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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 402

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana papers on Soviet theater and film and university lecture notes


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana's correspondence and research files, programs, photographs and other papers on Russian and Soviet theater, film and drama; and lecture notes on comparative literature and history.


  • 1902-1955 and undated

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English, Russian, German, Hebrew, Yiddish, Ukrainian, Czech and French.

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 off-site at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for additional information.


41 linear feet (47 document boxes and 6 cartons)
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana's papers and research files on Soviet theater and film were collected between 1906 and 1949. The bulk of the collection was compiled by Dana on trips to the Soviet Union and afterward through acquaintances made on his trips. His research files cover topics on well-known Soviet theatrical personalities, production companies and theaters, film, opera, and ballet.

Series I: Dana's professional and personal correspondence. The majority of the letters are addressed to Dana; there are only a few instances of letters written by him. Much of the correspondence concerns Dana's research on Soviet theater and films, his travel to Europe and the Soviet Union, and queries from students looking for guidance on theatrical research topics. Occasional letters from Series V. Lecture notes were moved to this series. Invitations and bills are included at the end of the series.

Series II: Dana's research files containing biographical material such as photographs, clippings, and essays on the lives and works of playwrights, actors, directors, composers, choreographers, journalists, critics, and writers. The majority of the files concern well-known Russian personalities, including Anton Chekhov, Maksim Gorky, Ivan Turgenev, Sergei Eisenstein, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Vsevelod Meierkhol'd, Aleksandr Blok, Peter Tchaikovsky and others. Aslo includes files on American and French playwrights and writers whose works were translated or adapted into theatrical productions in the Soviet Union, including Eugene O’Neill, George Bernard Shaw, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Stendhal, Gustave Flaubert, Jules Verne, and others.

Series III: Dana’s research files on production companies and theaters containing material such as photographs, clippings and notes. The majority of the files concern Russian companies; however, a selection of regional theaters from neighboring Soviet Socialist Republics are included, such as Armenian, Azerbaijani and Georgian theaters. Jewish, American, Flemish, and Czech theaters and production companies are also represented. Research files on several well-known Russian theaters are included, such as Gosudarstvennyi Akademicheskii Teatr imeni Evg. Vakhtangova, Gosudarstvennaia Opernaia Studiia Teatr Narodnogo Artista Respubliki K.S. Stanislavskogo, Moskovskii Khudozhestvennyi Akademicheskii Teatr, Gosudarstvennyi Teatr imeni Vs. Meierkholʹda, Malyi teatr SSSR and the Leningradskii Bolʹshoi Dramaticheskii Teatr Akademicheskii im. M. Gorʹkogo. Though a majority of the files concern dramatic theater, there are also files on satire, children’s theater, puppet theater, and the Moscow circus.

Series IV: Dana’s research files on a variety of subjects related to Soviet theater and drama, including research on theater in a selection of Soviet cities. Other research files concern Moscow theater festivals, music festivals, Soviet and Russian ballet, Soviet film, historical research on the Russian revolution, theater museums and libraries, as well as acting, theatrical make-up, and theatrical architecture.

Series V: Dana’s lecture notes from his time as an undergraduate, master’s and PhD student at Harvard University. A selection of student assignments from Dana’s time as a teaching assistant are included, as are manuscript copies of Dana’s thesis and dissertation work.

Series VI: Printed material in English and in Russian on the topics of Soviet theater, drama and film.

Biographical / Historical

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ("Harry") Dana (Harvard AB 1903, AM 1904, PhD 1910) was an authority on Soviet drama, the first curator of the Longfellow House in Cambridge, MA, a lifelong professor and lecturer on comparative literature and theater, and the grandson of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Dana began his career at Columbia University where he taught English and comparative literature from 1912 to 1917. He was dismissed in 1917 for pacifist activities. Dana continued to lecture at various institutions for the rest of his life including the Rand School of Social Sciences, the New School for Social Research and the Boston Trade College. Dana traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Soviet Union collecting material on drama. Dana's first trip to the Soviet Union was for twelve months in 1928. He made four more trips to the Soviet union between 1931 and 1936. In 1938, Dana published his Handbook on Soviet Drama. As a communist, Dana was involved in many organizations sympathetic to the Soviet Union including the editorial board of the Socialist Review, the John Reed Club and the Cambridge Russian Relief.



This collection is arranged into six series:
  1. I. Correspondence
  2. II. Research files : personalities
  3. III. Research files : companies
  4. IV. Research files : subjects
  5. IV. A. Research files : subjects by city
  6. IV. B. Research files : subjects by general subject
  7. V. Lecture notes
  8. VI. Printed material

Physical Location

b, Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

No accession number. Gift of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana; received: 1964.

Some material transferred from the University Archives and Widener Library; received: 2001 November.

Related Materials

This collection has a curatorial file. Additional Dana papers are housed at Houghton Library: see Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana Papers on Henri Barbusse and Sacco-Vanzetti, 1913-1949 (MS Am 2615). The Longfellow House in Cambridge, MA also has a large collection of Dana's papers and a finding aid is available on their website.

Separated Materials

Printed books removed from collection to be cataloged individually :

Gogol, Nikolai. Portret: povest' / Портрет: повесть. GIZ: Moscow-Leningrad, 1928.

Gvozdev, L. Ostrovsky na stsene leningradskikh teatrov / Островский на сцене ленинградских театров. Vserossiiskoe тeatralʹnoe obshchestvo: Leningrad-Moscow, 1937.

Imas, M. Ostrovsky na stsene periferiinogo teatra / Островский на сцене периферийного театра. Vserossiiskoe тeatralʹnoe obshchestvo: Leningrad-Moscow, 1937.

IUreneva, Vera. Moi zapisky o kitaiskom teatre / Мои записки о китайском театре. Tea-kino-pechat': Moscow, 1928.

Reviakin, Alexander. Ostrovskii i ego sovremenniki / Островский и его современники. Academia: Leningrad-Moscow, 1931.

Tolstoy, Aleksei. Aelita / Аэлита. Gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo: Moscow-Leningrad, 1927.

Vainshenker, P. L and Ryzhakin, IA. F. Shchukin: 1894-1939 / Щукин: 1894-1939. Gosudarstvennii Literaturnii muzei i muzei Teatra imeni Evg. Vakhtangova : Moscow, 1942.

Processing Information

Processed by: Christine Jacobson and Irina Klyagin
Link to catalog
Dana, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1881-1950. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana papers on Soviet theater and film and university lecture notes, 1902-1955: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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