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Erwin Piscator papers

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Adminstrative Information

Detailed Description

Correspondence

Manuscripts by Erwin Piscator

Manuscripts by Maria Piscator

Play and production manuscripts

Financial Records

Educational Records

Publicity Records

Miscellaneous Records

Photographic Records

Printed Ephemera and Miscellaneous Publications

Packages

Diaries

Junior Dramatic Workshop


Erwin Piscator papers, 1930-1971 | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

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Collection Overview

Title: Erwin Piscator papers, 1930-1971Add to your cart.

ID: 1/3/MSS 031

Primary Creator: Piscator, Erwin (1893-1966)

Extent: 203.0 Boxes. More info below.

Arrangement: Arranged in 11 series including:  1) Correspondence, 2) Manuscripts by Erwin Piscator, 3) Manuscripts by Maria Piscator, 4) Plays and production manuscripts, 5) Financial records, 6) Educational records, 7) Publicity records, 8) Miscellaneous records, 9) Photographic records, 10) Printed ephemera and miscellaneous publications, and 11) Packages.

Subjects: Ley-Piscator, Maria, 1905-, Piscator, Erwin, 1893-1966., Theater - France - 20th century, Theater - Germany - 20th century

Forms of Material: Corporation records., Correspondence., Diaries., Ley-Piscator, Maria, 1905- - Correspondence, Piscator, Erwin, 1893-1966. - Correspondence, Piscator, Erwin, 1893-1966. - Diaries, Theater programs, Writings.

Languages: English, French, German

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Erwin Piscator papers document Piscator's work during the periods 1936-1951 when he was in France and the United States and 1962-1966 when he was in Germany. The collection contains a large amount of correspondence to and from Erwin Piscator; manuscripts by Erwin and Maria Piscator, as well as various other authors; play and production manuscripts; records of various kinds (financial, educational, publicity, miscellaneous, photographic); and a guide, Classification and Arrangement of Papers, for further details (Microfilm 61).

The manuscript collection includes Erwin Piscator's papers, influenced by and concerning to a great extent the problems and main figures of the international theatre. The collection also includes manuscripts of various authors (1920-1970) which concern theatre matters.

The collection also contains financial records, a large number of educational records from 1940-1961, publicity records (1930-1970), and large number of photographic records as well as printed ephemera and Picastor's diaries  which begin in August 1912 and end approximately in 1917.  The beginning marks the time when Piscator left school (Gymnasium), at which time he was confronted with the question of the choice of a profession.  The diaries end with the time when Piscator served as a soldier in the trenches of Flanders.

There are about 280 loose pages of poems and prose.  These pages had been bound in different copy books but were ripped out later apparently by Piscator himself when he wrote the fair copies.  There are many poems on loose pages which reappear later in one of the diaries.

Biographical Note

Erwin Friedrich Maximilian Piscator (17 December 1893 in Greifenstein-Ulm - 30 March 1966) was a German theatrical director and producer who, with Bertolt Brecht, was the foremost exponent of epic theater, a genre that emphasizes the socio-political context rather than the emotional content or aesthetics of the play.

Piscator worked experimentally in Berlin as a stage director and later as managing director at his own theater (on Nollendorfplatz), he produced social and political plays especially suited to his theories. In 1931 Piscator went to Moscow to make a motion picture for Mezhrabpom, the Soviet film company associated with the International Workers' Relief Organization, but with Hitler's rise to power in 1933, Piscator's stay in the Soviet Union became political asylum. He left the Soviet Union three years later, with the firm belief that he never wanted to work under a communist dictatorship again. In 1937 he married dancer Marie Ley in Paris. Piscator and Ley subsequently emigrated to the United States in 1939. In New York City Piscator became director of the Dramatic Workshop which he founded at the New School for Social Research in 1940. Among Piscator's students at the Dramatic Workshop were Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Judith Malina, Walter Matthau, Harry Belafonte, Elaine Stritch and Tennessee Williams. Piscator had to return to West Germany during the McCarthy era in 1951. He was appointed manager and director of the Freie Volksbühne in West-Berlin in 1962. To much international critical acclaim, Piscator premiered the controversial play The Deputy by Rolf Hochhuth "about Pope Pius XII and the allegedly neglected rescue of Italian Jews from Nazi gas chambers" in 1963. Until his death in 1966, Piscator became a major exponent of contemporary and Documentary theatre. Piscator's wife, Maria Ley, died in New York city in 1999.

Subject/Index Terms

Ley-Piscator, Maria, 1905-
Piscator, Erwin, 1893-1966.
Theater - France - 20th century
Theater - Germany - 20th century

Administrative Information

Repository: Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Alternate Extent Statement: 97.5 linear feet; 11 packages

Access Restrictions: Unrestricted access.

Use Restrictions: To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the World Wide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult Special Collections Research Center to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.

Acquisition Source: Gift

Related Materials: Microfilm 61 (Map Room) includes a name index for the Piscator correspondence.

Preferred Citation: [Item], Erwin Piscator Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Other Note: MSS 092 and MSS 094, Erwin Piscator diaries were added to original collection in 2009


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence],
[Series 2: Manuscripts by Erwin Piscator, 1936 - 1966],
[Series 3: Manuscripts by Maria Piscator, 1927 - 1970],
[Series 4: Play and production manuscripts],
[Series 5: Financial Records, 1934 - 1963],
[Series 6: Educational Records, 1940 - 1964],
[Series 7: Publicity Records, 1930 - 1970],
[Series 8: Miscellaneous Records, 1938 - 1968],
[Series 9: Photographic Records],
[Series 10: Printed Ephemera and Miscellaneous Publications],
[Series 11: Packages],
[Series 12: Diaries],
[Series 13: Junior Dramatic Workshop],
[All]

Series 12: DiariesAdd to your cart.
Box 198Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Diary, 1912 August - SeptemberAdd to your cart.

Diary, Aug. -  Sept. 1912

 

Poems:  "Whore," "Christmas,"  "Longing,"  "Afterwards,"  "Broken," and also prose.  143 pp.

Folder 2: Diary, 1912 September - 1913 MayAdd to your cart.

Diary, Sept. 1912  - May 1913

Poems:  "Honour,"  "War,"  "Memory".  Prose:  "Rift,"  "Winter,"  "Age,"  "Once More".  ca. 175 pp.

Folder 3: Diary, 1912 December 27 - 1914 November 12Add to your cart.
Diary, Dec. 27, 1912 - Nov. 12, 1914 "Tagebuch und Erinnerungen" (Diary and Remembrances).  Poems as well as prose.  This diary is of high value since it recalls Piscator's decision to become an actor.  It describes in details what kind of circumstances made Piscator decide to become an actor.  ca. 90 pp.
Folder 4: Diary, 1913 May - 1914 FebruaryAdd to your cart.

Diary, May 1913 - Feb. 1914

Prose:  "Flight,"  "Artist's Love,"  "The Child,"  "Solitude,"  plus many shorter poems. ca. 175 pp.

Folder 5: Diary, 1914 JanuaryAdd to your cart.

Diary, Jan. 1914

This diary is smaller than the first five.  It is mainly written in prose.  ca. 130 pp.

Folder 6: Diary, 1914 FebruaryAdd to your cart.

Diary, Feb. 1914

Mainly prose, 11 pages; afterwords the dates of writing jump.  Once it says "Ypern 20. April 1916,"  then 2 pages of poems; then 4 pages of prose, titled "Girl at the Front;" 14 pages on aesthetics in art and on the question "What is the purpose of Art?"  ca. 30 pp.

Folder 7: Diary, 1914 FebruaryAdd to your cart.

Diary, Feb. 1914

This diary lists only poems on about 60 pages; there are another 8 handwritten pages, corrections written in July, 1916.  ca. 70 pp.

Box 199Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Notes taken at lectures on "German Literature of the 19th Century. From Heine to the Present."Add to your cart.
Notes taken at lectures on "German Literature of the 19th Century. From Heine to the Present."  These lectures were given by Professor Kutscher, Piscator's professor at the University of Munich, 1913.  There are also about 25 pages of poems and about 40 pages of prose on "Soul and War" in this copybook.
Folder 2: Diaries, 1917 JuneAdd to your cart.
Dated June 1917, pages match with diary dated Aug. - Sept. 1912 (1/1)
Folder 3: Diaries, 1913Add to your cart.
Written approximately 1913 (possibly June 1917), very small in size.  ca. 25 pp.
Folder 4: Notes taken at lecture on "History of Theater"Add to your cart.
Notes taken at lecture on "History of Theater"
Folder 5: Loose page -- poems and proseAdd to your cart.
Loose pages--poems and prose.  ca. 280 pp.
Folder 6: Notes on "War."Add to your cart.
[5/235] Notes on "War."  Thoughts, impressions during Piscator's military service.  It is justified to assume that these notes were written in the trenches of Flanders.  Very small in size.  ca. 35 pp.
Item 1: War Notes, 1939Add to your cart.
Copy album, 11 x 13, in Piscator's hand, 9 pp. Six pages of prose dated Christmas 1939 and three pages of poetry dated 1914 and 1915. Accompanied by a telegram dated March 31, 1966, from Clara Mayer, New York City, to Maria Piscator, Berlin, describing the contents. Formerly Misc. Volume 144.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence],
[Series 2: Manuscripts by Erwin Piscator, 1936 - 1966],
[Series 3: Manuscripts by Maria Piscator, 1927 - 1970],
[Series 4: Play and production manuscripts],
[Series 5: Financial Records, 1934 - 1963],
[Series 6: Educational Records, 1940 - 1964],
[Series 7: Publicity Records, 1930 - 1970],
[Series 8: Miscellaneous Records, 1938 - 1968],
[Series 9: Photographic Records],
[Series 10: Printed Ephemera and Miscellaneous Publications],
[Series 11: Packages],
[Series 12: Diaries],
[Series 13: Junior Dramatic Workshop],
[All]

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