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Mordecai Gorelik papers

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Adminstrative Information

Detailed Description

Correspondence

Published Work

Play and Production Materials

Personal Papers

Ephemera

Oversized Material


Mordecai Gorelik papers, 1899-1990 | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

By Beth Martell

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Collection Overview

Title: Mordecai Gorelik papers, 1899-1990Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

ID: 1/3/MSS 147

Primary Creator: Gorelik, Mordecai (1899-1990)

Extent: 30.0 Boxes

Arrangement: Organized in seven series : (1) Correspondence, (2) Printed material by Gorelik and about Gorelik, (3) Play and production materials, (4) Personal papers, (5) Ephemera, (6) Memorabilia and oversized material.

Date Acquired: 00/00/1967. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Gassner, John, 1903-1967, Geiger, Rodney E., Gorelik, Mordecai, 1899-1990, Kazan, Elia, Rapp, Franz, 1885-, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Department of Theater - Photographs, Theaters - Stage - Setting and scenery, Wise, Herbert A.

Forms of Material: Theater programs

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Mordecai Gorelik papers consist largely of set designs, photographs of designs, correspondence, and production materials.  Among these are notes and rough drafts for several set designs.  Correspondents include: Herbert A. Wise, Franz Rapp, John Gassner, Elia Kazan, and Rod Geiger.

Biographical Note

Born August 25, 1899, in Shchedrin near Minsk, Russia, Mordecai (Max) Gorelik immigrated with his family to the United States in 1905 to escape the pogroms that killed most of his family.  After graduating from the Pratt Institute of Fine Arts in Brooklyn in 1920, he worked for a time with Robert Edmond Jones, the pioneer American set designer who became his mentor.

Gorelik rendered in a wide variety of media and styles working with the most famous designers of the 1920's and 1930's --Robert Edmond Jones, Lee Strasberg, Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller, Norman Bel Geddes, Cleon Throckmorton, Lee Simonson, Joseph "Jo" Mielziner, Oliver Messel, Aleksandr Golovin, Henri Matisse, Andre Derain-- and designing for the most prestigious companies --the Provincetown Players, the Theatre Guild on Broadway, the Group Theatre in New York City, and the Actors Laboratory Theater in Hollywood.  In keeping with his love of experimental theatre, he was involved with the most avant-garde companies of the day --the New Playwrights, the Theatre Collective, the Theatre of Action, the Theatre Union.

His first encounter with Bertolt Brecht in 1935 deeply influenced both his theories and designs. He became an advocate for the Epic Theater style developed by Brecht and director Erwin Piscator, and he pioneered the deliberate employment of metaphor in design. A decade later, he served as a designer and director for the Biarritz American University in France where he began teaching a seminar known as "The Scenic Imagination."  It won national recognition as an original, inspiring, and incisive approach to the purely creative side of stage production in script, direction, acting, and design.  This study was in unique contrast to the vocational method known as stagecraft, taught everywhere else.  Four years later he also acted as an Expert Consultant in Theater for the American Military Government in Germany.  His command of French and German languages enabled him to network with amateur and professional theatres around the globe.

Gorelik's career spanned three quarters of the twentieth century.  As a leading American expert on the modern stage form, his reputation was based in part on his record as a stage and film designer and in part on the years of research he carried out, abroad, under the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1936-37) and a Rockefeller Foundation Grant (1949-51).  These awards allowed him to study the health of the theatre throughout nine Western European countries.  A Fulbright Grant (1967) he received enabled him to do the same for Australian theatre.  He traveled to Japan, India, and Israel as well.  Across cultures, Gorelik found the theatre was not merely an institution for self expression; it was a tool for shaping history, especially where there was upheaval.  Through the Arts, audiences were allowed to explore issues, become more liberal, and make social and political changes.  That's why he often said in his articles and lectures that the future of theatre in America lay in its universities --where the central concern of this remarkable form of communication was its responsibility to its audience.

Gorelik's first book, New Theatres for Old (1940), became a classic textbook used in scores of American universities.  His articles were published by numerous sources including  Encyclopedia Britannica, Collier's Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Americana, Drama Survey, and Theatre Arts Magazine.  As a noted critic and scholar, his essays appeared in The New York Times, New York Herald Tribune, The Arts, Educational Theatre Journal, Speech Association Quarterly, Tulane Drama Review, Contact Magazine, Davidlo (Prague), Tester-forbundets Medlemsblad (Stockholm), Teatr Y Dramaturgia (Moscow), Buhnentechenische Rundschau (Berlin), Theatre Newsletter (London), and Hollywood Quarterly.

On Broadway Gorelik designed forty sets.  His career began with John Howard Lawson's vaudevillian critique of Americana, Processional, and ended in 1960 with A Distant Bell.  His more notable scene designs include such plays as King Hunger, Processional, Mother, Golden Boy, Tortilla Flat, Volpone, Desire Under The Elms, and The Plough and the Stars. His film designs include L'Ennemi Publique No.1 and None But the Lonely Heart.

Gorelik was previously an instructor-designer for the School of Theatre, New York City (1921-22), and was on the faculty of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (1926-32), the Drama Workshop of the New School for Social Research (1940-41), Biarritz (Fr.) American University (1943-46), University of Toledo (1956), University of Miami (1956), New York University (1956), Bard College (1959), and Brigham Young University (1961), San Jose State College (1965), California State University (Los Angeles 1964, 1966), University of Massachusetts (Boston), Pratt Institute, Long Island University (Brooklyn), and University of Hawaii.  From 1960 to 1972 he taught classes and staged plays at Southern Illinois University (Carbondale) as a Research Professor in Theater. As an Emeritus Professor on theater research, his work was anthologized in Best Short Plays of the World Theater' (1976). Upon his retirement he continued to teach, design, direct, and focused primarily on his playwriting.

He received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Southern Illinois University (1972).  Some of the awards he won include Theta Alpha Phi Medallion on Honor (1971); Adjudicator, American College Theatre Festival, Region VIII (1980); U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology Award (1981),  Fellowship, Award, American Theatre Association (1982).  He sponsored the ACTF Mordecai Gorelik Award in Scenic Design (1981) and the Southern Illinois University Mordecai Gorelik Scholarship in Scenic Design (1983).

He died of cancer on March 7, 1990, in Sarasota, Florida.  According to Anne Fletcher in Rediscovering Mordecai Gorelik: Scene Design and the American Theatre, "When the field was in its infancy, he influenced stage design, helped define the designer's role in the production process, and challenged the American stage in theory and practice."

Subject/Index Terms

Gassner, John, 1903-1967
Geiger, Rodney E.
Gorelik, Mordecai, 1899-1990
Kazan, Elia
Rapp, Franz, 1885-
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Department of Theater - Photographs
Theaters - Stage - Setting and scenery
Wise, Herbert A.

Administrative Information

Repository: Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Accruals: Accumulated additions incorporated into the collection in early 2015.

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 Method: Donation.

Preferred Citation: [Item], Mordecai Gorelik papers, Special Collections Research Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Finding Aid Revision History: Additions added in 2015.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, 1920-1990],
[Series 2: Published Work],
[Series 3: Play and Production Materials],
[Series 4: Personal Papers],
[Series 5: Ephemera],
[Series 6: Oversized Material],
[All]

Series 4: Personal PapersAdd to your cart.
Gorelik made contacts worldwide. Biographical information, diaries, notebooks, and address books are the highlights.  Carbondale, Europe, and New York folders contain several address books each.  Affiliations with unions, locals, and professional groups are documented.
Sub-Series 1: Gorelik's Diaries and NotebooksAdd to your cart.
Box 43Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Prat Institute, 1920Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Diary including army, 1920-1921Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Diary, 1921Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Diary, 1922Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Diary including Germany, 1922Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Diary, 1922-1924Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Diary, 1923Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Diary, 1925Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Diary, 1926Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Diary, 1927-1928Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Diary, 1929Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Diary, 1930Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Diary, 1931-1932Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Dictations, 1932Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Diary, 1940sAdd to your cart.
Folder 16: Diary, 1950sAdd to your cart.
Folder 17: Diary, 1950-1974Add to your cart.
Item 18: Personal Letters, Notebooks from Biarritz, 1945-1946Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Notebooks from Australia and New York City Address Book, 1967Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Notebooks and Address BooksAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 2: Address Books and Family RecordsAdd to your cart.
Box 41Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Bertha Gorelik's Will, 1961Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Frances Gorelik's Guest Book, New York CityAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Frances Gorelik's Natural Foods Address BookAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Address Book, 1946-1947Add to your cart.
one book
Folder 5: Australia, Address Book, 1967Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Boston, Address Book, 1971Add to your cart.
Folder 7: California, Address Book, 1965Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Carbondale, Address Books, 1967Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Denver, Address BookAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Europe, Address Books, 1949-1950Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Los Angeles, California, 1946Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Mexico and Texas, Address BookAdd to your cart.
one book
Folder 13: New Orleans and Washington D.C., Address BookAdd to your cart.
one book
Folder 14: New York and Hawaii Address Books, 1955, 1958-1959Add to your cart.
four books
Folder 15: Puerto Rico, Address BookAdd to your cart.
one book
Folder 16: Friends' AddressesAdd to your cart.
papers
Folder 17: MailAdd to your cart.
Folder 18: MailAdd to your cart.
Folder 19: Typewriter RepairAdd to your cart.
Folder 20: Books Wish ListAdd to your cart.
Folder 21: Books Wish ListAdd to your cart.
Folder 22: Books Wish ListAdd to your cart.
Volume 23: Frances Gorelik's Diary, 1960Add to your cart.
Volume 24: Frances Gorelik's Diary, 1961Add to your cart.
Volume 25: Frances Gorelik's Diary, 1962Add to your cart.
Volume 26: Frances Gorelik's Diary, 1964Add to your cart.
Item 27: Frances Gorelik's Diary, 1964-1965Add to your cart.
Item 28: Frances Gorelik's Diary, 1965Add to your cart.
Volume 29: Frances Gorelik's Diary, 1966Add to your cart.
Box 42Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Travel to LondonAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Travel to ArubaAdd to your cart.
Folder 2A: Travel to AustraliaAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: PassportAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: European Research, 1949-1951Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Literary AgreementsAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Fire Island PhotosAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Fire Island PhotosAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: Fire Island MemosAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Fire Island MemosAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Fire Island House CostsAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Fire Island LeasesAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: Fire Island Association NewsletterAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Fire Island Crime InsuranceAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: Fire Island InsuranceAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: Fire Island InventoriesAdd to your cart.
Folder 16: Fire Island Receipts, 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Fire Island Sale of HouseAdd to your cart.
Folder 18: Fire Island Flood InsuranceAdd to your cart.
Folder 19: Practical NotesAdd to your cart.
Folder 20: Book ContractsAdd to your cart.
Folder 21: ContributionsAdd to your cart.
Folder 22: GardenAdd to your cart.
Folder 23: Huntington BeachAdd to your cart.
Folder 24: Islip, New YorkAdd to your cart.
Folder 25: Gorelik's LibraryAdd to your cart.
List of Books
Sub-Series 3: Biographical Information, 1921-1980Add to your cart.
Box 40Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Gorelik Data and ChronologyAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Biographical InformationAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Biography and Who's WhoAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Tag Line Magazine Interview, 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Biography NotesAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: San Jose State College, 1965Add to your cart.
Folder 7: California State College, 1965Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Southern Illinois University Salary, 1959-1970Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Ira Aldridge Society, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 10: International Theatre InstituteAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: National Theatre Conference, 1971Add to your cart.
Folder 12: National Outdoor Drama Conference, 1972Add to your cart.
Folder 13: United States Institute for Theatre TechnologyAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: Stage UnionsAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: Stage UnionsAdd to your cart.
Folder 16: Local 829Add to your cart.
Folder 17: MOMA Theatre Art Exhibition, 1934Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Habimah Theatre, 1939Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Biarritz American University, 1945Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Theatre Annual, 1946Add to your cart.
Folder 21: American Express Flight InsuranceAdd to your cart.
Folder 22: Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers, 1926-1928Add to your cart.
Folder 23: Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers, 1929-1933Add to your cart.
Folder 24: Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers, 1934-1938Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers, 1944-1948Add to your cart.
Folder 26: Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers, 1949-1953Add to your cart.
Folder 27: Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers, 1954-1958Add to your cart.
Folder 28: Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers, 1959-1963Add to your cart.
Folder 29: Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers, 1964-1968Add to your cart.
Folder 30: Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers, 1969Add to your cart.
Folder 31: Copyrights, CertificatesAdd to your cart.
Folder 32: Copyright Forms and InformationAdd to your cart.
Folder 33: Seaview Association, 1983-1987Add to your cart.
Folder 34: Seaview AssociationAdd to your cart.
Folder 35: SubscriptionsAdd to your cart.
Box 47Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Biographical InformationAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Interview with Robert Hethmon, 1962 SpringAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Gorelik Biographical Notes, 1983Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Writing SamplesAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Reviews, 1968-1980Add to your cart.
Folder 6: ProgramsAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Careers, 1960-1963Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Epcot Center Ticket Stub, 1989Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Transcript of Morris Gorelik's Will (father), 1952Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Frances Gorelik Correspondence, 1965Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Frances Gorelik's Death, 1996 June 1Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Tatiana Galkowska CorrespondenceAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Fulbright, 1972Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Morley Safer Correspondence regarding The Bad Neighbor, 1983Add to your cart.
Folder 15: University of Southern California paperwork, 1973-1975Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Correspondence, 1945-1947Add to your cart.
Folder 17: The Annoted Hamlet Correspondence, 1960-1965Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Lorin Brennan, 1976-1983Add to your cart.
lawyer
Folder 19: Firebugs, 1985Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Edward Uhlan, 1980-1981Add to your cart.
publisher
Folder 21: Edward Uhlan Contract, 1981Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Edward Uhlan, 1980-1982Add to your cart.
Folder 23: Edward Uhlan, 1983Add to your cart.
Folder 24: Edward Uhlan, 1984Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Edward Uhlan, 1985Add to your cart.
Folder 26: Louis Bailey, 1984Add to your cart.
Sub-Series 4: Personal PhotographsAdd to your cart.
Box 14Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Personal Photographs, 1900-1909Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Personal Photographs, 1910-1919Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Personal Photographs, 1920-1929Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Gorelik friends, 1920sAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Wedding Party [Sonia Gorelik & Robert Prester] Waldorf Hotel, 1938Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Circulars: Newsletters, Calenders of events, Concert Programs, Dance Programs, films, School Schedules, and Museum announcements, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Family, 1930-1939Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Family & different places in Europe, 1930-1939Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Gorelik's Portraits, 1930-1939Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Beach Pictures Near Malibu Beach, California, 1944 June 25Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Biarritz American University, 1940sAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: Brecht's Garden, Santa Monica, CA, 1943 OctoberAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: California Houses, 1940sAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: Cats, 1940sAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: Children, 1940sAdd to your cart.
Folder 16: "Clifton Way," Beverly Hills, CA, 1945 May-AugustAdd to your cart.
Folder 17: Erwinna photos -Erwinna, Bucks Co. PA, 1940sAdd to your cart.
Folder 18: Friends, 1940sAdd to your cart.
Folder 19: Germany, 1940sAdd to your cart.
Folder 20: Hollywood, Blackburn Ave. "formal group", 1940sAdd to your cart.
Folder 21: "Linda" Ballet group, 1940sAdd to your cart.
Folder 22: Photos of Family members, 1940-1949Add to your cart.
Folder 23: Gorelik Portraits, 1940-1949Add to your cart.
Folder 24: Frances Gym Group, California, 1948Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Europe pictures, 1948-1949Add to your cart.
Folder 26: Friends, 1950Add to your cart.
Folder 27: Summer Camp, 1940sAdd to your cart.
Folder 28: Family members, 1950-1959Add to your cart.
Folder 29: Europe, 1950-1952Add to your cart.
Folder 30: Hollywood, 1952Add to your cart.
Folder 31: Mrs. Bertha Gorelik, 1954-1955Add to your cart.
Folder 32: West 88th Street Residents Association, 1954-1955Add to your cart.
Folder 33: Portrait of Gorelik, 1955Add to your cart.
Folder 34: Party, 1955Add to your cart.
Folder 35: Photo documentation of north California house, 1956Add to your cart.
Folder 36: Gorelik friends, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 37: Portraits of Gorelik, 1960-1962Add to your cart.
Folder 38: Frances Adelbardt and her friends, 1960-1969Add to your cart.
Folder 39: Gorelik with friends, 1966Add to your cart.
Folder 40: John Dos Passos and Walt Carmon, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 41: Gorelik studio, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 42: Pratt Institute of Arts scrapbook, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 43: Gorelik friends, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 44: Family and friends, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 45: Erwina, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 46: Family photo album, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 47: Photo negatives-Family, friends, school house, churches, early years, 1920sAdd to your cart.
Folder 48: Relatives and friends, 1950sAdd to your cart.
Folder 49: Portraits of Gorelik, 1960-1962Add to your cart.
Box 48Add to your cart.
Folder 41: Erwinna, Pennsylvania, undatedAdd to your cart.
contact prints
Folder 42: New York City, 1936-1937Add to your cart.
Folder 43: Mordecai and Linda in Sydney, 1967 JuneAdd to your cart.
Folder 44: Poland, 1949Add to your cart.
Folder 45: Europe, 1936Add to your cart.
Folder 46: Personal photos, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 47: Early and small photos, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 48: Photographs, 1940sAdd to your cart.
Folder 49: Photographs, 1950sAdd to your cart.
Folder 50: Photographs, 1960sAdd to your cart.
Folder 51: Photographs, 1970sAdd to your cart.
Folder 52: Photographs, 1980sAdd to your cart.
Folder 53: Frances and Max, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 54: Eugene and LindaAdd to your cart.
Folder 55: Clippings of Gorelik's Friends, 1928-1960Add to your cart.
Folder 56: Photos of friends, 1965Add to your cart.
Folder 57: Photos of friends, 1966Add to your cart.
Folder 58: Photos of friends, 1967Add to your cart.
Folder 59: Tania Golkowska, 1968Add to your cart.
Folder 60: Photos of friends, 1969Add to your cart.
Folder 61: Photos of friends, 1970Add to your cart.
Folder 62: Japan, 1971Add to your cart.
Folder 63: Photos of friends, 1971Add to your cart.
Folder 64: Tokyo, 1973-1975Add to your cart.
Folder 65: Miscellaneous friends photos and articles, undatedAdd to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, 1920-1990],
[Series 2: Published Work],
[Series 3: Play and Production Materials],
[Series 4: Personal Papers],
[Series 5: Ephemera],
[Series 6: Oversized Material],
[All]

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