Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Odets mss., 1921-1963, consist of the papers of playwright Clifford Odets, 1906-1963. Odets began his career as an actor in local New York theater groups and traveling stock companies. As one of the founding members of the Group Theatre in 1930 he continued acting, but found new release for his creativity in writing plays. It was during this time that he wrote Awake and Sing! and Waiting for Lefty, two plays which marked him as one the most important playwrights of the period. During the production of his play Paradise Lost in 1935, Odets moved to Hollywood where he began writing screenplays, as well as directing and producing such films as The Big Knife, The Country Girl, The Story on Page One, Sweet Smell of Success, and Wild in the Country. In 1961 he signed with the television series The Richard Boone Show as editor-in-chief.

The collection contains correspondence, scripts and production materials, research notes, personal papers, business and financial papers, and photographs. Correspondents include: Boris Aronson, Justin Brooks Atkinson, Bessie Breuer, Bennett Alfred Cerf, Charles Spencer Chaplin, Harold Clurman, Aaron Copland, Cheryl Crawford, Theodore Dreiser, Hanns Eisler, Waldo David Frank, William Walker Gibson, Cuthbert Morton Girdleston, Cary Grant, Elia Kazan, Leonard Lyons, Louis Nizer, Bette Grayson Odets, John O'Hara, Kenneth Patchen, Luise Rainer, Jean Renoir, Aline (Bernstein) Saarinen, Irene Mayer Selznick, Lee Strasberg, Paula Strasberg, Jerry Wald, and Fay Wray.

There is a guide to the collection.

Purchase. Randall House Books, Santa Barbara, California. 1992

ca. 30,000 items

Additions. Letter from Clifford Odets, script of Country Girl, and miscellaneous printed items, 1938-1953.

Gift. 2001

6 items

Additions. Correspondence, writings, and papers, ca. 1958-1963 of Clifford Odets.

Gift. 2003

ca. 3500 items

Collection size: 33,500 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.