A Guide to the Stratford Players Records, 1920-1983
Collection Number UA 0029

Compiled by: Sarah Roth-Mullet, February 2018

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Stratford Players Records, 1920-1983
Collection No.: UA 0029
Creator: Stratford Players
Extent: 5 boxes; .2 cubic feet
Language: English
Abstract: The Stratford Players Records is comprised of record books, scrapbooks, correspondence, photographs, news clippings, rehearsal scripts, and copies of yearbook pages, documenting the activities of the Stratford Players (formerly known as the Stratford Literary Society and the Stratford Dramatic Club), from 1914-1983.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: Collection open to research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.
Use Restrictions: Copyright for Official University records is held by James Madison University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu). 
Preferred Citation: [identification of item], [box #, folder #], Stratford Players Records, 1920-1983, UA 0029, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.
Acquisition Information: The collection was placed on deposit by contract signed by Jane Rupp, then-president of the Stratford Players, on September 25, 1997.
Processing Information: The original finding aid was created in 1998 by Whitney Anne Naman, a theater student at James Madison University from 1994-1998, and assigned the collection number SP 98-0211. The finding aid was edited in June 2008 by Special Collections staff. In February 2018 the finding aid was revised, a new collection number was assigned, and the collection was updated to include record books and other materials originally held in collection SU 93-0031, Students: Memorabilia and General.

Administrative History:
The Stratford Literary Society was formed in 1914, when members of the Lanier and Lee Literary Societies at the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg joined to form an organization dedicated to the dramatic arts. At the time of founding, the organization’s primary focus was on reading theatrical works. In 1919 the Stratford Literary Society was reconstituted to form the Stratford Dramatic Club, or Sigma Delta Chi, and began to hold yearly performances at the New Virginia Theater in downtown Harrisonburg. On April 4, 1950, the group changed its name to Stratford Players.

The Stratford Players have had many faculty advisors over the years, including: James C. Johnston (1919-1921), Ruth Hudson (1921-1965), Argus Tressider (1935-1939), Leland Shubert (1939-1943), Ainslee Harris (1944-1945), Dr. Mary E. Lattimer (1946-1960), James O. Link (1960-1964), Nancy O’Hare (1964), and Horace Burr (1965-1973). In 1973, Stratford Players leadership changed from a single advisor to a team of faculty, which in the early 1970s, included Allen Lyndrup, Thomas L. King, Pam Johnson, Phil S. Grayson and Roger Hall.

Scope and Content:
The Stratford Players Records are comprised of record books, scrapbooks, correspondence, photographs, news clippings, rehearsal scripts, and copies of yearbook pages, documenting the activities of the Stratford Players (formerly known as the Stratford Literary Society and the Stratford Dramatic Club), from 1914-1983.

The following plays are mentioned in the collection. This is not an exhaustive list, and it is advised to include a two-year margin of error when looking for information on a particular play.

1932-1933 - The Blossoming of Mary Anne, The Charm School
1936-1937 - Mrs. Pim Passes By
1937-1938 - The Ninth Guest, Glee Plays the Game, The Torch Bearers, Every Woman
1938-1939- Sorority Phantom, I'll Leave it to You, The Fortune Teller
1939-1940- Ladies in Waiting, Our Town
1940-1941 - Alls Well that Ends, What a Life
1941-1942 - Ladies in Retirement, Stage Door
1942-1943 - The Princess Marries the Page, Alice Sit by the Fire
1944- Brief Music
1945- The Romantic Young Lady
1946- The Clock, Lavender and Red Peppers, Shubert Alley
1947- Fortinbras in Plain Clothes, Kind Lady
1948- Ladies of the Jury, A Half Hour, Suppressed Desires, The Plot to Overthrow Christmas, Theatre of the Soul, Thank you, Doctor
1949- Ice Bound, Taming of the Shrew
1950- Dear Brutus, Fashion
1951- Moor Born, Cheaper by the Dozen
1952- Night Must Fall, Blithe Spirit
1953- Taming of the Shrew, The Silver Whistle
1954- The Night of January 16th, I Remember Mama
1955- Suspect, Stage Door
1956- Summer House, Bernardino
1957- Outward Bound
1958- Mary Stuart, Mary of Scotland, Arsenic and Old Lace
1959- Chalk Garden
1960- Our Town, Mad Woman of Chaillot
1961- Diary of Anne Frank, Antigone, Summer and Smoke
1962- Skin of Our Teeth, Everyman, The Birds, The House of Bernarda Alba
1963- USA
1964- Measures Taken, Waiting for Godot, The Bald Soprano, The Maids
1965- The Glass Menagerie
1966- Death Takes A Holiday
1967- Rashoman, Prelude to a Tragedy, The Male Animal, Barefoot in the Park
1968- Idiots Delight
1969- Outward Bound, Three Sisters
1970- Odd Couple, The Mad Woman of Challoit, Good News, How Green was my 10%, Dark of the Moon, The Hairy Falsetto, Tonight at 8:30
1971- The Taming of the Shrew, The Rivals, Stop the World I Want to Get Off, Private Lives, Ten Nights in a Barroom
1972- Lion in Winter, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Lysistrata, You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running
1973- The Boys in the Band, Our Town, Anna Christie, Lovers and Other Strangers, Plaza Suite
1974- Cabaret, Blithe Spirit, Summer and Smoke, Rosencrantz and Guilderstern are Dead
1975- King Lear, What the Butler Saw, The Drunkard, How to Succeed in Business without really Trying, Carnival, The Pursuit of Happiness, Pots, Pans, and the Piper, Hair, Comings and Goings
1976- The Pursuit of Happiness, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, Captain Jones of the Horse Marines, The Diary of Adam and Eve, Apple Tree, Come Sweet Death, One Man's Vision of a Dream, Boccaccio, The Wonder Hat, Hot L Baltimore, Skiddaddle Tales, Guys and Dolls, Death of a Salesman, The Rainmaker, In Performance
1977- The Importance of Being Earnest, Woyzeck, Cinderella, A Delicate Balance, Twelfth Night, Endgame, Miss Reardon Drinks a Little, Menachmi, Happy Birthday Wanda Jean
1978- Heracles, The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds, La Perichole, Mouse Trap, Bus Stop, Fancies, The Runner Stumbles, The Empty Cradle, Loot, Bump in the Night, Bables, The Sanguinery Chasm, A Man for All Seasons, Scapino, La Ronde
1979- Of Mice and Men, Henry IV, Oklahoma, Down the Line, Fever
1980- Black Comedy, Man of La Mancha, The Chalk Garden, Punch Henry's Jazz Funeral, Pendragon
1982-1983- Macbeth, Marriage of Figaro, Knuckles, Bent, Shop Talk, Look Back in Anger, Out of the Reach of Children, Waiting for Godot, Taming of the Shrew, Lion in Winter, The Diviners, Comedy by Feiffer Allen, Living Fantasy, Bird Bath, Diary of Anne Frank, Hedda Gabler, Hay Fever, Wiley and the Hairy Man, Lone Star
1984-1985- Crimes of the Heart, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Country Wife, Buried Child, Under the Milkwood, Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Waiting, Trimmings, Album, Ruins, Narrow Road to the Deep North, Come Back to the five and Dime Jimmy Dean Jimmy Dean, Death of a Salesman, Porch, Abroad, Knock Knock, The Arkansas Bear, Having a Wonderful Time, Wish you were Here, Hamlet, The Boyfriend, Children of a Lesser God, Rabbits, Lion in Winter, Hedda Gabler, Diviners

The collection is arranged in two series:

Series 1: Administrative Files, 1920-1980

Series 2: Photographs, 1920-1982

Smith, August, “JMU Centennial Celebration – The Stratford Players,” James Madison University Centennial Celebration: Madison Century 1908-2008. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.jmu.edu/centennialcelebration/stratford.shtml.

Series 1: Administrative Files, 1920-1983
This series is comprised of materials that record the routine activities of the Stratford Players and document its history. The record books include meeting minutes, agenda items, dues and accounting information, membership lists, itemized budget information, cast lists and various iterations of the organization’s constitution.

The scrapbooks contain playbills, photographs, newspaper clippings and promotional material documenting performances that occurred in a given year. Scrapbook 1962-1963 contains photographs, programs, tickets, advertisements, show pictures, decorative masks, and a rehearsal schedule for the Glass Menagerie. Scrapbook 1967-1968 contains programs, show information, invitations, a map to a cast party, news clippings, photographs, letters, and information on accusations of violating campus regulations. Scrapbook 1970-1971 contains programs, articles, photographs, audition sheets, show posters, and show information. Scrapbook 1982-1983 contains labeled photographs, show information, programs, news articles, and posters.

The Bridges Scrapbook, 1932-1976, was created in 1978 by JMU student Steven R. Bridges, the chair of the Library Committee of the Stratford Players. It contains photographs, news clippings from The Breeze and the Daily News-Record, seasonal performance information, audition information, programs, posters, advertisements, and news letters from 1932-1976.

The news clippings and yearbooks files contain photocopies of articles about Stratford Players’ performances and activities.

Folder Title

Box : Folder

Record book, 1920-1932


Record book, 1932-1967


Record book, 1966-1974


Correspondence and papers, 1927-1936


Correspondence, 1960


Dinner Theater papers, 1980


Scrapbook, 1962-1963


Scrapbook, 1965-1966


Scrapbook, 1970-1971


Scrapbook, 1982-1983


Bridges Scrapbook, 1932-1963


Bridges Scrapbook, 1963-1970


Bridges Scrapbook, 1970-1973


Bridges Scrapbook, 1974-1976


Press Policy book, 1975


Rehearsal script, Pendragon Institute, 1980


Rehearsal Script, Wait Until Dark, undated


Yearbook clippings, 1914-1978


Newspaper clippings, 1935-1937


Newspaper clippings, 1960


Newspaper clippings, 1970-1976


Newspaper clippings, 1977


Newspaper clippings, 1978


Newspaper clippings, 1979-1980


Children’s Theater Newspaper clippings, 1975-1980


Dinner Theater Newspaper clippings, 1977-1980


Series 2: Photographs, 1920-1982
The photographs document Stratford Players' performance preparation and events.

Photographs, undated, before 1970s


Photographs, 1962-1963


Photographs, 1968 (5x7)


Photographs, 1968 (8x10)


Photographs, Oliver, 1969


Contact Sheets, 1969


Photographs, 1970


Photographs, 1971


Photographs, 1973


Photographs, 1974-1976


Photographs, 1976-1977


Photographs, 1977


Photographs, 1978


Photographs, 1979


Photographs, Man of La Mancha, 1980


Photographs, 1982


Photograph, Death of a Salesman, 1976