Research Catalog

Alice Childress papers,

Title
Alice Childress papers, 1937-1997.
Author
Childress, Alice.
Supplementary Content
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Vol/DateFormatAccessStatusCall NumberLocation
Box 1Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 1Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 2Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 2Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 3Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 3Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 4Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 4Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 5Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 5Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 6Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 6Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 7Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 7Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 8Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 8Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 9Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 9Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 10Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 10Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 11Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 11Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 12Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 12Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 13Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 13Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 14Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 14Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 15Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 15Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 16Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 16Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 17Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 17Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 18Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 18Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 19Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 19Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives
Box 20Mixed materialUse in libraryAvailableSc MG 649 Box 20Schomburg Center - Manuscripts & Archives

Details

Additional Authors
Description
17.1 linear ft. (50 record cartons)
Uniform Title
  • Afro-American (Baltimore, Md. : National ed.)
  • Freedom (New York, N.Y.)
Subjects
Genre/Form
  • Diaries.
  • Galley proofs.
  • Love letters.
  • Play scripts.
  • Screenplays.
  • Short stories.
  • Television scripts.
Note
  • Photographs transferred to Photographs and Prints Division.
  • Books and magazines transferred to the General Research and Reference Division.
Source (note)
  • Estate of Alice Childress and Nathan Woodard
Biography (note)
  • Pioneering African American writer, actress and director Alice Childress (1916-1994) was popularly known for her best-selling novel, "A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich," and her plays, most notably "Wedding Band: A Love Story in Black and White." In the 1930s she met and married Alvin Childress, best known for his role as Amos in the television series, "Amos and Andy." She was a founding member of the American Negro Theatre, and in 1944 she and her husband Alvin appeared in "Anna Lucasta," alongside lead actress Hilda Simms. When the play went to Broadway, and Childress received a TONY nomination for "Best Supporting Actress."
  • Although she continued to act, Childress began writing plays in the late 1940s. Her first play, "Florence," appeared in 1949, and a year later, she adapted Langston Hughes' novel, "Simple Speaks His Mind" into the play, "Just a Little Simple." Her plays include "Gold Through the Trees," the first play by a Black woman produced in the United States, and "Trouble in Mind," in 1955, which received an OBIE for Best Off-Broadway Play; the first Black woman to receive that honor. Childress's first book, "Like One of the Family: Conversations from a Domestic's Life," vignettes that were first published in a column "Conversation from Life," in Paul Robeson's "Freedom" newspaper, was published a year later. She subsequently republished the vignettes in the "Baltimore Afro-American." During this time she divorced Alvin Childress and married musician Nathan (Nat) Woodard in 1957.
  • Childress's play, "Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White," was produced in 1966 and in 1972, at the New York Shakespeare Festival Theatre. Her other plays produced during the 1960s included "String," "Wine in the Wilderness," and "Young Martin Luther King." Her award-winning children's book, "A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich," was published in 1973, and was made into a film in 1975. Throughout the following decades, Childress's wrote a number of plays which were produced in various venues across the country, ("Gullah," "Let's Hear It for the Queen," "Mojo," "Moms: A Praise Play for a Black Comedienne," and "When the Rattlesnake Sounds"), published a novel, ("A Short Walk"), a collection of scenes, ("Black Scenes"), and two children's books, ("Rainbow Jordan" and "Those Other People").
Provenance (note)
  • The collection was donated to Schomburg Center by Dino Woodard on behalf of the Estate of Alice Childress and Nathan Woodard.
Call Number
Sc MG 649
Author
Childress, Alice.
Title
Alice Childress papers, 1937-1997.
Summary
The Alice Childress papers document Alice Childress's career as a writer and actress, and her activities in the theatre for five decades in New York City. The Personal Papers series includes correspondence, an oral history conducted by Ann Shockley, Childress's FBI file, diaries, calendars, interviews, educational materials, family letters, files for her two husbands, and biographical information about Childress. Significant correspondents include writers Kay Bourne, Harold (Hal) Courlander and Susan Koppleman.
The Professional Series consists of correspondence, programs, financial documents, flyers, newsletters, broadsides, contracts, and reviews representing Childress as an actress, writer and speaker. There is a file for the American Negro Theatre's "Anna Lucasta," as well as files for other productions in which Childress acted including "The Cool World," "The Emperor's Clothes," "Natural Man," and "The World of Sholem Aleichem," among others. There are also files for associations and committees, including a file for the "National Ad Hoc Committee to End the Crimes Against Paul Robeson," as well as interviews, critical papers, a dissertation and sketches written about Childress, her writing and her influence on the work of contemporary writers. A significant amount of correspondence delineated into six subseries arranged chronologically: Publishers and Agents, Awards, Conferences, Speaking Engagements, Alphabetical, and General, includes invitations for speaking engagements, letters of appreciation, requests from playhouses and colleges to perform her plays and requests for biographical information.
The largest and most substantive series, Writings, contains the manuscripts for nearly every published book and playscript written by Childress. The series is divided into six subseries (by genre) and begins with Childress's best-known works including "A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich," "Wedding Band," "Trouble in Mind," and "Moms: A Praise Play for a Black Comedian." The subseries represented are: Children's Books; Novels; Play Scripts, Screenplays and Teleplays; Fiction and Non-Fiction; (Columns, Editorial work, Monologues, Non-fiction, Short Stories, and Speeches); Other Writings (Poetry, Songs, and Research Notes) and Other Authors. This series features an array of manuscript drafts, reviews, fan mail, teacher's critical guides, research notes, manuscript scores (for her musicals), galleys, publicity information, letters, contracts, outlines, programs, flyers, and clippings. Many of the manuscripts have been heavily edited by Childress.
Biography
Pioneering African American writer, actress and director Alice Childress (1916-1994) was popularly known for her best-selling novel, "A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich," and her plays, most notably "Wedding Band: A Love Story in Black and White." In the 1930s she met and married Alvin Childress, best known for his role as Amos in the television series, "Amos and Andy." She was a founding member of the American Negro Theatre, and in 1944 she and her husband Alvin appeared in "Anna Lucasta," alongside lead actress Hilda Simms. When the play went to Broadway, and Childress received a TONY nomination for "Best Supporting Actress."
Although she continued to act, Childress began writing plays in the late 1940s. Her first play, "Florence," appeared in 1949, and a year later, she adapted Langston Hughes' novel, "Simple Speaks His Mind" into the play, "Just a Little Simple." Her plays include "Gold Through the Trees," the first play by a Black woman produced in the United States, and "Trouble in Mind," in 1955, which received an OBIE for Best Off-Broadway Play; the first Black woman to receive that honor. Childress's first book, "Like One of the Family: Conversations from a Domestic's Life," vignettes that were first published in a column "Conversation from Life," in Paul Robeson's "Freedom" newspaper, was published a year later. She subsequently republished the vignettes in the "Baltimore Afro-American." During this time she divorced Alvin Childress and married musician Nathan (Nat) Woodard in 1957.
Childress's play, "Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White," was produced in 1966 and in 1972, at the New York Shakespeare Festival Theatre. Her other plays produced during the 1960s included "String," "Wine in the Wilderness," and "Young Martin Luther King." Her award-winning children's book, "A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich," was published in 1973, and was made into a film in 1975. Throughout the following decades, Childress's wrote a number of plays which were produced in various venues across the country, ("Gullah," "Let's Hear It for the Queen," "Mojo," "Moms: A Praise Play for a Black Comedienne," and "When the Rattlesnake Sounds"), published a novel, ("A Short Walk"), a collection of scenes, ("Black Scenes"), and two children's books, ("Rainbow Jordan" and "Those Other People").
Connect to:
Local Subject
Black author.
Added Author
Robeson, Eslanda Goode, 1896-1965.
Allen, Debbie.
Barbour, Floyd B.
Brown, Janet, 1952-
Bullins, Ed.
Clarke, John Henrik, 1915-1998.
Courlander, Harold, 1908-1996.
Davis, Ossie.
Dee, Ruby.
Dodson, Owen, 1914-1983.
DuBois, Rachel Davis.
Duberman, Martin B.
Evans, Don, 1938-
Franklin, Alyce.
Fuller, Hoyt, 1923-1981.
Harris, Trudier.
Haynes, Hilda, 1912-1986.
Hovey, Serge.
Jessye, Eva, 1895-1992.
Killens, John Oliver, 1916-1987.
Koppleman, Susan.
Lattery, Kristen Hunter, 1931-
Martin, Helen, 1909-2000.
Mayfield, Julian, 1928-1984.
Murphy, Carl, 1889-1967.
Olsen, Tillie.
Patterson, Louise Thompson, 1901-1999.
Roberts, Flora.
Scott, Hazel.
Shearer, Jacqueline.
Shine, Ted.
Shockely, Ann Allen, 1927-
Snyder, Anne.
Wallace, Emmett Babe, 1909-2006.
Ward, Theodore, 1902-1983.
Washington, Mary Helen.
Wideman, John Edgar.
Woodard, Nathan.
Childress, Alice. African garden.
Childress, Alice. Gold through the trees.
Childress, Alice. Hero ain't nothin but a sandwich.
Childress, Alice. Let's hear it for the queen.
Childress, Alice. Like one of the family.
Childress, Alice. Mojo, a black love story.
Childress, Alice. Mojo, a praise play for a comedienne.
Childress, Alice. Rainbow Jordan.
Childress, Alice. Sea island song.
Childress, Alice. Short walk.
Childress, Alice. String.
Childress, Alice. Those other people.
Childress, Alice. Trouble in mind.
Childress, Alice. Wedding band, a love/hate story in black and white.
Childress, Alice. When the rattlesnake sounds.
Childress, Alice. Wine in the wilderness.
Childress, Alice. Young Martin Luther King, or, King remembered.
Childress, Alice. Pico vs. the board of education.
Childress, Alice. Gullah!
Childress, Alice. Just a little simple.
Hay, Samuel A. Crack, cream, and brown sugar.
Shearer, Jacqueline. Addie and the pink carnations, or, Didn't take low.
Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967. Emperor of Haiti.
Taylor, Clarice, 1927-2011. Evening with moms.
Taylor, Clarice, 1927-2011. Evening of comedy with Jackie "Moms" Mabley.
Taylor, Clarice, 1927-2011. Moms, the first lady of comedy.
Walcott, Derek. Malcochon, or, The six in the rain.
Bullins, Ed. Son, come home.
Bullins, Ed. Ten one-act plays.
Added Title
Afro-American (Baltimore, Md. : National ed.)
Freedom (New York, N.Y.)
Research Call Number
Sc MG 649
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