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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 220

Robert Fletcher papers


Contains materials relating to Robert Fletcher's career as a costume and set designer, including design drawings, sketches, roughs, plans, lists, blueprints, photostats, photographs, notes, as well as related correspondence, programs, and additional ephemera.


  • circa 1888-2010
  • Majority of material found in 1950-2006


Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.

A portion of this collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.


86.53 linear feet (167 boxes and 48 oversize folders)

Series I includes costume and set designs, as well as accompanying notes, correspondence, programs, and ephemera, as single designs, bound in notebooks, and collected into scrapbooks. The designs are in multiple stages, from sketches and roughs to blueprints, photostats, lists and pricings, and drawings. These materials are often oversize, and have remained onsite, donated as part of multiple accessions dating from approximately 1967 to 2015, due to the size and storage requirements. A few of the many stage, television, and film productions included are La Belle Helene, Perry Como Show, A Family Affair, Hadrian VII, Happiest Girl in the World, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Gypsy, High Spirits, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Little Me, Macbeth, Manon, Dean Martin Show, Oedipus, Othello, Play of Daniel, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Star Trek, The Tempest, Thing Fish, Troilus and Cressida, and many more. Additionally includes architectural drawings.

Series II includes all remaining materials in accession 2004MT-81, which includes gifts from 1967-2004. These materials include costume and scene designs and sketches, related correspondence, scripts, programs, photographs, and clippings related to productions such as Forum, High Spirits, Miss Saigon, NBC 50th Anniversary Show, Servant of Two Masters, and Star Trek, among others. Further materials relate to Fletcher's membership in the United Scenic Artists and union issues, as well as further designs for the St. Louis Municipal Theatre.

Series III includes the remaining materials from accession 2006MT-37r, which was also made up of multiple gifts from the 1960s through 2005. This series contains costume and set designs, notebooks and papers, printed materials, correspondence, photographs, scripts, and production files related to television and stage productions. Additionally includes architectural drawings, as well as proposals and plans for theatre construction for the Portland Civil Theatre and additional United Scenic Artists and union-related papers. Some of the productions included are Antigone, Cinderella, Cyrano de Bergerac, La Belle Helene, Much Ado About Nothing, Pajama Game, High School Musical, Rome, and Tosca, among many more. This series further contains video and reel-to-reel tapes of productions, as well as collected historical travel and theatre scrapbooks and an autograph book kept by Hattie Blatt around the turn of the twentieth century.

Series IV (accession 2011MT-7) contains materials relating to Buddha, including notes, correspondence, and scripts, as well as costume sketches for Titanic, produced at the St. Louis Municipal Theatre. Additional materials include DVDS of performances by Don Liberto and Fletcher's father, Leon Ames, in performances, as well as correspondence and printed newletters and publications.

Series V (accession 2012MT-48) contains photocopies of Mohenjo-daro costume designs, as well as materials relating to The Company We Ketp. Further materials include a script by April Ferry, biographical lists and essays, costume sketches and a sketchbook, printed books, and photographs. Additionally contains correspondence related to the Harvard Theatre Collection at Houghton Library.

Series VI (accession 2015MT-1) contains volumes 1-7 of Dance Index, costume research materials, correspondence, and materials relating to the Ballets et Galas Russes and Oh Che Bella Guerra.

Biographical / Historical

Robert Fletcher (1922-) was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the son of actor Leon Ames. He attended Harvard College and Bennington College, graduating from Harvard in 1946 following service in the United States Army Air Corps Cadet Corp in World War II. During his final years at Harvard, Fletcher was involved with the Harvard Veterans Theatre Workshop and the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square, where he was employed as an actor and set and costume designer following graduation. Fletcher relocated to New York in the early 1950s, where he focused on his design work, creating set and costume designs for ballets, operas, and musicals, including Noel Coward’s High Spirits, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, King Lear (in which Orson Welles had the title role), Happiest Girl in the World, A Family Affair, Nowhere To Go But Up, Little Me, The Moon Besieged, among many others. Fletcher was hired by NBC in the mid-1960s, and went on to design costumes for the Dean Martin Show and other television specials and productions.

Fletcher relocated to Los Angeles to work in costume design for television and film, before moving to Taos, New Mexico in 1989. Perhaps Fletcher’s most well-known film credit as a costume designer is for the first four Star Trek films. He has continued to design costumes and sets for theatre, ballet, and opera productions across the United States, including on Broadway, as well as at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, the St. Louis Municipal Opera Theater, the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, and many more, as well as many costumes for Bollywood films in India. He has acted as a costume design consultant for HBO productions including Rome and Game of Thrones. Fletcher was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Motion Picture Costume Design Guild in 2005.

Fletcher has been with husband Jack Fletcher Kauflin, an original member of the New York City Ballet, Broadway dancer, and singer, since the early 1950s.


The collection has been arranged into the following series, based on location and acccession information: I. Set and costume designs from multiple accessions, II. 2004MT-81, III. 2006MT-37r, IV. 2011MT-7, V. 2012MT-48, VI. 2015MT-1.

Physical Location

b, Harvard Depository, pfd, ppf

Immediate Source of Acquisition

68M-90, 2004MT-81, 2006MT37r, 2011MT-7, 2012MT-48, 2015MT-1. Gifts of Robert Fletcher at various dates from 1960-2015.

Fletcher, Robert. Robert Fletcher papers, circa 1888-2010 (bulk 1950-2006): Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard University.
2019 January 9
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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