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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 678

Max Reinhardt collection of costume and set designs


Contains costume and scene designs from around the turn of the twentieth century by Ernst Stern, Engel, and others collected by Austrian theater and film producer and director Max Reinhardt.


  • 1783-1934
  • Majority of material found within 1902-1934

Language of Materials

Predominantly in German, along with English and Italian.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


7.74 linear feet (2 boxes and 181 oversize folders)

Contains about 240 original costume and set designs by various artists associated with Reinhardt for productions in Berlin, Munich, and Vienna, dating from about 1902 to 1922. The vast majority of the designs are by Ernst Stern (1876-1954) for Max Reinhardt productions, many at the Kammerspiele of the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, Germany. These include plays such as the 1907 production of Friedrich Hebbel's Gyges und sien Ring, a 1908 production of Johann Nestroy's Revolution in Krähwinkel = Freiheit in Krähwinkel, a 1903 production of Schwester Beatrix, a 1910 production of Sumurum, as well as undated productions of Arst seiner Ehre, Cristinas Heimreise, Elektra, Fruhlings erwachen, Der Gute Konig Dagobert, Hamlet, Kabale und Liebe, Katarina von Armagnac, Liebeskonig, Loyalitat, Lysistrata, Medea, Orpheus in the Underworld, Der Revisor, Revolution in Krahwinkel, Salome, Terakaya, Turandot, Twelfth Night, and Wolkenkuckkucksheim, among others.

Other known designs include Ludwig von Hoffman’s designs for Aglavaine and Selysette, Fritz Erler’s designs for Hamlet, Alfred Roller’s designs for Der Rosenkavalier, Salome designs attributed to Max Kruse, a Six Characters in Search of an Author design by Herman Krehan, a Winter's Tale design by Emil Orlik, Merry Wives of Windsor designs by Max Slevogt, and designs for Twelfth Night, Was ihr Wollt, and an unidentified production by Engel.

Further materials include a group of eighteenth century etchings by Daniel Chodowiecki, a portrait by Werner Kraus, as well as a single photograph of Max Reinhardt and Hugo von Hofmannsthal at Reinhardt’s estate.

Biographical / Historical

Max Reinhardt (1873-1943) was an Austrian-born theater and film director and producer. He was born Maximilian Goldmann, and started his career as an apprentice at a bank while also taking acting lessons. He made his stage debut in 1890 using the name Max Reinhardt. He was involved with the Schall und Raunch Kabarett, Kleines Theater, Neues Theater, and the Deutsches Theater, all in Berlin, Germany, beginning in 1901. He was the director of the Volksbuhne theater from 1915-1918, and after World War I, opened the Grosses Schauspielhaus in 1919. Reinhardt ran eleven stages in Berlin as well as the Theater in der Josefstadt in Vienna, Austria, from 1924-1933. With Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Reinhardt established the Salzburg Festival in 1920. He went on to have a career in the United States as well, directing stage and film productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. After emigrating to the United States after the Nazi Anschluss of Austria, he opened the Reinhardt School of Theatre in Hollywood, California, and became a citizen in 1940. He died of a stroke in 1943 in New York City.

Born in Romania, Ernst Julian Stern (1876-1954) was a creative innovator in scenery and staging. He produced plays and spectacles in Germany, Austria, England and the United States, working with Reinhardt at the Deutsches Theater and the Grosses Schauspielhaus.


Box 1 is arranged in HTC drawing number order. Box 2 and all oversize files are arranged alphabetically by production title, with unidentified productions, etchings, and the single photograph and portrait following.

Physical Location

b, pfd (P1.C3.05.20 - P1.C3.06.05 [Folders 1-175]), ppf (P1.C3.06.06 [Folders 176-180])

Immediate Source of Acquisition

No accession number. Purchased from collector's widow, Helene Thimig; received: 1951.

Related Materials

Further costume designs collection by Max Reinhardt can be found in: Max Reinhardt collection of Viennese costume designs (MS Thr 375), Houghton Library, Harvard University.


Maske and Kothurn, 19. Jahrgang/1973, Heft 3, "Bühnenbild- und Kostümentwürfe für das Theater Max Reinhardts," by Otto G. Schindler, p. 202-242.

Processing Information

Box 1 processed by Bonnie Salt, 2011 April. The remaining items processed by Betts Coup, 2019.

Processing Information


Reinhardt, Max, 1873-1943, collector. Max Reinhardt collection of costume and set designs, 1783-1934 (bulk 1902-1934) (MS Thr 678): Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
2019 January 24
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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