Massive Theatrical Archive on the Auction Block


A tremendous and rare cache of original manuscripts, long forgotten in most quarters of the theater industry, has been placed up for auction, according to an email received by the Clyde Fitch Report.

The auction is of the “theatrical archives” of the American Play Company, also known as the Century Play Company, and includes, according to the details, “correspondence, contracts, company records, and theatrical scripts covering the first two quarters of the 20th century.”

The link above takes you to the website of Bonhams & Butterfields, which is holding the auction.

Previews are in San Francisco beginning today through Feb. 7, with additional previews being held in Los Angeles, Feb. 11-13.

From the Bonham’s website, here is a selection of information specifically regarding scripts (again, see the link).

Note, by the way, the bottom of the webpage: the auction is expected to bring between $120,000 and $180,000.

Approx 90 boxes containing nearly 1000 theatrical scripts, most typed manuscripts, some representing early working drafts of popular 20th century dramas, others representing scripts used in regional or stock productions of the period. Present are scripts by Philip Barry, Guy Bolton, George M. Cohan, John Colton, Rachel Crothers, Philip Dunning, Jacques Duval, Edna Ferber, Salisbury Field, Joseph Fields, Clyde Fitch, Elmer Harris, Lillian Hellman, Avery Hopwood, George S. Kaufman, Norman Krasna, Ring Lardner, Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse, Frederick Lonsdale, Charles MacArthur and Ben Hecht, Somerset Maugham, A.A. Milne and Eugene O’Neill (early performance drafts of Anna Christie, Mourning Becomes Electra, Strange Interlude, and others), Sigmund Romberg, Harry Segall (including early drafts of Heaven Can Wait and original drafts of several unproduced plays), Preston Sturges, Tennessee Williams (including an early draft of The Glass Menagerie with original screen device note still intact) and many more.