In 1991 the Brown University
Library acquired a collection of George Bernard Shaw material formed by
Sidney P. Albert, professor emeritus of philosophy at California State
University-Los Angeles. The collection is rich in manuscript material,
including autograph and typed letters, post
cards, notes, inscriptions and signed photographs as well as costume
designs and a fragment of music in Shaw's hand. There are more than
2,000 books by and about Shaw and a strong collection of ephemera -
pamphlets, "rough proof" rehearsal copies of plays, programs,
press clippings, film stills, posters, publicity photographs,
recordings, photographs of Shaw's 1933 visit to Hollywood, and
publications of Shaw societies in London, New York, Los Angeles and
Tokyo. More than 200 periodicals containing pieces by or about Shaw
round out the collection.
The Brown University Library also
holds the correspondence between Shaw and his American publisher, Dodd,
Mead & Company. That purchase, including 15 letters, original
contracts, sketches and photographs of Shaw, and more than 100 files
covering contracts and reprint rights, provides a picture of Shaw as a
businessman who composed his own contracts and championed the economic
cause of writers. An inventory of the Dodd Mead Shaw Archive is
available in pdf form.
The Sidney P. Albert-Bernard Shaw Collection*
Described by Don B. Wilmeth, Asa Messer Professor
Professor of Theatre and English, Brown University
In November 1991 Brown University announced the addition
of the Sidney P. Albert-G.B. Shaw Collection to its Special Collections
(acquired in June). The purchase of the private collection of Sidney P.
Albert was accomplished with the support and encouragement of the then
president of Brown, Vartan Gregorian. At the same time, and upon
Albert's recommendation, Brown acquired the correspondence and other
documents relating to Shaw's dealings with his American publisher Dodd,
Mead & Company (and, by extension, other publishers). An inaugural
exhibit of material from the Albert Collection ("Quintessential
Shaw") was mounted in Brown's John Hay Library, May 5-July 28,1995,
curated by former Brown Curator of Printed Books, Jennifer B. Lee. To
celebrate the opening of the exhibit and to mark the addition of the
Albert-Shaw Collection to Brown's holdings, the Friends of the Brown
hosted a dinner-reception on May 5th with readings from Shaw plays and a
brief talk ("100 Years Ago: G.B.S. in 1895") by Albert,
followed by a public lecture ("Shaw's Utopia") delivered by
Shaw biographer Michael Holroyd.
Sidney P. Albert, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy,
California State University-Los Angeles, is a well-known Shaw authority,
specializing in Major Barbara. His interest in Barbara naturally
combines his life-long interest in philosophy and the theatre, for in
addition to a 1939 Ph.D. in Philosophy from Yale University, Albert also
did postdoctoral study in drama and theatre at Carnegie Institute of
Technology (now Carnegie Mellon), Northwestern, Stanford, Columbia, and
the University of Illinois. His focused interest in Major Barbara is
reflected in numerous lectures and papers delivered on various aspects
of the play and over a dozen published essays, including two on his
investigation into sources of Perivale St. Andrews in Volume 19 of the Annual
of Bernard Shaw Studies.
Yet Albert's collecting of Shaviana, covering a period
of over forty years, has been far more catholic in its scope than just
material on Major Barbara. As the news release on the acquisition
noted, The Albert Collection includes more than 2,000 books by and about
Shaw, among them a substantial group of pre-1900 publications, and works
by critics, many of them inscribed. In addition, there are more than 220
volumes of a general nature on the theatre/drama of Shaw's time. The
Collection is exceptionally strong on ephemera: pamphlets, "rough
proof" and rehearsal copies of plays, press clippings, film stills,
posters, publicity photographs, recordings, photographs of Shaw's 1933
visit to Hollywood (from the Hearst collection), and publications of
Shaw societies in London, New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. Some 79
items of original Shaw correspondence can be found in the holdings, as
well as five letters from Shaw's long-time secretary, Blanche Patch, and
one by secretary Georgina Musters, all six written on Shaw's
behalf. Some 16 additional letters of associative interest are in the
holdings (including five letters from Charlotte Shaw). More than 222
periodicals containing pieces by (85) or about Shaw round out the
collection. As a complement to the original material in the collection,
Albert has added photocopies of Shaw material from various archives in
the United States and England.
Although there is no one focus to the Albert Collection,
a brief description of some of the special items might provide a sense
of Albert's acquisitions:
Shaw's magazine piece,
The Great Fight (reprinted by Mitchell Kennerly, June 1921).
a lecture by Shaw
given at the Glasgow Fabian Society, October 2, 1903, and printed for
private circulation by George Standring (London 1906).
Is Free Trade Alive or Dead? :
Documents for the terms and conditions for public
performance of various Shaw plays.
Shaw's memorandum of agreement with Penguin Books for
the publication of Major Barbara (7 February 1944).
First publication of various plays (Widowers'
Houses, Why She Would Not: A Little Comedy; Shakes versus Shav,
Costume designs for Arms and the Man with
notations in Shaw's hand.
First American edition (unauthorized, n.d.) of Shaw's
lecture, "Modern Religion" (New Reform Club, London, 21 March
Limited edition (750 copies) of Saint Joan press
book with colored plates of settings and costumes (by Charles Ricketts)
for first British production.
(1891): large bound volume
containing a rare surviving example of Shaw's art criticism (on "J.M.
The Art journal
. . . Before
the joint-Committee on Stage Plays (July 1909). Scare,
privately printed edition.
Statement of the Evidence in Chief
Rough proof (unpublished) copies of Pygmalion,
Androcles and the Lion, The Inca of Perusalem, O'Flaherty V.C.,
Augustus Does His Bit, The Apple Cart, Too True to Be Good, On the Rocks, The Six of Calais, The
Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles.
Rehearsal copies of Geneva and Buoyant Billions; actors'
copies for Androcles and the Lion
and The Philanderer.
A large series of Fabian publications.
Theatre programs for the Court Theatre and other early
Shaw productions, as well as a large collection of various Major
The Dodd, Mead component of the Albert-Shaw Collection
incorporates 15 letters signed by Shaw (plus numerous postcards),
original contracts, sketches and photographs of Shaw, and more than 100
files covering contracts and reprint rights. Collectively, this unique
holding provides a revealing picture of Shaw as a businessman who
structured his own contracts and, as is well known, constantly
championed the economic cause of writers. In all, there are over 300
items in this archive. The Dodd, Mead holdings are organized under two
series. Series I (to 1950) and Series II (after 1950). Likely of most
interest are the items in Series I, covering the period of Shaw's personal relationship with Dodd,
Mead. Subseries A includes letters from Shaw (1933-1949); subseries B
gathers together graphic materials from Shaw, including several
photographs (William Morris, Shaw, Edward Burne-Jones); subseries C
are contracts with Shaw (including one with Brentano's); subseries D
are three items relating to Blanche Patch (on Shaw's behalf);
subseries E include a sizable number of letters, mostly from Shaw's
publisher; subseries F are items having to do with the publication of
specific titles (i.e., The Adventures of the Black Girl, The
Apple Cart, Arms and the Man, Arms and the Man and Two Other Plays,
Back to Methuselah, Buoyant Billions, Caesar and Cleopatra, Candida,
The Devil's Disciple, The Doctor's Dilemma, Everybody's
Political What's What?, Florence Farr, Bernard Shaw, and W.B.
Yeats, The Future of Political Science in America, G.B.S. 90, Geneva,
Geneva/Cymbeline Refinshed/Good King Charles, Nine Plays, Pygmalion,
Pygmalion/Major Barbara, The Real Bernard Shaw, Saint Joan, Sixteen
Self Sketches, Three Master of the English Drama, William
Morris as I Knew Him, Works [various editions, 1933-1949]).
Subseries G are miscellaneous items identified by name
(Dodd, Mead; F.E. Lowenstein, Society of Authors; Stern & Reubens;
Theatre Guild; Walter Trumbull; U.S. Customs [about Penguin Books]).
Subseries H is labelled graphics (and likely includes some post-1950
items). This group of folders includes a charcoal drawing of Shaw, an
ink drawing of Shaw by Constance Joan Naar, and several other drawings
and engravings of the playwright. Subseries I are various photographs
used or considered for publication (including a group of shots of Shaw
and Gabriel Pascal). Subseries J and K include files of miscellaneous
printed materials, tearsheets, and clippings.
Series II (after 1950) is comprised of three subseries.
A is "By title" (similar to F in Series I), including
publications by various publishers (up to the late 1960s) of the
following: The Adventures of the Black Girl, Androcles and
the Lion, Arms and the Man, Back to Methuselah, Bernard Shaw's
Will, Buoyant Billions, Caesar and Cleopatra/Saint Joan/Pgymalion,
Candida, Collected Letters (various editions,
1957-1982), Complete Plays with Prefaces, Don Juan in Hell,
Lesser Known Plays, London Music, Major Barbara, Major Plays of
Shaw, Man and Superman, Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant,
Pygmalion, Caesar and Cleopatra, Pygmalion and Other Plays, Saint
Saint Joan/Major Barbara/Androcles, Selected Plays, Selected Prose,
Seven Plays, Shaw's Music, Ten Short Plays, The Shorter Plays,
The Theatre of Bernard Shaw, Treasury of Bernard Shaw, An
Unfinished Novel). The final two subseries (B and C) include
various documents relating to press reports, sales figures, invoices
contracts, and tearsheets and clippings.
Combined, the Sidney P. Albert Shaw materials and the
Dodd, Mead archive form a unique and important collection devoted to
Bernard Shaw. They likewise complement Brown's sizable collection of
play texts, in particularly the
Harris Collection of American Poetry and
The magnitude of the collection has made full cataloguing a slow proposition.
A project is underway to create in-process records for printed materials
and databases will be created for ephemeral materials. A detailed
inventory is available
for the Dodd, Mead holdings. In order to gain access to the Albert-Shaw
Collection or to obtain additional information, potential users should
contact Jean Rainwater, Special Collections, Box A, Brown University,
Providence, RI 02912.
*1 wish to thank Brown Special Collections Librarians
Mark Brown and Jean Rainwater, and former Curator of Printed Books at
Brown, Jennifer Lee, for guidance in the description of contents of the
Web Links to Other Shaw Collections & Resources:
George Bernard Shaw Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research
Center, University of Texas at Austin
Bernard F. Burgunder Collection, Cornell University
Richard S. Weiner
of George Bernard Shaw, Colgate University
L. W. Conolly
Theatre Archives, University
George Bernard Shaw Papers, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Bernard Shaw Collection, University of Delaware
George Bernard Shaw's Business Papers, British Library of Political and Economic Science
Bernard Shaw's Diaries, 1885-1897,
British Library of Political and Economic Science
Bizness: Links to the life, times, & work of Irish playwright, Richard
Candida, Iowa State University Play Concordances