Charles Rogers, Set Design for Midsummer Night's Dream, Watercolor on Paper, 1949.

An Exhibition in the John William Ward Exhibition Room
Archives & Special Collections, Frost Library, Amherst College
October 1, 2002 - January 31, 2003


Welcome to a virtual exhibition documenting the history of theater and drama at Amherst College. It is based on an original exhibition that was on display in the John William Ward Exhibition Room in the Amherst College Archives & Special Collections of the Robert Frost Library from October 1, 2002 to January 31, 2003.

This exhibition offers a glimpse into the rich holdings of the Dramatic Activities Collection as well as those of the Library's other outstanding collections of plays and other materials related to the history of drama over the last 400 years. It illustrates Amherst College productions from the 19th and 20th centuries -- plays from Aeschylus and Euripides to Shakespeare and Sheridan to Williams and Wasserstein. Many photographs, posters, and playbills from over 100 years of productions are included, as well as original play scripts, drawings for set and costume designs, and props from past productions.

In addition, the exhibition presents items associated with the careers of many Amherst alumni celebrated in the theater, including Clyde Fitch, Class of 1886, the prolific and successful playwright who still holds the record for concurrent productions on Broadway (four); Tad Mosel, Class of 1944, playwright television writer, avid book collector and patron of the Archives & Special Collections; James Merrill, Class of 1947, poet and playwright; and Richard Wilbur, Class of 1942, poet and translator of Molière.

Also represented is the extensive Eugene O'Neill Collection founded by William Britton Stitt, Class of 1918, as are the many thousands of acting editions of plays from the Samuel French Company that were donated by its late president, M. Abbott Van Nostrand, Class of 1934.


This exhibition is dedicated to Ralph "Tuffy" McGoun, Class of 1927, professor of dramatic arts for more than 30 years and, in retirement, a volunteer in the Archives & Special Collections for more than 10 years. He collected and organized the Dramatic Activities Collection.