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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
Material is arranged into 2 series. Materials arranged alphabetically.
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.
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 three 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.
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
No additions are expected
Ownership and Custodial History
The Clifford Odets Papers were the gift of William Gibson to the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University in July of 2011. The materials originally came in as part of the Margaret Brenman-Gibson Papers MS#1635, but were separated because of provenance.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers processed Adrien Hilton 10/23/2012.
Finding Aid written Adrien Hilton 10/23/2012.
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.
History / 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.