About the Billy Rose Theatre Division
Phone: (212) 870-1639
Fully accessible to wheelchairs
The Billy Rose Theatre Division is one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive archives devoted to the theatrical arts. The division's strength and uniqueness lie in its unparalleled collections of personal papers and organizational records, scrapbooks, photographs, posters, programs, reviews, and scripts, as well as its pioneering efforts to document live theatre through the Theatre on Film and Tape (TOFT) Archive. We also provide access to an extraordinary array of traditional published books and journals as well as a circulating collection of theatre books, scripts, videos, and music.
The Michael Korie papers (1960s-2014) document the career of Michael Korie, an American librettist and lyricist, known for the operas Where's Dick?, Harvey Milk, The Grapes of Wrath, and the Tony Award winning musical Grey Gardens. The collection contains librettos, scores, audiovisual materials, letters, photographs, programs, posters, and clippings.
Isaiah Sheffer (1935-2012) was a creative force in the New York theatre scene for many years. He co-founded Symphony Space in New York City and served as the organization's artistic director until 2010 and founding artistic director thereafter. His papers range from writings, scripts, scores, professional correspondence, and other production-related materials to administrative records concerning his work at Symphony Space.
Every year, one of the Theatre Division's most used collections is the file of newspaper and magazine clippings collected by the staff over the last century. Here, researchers can find reviews, interviews, press releases, and news reports about theatre, film, television, and the people who make them. The very active and extensive nature of this collection means that it's only partially cataloged, so it's sometimes useful to simply request folders by putting in a call slip for the "clippings file" on an individual title and person.
The division preserves several million photographs of theatre performances and personalities. In addition to large collections from the studios of specific photographers (such as Martha Swope, Kenn Duncan, and Friedman – Abeles) we also have an extensive collection of photos that have come to the division in various ways (through press kits or very small donations) that are currently kept in the general photo files. Because these photos are not fully cataloged, and a particular photo may be found in one of several collections, it is often best to discuss your research needs with a librarian.
Since 1970, the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive (TOFT) has preserved live theatrical productions and documented the creative contributions of distinguished artists and legendary figures of the theatre. Endowed, in part, by producer Lucille Lortel, TOFT is housed in a state-of-the-art screening room named in her honor. Titles in the collection may be found in the Library's online catalog or by emailing or telephoning TOFT. The Archive is available to theatre professionals, students, or researchers with work or study-related reasons for viewing. Advance appointments are strongly recommended for viewing. Please call (212) 870-1642.