This guide will help you navigate University Archives' more than 300 unique collections, most of which document the history of Washington University from 1853 to today. Other collections are related to 20th century St. Louis history.
Special Collections is open to students, staff, faculty, and alumni of Washington University, as well as community members and outside researchers. Open Monday through Friday, and closed on University Holidays. (Occasionally areas are closed for special events, please check with specific units for details).
Mary Wickes (1910-1995) received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1930. Wickes was an actress who had a long career on stage, in film, and on television in performances including Oklahoma!, Sister Act, and The Father Dowling Mysteries. The collection documents her career, her personal life, and her time at Washington University. Also available online is the transcript to her Assembly Series Lecture from April 22, 1988.
Vincent Piacentini (1922-1986), a graduate of the Washington University School of Fine Arts (1945), was a highly sought-after set designer, technical director, and consultant for numerous theatrical projects throughout the world. The collection includes correspondence, photographs, programs, drawings for theater projects, and renderings of stage sets in and outside St. Louis.
Arthur Proetz (1888-1966) was a graduate of Washington University (1910) and the Washington University Medical School (1912). From 1919-1954 he served as Clinical Professor of Otolayrngology at the Washington University School of Medicine. His collection includes:
*Washington University Memorabilia (Series 2, Box 1) WUSTL Dramatics Club production program for “Miss Civilization” and material from various Quadrangle Club productions
* St. Louis Memorabilia (Series 4, Box 1) including American Theater of St. Louis programs from 1939 and unknown dates and Odeon theater program unknown date
*Personal Correspondence (Series 6, Box 1) that includes theater programs of various productions in European and American theaters
In 1976, Morris Carnovsky, a prominent Shakespearean actor and Washington University alum, returned to the Edison Theater to perform the lead in “King Lear”. This collection contains material from that production, including a news release, a program, and a scrapbook containing pictures of Morris Carnovsky as King Lear.
William G. B. Carson graduated from Washington University in 1916 and later taught English and drama. He was active in staging theatrical productions at Washington University and within the St. Louis community at large. This collection is comprised of musical scores with annotations by Carson, a brief history of Thyrsus and English 16, and a photocopy of a scrapbook compiled by Carson.
This online exhibit is the story of student performing arts at Washington University told through programs, music scores, photographs, sound recordings, video, and artifacts from the University's historical record. Covering 1900 - 1997.
Thyrsus is the theater club at Washington University. This collection is comprised of texts of plays, programs, announcements, photographs, reviews, and general office correspondence from 1895-1966.
It also includes students’ plays written for English 16 classes between 1923 and 1961.
Quadrangle Club was formed in 1910, to produce original musical comedy works by Washington University students. The collection includes photographs, programs, and other material from productions dating 1910-1963.
This significant collection of non-film promotional material documents how blacks were portrayed in films from 1915 to 1980. The collection contains ca. 2,700 promotional items including photographic stills, programs, trade advertisements, advertising materials, advertising supplements, lobby cards, pressbooks, and posters, representing approximately 400 films, ranging in date from 1915 to the 1980s. While most of the material is of American origin, there are a small number of programs printed in Denmark and the United Kingdom that cover rare titles. Likewise, there are rare fliers, lobby cards, photographic stills, posters, and pressbooks printed in Australia, France, Germany, Latin America, Poland, Romania, and the United Kingdom.