Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Clifford Odets papers, 1937-1964, bulk 1945-1963

Summary Information

Abstract

Clifford Odets was an American playwright. He was born in 1906 to Russian and Romanian immigrants. Odets dropped out of high school, striking out on his own to pursue a career in acting. He was a founding member of the Group Theatre in New York that utilized a new technique in acting based on the ideas of Constantin Stanislavski. The Group Theatre was further developed by director Lee Strasberg. Odets was married twice, both to actresses: Luise Rainer and Bette Grayson. The collection consists of his original plays and screenplays, including drafts. These were at one time loaned to Margaret Brenman-Gibson for work on her biography of Odets, which was published in 1981. There is a small section of personal papers that includes clippings, correspondence, ephemera, notes, and his secretary's appointment book.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1636
Bib ID 9746888 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Odets, Clifford, 1906-1963
Title Clifford Odets papers, 1937-1964, bulk 1945-1963
Physical Description 6 linear feet (6 linear feet 6 record containers)
Language(s) English .
Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least 2 business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Arrangement

Arrangement

Material is arranged into 2 series: Series I: Plays and Screenplays, 1938-1963, Series II: Personal Papers, 1937-1964: arranged alphabetically.

Description

Summary

The collection primarily consists of original and copied plays and screenplays written or adapted by Clifford Odets. The earliest of these is his Waiting for Lefty from 1938. For some of the writings there are multiple copies as well as first, second, and third drafts. There are treatments by Walter Newman and research notebooks for The Way West. The Clifford Odets Papers also contains a small series of personal papers. These items are in the main from 1960-1963 and consist of clippings, ephemera, playbills, programs, and serials. There are a few pieces of correspondence including an anniversary announcement from Lee and Paula Strasberg, as well as from Milton Lipper to the Strasberg's following Odets' death in 1963.

  • Series I: Plays and Screenplays, 1938-1963

    Series I consists of original and copied plays and screenplays written or adapted by Clifford Odets. The works range in date from Waiting for Lefty from 1938 to the scripts he did for The Richard Boone Show in 1963. Present in this series are first, second, and third drafts as well as final versions of plays and screenplays.

  • Series II: Personal Papers, 1937-1964

    Series II contains a small section of Clifford Odets' personal papers. These materials are primarily from 1960-1963. Included here are an assortment of clippings, ephemera, playbills, programs, and serials. There are a few pieces of scattered correspondence, including an anniversary announcement from Lee and Paula Strasberg, as well as letters from Milton Lipper to the Strasberg's following Odets' death in 1963. A program for Golden Boy, signed by Sammy Davis is present is this series. Additionally there is a letter from Courtois-Doybel to Jean Renoir sent along with a program for the French production of Le Grande Couteau (The Big Knife) from 1961. There are appointment books from Virginia Rowe, Odets' secretary, from 1958 and 1962.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least 2 business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Clifford Odets Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Selected Related Material -- at Columbia

Margaret Brenman-Gibson Papers, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University

Clifford Odets Papers, The Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Clifford Odets Papers, Lilly Library, Indiana University

Accrual

No additions are expected

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed Adrien Hilton 10/23/2012.

Finding Aid written Adrien Hilton 10/23/2012.

Revision Description

2012-10-24 xml document instance created by Adrien Hilton

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Plays Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Screenplays Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Scripts (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Dramatists, American Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Odets, Clifford, 1906-1963 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Clifford Odets was an important American playwright. He was born in 1906 in Philadelphia to Russian and Romanian immigrants. Odets struck out on his own, dropping out of high school, to pursue a career in acting. He was a founding member of the Group Theatre in New York that utilized a new technique in acting based on the ideas of Constantin Stanislavski. The Group Theatre was further developed by director Lee Strasberg. Odets was married twice, both to actresses: Luise Rainer and Bette Grayson. With Grayson, he had two children, Nora and Walt. Odets wrote plays and screenplays, perhaps, best known for his Waiting for Lefty, Awake and Sing, and Golden Boy. In 1952, Odets was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee. He had belonged to the CPUSA for less than a year between 1934-1935. In his final years, Odets worked with NBC's The Richard Boone Show. Odets died of colon cancer at the age of 57.