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McLeod, Archibald, (1906-) | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Name: McLeod, Archibald, (1906-)

Historical Note:

Archibald McLeod was a theater professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  He was born on November 5, 1906 in Edinburgh, Scotland, to Thomas and Catherine (Wishart) McLeod.  The family moved to the United States in 1920.  His love of theater began with roles in plays at the Presbyterian church in Elizabeth, New Jersey where he spent his teenage years.  He studied sociology at Oberlin College and continued acting, earning his bachelor's degree in 1933.  He earned his master's degree from the University of Iowa in 1934 and his doctoral degree from Cornell University in 1943.  He later taught at State Teachers College in Emporia, Kansas, Texas State College for Women in Denton, Texas, and Louisiana State University.  McLeod came to Southern Illinois University in 1947 and taught in the Speech Department while also staging plays.  In 1958 he became the first chairman and sole faculty member of the newly created Theater Department, where he developed courses on acting, directing, playwriting, dance, set design, costuming, and makeup.

McLeod served as chairman for 17 years.  He organized summer repertory theater companies, touring companies, and a children’s theater program.  In 1962 and 1966, he took students to Greenland and Iceland to perform for servicemen at military bases.  In 1969 he helped establish The Center for Soviet & East-European Studies in the Performing Arts at SIUC.  In 1971, 1972, and 1974 the Theater Department’s performing company performed in the American College Theater Festival in Washington, DC.  While at SIUC, McLeod stated the country’s first national intercollegiate scene design competition.  He also played a role in bringing scenic designer Mordecai Gorelik to campus as faculty.

McLeod retired from Southern Illinois University in 1975, and became the first executive secretary of the Illinois State Theater Company.  He later helped found The Stage Company in Carbondale in 1982, where he continued to design sets and direct plays.  McLeod married Charlotte L. Samuels in 1943.  He died on April 6, 1992.

Sources: Archibald McLeod obituary, Southern Illinoisan, April 8, 1992.
Note Author: Matt Gorzalski

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