Richard B. Harrison collection,

Title
Richard B. Harrison collection, 1898-1935.
Author
Harrison, Richard B.
Supplementary Content
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Vol/DateFormatAccessStatusCall NumberLocation
Box 1Moving imageUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 205 Box 1Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 2Moving imageUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 205 Box 2Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives

Details

Additional Authors
Dunbar, Paul Laurence, 1872-1906.
Description
.8 lin. ft.
Biography (note)
  • Richard Harrison (1864-1935) was an actor appearing most notably in "The Green Pastures." He was also a skilled reader and interpreter of Shakespeare. Richard Berry Harrison's parents had escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad and made it to London, Ontario, Canada. His mother named him Richard after seeing a performance of Shakespeare's Richard III; her interest in theater influenced Harrison. After moving to Detroit, Harrison began his dramatic studies at the Detroit Training School of Dramatic Art, and privately with Edward Weitzel, a British drama coach and drama editor for the "Detroit Free Press". From 1892-1896, Harrison traveled, performing as a dramatic reader of Shakespeare and Paul Laurence Dunbar's poetry. In 1895, Harrison married Gertrude Janet Washington, who was the first Black person to graduate from the Chicago Conservatory of Music. They had two children, Lawrence Gilbert and Marian Ysobel. Harrison became well known nationally for his recitations in both Black and white communities. While on tour, he became aware of a great desire for dramatic training among the people for whom he performed. After convincing the president of North Carolina A and T, James B. Dudley, of the need for a dramatic program of study, he began to offer summer courses there in 1922. At the same time, he moved his family to New York, and began reading and teaching in churches and performing on stage. Harrison's stage credits include Pa Williams's "Gal" at the Lafayette Theatre, and "The Green Pastures", which opened February 26, 1930, at the Mansfield Theatre on Broadway. The latter show ran for 16 months, went on a national tour, and won the Pulitzer Prize. Harrison's portrayal of "De Lawd" was important to its success and won him additional acclamation. Harrison received the NAACP's 1930 Spingarn Medal for Distinguished Achievement and honorary degrees from a number of colleges and universities. On March 14, 1935, Harrison died of heart failure.
Processing Action (note)
  • Surveyed
  • Accessioned
  • Cataloging updated
Call Number
Sc MG 205
Author
Harrison, Richard B.
Title
Richard B. Harrison collection, 1898-1935.
Summary
Material pertaining to Harrison's portrayal of "de Lawd" in the play THE GREEN PASTURES written by Marc Connelly consisting primarily of news clippings referring to Harrison and the play, Harrison's death in 1935, some letters to Harrison from family members and others, including Paul Lawrence Dunbar, as well as a biography of Harrison entitled "Even Playing 'De Lawd': Some Experiences from the Life of Richard Harrison" written by Olive L. Jeter.
Biography
Richard Harrison (1864-1935) was an actor appearing most notably in "The Green Pastures." He was also a skilled reader and interpreter of Shakespeare. Richard Berry Harrison's parents had escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad and made it to London, Ontario, Canada. His mother named him Richard after seeing a performance of Shakespeare's Richard III; her interest in theater influenced Harrison. After moving to Detroit, Harrison began his dramatic studies at the Detroit Training School of Dramatic Art, and privately with Edward Weitzel, a British drama coach and drama editor for the "Detroit Free Press". From 1892-1896, Harrison traveled, performing as a dramatic reader of Shakespeare and Paul Laurence Dunbar's poetry. In 1895, Harrison married Gertrude Janet Washington, who was the first Black person to graduate from the Chicago Conservatory of Music. They had two children, Lawrence Gilbert and Marian Ysobel. Harrison became well known nationally for his recitations in both Black and white communities. While on tour, he became aware of a great desire for dramatic training among the people for whom he performed. After convincing the president of North Carolina A and T, James B. Dudley, of the need for a dramatic program of study, he began to offer summer courses there in 1922. At the same time, he moved his family to New York, and began reading and teaching in churches and performing on stage. Harrison's stage credits include Pa Williams's "Gal" at the Lafayette Theatre, and "The Green Pastures", which opened February 26, 1930, at the Mansfield Theatre on Broadway. The latter show ran for 16 months, went on a national tour, and won the Pulitzer Prize. Harrison's portrayal of "De Lawd" was important to its success and won him additional acclamation. Harrison received the NAACP's 1930 Spingarn Medal for Distinguished Achievement and honorary degrees from a number of colleges and universities. On March 14, 1935, Harrison died of heart failure.
Connect to:
Occupation
African American actors.
Added Author
Dunbar, Paul Laurence, 1872-1906.
Research Call Number
Sc MG 205
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