Papers of an internationally acclaimed theatrical couple whose careers spanned more than half a century and who starred in more than 60 theater and television productions from 1915 to 1980. The collection is comprised of both personal and production-related materials. The nearly 4,000 pieces of correspondence in the collection were written by colleagues and fans from 1930 to 1977. Also included in the collection are hundreds of newspaper clippings concerning the Lunts' personal and professional lives; reviews, playbills, and scripts from more than 50 theatrical and television productions; Lunt family letters dating from 1838; scattered financial records; unproduced scripts by renowned playwrights such as Robert Sherwood, Booth Tarkington, and Noel Coward; awards; and more than 1,600 photographs of the Lunts both at home and on the stage.
The Lunts' personal correspondence provides a virtual "who's who" in the arts and entertainment industry in the first half of the 20th century. Letters abound from such prominent literary figures as Enid Bagnold, S. N. Behrman, John Mason Brown, Noel Coward, Edna Ferber, Terence Rattigan, Robert Sherwood, Booth Tarkington, Thornton Wilder, and Alexander Woollcott. Theater personalities such as Maxwell Anderson, Cecil Beaton, Hugh Beaumont, Russel Crouse, John Gielgud, Helen Hayes, Vivien Leigh, Howard Lindsay, Cathleen Nesbitt, Laurence Olivier, and John Wilson are represented as well. Other well-known figures are represented in smaller amounts.
Although the Lunts starred in separate productions until the early 1920s, they achieved their greatest fame after 1924 when they appeared together in "The Guardsman." The majority of the production information in the collection dates from that time until the Lunts' last Broadway appearance in 1958, and includes newspaper and magazine clippings of reviews, advertisements, and related publicity, as well as playbills and programs. There is similar material from the 1919 production of "Clarence," which launched Lunt to stardom.
The collection includes scripts from the following productions: "Beverly's Balance" (1915), "Iphigenia in Aulis" (1915), "Clarence" (1919), "Banco" (1922), "Outward Bound" (1924), "The Guardsman" (1924), "The Taming of the Shrew" (1935), "Idiot's Delight" (1936), "The Pirate" (1942), "O Mistress Mine" (1946), "I Know My Love" (1949), and "Anastasia" (TV - 1967).
Tape-recorded material includes "The White Cliffs," a 1941 radio production; a performance of "The Guardsman"; and reminiscences of the actress Ellen Terry by Sybil Thorndike. There are video cassettes from the 1980 television documentary "The Lunts: A Life in the Theatre" and the 1981 "Bunny Raasch Special." Also present is a film of the 1963 television production "The Old Lady Shows Her Medals." Extensive production and personal photographs are included in the collection as well as home movies.
The films and videorecordings in this collection have been cataloged individually.
Selected home movies reformated for preservation funded with a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation.
Most of this collection is also available on microfilm.
Presented by George Bugbee and Suzanne Knapp, Genesee Depot, Wisconsin, 1983 and 1992, with small amounts presented by the Carroll College Library, Waukesha, Wisconsin, 1976; by Thelma Moss, Antigo, Wisconsin, 1984; and by Joan and Robert R. Pekowsky, 2004.