Guide to the Frances Herriott Sargent Papers, 1928-1981


Brown University Library, University Archives
Box A, John Hay Library
Providence, RI 02912
Tel: 401-863-2148
Fax: 401-863-2093
E-mail: hay@brown.edu

Published in 2003

Collection Overview

Title:Frances Herriott Sargent papers
Date range:1928-1981
Creator:Sargent, Frances Herriott, 1901-1989
Extent:1.25 linear feet
Abstract: This collection traces the evolution and production of the play "Porgy" and its operatic expression, "Porgy and Bess". The collection is composed of the professional and personal papers of the assistant stage manager, Frances Herriott (later Frances Herriott Sargent), and provides insight into the major elements of production as well as the personal relationships of cast members and stage professionals.
Language of materials:English
Repository:Brown University Library, University Archives
Collection number:Ms. 80.6

Scope & content

The collection includes a variety of items, among them the following: correspondence; lighting, property, and costume plots; news clippings; a book containing the original score of "Porgy and Bess" autographed by George Gershwin, Du Bose Hayward, and Rouben Mamoulian; photographs; and scattered museum pieces. Most of the material in the collection is from the creative period 1928 to 1942, during which the novel Porgy was undergoing a transformation, first to the format of the theater and ultimately to its most familiar form, the opera "Porgy and Bess".

Among the personal correspondence are letters and telegrams from George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, Dudley Diggs, Du Bose Heyward, Rose McClendon, and Todd Duncan.

Arrangement

The collection is divided into 11 series according to physical type. Within each series the items are arranged roughly chronologically.
  • Series 1. Correspondence - letters
  • Series 2. Correspondence - telegrams and cablegrams
  • Series 3. Correspondence - postcards
  • Series 4. Production details
  • Series 5. Programs and stagebills
  • Series 6. Souvenir books
  • Series 7. Photographs
  • Series 8. Miscellaneous printed materials
  • Series 9. Miscellaneous items
  • Series 10. Books
  • Series 11. Museum pieces

Biographical note

Little is known about Frances Herriott Sargent other than that she was assistant stage manager for the Theater Guild production of both the play ("Porgy") and the opera ("Porgy and Bess"), and that subsequently she was stage manager and director of a California production of "Porgy and Bess" in 1937-1938.

Access & Use

Access to the collection: There are no restrictions on access, except that the collection can only be seen by prior appointment. Some materials may be stored off-site and cannot be produced on the same day on which they are requested.
Use of the materials: All researchers seeking to publish materials from the collections of the John Hay Library are requested to complete a Notice of Intent to Publish, prior to reproducing, quoting, or otherwise publishing any portion or extract from this collection. Although Brown University has physical ownership of the collection and the materials contained therein, it does not claim literary rights. It is up to the researcher to determine the owners of the literary rights and to obtain any necessary permissions from them.
Preferred citation:Frances Herriott Sargent Papers, Ms. 80.6, Brown University Library.
Contact information: Brown University Library, University Archives
Box A, John Hay Library
Providence, RI 02912
Tel: 401-863-2148
Fax: 401-863-2093
E-mail: hay@brown.edu

Administrative Information

ABOUT THE COLLECTION 
Acquisition:Mrs. Joseph Herriott Sargent donated the collection to Brown University Library. The date of the gift is uncertain, though there is reason to believe that it was received in 1964. Permission for use of any material in the Frances Herriott Sargent collection must be sought from the John Hay Library. Researchers are advised that Brown University does not claim literary rights to the material in the collection, and that the responsibility for determining these rights rests with the researcher. Accession A89-4 was given by Sargent, Frances Herriott in 1982 (via her sister, Mrs. Carl Bridenbaugh, wife of Professor Emeritus Carl Bridenbaugh -- History). Accession A89-43 was given by Bridenbaugh, Roberta Haines Herriott.
ABOUT THE FINDING AID 
Author:Finding aid prepared by Laura Pelafas.
Encoding:Finding aid encoded by Phil McWade on 2003 Oct 24
Revisions:

2003 Oct 31

  • Revised by Phil McWade
  • 2005 Mar 15

  • Revised to local encoding standards by Jennifer Betts
  • 2010 Aug 16

  • Converted from dtd to schema by Jennifer Betts
  • Additional Information

    Related material: Related materials are held by Brown University Library and are retrievable by the following accession/collection numbers:
    • Porgy & Bess [videorecording]: an American voice / a presentation of the University of Michigan in collaboration with Vanguard Films and Mojo Working Productions, Inc. (Princeton, N.J.: Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 1999, c1997). Call number: ML410.G28 P67x 1999, Orwig Library

    Inventory


    Series 1. Correspondence - letters

    Box 1, Folder 1From Heyward (2), Mamoulian, Rouse, and Seymour.
    5 items
    November 1928-March 1929
    Box 1, Folder 2From McClendon, Paul, Gordon, and Cooper. Includes letters from three members of the London production of Porgy, writing about their experiences in England.
    4 items
    April-May 1929
    Box 1, Folder 3From Mama, Thomas, and McClendon (2). Includes letters from two members of the Porgy cast, expressing their regret for Miss Herriott's absence.
    4 items
    June-October 1929
    Box 1, Folder 4From Whipper, Frances, McClendon (2), and Rosenfield. Christmas cards with Porgy motif.
    5 items
    December 1929-March 1930
    Box 1, Folder 5From Du Bose Hayward, George Gershwin, Linley (3), and McClendon. Concerning the possibility of Miss Herriott working with the production of the musical version of Porgy.
    6 items
    November 1933-August 1934
    Box 1, Folder 6From Valls, George Gershwin, Mamoulian, and Turjman. Personal. Enclosed in the Turjman letter are photographs of Miss Herriott, John Bubbles, Red the prop man, and Porgy's goat.
    4 items
    December 1934-March 1936
    Box 1, Folder 7From From Todd Duncan and Munsell. Duncan discusses his efforts to get Miss Herriott into the production of Porgy and Bess; Munsell reports he recommended her to Merle Armitage to be stage manager of Porgy and Bess.
    5 items
    Julu 1936-September 1937
    Box 1, Folder 8From Du Bose, Heyward, Steiner, Todd Duncan and Burton. Includes letters pertaining to the production of Porgy and personal letters.
    5 items
    December 1937
    Box 1, Folder 9From Gladys Duncan, Jessye, Mary, Nicholson (2). Relating to the Herriott production of Porgy and Bess in California.
    5 items
    January-February 1938
    Box 1, Folder 10From Armitage and Mamoulian (2). Armitage outlines the financial difficulties of producing Porgy and Bess.
    3 items
    February 1938
    Box 1, Folder 11From Delano and from Todd and Gladys Duncan. Personal.
    2 items
    August 1938
    Box 1, Folder 12From Digges, Todd Duncan, and Lester (2). Includes business correspondence, among which is a letter from Digges to McClintic recommending Miss Herriott to be stage manager of Mamba's Daughter.
    4 items
    September 1938-April 1941
    Box 1, Folder 13From Todd and Gladys Duncan. Includes a description of the Duncans' personal experiences in London.
    2 items
    1942
    Box 2, Folder 1From Thomas Hellerman (2), Cheryl Crawford, Cliff Goldsmith, Clayton
    6 items
    Contents Note: A82-156

    1929-1933
    Box 2, Folder 2From Jean, George S. Kaufman, Mary Morrison, Osgood Perkins
    4 items
    Contents Note: A82-156

    1927
    Box 2, Folder 3Envelopes
    2 items
    Contents Note: A82-156

    Box 2, Folder 23From Zerka Moreno. Asks Frances to give a lecture at the American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama.
    1 item
    Contents Note: A89-4

    December 5, 1960

    Series 2. Correspondence - telegrams and cablegrams

    Box 1, Folder 14From Agnes and the Gang, Quigly, the three Delanos, Waram, Mamoulian, Collidge and Mee, and McClendon. Wishing success for the Boston production.
    7 items
    August-October 1935
    Box 1, Folder 15From Rouben Mamoulian. Expresses his gratitude to Miss Herriott and to the whole Porgy and Bess company.
    7 items
    November 1935
    Box 1, Folder 16From George Gershwin, Crous, Mamoulian, Cobb and Roberta. Gershwin wires that he is having a fine time in Mexico. Course wishes Porgy and Bess company a merry Christmas. Mamoulian thanks Herriott for her letter. Cobb says she greatly admired the production. Roberta informs Miss Herriott that Shirley Burke of the Theater Guild wishes to see her Friday.
    5 items
    November 1935-September 1937
    Box 1, Folder 17From Brown, Ira Gershwin, Digges, Mamoulian, and Steinert. Expressing best wishes for the production of Porgy and Bess.
    5 items
    February 1938
    Box 1, Folder 18From Howard, Ruth, and Clarice; Gladys Duncan; Rutherford; and Lester (2). Lester asks Frances to stay on as stage manager of Porgy and Bess.
    5 items
    February 1938-March 1941
    Box 2, Folder 4From Theresa Hellburn, Cheryl Crawford, Edwin Lester, Rose McCleudon, Gertrude Moran, Howard Ruth and Clarice, Wilma, unsigned (2)
    8 items
    Contents Note: A82-156

    1929-1938

    Series 3. Correspondence - postcards

    Box 1, Folder 19From Johnson, Gladys and Todd Duncan (2) Brown, and Elsy. Concerning vacations.
    5 items
    May 1928-November 1938
    Box 1, Folder 20Six unused picture postcards, four of which depict scenes from Porgy and Bess.
    6 items
    Box 2, Folder 5Blank card.
    1 item
    Contents Note: A82-156

    Series 4. Production details

    Box 1, Folder 21Lists of the cast of Porgy and Bess and the understudies for each part.
    4 items
    Box 1, Folder 22Porgy and Bess cast list.
    1 item
    Box 1, Folder 23Lists of addresses and phone numbers of the cast and crew.
    2 items
    Box 1, Folder 24Lighting cue sheet for Porgy and Bess.
    1 item
    Box 1, Folder 25Lighting directions.
    2 items
    Box 1, Folder 26Draft of lighting cue sheet.
    1 item
    Box 1, Folder 27Lighting cue sheet.
    1 item
    Box 1, Folder 28Key to switchboard.
    1 item
    Box 1, Folder 29Stage direction and diagrams.
    10 item
    Box 1, Folder 30Property plot, listing props and their places and times on stage.
    1 item
    Box 1, Folder 31A second property plot.
    1 item
    Box 1, Folder 32-35Four different property plots for Porgy and Bess.
    4 items
    Box 1, Folder 36Two copies of the costume plot and one copy of the costume chart, detailing the cast's costumes.
    3 items
    Box 1, Folder 37Costume chart.
    1 item
    Box 1, Folder 38sketchbook with diagrams of sets of Porgy and Bess.
    1 item
    Box 1, Folder 39Contains the Rhythm Scene, changes in the production for December 10, descriptive information on the War Memorial Opera House, extra refrains for Ain't Necessarily So, and two copies of the Theater Guild's dressing room sheet.
    8 items
    Box 1, Folder 40Leaves from a notebook kept by Frances Herriott during the production of Porgy and Bess.
    1 item

    Series 5. Programs and stagebills

    Box 1, Folder 41Contains the Theater Guild's souvanier program, which includes a history of the guild, photographs of its acting company and guest players, and discussion of several of its productions, including Porgy.
    1 item
    Box 1, Folder 42Advertisements of the Theater Guild's production of Porgy at the Blackstone theater.
    5 items
    Box 1, Folder 43Program guide to the London production of Porgy in His Majesty's Theater, in the Spring of 1929.
    1 item
    Spring 1929
    Box 1, Folder 44Program guide from the Ohio Theater (Cleveland).
    1 item
    Box 1, Folder 45Program guide from the Lyceum Theater, Minneapolis, December 1928-January 1929. Newspaper clipping from the Minneapolis Journal, January 8, 1929.
    2 items
    December 1928-January 1929 and January 8, 1929
    Box 1, Folder 46Hotel Greeter's Guide and Hotel Directory of Wisconsin (c. 1928), 32 p.
    1 item
    1928
    Box 1, Folder 47Contains The Playgoer: The Magazine of the Theater, which includes an advertisement for the Theater Guild production of Porgy at the Blackstone Theater, November 5, 1928, and a program guide to the Victory Theater, Dayton, Ohio, November 1, 1928.
    2 items
    November 1 and 5, 1928
    Box 1, Folder 48Three program guides, including one from the Erlanger Theater, Buffalo, New York, 1927.
    3 items
    1927
    Box 1, Folder 49Program guide from the Princess Theater, Toronto, Ontario, and the Republic Theater, 42nd. St., West of Broadway.
    2 items
    1928-1929
    Box 1, Folder 50Programs from the Hollis St. Theater and the Erlanger Theater, Philadelphia. Also a silkscreen program from the Republic Theater.
    3 items
    Box 1, Folder 51The October 25, 1935 issue of Musical America, with a cover story on Porgy and Bess.
    1 item
    October 25, 1935
    Box 1, Folder 52Two copies of the Alvin Theater Playbill and a program from the Colonial Theater, Boston, Massachusetts.
    3 items
    September 30, 1935
    Box 1, Folder 53Copy of Concertgoer (The Program of the Elmer Wilson Concert Course) and three copies of the program of Porgy and Bess at the Philharmonic Auditorium.
    4 items
    February 3, 1938
    Box 1, Folder 54Copies of the Playgoer, the official program of the Curran Theater, February 14.
    2 items
    Box 1, Folder 55Copies of a stagebill advertising Porgy and Bess at the Philharmonic Auditorium.
    12 items
    February 4-12, 1938
    Box 1, Folder 56Stadium Concerts Review, Lewisohn Stadium, College of the City of New York, and the National Symphony Orchestra Magazine.
    3 items
    August 8-10, 1937
    Box 1, Folder 57Program guides to the George Gershwin Memorial Concert in the Hollywood Bowl.
    2 items
    September 7, 1937
    Box 1, Folder 58A copy of the Playbill from the Majestic Theater and a program guide for a radio concert by Todd Duncan.
    2 items

    Series 6. Souvenir books

    Box 1, Folder 59Copies of The Theater Guild Presents Porgy and Bess, 22 p.
    2 items
    Box 1, Folder 60Copies of Cheryl Crawford Presents George Gershwin's Immortal Porgy and Bess (New York: sold by Al Greenstone) 61 p. One has a red cover; the other is brown.
    2 items
    Box 1, Folder 61Copies of Merle Armitage in association with Paul Posz and by arrangement with the Theater Guild presents Porgy and Bess (Printed by Lynton R. Kistler, ltd.) 24 p.
    2 items
    Box 2, Folder 12Broadsides for various Theater Guild productions.
    5 items
    Contents Note: A82-156

    Box 2, Folder 13-18Programs from other (non Porgy) productions.
    23 items
    Contents Note: A82-156

    Box 2, Folder 19Ralph Bellamy Players: The Princess Theater, bound program.
    1 item
    Contents Note: A82-156

    Box 2, Folder 6The Playgoer.
    3 items
    Contents Note: A82-156

    Box 2, Folder 35Porgy and Bess publicity material
    4 items
    Contents Note: A89-43

    Series 7. Photographs

    Box 1, Folder 62Photos of Frances Herriott, Hartford, De Wolf, Sanford, and one of opening night at the Colonial Theater in Boston, September 30, 1935, which includes George Gershwin, Du Bose Heyward, and Rouben Mamoulian.
    7 items
    Box 2, Folder 9Photo of Annie Brown, 1936, signed.
    1 item
    Contents Note: A82-156

    Box 2, Folder 25Photo of Frances Herriott Sargent.
    1 item
    Contents Note: A89-4

    Box 2, Folder 26Various Photos--some autographed, many of scenes from or cast of Porgy and Bess.
    22 items
    Contents Note: A89-4

    Box 2, Folder 32Unidentified group photo
    1 item
    Contents Note: A89-43

    1981
    Box 2, Folder 28Photos of Ralph Bellamy
    8 items
    Contents Note: A89-43

    1981

    Series 8. Miscellaneous printed materials

    Box 1, Folder 63News clippings.
    5 items
    May 1928-February 1940
    Box 1, Folder 64Undated news clippings.
    4 items
    Box 1, Folder 65Clippings of critical responses to the New Your production in 1935.
    9 items
    1935
    Box 1, Folder 66Boston clippings.
    8 items
    Box 1, Folder 67Chicago clippings.
    5 items
    February-March 1936
    Box 1, Folder 68-69California clippings.
    16 items
    Box 1, Folder 70Clippings about the Gershwin Memorial Concert and the Cheryl Crawford production of Porgy and Bess in New Jersey.
    5 items
    1942
    Box 1, Folder 71Gravure section of the New York Herald Tribune Sun, March 1, 1936 and a clipping from the Daily News about Rose McClendon.
    2 items
    May 1928-February 1940
    Box 1, Folder 72The March 1939 issue of National Geographic Magazine.
    1 item
    March 1939
    Box 1, Folder 73Clippings of obituary notices of Du Bose Heyward.
    3 items
    June 6, 1940
    Box 1, Folder 74Undated clippings, including photographs of Todd Duncan, Howard Mitchell (conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra), and pianist Don Shirley.
    3 items
    Box 2, Folder 21The New Yorker clippings.
    3 items
    Contents Note: A82-156

    Box 2, Folder 22Various clippings.
    9 items
    Contents Note: A82-156

    Box 2, Folder 24Sociometry journal, Theater Arts, March 1945, St. Elizabeth's Hospital clipping.
    3 items
    Contents Note: A89-4

    December 5, 1960
    Box 2, Folder 27Various clippings, cards, and broadsides.
    8 items
    Contents Note: A89-4

    Box 2, Folder 36Profile of Lyonel Feninger
    2 items
    Contents Note: A89-43

    Box 2, Folder 37Sociometry journal
    1 item
    Contents Note: A89-43

    May 1941

    Series 9. Miscellaneous items

    Box 1, Folder 75Contains a note from Frances Herriott concerning the telegrams in folder 15, business cards, and an initialed handkerchief to Frances from Rose McClendon.
    7 items
    Box 1, Folder 76Verses written for the cast party and a schedule of hotel rates in San Francisco in 1930.
    5 items
    Box 1, Folder 77Copies of contracts with Merle Armitage Concerts, Incorporated, October 7, 1937 and January 3, 1938, making her stage manager for Porgy and Bess.
    2 items
    October 7, 1937 and January 3, 1938
    Box 2, Folder 6Booklet of Plays and Films Seen or Recommended.
    1 item
    Contents Note: A82-156

    Box 2, Folder 7Contracts.
    4 items
    Contents Note: A82-156

    Box 2, Folder 8License to have possession of a pistol.
    1 item
    Contents Note: A82-156

    Box 2, Folder 10Catfish Row business card.
    1 item
    Contents Note: A82-156

    Box 2, Folder 11 and 31Stage manager's time sheet.
    2 items
    Contents Note: A82-156, A89-43

    Box 2, Folder 28Frances Herriott Sargent obituary
    1 item
    Contents Note: A89-43

    1981
    Box 2, Folder 29Memoranda for Stage Managers
    1 item
    Contents Note: A89-43

    Box 2, Folder 30Doodles
    4 items
    Contents Note: A89-43

    Box 2, Folder 34The Art of Rehearsal by Bernard Shaw
    1 item
    Contents Note: A89-43

    Series 10. Books

    Box 1, Folder 78The Theater Guild Presents Porgy and Bess, music by George Gershwin (New York: Gershwin Publishing Corporation). A copy of the original score inscribed to Frances Herriott by Gershwin, Heyward, and Mamoulian. The score bears Herriott's production notes, corrections, etc.
    1 item
    Box 1, Folder 79Porgy: A Play in Four Acts (Garden City, Doubleday, Doran and Co., 1928). The Theater Guild Acting Version. A copy in the original wrappers and signed by members of the cast.
    1 item
    Box 1, Folder 80Spiritual Songs from the Theater Guild production of Porgy (New York: Bibo, Bloeden, and Lang, 1928) in the original painted wrappers.
    1 item

    Series 11. Museum pieces

    Box HM, Folder 70Bell used by Rouben Mamoulian for rehearsal.
    Box HM, Folder 71Baton used to conduct the Rhythm Scene, Act II, Scene I.
    Box HM, Folder 72Ribbon for the Jenkins Orphan Band in the Picnic Scene.
    Box HM, Folder 73Another ribbon for the Jenkins Orphan Band.