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Frederic C. McConnell papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: Ax 513

Scope and Contents

The collection contains correspondence, diaries, manuscripts, Cleveland Play House and Laguna Play House records, Katherine Wick Kelly papers, stage material and productions, and a 1973 Addenda.

The correspondence is separated into incoming and outgoing letters. Incoming letters are organized alphabetically by name or title, and outgoing letters are organized by date (1913-1967), with a separate section of outgoing letters to Katherine Wick Kelly (1922-1937). Also included are letters written and received by McConnell while an enlisted man in Co. M, 109th Infantry, A.E.F., 1918-1919, and diaries, mementos and POW documents.

Most of the correspondence relates to the Cleveland Play House. Major correspondents are: Actors Equity Association, Ruth Fischer, Samuel J. Hume, Leonore Klewer, K. Elmo Lowe, William Paterson, Anan Raymond. There are 2 letters from Vachel Lindsay to Samuel J. Hume (1920), and single letters from Sean O'Casey (1959) and Eugene O'Neill (1920). One folder of correspondence deals with the business of the National Theater Conference.

The Cleveland Play House records include minutes, correspondence and historical notes. The Laguna Play house records include plans and documents.

Manuscripts include speeches, articles, and correspondence regarding published works.

The Katherine Wick Kelly papers include diaries (1906-1907, 1913, 1917, and 1926); letters to McConnell, 1923-1926, 1936-1937; letters from Peter Munro Jack, 1930-1934; correspondence with Max Beerbohm, Ruth Gordon, Theresa Helburn, and others, concerning dramatization of Zuleika Dobdon, 1931-1932; and manuscripts of plays.

Stage material includes manuscripts about the Cleveland Play House's open stage with revisions, manuscripts on the Thrust Stage, and material on Laguna Playhouse.

The 1973 addendum contains productions of the Cleveland Playhouse produced and directed by McConnell organized alphabetically by title of work, and publicity for Cleveland Playhouse.


  • 1912-1968


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Frederic C. McConnell (1890-1968) was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and educated at the University of Nebraska and the Drama School of Carnegie Institute of Technology. He worked under Samuel J. Hume at the Arts and Crafts Theater in Detroit, and at the Greek Theater, University of California, Berkeley.

From 1921 to 1958 he was director, and from 1958 to 1962 consultant and stage director of the Cleveland Play House. He was also a founder and director of the Chautauqua Repertory Theater, and a charter member and officer of the National Theater Conference.

He married Katherine Wick Kelly in 1926. Kelly was born in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania, 1887, and educated at Radcliffe. She was a member of the Cleveland Play House, and died in 1937.


5 linear feet (4 containers) : 3 record storage boxes, 1 legal manuscript box

Language of Materials



Frederic C. McConnell (1890-1968) worked as stage director of the Cleveland Play House, was founder and director of the Chautauqua Repertory Theater, and a charter member and officer of the National Theater Conference. The collection (1912-1968) contains correspondence, diaries, manuscripts, Cleveland Play House and Laguna Play House records, Katherine Wick Kelly papers, and stage material and productions.


Collection is organized into the following series: Letters Received, Letters Sent, WWI Letters and documents, Manuscripts, Cleveland Play House Records, Laguna Play House recrods, Katherine Wick Kelly Papers, Manuscripts on the Open State, Manuscripts on the Thrust Stage, Laguna Playhouse, and a 1973 Addenda.

Materials within this collection are arranged first by initial accession(s) that were processed together as a whole and then by subsequent accession(s). This organization reflects the fact that the collection had been processed at one point in time and then more materials were acquired in increments over time. This organization is also based on the decision not to merge the various accessions and organize them into a whole at this point in time, given the fact that future accruals are anticipated and/or that this organization is deemed sufficient for access.

Researchers should note that materials within a series or accession may overlap and/or relate to materials found in other accessions or initially processed materials. For example, correspondence may be found in all or only some groupings. In order to locate all relevant material within this collection, researchers may need to consult each accession.

Researchers should also note that similar materials can be arranged differently in each accession, depending on how the material is organized upon receipt or during initial processing. For instance, correspondence is one accession may be arranged alphabetically, while correspondence in another accession is arranged chronologically.

Other Finding Aids

Paper finding aid with additional information is available in Special Collections & University Archives.

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff, 1969; and Tanya Parlet, 2011.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

This collection may have received a basic level of processing including some organization and rehousing. The initial accession(s) were processed and arranged as a whole and are reflected in the series arrangement. Subsequent accession(s) for the collection have not been merged or organized as a whole. Each subsequent accession is described separately.

Description information is drawn in part from information supplied with the collection and initial surveys of the contents.

Guide to the Frederic C. McConnell Papers
Complete Description
University of Oregon Libraries, Archivists' Toolkit Project Team and Tanya Parlet.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA