Arnold Sundgaard papers
Scope and Content
The Arnold Sundgaard papers includes materials created and collected by Arnold Sundgaard. The collection is divided into eight series: Correspondence; Musical Scores; Newspaper Clippings; Photographs; Playscripts; Programs and Posters; Writings, Reviews, Publications; and Audio Recordings. Series are primarily arranged alphabetically by material type and then alphabetically by folder title. Series eight, Audio Recordings, is arranged by size of material.
Series 1: Correspondence, is arranged alphabetically by play title, organization or person. Plays written about include Akron by Moonlight, Down in the Valley, The Beautiful and Anxious Maidens, Equinox, Everywhere I Roam, Forests of the Night, Giants in the Earth, The First Crocus, The Great Campaign, The Kilgo Run, Knock on Wood, and Nobody's Earnest. Persons and organizations included in the correspondence are: The Atlantic Monthly, George P. Baker, Yale, The Barter Theatre, Louis Bellson, Bing Crosby, Lehman Engel, Archibald MacLeish, The New Yorker magazine, Gregory Peck, E. B. White, Alec Wilder, and Thornton Wilder among others.
Series 2: Musical Scores, is arranged alphabetically by title and comprises sheet music and lyrics written by Arnold Sundgaard. Some of the music is published under title of play and some are handwritten music for individual songs. Plays included are: Buddy, Knock on Wood, Of Love Remembered, Promised Valley, Cumberland Fair: A Jamboree, Down in the Valley, Gallantry, Sunday Excursion, The Lowland Sea, The Lonesome Dove. About one-third of the material is in oversize boxes.
Series 3: Newspaper Clippings, is arranged alphabetically by title and includes primarily newspaper and magazine clippings relating to play productions and writings authored by Sundgaard, as well as scrapbooks, programs, ephemera, and some photographs. Two scrapbooks, one about Of Love Remembered, the other about Federal Theatre Project productions, Spirochete and Everywhere I Roam, are housed in oversize boxes.
Series 4: Photographs, is arranged alphabetically by title and includes photographs of play productions, actors, and Arnold Sundgaard. Photographs of play productions include the plays: Brigham, Down in the Valley, Equinox, Everywhere I Roam, Forests of the Night, Giants in the Earth, The Great Campaign, The First Crocus, Kilgo Run, Knock on Wood, Of Love Remembered, The Promised Valley, Spirochete, This Fallow Ground, and The Truth About Windmills. Images are mostly prints; there are some slides, and some oversize material.
Series 5: Playscripts, is arranged alphabetically by title and includes primarily playscripts but also radio and television scripts, libretti, outlines, drafts, production notes, scores, programs, costume designs, and some correspondence. Multiple drafts of produced plays are here, as is unfinished scripts and scripts for plays not produced.
Series 6: Programs and Posters, is arranged alphabetically by title and includes programs and posters for productions written by Sundgaard as well as programs collected by Sundgaard.
Series 7: Writings, Reviews, Publications, is arranged alphabetically by title and includes writings by Sundgaard that are not scripts. The writings include drafts, outlines, articles, essays, and short stories. Both unpublished and published material is included. There are some books. Also present is research material created by Sundgaard for different projects. One project was a syphilis related research project for a possible book that Sundgaard undertook with O.C. Wenger. Another project represented is research of deafness conducted by Sundgaard in Hermann, Missouri.
Series 8: Audio Recordings, is arranged by size and consists of four boxes that include audio cassette tapes, reel-to-reel audio recordings, and vinyl records. The material includes recordings from productions or songs that Sundgaard wrote, and records featuring Sundgaard's children's books.
- Sundgaard, Arnold, 1909-2006 (Person)
Collection is open to research.
There are no restrictions.
Arnold Olaf Sundgaard was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on October 31, 1909. He studied English at the University of Wisconsin and then drama at Yale University. Sundgaard taught at many colleges including the University of Texas, Columbia University in New York, Bennington College, and at Trinity College in Dublin.
Sundgaard worked for the Chicago Federal Theatre Project and is best known in this context as the writer of the Living Newspaper production Spirochete. He worked with the FTP from 1936 to 1938 as an author and play reader, after which he was let go since he was starting to make a living as a writer. The main theme of Spirochete is the history and spread of syphilis from the 15th century in Europe to the 1930s in America. The play was politically minded and current in relation to the Marriage Test Law of 1937. This Law would require a blood test for syphilis prior to marriage. The play opened in Chicago on April 29, 1938, and had showings in Seattle, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Portland, Oregon during February of 1939. Even though the play was met with protest in some areas due to its controversial subject matter, it was the second most performed Living Newspaper play after One-Third of a Nation.
After working with the FTP Sundgaard went on to be a successful writer and librettist. As an author he wrote articles, lyrics, plays, and children's books. To his credit are articles for The New Yorker, and the Atlantic; libretti for Down in the Valley by Kurt Weill, and The Greenfield Christmas Tree; plays suchs as Giants in the Earth (co-written with Douglas Moore), Everywhere I Roam, the Broadway produced Of Love Remembered, Promised Valley, Forests of the Night, The Great Campaign, and Young Abe Lincoln; children's books include An Axe, an Apple, and a Buckskin Jacket, The Lamb and the Butterfly, and Jethro's Difficult Dinosaur.
19 Linear Feet (46 boxes)
Language of Materials
The Arnold Sundgaard papers includes materials created and collected by Arnold Sundgaard. The collection is divided into eight series: Correspondence; Musical Scores; Newspaper Clippings; Photographs; Playscripts; Programs and Posters; Writings, Reviews, Publications; and Audio Recordings.
This collection is organized into 8 series based on material type.
- Series 1: Correspondence, 1933-1988 (Boxes 1-5)
- Series 2: Musical Scores, 1947-1982 (Boxes 5-6, 44-46)
- Series 3: Newspaper Clippings, 1935-1976 (Boxes 6-8, 43)
- Series 4: Photographs, 1933-1982 (Boxes 8, 42, 44)
- Series 5: Playscripts, 1932-1978 (Boxes 8-21, 42)
- Series 6: Programs and Posters, 1925-1988 (Boxes 22-29, oversize folder)
- Series 7: Writings, Reviews, Publications, 1933-1988 (Boxes 29-37, 43, 44)
- Series 8: Audio Recordings, 1955-1980s (Boxes 38-41)
Donated by Arnold Sundgaard to Special Collections and Archives on October 19, 1978.
Alternative Form Available
There are also additional documents from this and related collections in the Federal Theatre Project collection.
Processing and EAD markup completed in October 2012 by Greta Kuriger Suiter. Finding aid updated by Amanda Brent in July 2022.
- Children's theater Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Federal Theatre Project (U.S.)
- New Deal, 1933-1939 Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Performing arts Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Playwriting Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Theater -- United States Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Arnold Sundgaard papers
- Guide to Arnold Sundgaard papers
- Greta Kuriger Suiter
- November 2012
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note
- Description is in English