Stratford Players Records, 1920-1983 *JMU Records*

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Summary Information

Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University
Stratford Players
Stratford Players Records
Collection No.:
UA 0029
5 boxes, 1.82 Cubic Feet
Language of the Material:
The Stratford Players Records is comprised of record books, scrapbooks, correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, rehearsal scripts, programs and playbills, 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.

Preferred Citation

[identification of item], [box #, folder #], Stratford Players Records, 1920-1983, UA 0029, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

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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 – and theater in general – was initially an extracurricular activity, supervised by faculty in the English department. However, when the Department of Speech and Drama was established in 1966, the Stratford Players came under the direction of theater faculty. In 1986, the Department of Theatre and Dance was formed in the College of Fine Arts, where the Stratford Players is now housed. Though the Stratford Players is not independent from the Department of Theatre and Dance, its membership is open to majors and non-majors alike, and members have a voice in play selection and budget decisions.

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.

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Scope and Content

The Stratford Players Records is comprised of record books, scrapbooks, correspondence, photographs, newspaper 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. 1930 - BAB1931 - When Grandma Pulls the Strings, Modesty, 1932-1933 - The Blossoming of Mary Anne, The Charm School1936 - The Late Christopher Bean, Mrs. Pim Passes By1937-1938 - Danse Macabre, The Maker of Dreams, Lady Luck, The Silver Cord1938 - The Stolen Prince, My Lady Dreams, Rehearsal, The Torch Bearers, Every Woman1937-1938 - The Ninth Guest, Glee Plays the Game1939 - Sorority Phantom, I'll Leave it to You, The Fortune Teller1939-1940 - Ladies in Waiting, Our Town1940-1941 - Alls Well that Ends, What a Life, Love in the Curriculum1941-1942 - Ladies in Retirement, Stage Door, Madison Follies of 19421942-1943 - The Princess Marries the Page, Alice Sit by the Fire1944 - Brief Music1945 - The Romantic Young Lady1946 - The Clock, Lavender and Red Peppers, Shubert Alley1947 - Fortinbras in Plain Clothes, Kind Lady1948 - Ladies of the Jury, A Half Hour, Suppressed Desires, The Plot to Overthrow Christmas, Theatre of the Soul, Thank you, Doctor1949 - Ice Bound, Taming of the Shrew1950 - Dear Brutus, Fashion1951 - Moor Born, Cheaper by the Dozen1952 - Night Must Fall, Blithe Spirit1953 - Taming of the Shrew, The Silver Whistle1954 - The Night of January 16th, I Remember Mama1955 - Suspect, Stage Door1956 - Summer House, Bernardino, Outward Bound1958 - Mary Stuart, Mary of Scotland, Arsenic and Old Lace, Theatre of the Soul, Chalk Garden1960 - Our Town, Mad Woman of Chaillot1961 - Diary of Anne Frank, Antigone, Summer and Smoke1962 - Skin of Our Teeth, Everyman, The Birds, The House of Bernarda Alba, 1963 - USA1964 - The Glass Menagerie, Measures Taken, Waiting for Godot, The Bald Soprano, The Maids1965 - Death Takes a Holiday1966 - Ways and Means1967 - Rashoman, Prelude to a Tragedy, The Male Animal, Barefoot in the Park, All's Well That Ends Well, Idiot's Delight1969 - Outward Bound, Three Sisters1970 - Odd Couple, The Mad Woman of Challoit, Good News, How Green was my 10%, Dark of the Moon, The Hairy Falsetto, Tonight at 8:301971 - The Taming of the Shrew, The Rivals, Stop the World I Want to Get Off, Private Lives, Ten Nights in a Barroom1972 - Lion in Winter, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Lysistrata, You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running1973 - The Boys in the Band, Our Town, Anna Christie, Lovers and Other Strangers, Plaza Suite1974 - Cabaret, Blithe Spirit, Summer and Smoke, Rosencrantz and Guilderstern are Dead1975 - 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 Goings1976 - 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 Performance1977 - 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 Ronde1979 - Of Mice and Men, Henry IV, Oklahoma, Down the Line, Fever1980 - Black Comedy, Man of La Mancha, The Chalk Garden, Punch Henry's Jazz Funeral, Pendragon1982-1983 - 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

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The collection is arranged in two series:

Series 1: Administrative Files, 1920-1980

Series 2: Photographs, 1920-1982

Series are arranged chronologically.

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Administrative Information

Revision Description

Whitney Anne NamanSarah Roth-MulletSarah Roth-Mullet 1998February, 2018May, 2018

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 (

Acquisition Information

The collection was placed on deposit by contract signed by Jane Rupp, then-president of the Stratford Players, on September 25, 1997. The program and playbill file weas added from a vertical file in May 2018.

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."


Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

880 Madison DriveMSC 1704Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807library-special@jmu.eduURL:

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Index Terms

Genre and Form

  • Membership lists
  • Minutes (administrative records)
  • Scrapbooks
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Photographs
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Scripts (documents)
  • Playbills
  • Account books


  • State Normal and Industrial School for Women (Harrisonburg, Va.) -- History
  • State Teachers College at Harrisonburg (Harrisonburg, Va.) -- History
  • Madison College -- Students -- History
  • James Madison University -- History
  • College and school drama, American
  • Performing arts
  • Theater
  • Harrisonburg (Va.) -- History

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Smith, August, "JMU Centennial Celebration – The Stratford Players," James Madison University Centennial Celebration: Madison Century 1908-2008. Accessed February 5, 2018.

Theater and Dance APR Self-Study, October 1996," Box 8, Academic Affairs: Academic Program Reviews, 1976 - present (bulk 1992 - present), UA 0002, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

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Collection Inventory

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.

Title/Description Instances
Record book, 1920-1932 box 1 folder 1
Record book, 1932-1967 box 1 folder 2
Record book, 1966-1974 box 1 folder 3
Correspondence and papers, 1927-1936 box 1 folder 4
Correspondence, 1960 box 1 folder 5
Theater programs and playbills, 1931-1979 box 1 folder 6
Dinner Theater papers, 1980 box 1 folder 7
Scrapbook, 1962-1963 box 2 folder 1
Scrapbook, 1963-1970 box 2 folder 2
Scrapbook, 1970-1973 box 2 folder 3
Scrapbook, 1974-1976 box 2 folder 4
Bridges Scrapbook, 1932-1963 box 3 folder 1
Bridges Scrapbook, 1963-1970 box 3 folder 2
Bridges Scrapbook, 1970-1973 box 3 folder 3
Bridges Scrapbook, 1974-1976 box 3 folder 4
Policy Book, 1975 box 3 folder 5
Rehearsal Script, Pendragon Institute, 1980 box 3 folder 6
Rehearsal Script, Wait Until Dark box 3 folder 7
Yearbook clippings, 1914-1978 box 4 folder 1
Newspaper clippings, 1935-1937 box 4 folder 2
Newspaper clippings, 1960 box 4 folder 3
Newspaper clippings, 1970-1976 box 4 folder 4
Newspaper clippings, 1977 box 4 folder 5
Newspaper clippings, 1978 box 4 folder 6
Newspaper clippings, 1979-1980 box 4 folder 7
Children's Theater newspaper clippings, 1975-1980 box 4 folder 8
Dinner Theater newspaper clippings, 1977-1980 box 4 folder 9

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Photographs, 1920-1983

The photographs document Stratford Players' performance preparation and events.

Title/Description Instances
Photographs, undated box 1 folder 1
Photographs, 1962-1963 box 1 folder 2
Photographs (5x7), 1968 box 5 folder 3
Photographs (8x10), 1968 box 5 folder 4
Photographs, Oliver, 1969 box 5 folder 5
Contact Sheets, 1969 box 5 folder 6
Photographs, 1970 box 5 folder 7
Photographs, 1971 box 5 folder 8
Photographs, 1973 box 5 folder 9
Photographs, 1974-1976 box 5 folder 10
Photographs, 1976-1977 box 5 folder 11
Photographs, 1977 box 5 folder 12
Photographs, 1978 box 5 folder 13
Photographs, 1979 box 5 folder 14
Photographs, Man of La Mancha, 1980 box 5 folder 15
Photographs, 1982 box 5 folder 16
Phtoographs Death of a Salesman, 1976 box 2 folder 5

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