American Church during one of his visits. Although never defined solely by their racially- and politically-conscious productions, nor by the charge that they performed “art for politics sake,” the STP lost much of its vigor after the progressive leader of the American Church was replaced by a more moderate successor.

In the 1970s, Heath began performing more frequently in the United States. He returned home for five months in 1970 to play the lead in Oedipus at the Roundabout Theater, and later that year he and Payant performed Dr. Faustus in Washington D.C. The changes affecting the American theater, and Black theater in particular, left him with mixed emotions. “Black theater was a reality,” he noted, “off and off-off Broadway were healthy, and government subsidies and funding seemed abundant.”4 At the same time, he feared that the younger generation of Black actors were rejecting their social past, the political past, and the theatrical past. Still, the turbulence of the time and the positive changes affected him deeply: “The fact of Negroes playing with public approbation, a general public…,” he wrote, “playing these parts we never thought we’d get a crack at (such as Lear) is so exciting I can’t tell you.”5

Although a generation older than most of the artists associated with the Black Arts Movement, Heath developed a working relationship with artists such as the director Woodie King and writer A.B. Spellman. After Payant’s death in 1976 and the subsequent shuttering of L’Abbaye, Heath appeared more regularly in the U.S., and even temporarily settled in New York, leavening his acting with politics by organizing a community group and a leading rent strike to improve conditions in the building in which he had grown up. Although he returned to Paris to live, he continued to perform on both sides of the Atlantic for the rest of his career. His final performance, a production of Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel done in conjunction with the choreographer Pearl Primus, with whom Heath had worked forty years earlier, was staged at the University of Massachusetts in 1987.

The memoir that Heath was writing at the time of his death on August 31, 1991, was published by the UMass Press in 1992 as Deep Are The Roots: Memoirs of a Black Expatriate.

Footnotes
  1. As Heath reports in his memoirs, his “father and his genteel cohorts” had had the district renamed “Columbus Hill” during Gordon’s youth. Gordon Heath, Deep Are the Roots: the Memoirs of a Black Expatriate (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1992) p.11.
  2. Encore American & Worldwide News, April 5, 1976.
  3. Helen Gary Bishop, “Gordon Heath – American Actor Between Two Continents,” The Soho Weekly News, April 21, 1977.
  4. Ibid.
  5. “The Two Worlds of Gordon Heath,” Encore American & Worldwide News, April 5, 1976.
Chronology of Gordon Heath’s Life
1918 Birth, September 20, 1918; Columbus Hill, New York City
1936-1940 Worked for the National Youth Administration’s (NYA) Brooklyn branch
1938-1946 Script writer and performer on radio stations (WNYC & WMCA) in New York
1943 First Broadway performance; South Pacific, directed by Lee Strasberg
1945-1947
Became New York’s first African American radio announcer (WMCA)
Starred in Elia Kazan’s controversial wartime Broadway hit, Deep Are the Roots
1947
Directed first professional play; Family Portrait
Starred in five month London run of Deep Are the Roots, directed by Daphne Rye
1948 Moved to Paris to escape the limitations and typecasting faced by Black actors in the U.S.
1949-1976 Opened l’Abbaye, a nightclub in Paris’s Left Bank where he and life partner and business associate Leroy Payant performed spirituals, the blues, and folk songs for their loyal following for more than twenty-five years. Heath closed l’Abbaye following Payant’s death from cancer in 1976
1957-1958 Co-starred in movie, A Nun’s Story, with Audrey Hepburn
1965-1979 Founded/directed the Studio Theater of Paris (STP)
1987 Final performance; The Lion and the Jewel, directed by Richard Trousdell, Amherst, Ma.
1991 Death, October 31, 1991; Paris, France
1992 Publication of Deep Are the Roots: Memoirs of a Black Expatriate

Contents of Collection

The Papers of Gordon Heath 1913 [1942-1979] 1991 consist of personal and professional correspondence, and scrapbooks containing photographs, art work, poetry, clippings, plays, playbills, sheet music, and drafts of his memoirs. Heath’s career as a performer is fully represented in the collection, as is much of his personal life. The scrapbooks of Heath’s performances in film, theater, television, radio, and musical concerts, including the response of critics to these works, document his work in detail.

The Gordon Heath Papers are arranged in ten series as follows: Biographical Materials, 1913-1991, General Correspondence, 1930-1990, Subject Files, Writings, 1956-1991, L’Abbaye Files, 1949-1976, Production Scrapbooks, 1937-1987, Scrapbooks – General, Photographs, 1913-1987, Artwork, and Printed Materials.

Organization of the Collection
dingbat for decoration
Series Descriptions
1913-1991 Boxes 1-2

Series I consists primarily of biographical information about Gordon Heath and his family. The materials include Gordon Heath’s obituary, personal papers — including financial records and his passport — and his parent’s personal papers — including a brief installment of Harriette Heath’s journal — as well as articles about Mr. Heath’s life and career, including several autobiographical articles.

1930-1990 Boxes 3-7

Series 2 comprises incoming and outgoing letters on a wide range of subjects, both personal and professional. The general correspondence provides information about Heath’s major interests, and includes letters of courtesy, as thank you notes and compliments on performances; personal business; inquiries about employment possibilities and logistics; discussions of books, plays, and artists; friendly correspondence; family matters; and love letters. Correspondence spans over 40 years, with the most thorough period of correspondence occurring between 1947 and 1976. The first box in the series consists of general correspondence, and is arranged alphabetically. Box 4 contains family correspondence, and consists primarily of postcards and letters that Mr. Heath sent to his parents between 1930 and 1978. Letters were written by Gordon Heath to his mother. However, letters from Leroy Payant to the Heath family and letters from Mrs. Heath to her son are also included. Box 5 consists of letters from Leroy Payant to Gordon Heath between 1947-1976, while Box 6 contains Heath’s letters to Payant during the same period. These letters document both the professional (performances, concerts, L’Abayye) and personal relationship the two men shared during their nearly 30 years together. Box 5 contains Christmas cards created and distributed by Heath over a number of years. Also included is a list of recipients from 1952 to 1976. Boxes 2-5 are arranged chronologically.

1956-1991 Boxes 8-9

Series 3 consists primarily of drafts of Deep Are the Roots: Memoirs of a Black Expatriate, Gordon Heath’s memoirs. Materials include illustrations, pictures, newspaper, magazine, journal, and playbill clippings that Mr. Heath used as guideposts for his narrative or potential inclusion within the pages of the manuscript. Drafts include handwritten sections of the text, edited typed drafts, illustrated drafts, and the final proof. Also included is an article about spirituals written by Heath. Heath’s other publications and writings can be located in Series 1, Biographical Materials, which contains autobiographical articles.

Heath’s poetry has been separated from his manuscripts and is instead located in Box 39 (Series 9, “Artwork”)

Box 10

Alphabetically arranged subject headings include topics such as “Americans in Paris,” “Negro spirituals,” and the “Theater Arts Magazine,” as well as names of individuals such as James Baldwin, Owen Dodson, Langston Hughes, and Pearl Primus. Materials include manuscripts, clippings, poetry, correspondence, lecture notes, and playbills.

1949-1976 Boxes 11-13

Series 5 consists of three boxes of correspondence, newspaper and magazine clippings, reviews, and photos related to “L’Abbaye,” the Left Bank nightclub co-owned by Heath and Payant between 1949 and 1976. The two performed at the club nightly, singing spirituals, the blues, and folk songs for their loyal following. The club was opened initially to allow the men to be financially viable while acting. Ultimately, however, it became an institution on the Left Bank, and was patronized by many expatriates, tourists, and locals. Part of the club’s appeal was its intimacy. Patrons snapped to applaud rather than clap, so as not to wake the neighbors. Also, patrons were expected to remain quiet during performances, a rarity in other Left Bank establishments. The materials in this series are arranged chronologically.

1937-1987 Boxes 14-27

Series 6 consists of chronologically arranged scrapbooks of performances in which Heath performed or which he directed, or both. The series is divided into several sub series based on the medium of the performance: theater, film and poetry readings, television performances, radio and recordings, and musical concerts. Theater productions make up the majority of the series, and have been divided further to bring coherence to Heath’s prolific career as a thespian. The theater subseries is sub divided into three categories; 1) General Scrapbooks – which consists of performances between 1935 and 1987; 2) Studio Theater of Paris (STP) Scrapbook; 1965-1976 – which consists of both organizational papers, correspondence, and scrapbooks of productions either created, directed, or acted in by Heath; and finally, 3) Scripts – from productions that Heath either acted in or directed, and which contain notes, stage directions, and other supplementary comments.

Many of Heath’s production scrapbooks contain photos from given productions. However, other photos from specific productions can be located in Series 8: Photographs.

1930-1976 Box 28

Series 7 consists primarily of miscellany that Heath had filed in scrapbooks but not documented or categorized. The series, alphabetically arranged by type of material, includes such materials as photos and clippings from assorted television and film productions, songs, poetry, miscellaneous reviews of plays or playbills from productions Mr. Heath attended.

1913-1987 Boxes 29-37

Series 8 contains both personal and production photographs ranging from Gordon Heath’s childhood to his last performance in 1987. Personal photos have been subdivided into two categories, “family ” and “friends and colleagues.” Production photos are also subdivided, with Studio Theater of Paris photos separated from other productions. Production photos have been arranged chronologically where possible.

Boxes 38-40

Series 9 consists of drawings, sketches, prints, designs, poetry, and prints made by Mr. Heath. These materials include designs for book jackets, Christmas cards, letters, playbills, and advertisements. Other materials are included that seemingly were created either for fun, practice, or personal expression.

dingbat for decoration
Inventory of Collection
1913-1991 Boxes 1-2
Obituary Box 1: 1
Biographical information & resumes Box 1: 2
Genealogy Box 1: 3
Harriette Heath: cards, notes, miscellaneous Box 1: 4
Harriette Heath: death certificate, marriage certificate & other records Box 1: 5
Harriette Heath in Paris 1954 Box 1: 6
Harriette Heath: journal Box 1: 7
Cyril Gordon Heath Box 1: 8
Articles on Gordon Heath Box 2: 9
Camp Minisink 1935-1936 Box 2: 10
Journal 1946 Box 2: 11
Journal 1953 Box 2: 12
Journal 1960 Box 2: 13
Interviews 1949 & 1950 Box 2: 14
Autobiographical essay in Elsevier 1958 Box 2: 15
Gordon Heath on the Studio Theater of Paris (STP) Box 2: 16
Financial and personal papers Box 2: 17
1930-1990 Boxes 3-7
Clippings and articles (filed in original accordion file) Box 3: 18
Accordion file: “A” to “Z” Box 3: 19-37
Letters from Gordon Heath to Mrs. Heath 1930-1978 Box 4: 38-70
Letters from Leroy Payant to Mrs. Heath 1972-1976 Box 4: 71
Postcards from Gordon Heath to parents 1947-1950 Box 4: 72
Postcards from Gordon Heath to parents 1952-1972 Box 4: 73
Gordon Heath: letters and cards to Leroy Payant 1947-1976 Box 5: 74-85
Leroy Payant to Gordon Heath 1947-1971 Box 6: 86-108
Gordon Heath and Lee Payant: Christmas cards & designs Box 7: 109-10
Christmas card lists 1952-1976 Box 7: 111
1956-1991 Boxes 8-9
Deep Are the Roots: photos & sketches Box 8: 112
Deep Are the Roots: photos & sketches Box 8: 113
Deep Are the Roots: photos & clippings Box 8: 114
Deep Are the Roots: first draft Box 8: 115
Deep Are the Roots: drafts Box 8: 116
Deep Are the Roots: drafts, part 1 Box 9: 117
Deep Are the Roots: drafts, part 2 Box 9: 118
Deep Are the Roots: final proof Box 9: 119
UMass Press enclosures Box 9: 120
Gordon Heath: article on spirituals Box 9: 121
Box 10
Doris Abramson n.d. Box 10: 122
Osceola Archer 1984 Box 10: 123
Articles: Americans in Paris 1958-1970 Box 10: 124
James Baldwin (?)-1988 Box 10: 125
James Baldwin: clippings 1988 Box 10: 126
James Baldwin: correspondence 1955-1957(?) Box 10: 127
Jules Chametzky n.d. Box 10: 128
Owen Dodson: letters, postcards, etc. 1940-1954 Box 10: 129
Owen Dodson n.d.-1988 Box 10: 130
Owen Dodson: clippings 1983-1988 Box 10: 131
Owen Dodson: biographical material 1967-1983 Box 10: 132
Owen Dodson: manuscripts (plays, publications) 1943 Box 10: 133
Owen Dodson: playbills & programs 1939-1975(?) Box 10: 134
Owen Dodson: poetry 1937-1944 Box 10: 135
Jaques Douai 1958 Box 10: 136
Arnaud D’Usseau 1990 Box 10: 137
Langston Hughes: letter & biographical info 1964-1966 Box 10: 138
Earle Hyman 1988 Box 10: 139
Notes and lectures on theater 1967(?)-1975(?) Box 10: 140
Rosey Pool 1974 Box 10: 141
Pearl Primus 1943-1959 Box 10: 142
San Juan Hill: clippings 1939-1983 Box 10: 143
Spirituals 1955-1956 Box 10: 144
Theater Arts Magazine; 1950s 1950-1955 Box 10: 145
Thomas Wolfe n.d. Box 10: 146
1949-1976 Boxes 11-13
L’ Abbaye letters 1951-1970s Box 11: 147-60
Letters to Gordon Heath & Lee Payant (re L ‘Abbaye recordings) Box 11: 161-62
L’Abbaye scrapbook 1949-1976 Box 12: 163-73
L’Abbaye scrapbookundated Box 12: 174
L’Abbaye photo scrapbooks Box 13: 175-78
1937-1987 Boxes 14-27
Theater scrapbook 1937-1942 Box 14: 179
Theater scrapbook 1938-1945 Box 14: 180
Hamlet Box 14: 181
The Eve of St. Mark 1942 Box 14: 182
Homecoming 1944 Box 14: 183
The Little Foxes 1946 Box 14: 184
Death Takes a Holiday 1946 Box 14: 185
Family Portrait 1946 Box 14: 186
Demonstration 1947 Box 14: 187
Deep Are the Roots 1945-1946 Box 14: 188
Deep Are the Roots 1946 Box 14: 189
Deep Are the Roots 1945-1947 Box 14: 190
Deep Are the Roots 1947 Box 14: 191-2
Demoiselle 1949 Box 14: 193
Othello 1950 Box 14: 194
The Hero’s Are Tired 1955 Box 14: 195
Cranks 1955-1956 Box 15: 196
For the Defense 1956 Box 15: 197
Monteparnasse 1958 Box 15: 198
The Negro and the European-American Theater 1959 Box 15: 199
The Washington Years 1960 Box 15: 200
Putain 1961 Box 15: 201
Signe Du Feu 1961 Box 15: 202
The Expatriate 1961 Box 15: 203
Dr. Faustus 1962 Box 15: 204
Mon Oncle Du Texas 1962 Box 16: 205
J.B., The Zoo Story & The Death of Bessie Smith 1963 Box 16: 206
Renards 1963 Box 16: 207
The Man on the Stairs 1964 Box 16: 208
The Meter Man 1964 Box 16: 209
The Centurions 1965 Box 16: 210
Requiem for a Nun 1965 Box 16: 211
The Dutchman & The Slave Box 16: 212
S.U.D. (opera) 1965 Box 16: 213
Neighbors 1966 Box 16: 214
The Connection 1968 Box 16: 215
La Nuit Bulgare 1969 Box 16: 216
Voices of America 1970 Box 16: 217
Lady From Maxim’s 1970 Box 16: 218
Oedipus 1970 Box 16: 219
Othello 1972 Box 16: 220
Julius Ceasar 1976 Box 16: 221
The Sun King at Versailles 1976 Box 17: 222
Endgame 1977 Box 17: 223
Defiant Island 1978 Box 17: 224
Eh Joe 1978 Box 17: 225
The Good Doctor 1979 Box 17: 226
Sounds of a Triangle 1979 Box 17: 227
Kohlhass 1980 Box 17: 228
On Wayward Wings 1981 Box 17: 229
Appear and Show Cause 1981 Box 17: 230
Child of the Sun 1981 Box 17: 231
Paul Robeson 1982 Box 17: 232
Testament Du Jour 1982 Box 18: 233
An Homage to Langston Hughes 1986 Box 18: 234
Lady Day 1987 Box 18: 235
MacBeth 1987 Box 18: 236
Street of No Return 1987 Box 18: 237
The Lion and the Jewel 1987 Box 18: 238
[STP] STP Scrapbook – general;

circa 1965 Box 19: 239
Metro Theater Box 19: 240
First meeting letters Box 19: 241
In White America Box 19: 242
Telemachus Clay Box 19: 243
The Tiger & The Dumbwaiter Box 19: 244
The Skin of Our Teeth,

1966 Box 19: 245
After the Fall,

1966 Box 19: 246-47
Zoo Story,

1966-1967 Box 19: 248
An Homage to Langston Hughes and Carl Sandburg,

1967 Box 20: 249
Mother Courage,

1967 Box 20: 250
Dear Liar,

1967 Box 20: 251
La Jeunne Fille de Hue,

1970 Box 20: 252
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,

1971 Box 20: 253
The Good People,

1973 Box 20: 254
Dos Passos,

1973 Box 20: 255
Kennedy’s Children,

1975 Box 20: 256
The Glass Menagerie,

1976 Box 20: 257
[scripts] Endgame Box 21: 258
Les Voisins Box 21: 259
Dear Liar Box 21: 260
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf Box 21: 261
Dos Passos Show Box 21: 262
[scripts] The Sun King at Versailles Box 22: 263
Kohlhass Box 22: 264
Paul Robeson Box 22: 265-67
Quand j’ Avais Cinq Ansje Mai Tue Box 22: 268
Sombre Claire & the Sound of Wings Box 22: 269
Puppet Play/ Le Mari Honnete Box 22: 270
March to Freedom Box 22: 271
Britannicus Box 22: 272
Defiant Island Box 22: 273
[film and poetry] Animal Farm,

1955 Box 23: 274
A Nun’s Story,

1957-1958 Box 23: 275
Black and Unknown Bards,

1957-1958 Box 23: 276
Passionate Summer’s Rank,

1958 Box 23: 277
Sapphire Box 23: 278
Vigil at Arms,

1961 Box 23: 279
Madwoman of Chaillot,

1968 Box 23: 280
[television] Tanker Nebraska/French and English performances Box 24: 281
The Troubled Air,

1953 Box 24: 282
Starlight,

1953 Box 24: 283
Emperor Jones,

1953 Box 24: 284
Halcyon Days,

1954 Box 24: 285
The Concert,

1954 Box 24: 286
Othello,

1955 Box 24: 287
VPRO television Box 24: 288
Cry the Beloved Country,

1958 Box 24: 289
Black and Unknown Bards,

1958 Box 24: 290
Chelsea at Eight,

1958 Box 24: 291
Easter Spirituals,

1959 Box 24: 292
Val Pernell Spectacular,

1960 Box 24: 293
Alan Melville Parade,

1960 Box 24: 294
[radio & recordings] WNYC,

1939 Box 25: 295
radio scripts Box 25: 296-7
clippings Box 25: 298
Emperor Jones,

1952 Box 25: 299
Cry the Beloved Country,

1955 Box 25: 300
VARA Amsterdam Radio,

1969 Box 25: 301
Recordings for the blind Box 25: 302
Langston Hughes,

1987 Box 25: 303
Gordon Heath, Oral History: the early years Box 25: 304
[concerts] misc. clubs and concerts Box 26: 305
Copenhagan,

1949 Box 26: 306
Embassy, et al.,

1949-1954 Box 26: 307
Institute of Contemporary Art,

1952 Box 26: 308
Club Carousel & Lechelle de Jacob,

1949-1952 Box 26: 309
Stockholm,

1952 Box 26: 310
Cafe Society & Mont Parnesse,

1952 Box 26: 311
German Army Tour,

1953 Box 26: 312
Noctambules,

1954 Box 26: 313
Sainte-Chapelle,

1955 Box 26: 314
Spence concert,

1957 Box 26: 315
Evolution Musicale de es Tennesse,

1963 Box 26: 316
Israel concert,

1964 (?) Box 26: 317
Monts de Apostilles,

1965 Box 26: 318
Beyond the Blues at Haverford,

1966 Box 26: 319
Black Ceremonial,

1968 Box 26: 320
Union Theological Seminary, N.Y.,

1970 Box 26: 321
American Cathedral in Paris,

1970-1976 Box 26: 322
Theater Montansver, Versailles,

1974 Box 26: 323
[Production scrapbooks--oversized]; [T.V.] For the Defense,

1956-1958 Box 27: 324
Paul Robeson,

1981-1987 Box 27: 325
[script] Paul Robeson Box 27: 326
[script] Puppet Play,

1983 Box 27: 327
Puppet Play,

1983 Box 27: 328
Emperor Jones,

1984-1985 Box 27: 329
1930-1976 Box 28
Songs, stories, book reviews, Hampton, YMCA Box 28: 330
Film and T.V. assorted scrapbook Box 28: 331
Productions attended Box 28: 332
Playbills & programs Box 28: 333
STP programs Box 28: 334
Misc. reviews Box 28: 335-36
Committee on Education & Race Relations Box 28: 337
1913-1987 Boxes 29-37
Assorted Photos Box 29: 338
Gordon Heath, head shots Box 29: 339
Harriette Heath,

1913-1978 Box 29: 340
Mother with family Box 29: 341
Gordon Heath with parents Box 29: 342
Mr. And Mrs. Heath Box 29: 343
Cyril Heath Box 29: 344
Camp Carlton Box 29: 345
La Guardia,

1947 Box 29: 346
Gordon Heath & friends Box 30: 347
Owen Dodson Box 30: 348
Paul Robeson Box 30: 349
Professional Photos Box 30: 350
Unidentified photo scrapbook Box 30: 351
Leroy Payant Box 30: 352
Leroy Payant (film, theater) Box 30: 353
Leroy Payant Box 30: 354
Payant & Heath Box 30: 355
Payant & Heath Box 30: 356
Gordon & guitar Box 30: 357
Gordon Heath Box 31: 358-59
Ebony,

1951 Box 31: 360
Rome,

1952 Box 31: 361
German tour,

1953 Box 31: 362
De Marney,

1946 & 1954 Box 31: 363
Villa Racine,

1951-1956 Box 31: 364
Villa Racine,

1952 Box 31: 365
Villa Racine

(no dates) Box 31: 366
Hotel France et d’ Orient Box 31: 367
45 & Villa Box 31: 368
Gordon Heath with beard Box 31: 369
Gordon Heath, bust Box 31: 370
Airport,

1960 Box 31: 371
Tony Kent,

1967 Box 31: 372
Heaths & Hoppers (family photos) Box 31: 373
Heathridge Box 31: 374
Heathridge Portrait Box 31: 375
Perfitt photos Box 31: 376
Party at Owen’s Box 31: 377
Gordon Heath in Amherst Box 31: 378
Male friends Box 32: 379
Gary Walters Box 32: 380
Hayemi Sassoon Box 32: 381
Richard Perfitt Box 32: 382
Edward Cambridge Box 32: 383
Alain Parchowski Box 32: 384
Ali Babah Box 32: 385
Payant & Heath Box 32: 386
Photos by Gordon Heath Box 32: 387
Male friends Box 32: 388
Paris,

1949-1960s Box 32: 389-91
[production photos] Pygmalion,

1942 Box 33: 392
Morning Becomes Electra,

1944 Box 33: 393
Hamlet,

1945 Box 33: 394
Garden of Time,

1945 Box 33: 395
Family Portrait,

1946 Box 33: 396
Deep Are the Roots,

1946-1947 Box 33: 397
The Little Foxes,

1947 Box 33: 398
Deep Are the Roots,

1946-1947 Box 33: 399
Death Takes a Holiday,

1948 Box 33: 400-401
USIS,

1949 Box 33: 402
Les Demoiselles de Petit Vertu,

1949 Box 33: 403
Othello,

1950 Box 34: 404
Mother in Europe,

1954 Box 34: 405
Cry the Beloved Country, 1955 & Halcyon Days, 1954 Box 34: 406
St Chappelle,

1955 Box 34: 407
Othello (BBC),

1955 Box 34: 408
Cranks,

1955 Box 34: 409
For the Defense,

1956 Box 34: 410
Amsterdam, 1956 & Chelsea, 1958 Box 34: 411
Passionate Summer,

1958 Box 34: 412
Black and Unknown Bards,

1958 Box 34: 413
A Nun’s Story,

1958 Box 34: 414
Les Laches Vivent Despoir & Le Signe Du Feu,

1959 Box 34: 415
The Expatriate,

1961 Box 34: 416
Dr. Faustus,

1962 Box 34: 417
La Putain Respctueuse,

1962 Box 34: 418
Le Petits Renards,

1963 Box 34: 419
Man on the Stairs,

1964 Box 34: 420
SUD,

1965 Box 34: 421
In White America,

1965 Box 35: 422
Heathridge,

1966 Box 35: 423
Lost Command,

1966 Box 35: 424
After the Fall,

1966 Box 35: 425
The Skin of Your Teeth,

1966 Box 35: 426
Zoo Story, Tiger & Dumbwaiter,

1966 Box 35: 427
Tribute to Carl Sandburg & Langston Hughes,

1967 Box 35: 428
Dear Liar,

1967 Box 35: 429
Les Voisins,

1966 Box 35: 430
Les Voisins,

1967 Box 35: 431
Mother Courage,

1967 Box 35: 432
Madwoman of Chaillot,

1968 Box 35: 433
Oedipus,

1970 Box 36: 434
Oedipus & Julius Ceasar,

1970 Box 36: 435
The Lady From Maxim’s,

1970 Box 36: 436
Telemachus Clay Box 36: 437
Othello,

1972 Box 36: 438
Dos Passos,

1972 Box 36: 439
The Beautiful People,

1973 Box 36: 440
Frost in Season, 1974 & Virginia Woolf, 1971 Box 36: 441
Born Free, 1974 & Holes de Porcechine, 1975 Box 36: 442
Kennedy’s Children Box 36: 443
Glass Menagerie,

1975 Box 36: 444
The Sun King at Versailles,

1976 Box 36: 445
Endgame,

1977 Box 36: 446
Defiant Island,

1978 Box 36: 447
Sounds of a Triangle Box 36: 448
The Good Doctor,

1979 Box 36: 449
Kohlhass,

1980 Box 36: 450
The Connection Box 36: 451
Child of the Sun,

1981 Box 36: 452
Testament du Jour,

1987 Box 36: 453
[STP photos] Actors Box 37: 454
photo scrapbook Box 37: 455
Boxes 38-40
Envelopes and designs for Gil Box 38: 456
Designs/sketches; Au Commencent Box 38: 457
Designs/sketches; Disneyland Box 38: 458
Designs/sketches; Gilles de Rais Box 38: 459
Designs/sketches; The Harder They Come Box 38: 460
Designs/sketches; Paola D’Alba & Denise Walls Box 38: 461
Devices & Designs Box 38: 462
Graphics; Faites vous memevotre macheur Box 38: 463
Graphic designs; Seven Pillars Box 38: 464
Graphics, sketches & designs Box 38: 465
Sketches, drawings, designs, etc. Box 38: 466-69
Sketches, drawings, designs [oversized] Box 39: 470
Drawings, cinema people Box 40: 471
[poetry] “Negro Poetry” Box 40: 472
Beyond the Blues Box 40: 473
STP Box 40: 474
“letters” Box 40: 475
for Edmund,

1940-1943 Box 40: 476
Box 41-44

Series 10 contains sheet music that Mr. Heath collected over the years. These materials are located in an oversized box.

Mother Courage [manuscript in German] Box 41: 477
Misc. sheet music Box 41: 478
Songs by Heath Box 42: 479
American folk spirituals Box 42: 480-81
Cat Ballou Box 42: 482
A Land Beyond the River Box 43: 483
Death Takes a Holiday Box 43: 484
Lamp at Midnight Box 43: 485
Assorted plays Box 43: 486
Crapouillot, July, 1960 v 48 (2) Box 44: 487
Negro Digest, April, 1967 v 16 (6) Box 44: 488
O’Neil, Eugene. Long Day’s Journey into Night (London: Butler & Tanner, 1956). Box 44: 489
Signoret, Simone. La Nostalgie N’est Plusce Qu’elle e’tait (Paris: Seuvil, 1976). Box 44: 490
dingbat for decoration
Bibliography

Deep Are The Roots: Memoirs of a Black Expatriate. Amherst: UMass Press, 1992.

Provenance

Acquired from M. Alain Woisson, 1993

Separated Material

One item, a journal entitled The Mask: a Quarterly Journal of the Art of the Theater, March 1908 to April 1911, (the first 12 issues of this European publication) was removed from the papers and catalogued to Special Collections and Archives.

Processing Information

Processed by David Goldberg, August 2001.

Acknowledgments

Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Gordon Heath Papers (MS 372). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Subjects

  • Abbaye (Nightclub : Paris, France)
  • African American actors--France--Paris--History
  • African American singers--France--Paris--History
  • African Americans in the performing arts--History
  • African-American theater--History--20th century
  • Baldwin, James, 1924-
  • Chametzky, Jules
  • Dodson, Owen, 1914-
  • Expatriate musicians--France--Paris--History
  • Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967
  • Musicians--United States--History
  • Nightclubs--France--Paris--History
  • Paris (France)--Intellectual life--20th century
  • Payant, Lee--Correspondence
  • Primus, Pearl
  • Rive gauche (Paris, France)--Intellectual life--20th century
  • Studio Theater of Paris
  • Theater--Production and direction--France--Paris--History

Contributors

  • Abramson, Doris E
  • Heath, Gordon, 1918-1991

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
  • Scripts
  • Sheet music
  • Sketches
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