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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 478

American Shakespeare Theatre plays and prompt books


Prompt books and production scripts from American Shakespeare Festival Theatre and Academy productions.


  • 1956-1982

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.

This collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but 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.


4.5 linear feet (9 boxes)

Prompt and production scripts from American Shakespeare Theatre productions by William Shakespeare, but also including non-Shakespearean plays by T.S. Eliot, Bernard Shaw, Sophocles, Giuseppe Verdi, Thornton Wilder and William Wycherley.

Biographical / Historical

The American Shakespeare Festival Theatre and Academy was conceived in 1950 by Lawrence Langner. It was later incorporated in Connecticut as a not-profit organization. A theatre was opened in 1955, and the house opened with Julius Caesar. Beginning in 1959 special spring performances for students were initiated. As interest and the quality of production waned, non-Shakespearean plays were added to the programs. The name of the organization was shortened in 1972 to the American Shakespeare Theatre. The theatre saw fewer and fewer productions, most critical and public failures. Bankruptcy followed. In 1988 the property was reincorporated as the American Festival Theatre.


Arranged alphabetically by title.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

92-93.000, 2004MT-131.

General note

This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for additional information.

Processing Information

This finding aid describes a small portion of the collection; the remaining items are unprocessed and contain administrative files, board minutes, correspondence, performance diaries, photographs, press files, and production material.

American Shakespeare Theatre. American Shakespeare Theatre plays and prompt books, 1956-1982: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
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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