Guide to the Dan Totheroh papers, 1925-1975

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Note

Arts and Humanities --Performing Arts --Theater History --History, California --History, Bay Area Geographical (By Place) --California --Bay Area

Guide to the Dan Totheroh Papers, 1925-1975

Collection number: BANC MSS 76/14 c

The Bancroft Library



University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Processed by:
The Bancroft Library staff
Date Completed:
ca. 1976
Encoded by:
Xiuzhi Zhou
© 1998 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Dan Totheroh papers,
Date (inclusive): 1925-1975
Collection Number: BANC MSS 76/14 c
Creator: Totheroh, Dan
Extent: Number of containers: 2 boxes, 3 cartons, 17 v., 1 package and 1 oversize folder
Repository: The Bancroft Library.
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: Letters written to him; copies and drafts of a few by him; mss. of some of his plays and other writings; biographical information; programs, publicity material and announcements for plays; contracts; copyrights; royalty statements: scrapbooks; clippings, etc.
Languages Represented: English

Information for Researchers

Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Dan Totheroh papers, BANC MSS 76/14 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Material Cataloged Separately

  • Photographs transferred to the Bancroft Pictorial Collections
    Identifier/Call Number: (BANC PIC 1976.053--PIC and BANC PIC 1977.031)

Biography

Dan Totheroh -actor, playwright, director and novelist -was intimately connected with the theater during his entire lifetime. Born in Oakland in 1894, he wrote his first play in high school and went from there directly onto the professional stage, acting with Nance O'Neil in stock at the San Francisco Alcazar Theatre. He also began writing vaudeville sketches, toured the Pantages and Orpheum vaudeville circuits and eventually made his way to New York. After service in World War I, he returned to the Bay Area, devoted himself to the little theater movement and also took part in productions at the Greek Theatre on the University of California campus.
In 1922 his play Wild Birds, having won a prize competition sponsored by the University, was performed at Wheeler Hall on campus under the direction of Irving Pichel. After a successful run, the production was moved to San Francisco and then to New York, where it met great critical acclaim, and was chosen as one of the ten best plays of the year in 1925. In succeeding years he wrote steadily, producing many plays, several novels, including Deep Valley and Wild Orchard, and stories for children.
Of his twenty plays, six were produced on Broadway - Wild Birds, Live Life Again, Distant Drums, Moor Born, Mother Lode and Searching for the Sun. Invited to Hollywood to try his hand at script writing, he had a successful career as a scenario writer also, with several films to his credit, including "The Devil and Daniel Webster" and "The Count of Monte Cristo."
Dividing his time between New York and California, he maintained his interest in the little theater movement and was associated with the Ramona Pageant, the Pilgrimage Play and other southern California festivals, and, in the northern part of the state, with the mountain plays staged on Mount Tamalpais, the Cove Players at Tiburon, and the Wharf Theatre at Monterey. Professionally active to the end, Mr. Totheroh died in December 1976.

Scope and Content

He gave this collection of papers to The Bancroft Library in July 1975. It includes correspondence; MSS of some of his plays and other writings; biographical information; programs, publicity material and announcements for plays; contracts; copyrights; royalty statements; scrapbooks and clippings. Mr. Totheroh did not systematically save his papers and gave away a great deal during his lifetime, so the collection is an incomplete documentation of his long, productive career.
The papers are described in greater detail in the Key to Arrangement which follows. Most of the photographs have been removed from the collection.

Key to Arrangement

Box 1

Letters written by Dan Totheroh, 1927-1966

Scope and Content Note

One folder containing carbon copies or drafts of a few letters, arranged chronologically
Boxes 1-2

Letters written to Totheroh

Scope and Content Note

Letters primarily from friends and colleagues, many of them in the theatrical world. Arranged alphabetically by name of person or organization. A list of the more important correspondents follows the Key to Arrangement. Unlisted letters (also arranged alphabetically) and unidentified and incomplete letters are in Box 2.
 

Letters from various agents, 1939-1974, arranged chronologically (one folder)

 

Congratulatory telegrams on play openings (one folder)

Carton 1

MSS of plays

 

Alice in Wonderland - adapted by Totheroh for a Mt. Tamalpais play

Scope and Content Note

Annotated typescript. Also included: list of hand props, and names of members of the cast for the 1960 performance.
 

Alice Through the Looking Glass - adapted by Totheroh

Scope and Content Note

Annotated typescript
 

Attack on a Glass House

Scope and Content Note

Typescript with manuscript emendations
 

Birds of a Feather

Scope and Content Note

Typescript with manuscript emendations. Original title: Uncle Bunny
 

Chocolate for My Darling

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

Cora Potts

Scope and Content Note

Adapted from novel Cora Potts by Ward Greene. Typescript
 

Death on Sunday Typescript. The Devil and Daniel Webster

Scope and Content Note

Adapted from the short story by Stephen Vincent Benét and the screen play by Totheroh and Benét. Typescript; some additional pages of corrected typescript.
 

Eden Ends

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

The Emperor's Nightingale - suggested by Hans Christian Andersen's story, The Nightingale.

Scope and Content Note

Typescript.
 

The First of the Blacks

Scope and Content Note

One page only; corrected typescript.
 

Flamenca - Mt. Tamalpais play

Scope and Content Note

Two copies; one, a corrected typescript.
 

Ghost of a Chance

Scope and Content Note

Corrected typescript.
 

He Belongs to the Ages - a TV play

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

The Heart of Pierrot

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

In Dark Confusion

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

Kismet - adapted by Totheroh from an Arabian Night by Edward Knoblock

Scope and Content Note

Mt. Tamalpais play. Typescript; 2 copies.
 

Live Life Again

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

A Lost Lady - dramatized from Willa Cather's novel

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

Meadowlark, Change Your Song

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

The Monterey Centennial Pageant (1949) - Frank Lloyd, co-author

Scope and Content Note

Mimeographed copy
 

Moor Born - TV adaptation by Keith Fisk

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

Mother Lode

Scope and Content Note

Annotated typescript; "prompt" copy.
 

New World Forward!

Scope and Content Note

Photocopy of typescript. Original in Library of Congress.
 

Night Club - dramatized from the short story by Katharine Brush

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

Once Upon an Earthquake

Scope and Content Note

Typescript. Clippings and program pasted in.
 

Peer Gynt - adapted by Totheroh for a Mt. Tamalpais play

Scope and Content Note

Annotated typescript
 

Prancing Nigger - dramatized from the novel by Ronald Firbank

Scope and Content Note

Annotated typescript
 

The Princess Salome

Scope and Content Note

Annotated typescript
 

Quick Silver - operetta; book by Totheroh

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
Carton 2

Rain Angels

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

Rip of the Mountain - Mt. Tamalpais play

Scope and Content Note

Mimeographed and typescript, annotated
 

Robin Hood - Mt. Tamalpais play

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

Rough an' Ready (A Mountain Play of the days of `49)

Scope and Content Note

2 copies -one, photocopy and typescript, annotated, and the 2nd, annotated typescript
 

Searching for the Sun

Scope and Content Note

Original title: Odyssey; typescript.
 

The Sheep Are Kneeling

Scope and Content Note

A Christmas play written for the Bohemian Club Christmas Jinks. Annotated mimeographed copy.
 

Tamalpa - Mt. Tamalpais play

Scope and Content Note

Annotated typescript and hectographed copy.
 

Traipsin' Woman - suggested by the novel, The Traipsin' Woman, by Jean Thomas Annotated mimeographed copy.

 

Wind in the Sails

Scope and Content Note

Corrected typescript.
Carton 2

MSS of other writings

 

Be Still and Know; the Story of Mary of Magdala [novel]

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

Big Sur Gothic [story]

Scope and Content Note

Corrected typescript
 

Bimbo's Christmas Presents [story]

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

A Christmas Paper (1958)

Scope and Content Note

Written for Bohemian Club Christmas Jinks. Annotated typescript.
 

Egg Hunt [story]

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

Going Hollywood 1946 [novel]

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

How to Direct the Amateur Play

Scope and Content Note

Corrected typescript. (Appears to be incomplete).
 

Men Call Me Fool - screen treatment based on his novel of the same name. Typescript.

 

Rockmont Gothic - former title Mark Orme [novel]

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

A Short History of the Tamalpais Mountain Play from 1913 to 1968

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

The Song of the Phoenix [novel]

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

Tailspin's Boy [novella]

Scope and Content Note

Corrected typescript
 

A Talk on Victorian Poetry - S.F. Women's Club, Nov. 15, 1963

Scope and Content Note

Annotated typescript
 

Visions [story]

Scope and Content Note

Typescript
 

Zoo in Budapest [screenplay]

Scope and Content Note

Based on original story by Melville Baker. Mimeographed copy.
 

Folder of poems written by Totheroh Typescripts, clippings, etc.

 

Screenplay for Deep Valley, by Salka Viertel and Stephen M. Avery, based on Totheroh's novel (Mimeographed copy)

 

Libretto for The Oregon Trail by Marion Morrey, based on Totheroh's play, Distant Drums

Carton 3

Biographical information

 

Awards

 

Programs for Totheroh plays

 

Programs for plays (not his own) directed by Totheroh

 

Publicity material for Totheroh's plays and for his personal appearances

 

Lyrics for songs, with musical settings

 

Mt. Tamalpais play announcements, publicity material, programs, etc.

 

Mountain Play Association - miscellaneous items including drawing of stage measurements; copy of financial report for Rip of the Mountain, 196l; Newsletter; press release; photograph of plaque to Garnet Holme, etc.

 

Bohemian Club announcements

 

Contracts, including publishing agreements and dramatic contracts, 1929-1966 (2 folders)

 

Copyrights - certifications of copyright registration, applications for renewal, etc.

 

Royalty statements (7 folders)

 

Financial records (6 folders)

 

The Wanderer (v. 1, no. 1 & v. 2, no. 10) containing poems by Totheroh

 

Wild Birds-1st edition: inscribed

 

Clippings re Totheroh

 

Clippings re The Cove Players, Tiburon

 

Clippings re Mountain plays

 

Miscellaneous clippings

 

Miscellany

scrapbook Scrapbooks

17 scrapbooks containing clippings re production and reviews of his plays, reviews of plays he directed, reviews of his novels and of movies based on his screenplays, etc.; clippings about Totheroh; occasional photographs and snapshots of actors and of production scenes; programs and publicity material for plays, occasional congratulatory letters and telegrams, etc. As follows:

volume v. 1

ca. 1925-1929. Primarily re Wild Birds and reviews of his novels, Wild Orchard and Men Call Me Fool.

volume v. 2

ca. 1934-1944. Contains material re the plays Mother Lode, Searching for the Sun, Live Life Again, Wind in the Sails, Distant Drums, Moor Born, etc.

volume v. 3

ca. 1932-1938. Contains material re the plays Distant Drums and Moor Born and the movies Zoo in Budapest and Dawn Patrol.

volume v. 4

ca. 1945-1947. Contains material re the plays Live Life Agair Distant Drums and Tamalpa and for the Carmel production of The Time of Your Life directed by Totheroh. Photograph of Totheroh pasted in on back cover.

volume v. 5

ca. 1940-1956. Material re the plays Rough an' Ready, The Pied Piper, The Stolen Prince, Wild Birds; his novel, Deep Valley and the film based on the novel; the film, All That Money Can Buy; clipping of Totheroh's play, Seeing the Ele- phant, as published in Scholastic, Apr. 29, 1940; Bohemian Club programs for plays.

volume v. 6

ca. 194l- 1953. Material re the plays Distant Drums, Wild Birds, A Chinese Legend, Rough an' Ready, and for various plays directed by Totheroh.

volume v. 7

ca. 1949-1955. Material re pageant, Beginnings of Statehood, and the play, Once Upon an Earthquake; and material re the Wharf Players (Monterey, Calif.) and the Cove Players (Ti- buron, Calif.).

volume v. 8

ca. 1949-1958. Material re the Mountain play Rough an' Ready

volume v. 9

1960. Material re the Mountain play, Alice in Wonderland

volume v. 10

196l. Material re the Mountain play, Robin Hood.

volume v. 11

1962. Material re the Mountain play, Rip of the Mountain

volume v. 12

1964. Material re the Mountain play, Flamenca

volume v. 13

1965-1968. Material re the Mountain plays Rough an' Ready, Peer Gynt on the Mountain, Kismet and Alice through the Looking Glass

volume v. 14

1967. Material re production of Traipsin' Woman at University Theatre, University of Denver

volume v. 15

1963 & 1970. Material re Tamalpa and other Mountain plays

volume v. 16

ca. 1956-1972. Material re Cove Players (Tiburon, Calif.), the Mountain play Rough an' Ready, and the Bohemian Club Christmas Jinks, The Sheep Are Kneeling.

volume v. 17

ca. 1939-1967. Material re the play Traipsin' Woman and for various plays directed by Totheroh; material re his film plays, etc.

oversize Oversize folder

Announcements for plays

package Package

Plaque presented to Totheroh by the Mountain Play Association, June 1970

Partial List of Correspondents

 

Aldis, Mary

 

Letter, n.d. congratulating Totheroh on Wild Birds

 

Bancroft Library

 

Letter, Aug. 8, 1972. From James D. Hart, director. Requesting Totheroh's papers for the Library. With this: holograph statement by Totheroh concerning donation of his papers.

 

Barker, Chester W.

 

2 letters, n.d. Re music for Tamalpa.

 

Barrett, Edith

 

2 letters, 1975. Actress who appeared in Moor Born.

 

Bates, Blanche

see Norris, Charles G.

 

Benét, William Rose, 1886-

 

Letter, Apr. 24, 1934. Re Moor Born.

 

Benkovitz, Miriam J.

 

2 letters, 196l. Re her bibliography of Ronald Firbanks.

 

Bird, Remsen DuBois, 1888-

 

Letter, June 6, 1965

 

Bohemian Club, San Francisco

 

10 letters, 1956-1972. Several from W. C. Bacon, chairman of the Sequoia Trust Fund.

 

Bondi, Beulah

 

3 letters, 1962-1974 & n.d.

see also Thomas, Jean.

 

Brandt & Brandt

 

6 letters, 1931-1967

 

Brown, Edmund Gerald, 1905-

 

Letter, [1966]. Greetings to participants and spectators at the Mountain Play on Mt. Tamalpais.

 

Brush, Katharine, 1902-

 

Letter, Nov. 10, 1941. Re Totheroh's adaptation of her story, Night Club. With this: 2 letters from her heir, re renewal of copyright.

 

Bynner, Witter, 188l-1968

 

2 letters, 1925

 

Caen, Herbert Eugene, 19l6-

 

2 letters, 1975. Addressed to David Forsberg. With these: copies of 2 letters from Forsberg to Caen.

 

California. Centennials Commission

 

2 letters, 1949

 

Clark, Barrett Harper, 1890-1953

see Dramatists Play Service Incorporated.

 

Cochran, Charles B.

 

Letter, Nov. 3, 1937. Comments on Totheroh's adaptation of Ronald Firbank's novel, Prancing Nigger.

 

Coward-McCann, Inc.

 

Letter, Feb. 3, 1939. Re Totheroh's dramatization of Ronald Firbank's novel, Prancing Nigger.

see also Hayward (Leland) Inc.

see also Liebling-Wood, Inc.

see also Cochran, Charles B.

 

Douglas, Helen (Gahagan), 1900-

 

4 letters, 1962-1965 & n.d. One written for her by her secretary.

see also Douglas, Melvyn.

 

Douglas, Melvyn, 190l-

 

4 letters, 1960-1964. Letter, Feb. 9, 1962, has added notes from Helen G. Douglas and their children. One letter written for him by his secretary.

 

Dramatists' Play Service Incorporated

 

5 letters, 1941-1969. Include letters from Barrett H. Clark. Some relate to Night Club and Live Life Again.

 

Ferber, Edna, 1887-

 

Signed statement, [1924]. Holograph note added.

 

Pirbanks, Ronald

 

For letters about him and his novel Prancing Nigger

see Benkovitz, Miriam J.

see Coward-McCann, Inc.

see Hayward (Leland) Inc.

see Liebling-Wood, Inc.

see Cochran, Charles B.

see O'Bryen, Linnit and Dunfee (London)

see MS of Totheroh's play based on the novel (carton 1)

 

Fisk, Howard Keith

 

Letter, Apr; 9, 1958. Carbon copy, signed, addressed to Frank Price. Re his adaptation of Moor Born for television.

 

French (Samuel) Inc.

 

20 letters, 1928-1972. Re agreements covering publication and acting rights for his plays.

 

[Goddard, Paulette]

 

Letter, July 20, 1937. Written for her by Catherine Hunter. Commenting on his play, Moor Born.

 

Hart, Moss, 1904-

 

Letter, n.d.

 

Harvard University

 

6 letters, 1964-1965. Re material donated to the Harvard Theatre Collection.

 

Hayward (Leland) Inc.

 

Letter, Jan. l6, 1939. Re Prancing Nigger. Enclosure: copy of letter, Jan. 9, 1939, from Coward-McCann, Inc.

 

Holme, Garnet

 

Letter, n.d.

 

Irwin, Inez (Haynes), 1873-

 

2 letters, 1924-1934. Letter, Apr. 24, 1924, addressed to Kathleen Norris; re Wild Birds.

 

Irwin, Will[iam Henry], 1873-1948

 

Letter, Apr. l2, [1924]. Addressed to Kathleen Norris; re Wild Birds.

 

Lasky, Jesse Louis, 1880-

 

Letter, Apr. 4, 1933. Re the movie, Zoo in Budapest.

 

Leake, Chauncey [Depew], 1896-

 

Letter, July 27, 1960

 

Liebling-Wood, Inc.

 

Letter, Feb. 25, 1939. Re Totheroh's dramatization of Ronald Firbank's novel, Prancing Nigger.

 

Loew's Incorporated

 

3 letters, 1948-1956. Re renewal of copyright for The Breaking of the Calm.

 

Markham, Edwin, 1852-1940

 

Letter, Feb. 7, 1932. Comments on Distant Drums.

 

Mountain Play Association

 

Letter, May 5, 1972. Photocopy of letter addressed to chairman of American Cancer Society's Special Events Committee; proposing Totheroh for Night of Roses award. Enclosure: photocopy of biographical sketch for Totheroh.

 

Munson, Ona

 

Postcard, ca. Sept. 28, 1949

 

Nathan, George Jean

 

Letter, Apr. 25, 1934. Copy; re Moor Born.

 

Negalesco, Jean

 

Letter, Aug. 29, 1947. Comments on reviews of the film Deep Valley, which he directed.

 

New York Drama League, Inc.

 

Letter, Apr. 28, 1925

 

Nicholson, Kenyon

 

Letter, Nov. 10, 1927. Thanking Totheroh for the novelization of his play.

 

Niles, Blair

 

2 letters, 1934. Re Moor Born.

 

Norris, Charles G[ilman], 1881-1945

 

Letter, n.d.to [Blanche Bates]. On the verso is her reply.

 

Norris, Kathleen (Thompson), 1880-1966

 

Letter, [1924] and telegram, Aug. 2, 1947

 

O'Bryen, Linnit and Dunfee (London)

 

5 letters, 1937. Re dramatic rights for Prancing Nigger.

 

O'Neil, Nance, 1874-1965

 

Telegram, letter, & note on a Christmas card, 1934-1963. With these: note from an unidentified correspondent re Miss O'Neil and clippings.

 

O'Neill, Eugene [Gladstone], 1888-1953

 

Letter, Mar. 28, [1925?] Re Wild Birds.

 

Pattison, Ellen J.

 

Letter, July 16, 1943. Re Totheroh's play based on life of Walt Whitman. Addressed to Audrey Wood.

 

Pilkington, John, 1918-

 

2 letters, 1967. Re his proposed edition of Stark Young letters.

 

Pollock, Channing, 1880-1946

 

Letter, Apr. 30, 1925. Re Wild Birds.

 

Reed, Florence

 

Letter, n.d.

 

Richter, Marion Morrey

 

Letter, Jan. 24, 1966. Re the music she had written for his play, Distant Drums.

 

Roach (Hal) Studios Inc.

 

2 letters, 1951-1952. Re dramatic rights for Once Upon an Earthquake.

 

Rolph, James, 1869-1934

 

Telegram, Apr. 9, 1925. Congratulating him on his play, Wild Birds.

 

Samuels, Maurice Victor, 1874-

 

Letter, Apr. 14, 1925. Re Wild Birds.

 

Serlin, Oscar, 1901-

 

Letter, Nov. 23, 1944. Re a play written by Totheroh.

 

Sharmat, Stephen W.

 

4 letters, 1963. Discusses possibility of musical version of The Devil and Daniel Webster.

 

Skinner, R. Dana

 

Letter, May 9, 1925. Re Wild Birds.

 

Spiro, Leon

 

Letter, Mar. 15, 1965. Enclosure: broadside with his poem.

 

Starr, Frances

 

5 letters, and cards, 1967 & n.d. Actress who appeared in Moor Born.

 

Stone, Carol

 

Letter, n.d. Actress. Comments on The Emperor's Nightingale.

 

Thomas, Jean

 

2 letters, 1959-1964. One addressed to Beulah Bondi, with Miss Bondi's note on verso.

 

Towne, Charles Hanson, 1877-1949

 

Letter, Apr. 26, 1934. Re Moor Born.

 

U.S. Copyright Office

 

Letter, Nov. 24, 1959. Re renewal of copyright for Night Club.

 

Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and Educational Foundation

 

2 letters, 1960-1971

 

Wisconsin University. Wisconsin Center for Theatre Research

 

9 letters, 1962-1965. Discussing formation of a Dan Totheroh Collection.

 

Young, Stark, 1881-

 

Letter, Apr. 26, 1934. Copy, to Harry Weinberger. Re Moor Born.