Main content

Richard Hoffman David Rabe 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

Richard Hoffman, the Brooklyn-based theater collector and bookdealer, built a number of literary collections aroundAmerican 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 seriously began to collect rare books and first editions of contemporary American dramatists, notably the playwrights Eugene O'Neill, Arthur Miller, and Neil Simon. Richard Hoffman's interest in collecting first editions led to his career as an antiquarian bookdealer.

The American playwright David Rabe was born March 10, 1940, in Dubuque, Iowa. After graduating from Loras College in Dubuque, he began graduate studies in theater at Villanova University, but he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1965. He served until 1967, spending eleven months of this time in Vietnam. Rabe returned to Villanova, studying writing with Raymond Roseliep, Dick Duprey, and George Herman. During this time, he began work on

Sticks and Bones, the first play in a loose trilogy dealing with a Vietnam veteran and the war. The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel (1971) and Streamers(1976) completed the trilogy.

While working as a feature writer for the New Haven

Register in 1969 and 1970, he won an Associated Press Award. Rabe returned to Villanova to teach playwriting and film criticism in the early 1970s. Joseph Papp produced The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel in 1972 at the New York Shakespeare Festival and a later Broadway production starred Al Pacino. The play garnered Rabe an Obie Award (Off-Broadway) for distinguished playwriting, the Drama Desk Award, and the Drama Guild Award. The first play from the trilogy, Sticks and Bones, won the Elizabeth Hull-Kate Warriner Award from the Dramatists Guild, a Variety poll award, an Outer Circle Award (1972), and the 1972 Tony Award for best play of the 1971-72 season on Broadway. In the Boom Boom Room (1973), the story of a go-go girl from Manayunk (near Villanova), received a Tony nomination for Best Play. The final part of the Vietnam trilogy, Streamers, received another Tony nomination as well as the 1976 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play. Hurlyburly, about the connected lives of three Hollywood players, premiered at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in 1984, receiving another "best play" Tony nomination in 1985. The Dog Problem premiered Off-Broadway in 2001.

Rabe has also written two novels,

Recital of the Dog (1993) and The Crossing Guard (novelization of the screenplay by Sean Penn, 1995). Rabe has screenwriting credits for I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can (1983), Robert Altman's film version of Streamers (1983), Casualties of War (1989), The Firm (1993), Hurlyburly (1998), and In the Boom Boom Room (in development, 2000).

Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2004. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: The Gale Group. 2004. information from program notes found in the collection.

The Richard Hoffman David Rabe Collection comprises ten items (.3 linear feet) of playscripts, theatre programs, and a theatre poster related to the following plays:

The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel (1971), The Orphan (1973), Streamers (1976), and Hurlyburly (1985). The collection includes a script and a program for each of the four plays. A theatre poster for the 1977 production of The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel, starring Al Pacino, is also included.

Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes

Removals: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (32 inches)

Purchase and gift, Richard Hoffman, May 2004

Processed by Gerald Cloud, June 2004. Encoded by Jaime Margalotti, November 2019.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2019 November 18
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,

Collection Inventory

The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel, 1971.
Box 1 Folder F1
Scope and Contents

Studio Duplication Service, playscript. Typescript copy in green wrappers.

Playbill, 1977 April.
Box 1 Folder F2
Scope and Contents

Longacre Theatre, New York. Theatre Company of Boston. The production featured Al Pacino in the title role.

Scripts: A Monthly of Plays and Theater Pieces., 1971 November.
Box 1 Folder F3
Scope and Contents

(New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theater) Vol. 1, no. 1. Inaugural issue of Joseph Papp's journal, includes five playscripts, among which is Rabe's

Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel.
Poster, 1977 April 15- June 5.
Box 1 Folder F4
Scope and Contents

Theatre Company of Boston Production, Longacre Theatre, New York, April 15-June 5, [1977], starring Al Pacino.

Hurlyburly, 1985.
Box 1 Folder F5
Scope and Contents

New York: Grove Press, Master Set of proofs (copy). Includes autograph corrections in an unknown hand and Rabe's afterword.

Souvenir Program, 1984.
Box 1 Folder F6
Scope and Contents

s.l.:ERB Productions. Directed by Mike Nichols. Program for original Broadway cast, including a reproduction of drawing by Al Hirschfeld. Also, a laid-in sheet for replacement cast member Candice Bergen with her autograph on a laid-in slip of paper (with John P. Dougherty signature on verso).

The Orphan, 1973.
Box 1 Folder F7
Scope and Contents

New York: New York Shakespeare Festival, playscript. Typescript copy with autograph corrections and typed revisions bound in a brown folder with "HARKINS" written on the front cover. Cast member (Aegisthus) John Harkins's name inscribed on the title page.

Program, 1973.
Box 1 Folder F8
Scope and Contents

New York: New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theater. Anspacher Theater, New York City, Jeff Bleckner, Director

Streamers, undated.
Box 1 Folder F9
Scope and Contents

Playscript. Typescript copy bound in an acetate cover with some loose sheets.

Program, 1977 January 7-February 20.
Box 1 Folder F10
Scope and Contents

Arena Stage, Washington DC, Kreeger Theater, 213th Production, directed by David Chambers

Print, Suggest