The Papers of Delbert Mann, 1947-1992, consist of 40 cubic feet of papers and other materials and are primarily concerned with the professional life and career of the director. Major series in the papers include the Production Papers, General Correspondence, Script Reports, Writings, Personal and Biographical Material, Events and Activities, Theatre and Opera Collection, Photographs, Videotapes and other special media, and Scrapbooks.
The Production Papers, particularly for those productions directed by Delbert Mann, form the heart of the collection, and they are placed at the beginning. With few exceptions, the Production Papers are arranged in the order in which the productions were made, with their release dates noted in instances where there was considerable time gap between the time the production was completed and the time it was released or aired. Most of the motion pictures, television films, and plays directed by Mr. Mann are well documented in the papers. There is not as much material for the beginning of Mr. Mann's career, during which he directed live television dramas for the Philco Television Playhouse on NBC. The papers that survived from these early shows consist of a script, sometimes with a cast list, or sometimes just a tantalizing congratulatory letter.
For the productions that are better documented a Script is almost always included. Cast lists are also quite common. Many of the scripts are annotated by the director and often his views on character and action, as well as approaches to the technique of directing. A prose outline often is included with a Script, similar to and sometimes the same as a Treatment. The Outline gives a summary of the story, description of the characters, and delineate the structure the Script will take. Cast Lists often include notes about interviews and auditions and people being considered for acting roles. Sometimes biographical details and physical characteristics are part of the cast lists.
Another important component of the Production Papers is the sub-series simply called Notes. The Notes are quite substantive and comprise one of the best sources, in addition to the notes on the scripts themselves, by which the user can gain insight into the director's thought processes as he worked through the story that would become a motion picture or television film. Notes on music and sound are separately designated and placed after the general Notes.
Background papers are usually placed with Notes in the Production Papers because they reveal the research that goes into making a picture. In addition to research papers, supporting documents are often included. The Background papers are most useful and voluminous for the historical or real life productions, such as April Morning or A Gathering of Eagles, or in the productions based on classical literature, such as David Copperfield or Jane Eyre.
Many documents exist in the Production Papers on the filming of scenes in the production. Documents with names like Scene and Actor Breakdown or Scene and Timing Breakdown reveal information about the structure of each scene along with a list of characters in the scene or a notation of how long the scene should take. Other scene-related documents include plans for setting up and filming scenes, the program format for television films, lists of scenes to be cut or added, and the like.
Schedules are also a vital part of the Production Papers. Schedules tell the cast and crew members where they should be, how long they will be there, what they will be doing on any given day, and, in many cases, how much of the script should be filmed on that day. Related to schedules are the daily progress reports, which often appear just after the Schedules in the papers for a production. The daily progress tell how much of a production was filmed, notes any special occurences, and includes any problems encountered. The Daily Diary gives an hour by hour accounting of how the time was used during the shooting period.
After the Schedule group come the Set materials in the Production Papers. Depending on the production, the Set group will include Set Lists, Set Designs, Illustrations, Sketches, Prop Lists, Wardrobe Lists and Wardrobe Notes, and even Animal Lists. Location Information is related to the Set materials, and includes details about the area in which a production is to be filmed on location.
The last part of the Production Papers consists of Publicity, Reviews, and Correspondence. The Correspondence, both to and from Mr. Mann and others, consists of letters exchanged in planning the production, letters to and from actors involved in the production, and congratulatory letters from viewers after the release of the production.
The General Correspondence is located after the Production Papers. It is comprised of letters not directly related to any one production, though it often includes letters from many of the people with whom Mr. Mann worked. Prominent correspondents include Steve Allen, Carol Burnett, Frank Capra, Paddy Chayefsky, Doris Day, Greer Garson, Lillian Gish, Julie Harris, Angela Lansbury, Anthony Hopkins, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Tyrone Power, Lee Remick, and Eva Marie Saint, among many others.
The Script Reports, 1960-1992, written by Mr. Mann about scripts that he was asked to consider and comment on, offer another avenue for the director's insight into the process of motion picture production. Mr. Mann's thoughts on what makes a good story, comments on character, structure, plausibility of storyline, and various nuances, are revealed through his comments on the script under consideration, and often he summarizes the plot. The Script Reports are all together, with the exception of those that turned out to be for productions directed by Mr. Mann. Those Reports are placed with the Production Papers.
The major component of the Writings is the Memoirs, entitled Looking Back. Mr. Mann's memoirs, are remarkable in their detail and analysis on his career as a director. Included are stories of how productions were made, information on productions for which there is little or no material elsewhere in the papers, and stories of Mr. Mann's family, friends, and associates. The memoirs recount the excitement and sometimes problems encountered in filming in exotic and rugged locales, the many elements that must be orchestrated to bring the fragments together into a whole cloth, the technique of directing, and amusing anecdotes about famous people. The Memoirs are fully indexed in this catalog.
Personal and Biographical Material, which fittingly follow Mr. Mann's Memoirs, provide a wealth of information about his life and career. Included are summaries and lists of his directing activities, biographical sketches and articles. Various awards and honors won along the way are also in this series. The Events and Activities series is closely related to the Biographical Material in that this series documents Mr. Mann's participation, usually as a panelist, in various film and theatre festivals all over the world, including the Cork International Film Festival in Ireland and the Manila International Film Festival. Also of interest will be materials for the recent contest in which Mr. Mann served as a judge in "The Search for Scarlett," for the filming of the sequel to Gone With the Wind.
The Theatre and Opera Collection include many programs from theatrical productions performed at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville during the 1930s and early 1940s. They are usually signed by one or more of the actors, many of them legends of the stage: Helen Hayes, John and Ethel Barrymore, Judith Anderson, Alfred Lunt, Lynn Fontanne, Maurice Evans, Katharine Cornell, and Gertrude Lawrence, to name just a few of the luminaries represented. Many other theatres and companies are represented by programs: the Metropolitan Opera, The Theatre Guild, the New York City Opera Company, and the Ben Greet Players.
The Photographs, Videotapes, and Scrapbooks were placed at the end of the papers because of their special storage requirements. Many of the photographs were taken from Mr. Mann's own productions; others are pictures of people with whom he has worked. Among the people represented in the photographs are Ernest Borgnine, Tony Curtis, Doris Day, Edith Evans, Grace Kelly, Charles Laughton, Raymond Massey, and David Niven. Videotapes of several Mann productions are in the collection, including The Marriages, The Medea Cup, The Red Mill, Wish on the Moon, and Without Fear or Favor. Finally, the scrapbooks, containing a treasure of information compiled over a career of some four and a half decades, include clippings, reviews, photographs, and correspondence about most of Delbert Mann's productions. Any attempt to impose arrangement on a collection which so thoroughly documents the life of the director will seem somewhat arbitrary because it is such an integrated and interdependent collection of papers. Fortunately for the archivist, Mr. Mann's own organization of his papers featured both logic and clarity, and every effort has been made to maintain the vital original order. Changes have been made only in the restructuring of sub-series for greater ease in describing the material.
Overview | Scope and Content Note
| File Listing: Boxes 1-25 | File
Listing: Boxes 26-51
File Listing: Boxes 52-75 | File Listing: Boxes 76-99 | File Listing: Boxes 100-113
Production Index: A-G | Production Index: H-P | Production Index: Q-Z
Special Collections | Heard Library | Vanderbilt University
Copyright © Special Collections, Jean and Alexander Heard Library, Vanderbilt
Last modified: April 10, 2008
For more information, contact us at: < >