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 record containers)
Language(s) English .
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.

Arrangement

Arrangement

Material is arranged into 2 series. Materials 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 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.

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

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

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.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only CU affiliates may view materials on-site. YOU MUST REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT BEFORE PLACING REQUESTS. Email rbml@library.columbia.edu to request an appointment. You may submit a request for materials once your appointment is confirmed. Affiliates will login with their uni and password, and need to register the first time they make a request.


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.


The Big Knife



Box 1 1948, undated


Box 1 Third Draft, (copy) circa, 1948-1949


Box 1 Partial (copy), undated


Box 1 Screenplay by James Poe (from the play by Clifford Odets), undated


Box 1 The Children's Story (working title), 1945 May, 1945


Country Girl


Box 1 Second Draft, (copy), 1949


Box 1 Third Draft (copy), 1949 October 25, 1949


Box 1 Third Draft (copy), undated


Box 1 Fourth Draft (copy), 1950 August, 1950


Box 1 Fourth Draft (copy), undated


Box 1 Final, As Being Played (copy), 1949


Box 1 Uncut Version, 1949 October 17, 1949



Box 2 Uncut Version (copy), 1949 October 17, 1949


Box 2 Early Notes and Scenes (copy), 1949


Box 2 Notes (copy), undated


Box 2 Production Notes (copy), 1950


Box 2 Deadline at Dawn--Final Script, 1945 April 16, 1945


The Greatest Gift


Box 2 1945 January 25, 1945


Box 2 undated


Box 2 Incomplete, 1945 February26, 1945


Joseph and His Brethren


Box 2 First Estimating Draft, 1954 May 10, 1954


Box 2 Second Estimating Draft, 1954 December 30, 1954


Box 2 The Murder Story (working title)--First Draft,, undated


Box 2 Night Music , 1940



Box 3 Night Music , 1940


Box 3 None but the Lonely Heart (adapted from Richard Llewellyn's novel)--Second Draft Continuity (revised), 1943 December 18, 1943


North Star (The Richard Boone Show)


Box 3 1963 April 10, 1963


Box 3 First Revision, 1963 April 26, 1963


Box 3 The Olympian--Drafts, Notes, Typescript (copy),, 1963


Box 3 A Piece of the Action--Notes and Reviews (copy),, 1962


Box 3 Russian People by Constantine Simonov (acting version by Odets),, 1942


Box 3 The Show Must Go On-- Radio Original (copy),, 1939


The Story on Page One (temporary title)


Box 3 1958 October 1, 1958


Box 3 1958 April 27, 1958



Box 4 First Draft Revised, undated


Box 4 Final Draft, circa, 1959


Box 4 Waiting for Lefty , 1938


Walk on the Wild Side (from the novel by Nelson Algren)


Box 4 Final Draft, 1961 March 14, 1961


Box 4 undated


The Way West


Box 4 First Draft, 1956 April, undated, 1956, undated


Box 4 Notes on Treatment by Walter Newman, 1955 November 9, 1955


Box 4 Research Notebook, 1956-1957


Box 4 Research Notebook (compiled by Lelia Alexander), undated


Box 4 Section I, undated


Box 4 Section II, undated


Box 4 Step Outline by Walter Newman, 1955 December 12, 1955



Box 5 Typescript, 1957 September-October (11 folders), 1957


Box 5 Welcome to the City!, 1944 September 6, 1944


Box 5 The Whispering Cup, 1947 January 10, 1947


A Winter Journey


Box 5 Early Draft (copy), 1948


Box 5 First Draft (copy), undated


Box 5 Third Draft (copy), 1948

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.


Box 5 The Actor--Typescript and Notes (copy),, 1961


Box 5 Adams, Sue--Poems and Correspondence, 1958-1959


Box 5 The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God Samuel A. Boyea's Adaptation of George Bernard Shaw,, undated


Box 5 The Big Knife--Playbill and Reviews (in German),, 1960


Box 5 Camille/15 Doves in Flight--Typescript, Notes, Articles, 1961


Box 5 Clippings, 1958-1962



Box 6 Correspondence, 1957-1964


Box 6 Ephemera, 1958-1962


Box 6 Films in Review , 1955


Box 6 Golden Boy--Programs (inscribed by Sammy Davis),, 1964


Box 6 Le Grand Couteau (The Big Knife )--Program for French Production, Correspondence from Courtois-Doybel to Jean Renoir,, 1961


Box 6 Kopland, Kenny and Cliff--Photographs, undated


Box 6 Lakes Region Playhouse--The Country Girl --Playbill, undated


Box 6 Lerner, Max--Columns, 1962


Box 6 A Lie a Century Long by Samuel A. Boyea (annotated),, undated


Box 6 Modern Screen, 1937 1938, 1937, 1938


Box 6 Noah, His Wife, and the Devil by Francis Lee Utley (inscribed to Clifford Odets), circa, 1962


Box 6 Notes, 1961 undated


Box 6 Portrait of a Playwright--Booklet by NBC Television Network, 1963 March, 1963


Box 6 Private Treaty--Typescript and Notes (copy),, 1961


Box 6 Reminders, 1961


Box 6 The Richard Boone Show--Booklet, 1962


Box 6 Rowe, Virginia (Odets' secretary)--Appointment Book, 1958, 1962, 1958, 1962


Box 6 Serials and Journals (various), 1962


Box 6 Sister Carrie--Notes by Virginia Rowe,, 1944


Box 6 Sum and Substance , 1963


Box 6 Theatre Arts, 1963 May, 1963


Box 6 Waiting for Lefty-- Comparison Copy (copy),, 1939