Reprocessing the Robert Breen Papers – Part II

Hello all! Amanda here again to chat with you about the Robert Breen papers. As reprocessing continues, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite records from this collection (my most favorites being the Gloria Swanson and Joan Crawford letters, which you can see here.) Because the majority of the collection originates from the 1940s, there are many items that reflect the Hollywood and theatrical communities of America’s support of the reelection of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I also was delighted to find lots of non-theatre-related ephemera from the time period. One of my absolutely favorite things about processing is finding these sometimes-overlooked archival gems – It’s the little things, you guys. Without further ado, please enjoy this selection of materials from the Robert Breen papers.

A pre-addressed envelope to Fredric March, Treasurer of the Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Professions. March was a successful film actor during the Golden Age of Hollywood, perhaps most famous for his depiction of the titular characters in the groundbreaking “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” for which he won an Academy Award. 1946.

A press release from President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the members of the Independent Voters Committee of the Arts and Sciences. October 22, 1946.

This pamphlet was used to urge voters to cast their ballots for FDR from many a famous face. Using the recent backdrop of the Great Depression, the pamphlet reads “These twelve years have been years of successful struggle against two powerful enemies; poverty and aggression. We believe that the continuing struggle against these two enemies can best be carried forward under the leadership of Franklin Delano Roosevelt[.]” 1946.

During 1949, ANTA ran a tour of Hamlet across Europe, ending in a performance at Elsinore Castle in Denmark, the setting of the play itself. Pictured here is Paul Roebling, who played Hamlet during the tour. 1949.

A “True Copy” certificate from the National Archives and Records administration from September 14, 1948. Now only does this serve as evidence of what record Breen accessed in 1948, it also serves as an interesting record of archival practices during the early 20th century.

This mock-up drawing was created for a draft of a white paper-type document that would be used to promote ANTA. 1949.

The envelope which contained the following letter – addressed in the hand of the beloved and legendary playwright George Bernard Shaw. April 17, 1950.

This letter, returned with a note from George Bernard Shaw refusing his ANTA membership, was sent just a few months before his death in November of that year. April 17, 1950.

A playbill for an ANTA production. 1946.

This “album” serves as a yearbook of sorts, highlighting ANTA’s achievements and successes. January 29, 1950.

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