Reprocessing the Robert Breen Papers – Part III

Hello again! Amanda here to chat with you about reprocessing the Robert Breen papers, which is nearing completion! Over the past few months, I have had my hands on most of the Robert Breen papers and seen many records that I found interesting and exciting. As an archivist, one of my favorite things to process are ephemera, or items that were not intended to last indefinitely. Ephemera can include things like notes, postcards, lists – just about everything created in daily life that one might normally dispose of after a short period of time. Though the Robert Breen papers focus on the creation and function of the American National Theatre and Academy (ANTA), included in the collection are evidence of daily life and experiences, many of which don’t necessarily pertain to ANTA, but are evidence of the Breens’ activities. Some of the most interesting ephemera pertain to travel that members of ANTA experienced while on tour for various productions. Below are a selection for you to enjoy.

This travel advertisement for Germany was picked up by Robert Breen during ANTA’s European tour of “Hamlet” in 1949. It features “Neuschwanstein Castle in the Allgäu Alps.” Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most visited castles and palaces in Europe.

German Tourist pamphlet, circa 1949.

Pamphlet advertising the 12th Dubrovnik Summer Festival (1961) in the former Yugoslavia. The Dubrovnik Summer Festival is held annually and celebrates music, dance, theatre, and opera.

This map of Denmark – highlighting the capitol Copenhagen – was included in a tourist booklet. 1948 – 1949.

Pamphlet for Elsinore, Denmark. ANTA famously performed their production of “Hamlet” at Kronborg Castle in Helsingør, also known as Elsinore Castle in Elsinore, Denmark, the setting of Shakespeare’s work. According to Breen’s records, the performance was not terribly enjoyable for both the actors and audience, as the weather was quite cold – but it made for a stunning backdrop to the performance. 1949.

Copenhagen tourist booklet, 1949. The famous “Little Mermaid” sculpture is featured on the cover, as well as a cruise ship. Copenhagen was a popular cruise-tourist destination, and remains so to this day.

Book of postcards from Barksdale Field in Shreveport, LA, at the time the “World’s Largest Airport.” 1945.

Map of New York City, circa 1950. These maps were often provided by companies who used them as opportunities to advertise their services to tourists. This particular map was distributed by New York Central System.

As ANTA grew, it seems that Breen felt the need to outfit their offices with the latest technology. Above and below are informational pamphlets on “radio-phonograph combinations” and getting a telephone service installed. Both are quite the contrast to today’s communication technologies. 1951 – 1952.


Neuschwanstein Castle

The Dubrovnik Summer Festival

Kronborg/Elsinore Castle

The Robert Breen papers (C0311) is currently being reprocessed. Once it is completely reprocessed, its finding aid will be updated on the SCRC website. The collection is continually open for researcher access.

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