Richard Hoffman - Neil Simon collection
Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Brooklyn-based theater collector and book dealer Richard Hoffman built a number of literary collections around American playwrights over a period of many years.
Hoffman has said that he entered the United States Army in the 1950s as an actor and left as a writer. His military experience led to an assignment to create a television program titled "Your Army in View," which consisted of interviews and live drama. After his discharge from the service in 1955, Hoffman taught in the drama department of The City University of New York. During this period he was awarded a Eugene O'Neill fellowship for playwriting. He also began to seriously collect rare books and first editions of contemporary American dramatists, notably the playwrights Eugene O'Neill, Arthur Miller, and Neil Simon. Hoffman's interest in collecting first editions led to his career as an antiquarian book dealer.
American playwright Neil Simon has emerged as one of the twentieth century's most popular and commercially successful American writers of stage comedies.
His best known comedies includeBarefoot in the Park (1963), The Odd Couple (1965), Plaza Suite (1968), The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1971), and The Sunshine Boys (1972). Simon's more serious works, however, including his autobiographical trilogy, Brighton Beach Memoirs (1982), Biloxi Blues (1984), and Broadway Bound (1986), have earned him respect as a serious dramatist. Many of Simon's plays have been successfully adapted for the screen, including Barefoot in the Park (1967), The Odd Couple (1968), and The Sunshine Boys (1975).
Simon was born July 4, 1927, in the Bronx, New York, a setting that often recurs in his work. He began his career co-writing comedy sketches for radio with brother Danny Simon in the 1940s. During the 1950s the pair wrote for television personalities such as Sid Caesar, Phil Silvers, and Jackie Gleason, occasionally working with writers Mel Brooks and Woody Allen. The brothers also co-wrote the early Broadway successCome Blow Your Horn (1959).
Simon has received numerous awards and honors during his career, including Emmy awards for Sid Caesar'sYour Show of Shows (1957) and The Phil Silvers Show (1959); and Antoinette Perry awards (the "Tony") for The Odd Couple (best playwright, 1965), for Biloxi Blues (best drama, 1985), and for Lost in Yonkers (best play, 1991). Simon received a special Tony Award for overall contributions to the theater in 1975; and Academy Award nominations for The Odd Couple (1968) and California Suite (1978). The Sunshine Boys (1975) and The Goodbye Girl (1977) received Academy Award nominations as well as nominations for Golden Globe awards. Simon was honored with the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1983 for Brighton Beach Memoirs and with a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1991, for Lost in Yonkers .
"Neil Simon."Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Reproduced inGale Biography In Context, accessed November 5, 2010.
The Richard Hoffman - Neil Simon collection spans the dates between 1955 and 1993 and comprises three linear feet of playscripts, film scripts, correspondence, posters, flyers, periodicals, theater programs, and photographs related to the American playwright Neil Simon. Assembled by the writer and Brooklyn-based bookdealer Richard Hoffman, the collection also includes Simon's published plays, which are cataloged individually and housed with printed collections in the Special Collections Department at the University of Delaware Library.
The archival collection is arranged into two series: I. Dramatic works; and II. Ephemera. The collection includes ephemera such as souvenir programs and playbills, and autographed photographs of Neil Simon and his wife, American actress Marsha Mason.
Series I. comprises the majority of the materials in the collection and consists of playscripts, film scripts, posters, programs, and other materials related to Simon’s plays and the films produced from his screenplays. Included are material for some of Simon's best known work, such asBarefoot in the Park (1963), The Odd Couple (1965), Plaza Suite (1968), The Prisoner of Second Avenue (three copies, including a film script, 1971), The Sunshine Boys (two copies, 1972), the autobiographical Brighton Beach Memoirs (1982) and Broadway Bound (1986), and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lost in Yonkers (three copies, 1991). Additionally, there are scripts associated with cast and crew members via correspondence, including Dick Latessa for The Curse of Kulyenchikov, Richard Bright for Brighton Beach Memoirs , and set and costume designer Santo Loquasto for Lost in Yonkers. Also included are three scripts and a film script for Chapter Two, as well as a script bearing the alternate title "George Feiffer, Meet Annie Malone." Also present is a first draft of a film script for an apparently unmade project, "Mr. Bad News." Material in this series is arranged alphabetically by title of the work.
Series II. consists of signed photographs of Neil Simon and Marsha Mason.
- Boxes 1-3: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons
- Removals: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (32 inches)
- Removals: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize mapcases
Gift of Richard Hoffman and purchase, 2002-2005.
Processed by Gerald Cloud, February 2004. Revised by Karalee Kopreski, October 2005. Encoded by Jillian Kuzma, January 2009. Updated by Maureen Cech, November 2010.
- University of Delaware Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- 2009 January 30
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library, https://library.udel.edu/static/purl.php?askspec