Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Preston, Robert mss., ca. 1930s-1980s, consist of correspondence, photographs, and memorabilia of stage and screen actor Robert Preston. Born Robert Preston Meservey on June 8, 1918 in Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, Preston is best known for his portrayal of the charismatic con man "Professor" Harold Hill in The Music Man, for which he won a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical in 1958. He later reprised his role for the 1962 film adaptation. Preston won a second Tony Award for I Do! I Do! starring opposite Mary Martin from 1966 to 1967, in a musical which explores one couple's fifty years of married life. In 1982, he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as "Toddy," a gay nightclub entertainer, in Victor/Victoria (1982). He died on March 21, 1987, in Santa Barbara, California.

This collection includes correspondence, programs, periodicals, newspaper clippings, a piece of sheet music from one of Preston's plays ("We Take the Town"), call sheets, press books, several photographs, and rolls of 35mm negatives. Correspondents include Moss Hart, Joseph Hyman, and Margot Stevenson.

An inventory is available.

Acquired: 2010

Collection size: 200 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.